Sketchbook: Tailoring

The other day I spent an hour at the bookshop perusing through Hywel Davies' new coffee table book, Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks. I'm fascinated by where designers draw inspiration from, how they workshop ideas, how they select colors and fabrics, etc....Anyways, I thought you might enjoy a little peek at the visual diary from my tailoring project last year. Researching and sketching is by far my favorite step in the design process. I'm a lazy pattern-maker and an impatient sewer!

Our brief was to design a three-piece tailored outfit in the monochromatic value scale (black, gray, white) inspired by a modern object and an organic object. These are my "notes" from our Color Theory class. In the end I settled on a low major scale (mostly black with a highlight of white).

I chose a Lamborghini and the Royal Goliath Beetle as my sources of inspiration for color, texture, silhouette and mood. The beetle image is from The Vamoose. I found the car pics on Kanye's blog.

In the past, I would always design a garment and then go look for fabrics that would work, but last year my fashion design teacher pushed us to select fabrics first and then start designing with them in mind. On the left are my fabric swatches and on the right are some fabric manipulations I discovered on a craft blog called Mantua Maker.

Nicholas Huxley, the head teacher at The Sydney Institute, likes to slip a few extra twists into our briefs. For tailoring, we had to create our own fabric manipulation. I found this silver laminated wool tweed at Tessuti and decided to create a gradated color palette by spray painting parts of it black. Fun and toxic! I also bought metal gears and cogs on Etsy, spray painted them silver and hand-appliqued them onto another section of my garment.

This was my almost-finalized design. I tweaked quite a few things while I was toile-ing it. Our design teachers have to sign off our designs but we continue consulting with them and our pattern-making and sewing teachers as we construct the garments, so things inevitably change along the way. It used to really frustrate me but over time I've learned to go with the flow.

At panel, we're marked not only on design and construction but styling. Towards the end of the project I did some brainstorming on hair, make-up, shoes and accessories. When you're a fashion student you learn which shops have flexible return policies!

I'm done with the course now but my New Year's resolution is to keep clipping and sketching. It's really fun and satisfying to look back at where an idea started.

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