Uncategorized

Good Night, and Good Luck

So I have moved back to school, and this will be my final blog for a while.  The title of this post is one of my favorite phrases to use, and I feel like it’s applicable to this post so just think about it or if you’re friends with Clooney, ask him about it (or don’t because his explanation won’t make any sense here).

I completed the top and skirt for my outfit before the move, and you can see the results at the bottom.

My conclusions on the outfit itself are that I should have used a different fabric. Definitley a different fabric.  As I was working with it, I realized it most probably wasn’t purely a cotton fabric.  It definitely was much thinner than I thought it would be, and I think I was misled by how coarse the weave was.  You can obviously tell it is too thin because, well, it’s see through.    The top especially since it’s unlined.  Also, the fabric basically deformed a little bit every time I touched it, which is a little bit of a nightmare since I need to touch it to make the outfit.

As for the construction, the V in the back was difficult to make and that is probably evident in the fact that it is not centered.  I ran into trouble with keeping the hemline straight because when I did, I had a lot of gaping and the fabric at the edge of the V did not sit nicely against the back.  And to fix that, I had to keep redoing the seams on the shoulders to pull up the fabric.

And I think the constant readjustment of the shoulders probably affected the arm holes, which do no match entirely.  On the front side of the left arm hole, I constantly had issues with how it sat against the chest (i.e. very badly).  I tried redoing the side seam to take away the excess fabric but that did not work.  I think the angles of the arm hole were probably off.  I’m not sure if there is an actual technique for figuring that out.

While I can say that the construction of the garment wasn’t the most perfect thing, I am glad I took it upon myself to make the outfit and proud that I could display my efforts both in their glory and lack thereof.

This project was a simple one, mainly because my technical skill set is not robust enough for anything more intricate.  I think my biggest frustration is that I have ideas for design more grandiose than I have the knowledge needed to actualize them, and that knowledge can come only with education and practice.

I realized through this experience that I still have the vision in design that I had when I was younger and that it was just lying dormant.  I learnt that I have the drive and the desire to bring my ideas from mere thought to image and, in turn, to reality.  Having had a long break from fashion design, those realizations are truly thrilling and encouraging and worthy of pursuit. And while I will not be able to construct clothes while I am at school, I will do a better job of sketching and maintaining a personal portfolio, which I may or may not post to this blog from time to time. We shall see.

This is super cheesy but I mean it: Thank you for reading this blog and taking this (disjointed) journey with me.  I enjoyed all the work I did for it this summer.  Hopefully I can make the cape the next time I’m home!

-Yours Truly, the girl who has to write proposals for her bioengineering senior design project tomorrow and did not tailgate for 4 hours today because that’s literally insane (in my humble opinion).

Outfit - Front View - Lillian Boodaghians - Oct 4 2014Outfit - Side View - Lillian Boodaghians - Oct 4 2014Outfit - Back View - Lillian Boodaghians - Oct 4 2014

Standard
Uncategorized

Appreciate Your Waistbands

After doing and redoing the waistband on the skirt over and over……I still haven’t been able to get it right.  So, I have taken a break from that because I need to think about a different way to go about it.  But, I have posted a picture of the skirt, sans-waistband, below so you can see how it has turned out, basically (the lighting is awful, please forgive me).

I had to drape a new pattern, this time pulling the fabric to a fit at both the widest part of the hips and at the waist (instead of just the hips).  This meant I had less excess fabric and, thank the lord, darts of a much more reasonable length (not those 10 inch monsters of before).

The fabric is a heavy cotton, and it was quite fickle.  If you pulled it the wrong way while sewing or ironing it, it would get misshapen.  So I tried to be gentle (no Lenny with a bunny here). But still, you can see a little bit how it pulls in the front and on the sides.  I think I could fix the pulling on the sides but on the front, I think I played a little too much with the fabric or ironed it too much and now it’s just weird.

Once I sewed the skirt, I realized it was basically see through, which was a little bit of a surprise since the fabric appeared thick enough. But, white is white, and since I’m no Rihanna (not that this was quite as severely see through as Rihanna’s CFDA Awards outfit), I had to line it.  I did so by buying some of that polyester lining fabric you might find in a jacket (in white of course) and basically sewing a second skirt, using the same pattern, then placing the second skirt inside the actual skirt and sewing it to the actual skirt at the waist.  The lining also made the skirt fit more nicely and look more smooth and shapely from the outside.

Given my struggles with the skirt (and my need to get away from it), I have also started constructing the top, which seems to be going well so far.  It’s really funny because I make the pattern draping it on the dress form with the correct measurements but when I cut the actual fabric and start fitting it on the dress form, it’s always too big, usually too wide.  I’m not sure if that’s because I’m pulling the fabric and deforming it while trying to fit it or whether I just made very rough markings on the pattern fabric while I was draping it.  Either way, it leads to a lot of excess at the seams.

I will post progress on the top when it’s decent, probably before I finish the neckline and arm holes.  For the time being, I also have to think of a method for making the cape.  I am currently pondering whether I want to do the front and back separately, where I will just have a solid front and cut strips of fabric to attach for the back, or whether I want to just have one huge piece of fabric with one seam and then just remove the strips from the back that I want to be empty space.

I will try to have a new post either tomorrow or the next day.  Sometimes I get so involved in figuring something out, I just keep working at it without updating you on my progress, and for that, I offer my apologies.  I’m not really sticking to my one a day rule from my original post, obviously. Haha.

-Yours truly, the girl who thinks you should subscribe up top 😉

Music Credit: My little desk fan.

This is the front view of the skirt (in awful lighting).

This is the front view of the skirt (in awful lighting).

This is the side view of the skirt.  You can see the little pulling at the hips.  Maybe it just needs to be steamed better.  It might also need a waist band to hold it in place properly.

This is the side view of the skirt. You can see the little pulling at the hips. Maybe it just needs to be steamed better. It might also need a waist band to hold it in place properly.

Standard
Uncategorized

“This is My Design” – Part Deux

Hullo! Long time no talk, see, web-ercise, whatever this interaction we have here is called. I guess it’s more of a “long time no didactic monologue” type of situation.  Speaking of didactic, I need to build my vocabulary a little bit because “didactic” isn’t really the sentiment I was going for (Side Note: I use the word “sentiment” a little too much in my everyday interactions…and also use quotation marks way to often, air or otherwise).

Anyway, the reason I have been absent is that I have been slaving away at the skirt for my outfit and it’s coming along pretty well.  Well actually, I ran into a couple of snags—pun intended—with the zipper and the waistband but I’m working on it and will hopefully (fingers mega crossed) have photos of it up tomorrow.

Today, I am posting an update of my design because between all of The Sopranos episodes I have been watching and the time I spent drooling over the Calvin Klein Spring 2015 collection, I have decided to change the outer layer of the outfit into….. A CAPE.  And while I am freakishly obsessed with Batman (so much so that even a BuzzFeed quiz told me that Batman is the superhero I should date…but that better be the Christian Bale Batman and by that I just mean the actual Christian Bale), this is not a superhero inspired cape.  It is an opera cape inspired cape.  Elegant, tasteful, timeless.

Except for it looks like that horrendous striped poncho you wore in elementary school in the sketch posted below.  So here goes the explanation.

In the front, the cape is simple.  It’s kind of like what a poncho would look like if it was made out of the organza fabric I was originally using for the original outer box-dress, except a little more fabric so I can get a little more volume and movement (the fabric has not changed).  It will come down to about mid thigh, in which case, it will only cover the top half of the skirt. However, I might change the length once I actually make it, depending on how the proportions appeal to me visually; I will probably prefer to have the entire skirt covered.  It will have vertical arm/hand slits at the hips so when you wear it, you can slip your hands out to do whatever you gotta do, like eat a donut or sip some coffee (because that’s obviously what you do while wearing an opera cape, I mean, I would).

The back (yes, that’s the thing that looks stripy on the sketch) is actually strips of organza, about one inch in width, that come in from each side to form V shapes at the center of the back, kind of like ribs (that word sounds seriously ugly and it kind of smacks you in the face, doesn’t it?).  So essentially, the back alternates between Vs of fabric and Vs of open-ness, or in other words, Vs of fabric and Vs of negative space.  In the sketch, the shaded portions are portions where there is fabric and the unshaded portions are portions that do not have fabric in them.  And I’m going to match the angle of the Vs of the cape with the angle of the V on the back of the top for purposes of coherence. I hope that makes sense.

The top and skirt that go underneath remain unchanged from the original design.

And that’s enough from me! I think I’ll go watch some more Sopranos now.  Actually, come to think of it, a fashion collection inspired by that show would be incredible.  I call dibs!  I’ll make it my next project!

Don’t forget to subscribe by clicking on the little icon at the top of the page next to the search button!

-Yours Truly, the girl who really wants to go to the Dunkin’ Donuts that just opened in Santa Monica.

Music Credit: Blame feat. Jon Newman – Calvin Harris (on repeat for about 3 hours)

The updated design. Same as the original design, except the outer box-dress has been replaced by a cape.

The updated design. Same as the original design, except the outer box-dress has been replaced by a cape.

Standard
Uncategorized

The Little Skirt that Would Not

I have been experimenting.  It has been equal parts rewarding and frustrating, which is better than completely frustrating (that would just be miserable) and maybe better that completely rewarding (then I might become a little full of myself).

First, the story of a top that formed beautifully.  I decided that I would take the pattern for my top for a test run, so I used some of the purple flowery fabric from last time and made a practice top, which you can see in the photos below.  I didn’t finish the arm holes yet, well because they seem a little more difficult and I’ll have to give them some thought.  I just wanted to see how the top would fit and if I had positioned and sized my darts correctly (you can see the top the right way out and inside out, to show how it will actually look on the outside and the darts on the inside, respectively).

Both the front and back came out pretty nicely, in my humble opinion.  The only thing that bothered me (A LOT) was the puckering that seemed to happen at the tip of the darts.  This might be a little difficult to see in the photos but basically, there was a little, tiny well forming at the tips which looks ugly and frankly isn’t supposed to be there.  But, I looked it up on the internet (thank you, internet) and learnt that there is a nice little fix for that if I just make the stitches on the dart very small when I get to the tip.  That doesn’t seem too hard, and I’ll do it on the actual top.

Now, the story of a little skirt that just wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do.  Since my top, which I draped on the dress form, worked out so nicely, I thought “Oh, Lillian. You’re awesome! Just drape your skirt and it will come out perfectly too!”  So that’s what I did.  I fitted my fabric around the widest part of the hips on the dress form and proceeded to put in darts to make it fit at the waist, which is not as wide.

And that resulted in many, very large darts, that, while they look kind of cool (see the pictures at the end with the quarter pieces of skirt pinned on the form), do not look right. At all. I’ve only seen darts on skirts that are maybe 2 or 3 inches long but mine were pushing double digits.  However, while my eyes were saying “This looks wrong,” my brain (aided by my at times stubbornness) was saying “But it fits the dress form so it must be right!”

So I began making the practice sample of the skirt, this time using an off-white fabric decorated with purple flowers (I too am confused as to why there are so many purple and white floral fabrics at my house).  And you can see the awful result of this venture below.  First of all, after I stitched them, the darts were not the right size.  Some needed to be wider at the top, by the waist, and others were just wonky. When I tried to sew the side seams, they wouldn’t match up with my original outline and it became difficult to take in the sides while maintaining symmetric darts.

On top of that, each of the darts had this very strange bulging happening at it’s tip (tip being the end not at the waist).  It was giving the skirt the complete opposite of the fitted, slim effect I wanted. The only way I could see to prevent this bulging from happening was to cut from the tip of the dart to the bottom of the skirt and somehow stitch the skirt as though it was made of multiple panels of fabric.  That seemed a little haphazard though, and I’d rather be a little methodical.

Needless to say (or should I say needle-less to say, badum-tiss), I’m going to have to reconsider my strategy for the skirt.  I may have to take a more formulaic approach to creating the pattern instead of draping it (i.e. using rules and measurements for creating patterns directly instead of molding them on a dress form).  I’ll have to look into some tutorials on that.

In other news, I have purchased my fabric and it was quite an experience! More on that tomorrow.

-Yours Truly, the girl that can’t think of anything clever, so just Lillian for today.

This is the example top from the front, right side out.

This is the example top from the front, right side out.

This is the back of the example top, right side out.

This is the back of the example top, right side out.

This is the front of the example top, from the inside, you can see the darts on either side.  The darts on the left side were cut in half to make them more flat.  The ones on the right are just folded, which is similar to how the darts looked when they were draped on the form.

This is the front of the example top, from the inside, you can see the darts on either side. The darts on the left side were cut in half to make them more flat. The ones on the right are just folded, which is similar to how the darts looked when they were draped on the form.

This is the back of the example top, from the inside, you can see the darts on either side.

This is the back of the example top, from the inside, you can see the darts on either side.

Draping of the front of the skirt. HUGE darts. Angle - Head on

Draping of the front of the skirt. HUGE darts.
Angle – Head on

Draping of the front of the skirt. HUGE darts. Angle - Side View

Draping of the front of the skirt. HUGE darts.
Angle – Side View

Draping of the back of the skirt. Even more huge darts. Angle - Head on

Draping of the back of the skirt. Even more huge darts.
Angle – Head on

Draping of the back of the skirt. Those huge darts again. Angle - Side View

Draping of the back of the skirt. Those huge darts again.
Angle – Side View

Front of the skirt - Outline, made from pattern, before sewing (Do you see the size of those darts?)

Front of the skirt – Outline, made from pattern, before sewing (Do you see the size of those darts?)

Back of the skirt - Outline, made from pattern, before sewing (Even bigger darts)

Back of the skirt – Outline, made from pattern, before sewing (Even bigger darts)

This is the front of the example skirt after it was sewn.  It does not look good. Notice the weird behavior of the fabric at the bottom of those darts.

This is the front of the example skirt after it was sewn. It does not look good. Notice the weird behavior of the fabric at the bottom of those darts.

This is the back of the example skirt after it was sewn.  Even worse.

This is the back of the example skirt after it was sewn. Even worse.

This is the front of the example skirt after it was sewn, from the inside. You can see how the darts actually look.  They are little folds of triangular fabric that are sewn on their edges.

This is the front of the example skirt after it was sewn, from the inside. You can see how the darts actually look. They are little folds of triangular fabric that are sewn on their edges.

This is the back of the example skirt after it was sewn, from the inside.

This is the back of the example skirt after it was sewn, from the inside.

Standard
Clothing Construction, Fabrics, Fashion Design

Bioengineer Actually Meets Dress Form

Today was a busy day. I did the draping for my top and cut the pattern and watched the epic Federer vs. Monfils US Open tennis match.  (That Federer though. What an athlete. What a gentleman. What incredible hair.)

We’ll start with the draping, well because we have to.  You can see it in the images at the end with the white looking fabric on the dress form (Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger).  As you can also see, it’s only half of the dress form because the other side will just be the mirror image (guess I did need that geometry from high school…kind of).

The purpose of the draping was mainly to figure out how and where to place the darts (those triangular folds you see) so the top would fit nicely.  On the front, the two darts remove that extra triangle of fabric on the abs and under the arms so it doesn’t just hang there like a T-shirt.  On the back, there’s one dart that takes out the extra fabric on the lower back.  I then marked the the dart folds, the two on the front and the one on the back, which will all be triangles when I unfold them.

I did a very rough outline of the neck and sleeves while it was on the dress form just to get a feel for the placement, that way I can adjust it on the pattern or later when I actually make the top.  I also marked the side seam, shoulders, and waist (in the color purple, like the Oprah movie).

In order to make the patterns, which are the two flat pieces you see in the pictures at the bottom made out of the purple flowery fabric  (yeah, so? It’s just the reverse of the fabric on the form. That’s all I could find, ok?), I took the fabric off of the dress form and cut along the lines I’d marked.  The cut out triangles are where the darts were (that’s where the excess fabric was I wanted to take out).

When I make the actual shirt, the triangles won’t be cut out; I’ll just draw the edges, fold them on top of each other, and sew them together (and it will kind of look like what it was on the dress form, but neater, duh). Also, fun fact: I didn’t know whether I was supposed to cut out the fabric in the darts on the pattern, but I cut one edge without paying attention…so I basically had to cut out the rest.

I’ve also included a couple of photos of what the actual shape should look like when it’s finished.  I basically just pinned the pattern onto the form but at least it gives you an idea.

And a fabric note: I was watching Project Runway, and I think I’ve found a fabric that better suits the box dress so I’m switching it to glass organza.  It’s more like what I envisioned but I didn’t know what it was exactly. Haha.

Next, I’ll do the skirt.  Or go buy the fabric. Not sure yet.

And, now that I’m learning how to actually use WordPress, you can follow my blog or subscribe via email! Just click the black directory button next to the search icon at the top of the page and you can sign up! Voila!

-Yours Truly, the girl who just wrote a very wordy blog she hopes isn’t confusing.

Music Credit: Selected American Top 40 Hits and the occasional tennis grunt.

Draping - Front of Top Angle: Head On

Draping of Top – Front
Angle – Head On

Draping of Top - Front Angle - Side View

Draping of Top – Front
Angle – Side View

Draping of Top - Back Angle - Head On

Draping of Top – Back
Angle – Head On

Draping of Top - Back Angle - Side View

Draping of Top – Back
Angle – Side View

Pattern for the front of the top.  When I cut the actual top, I will make the right side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the front of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the right side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the back of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the left side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

Pattern for the back of the top. When I cut the actual top, I will make the left side of the top by using the mirror image of this pattern.

How the top will look shape-wise once it's made. Angle - Head On

How the top will look shape-wise once it’s made.
Angle – Head On

How the top will look from the front, shape-wise, once it's made. Angle - Side view

How the top will look from the front, shape-wise, once it’s made.
Angle – Side view

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise once it's made. Angle - Head on

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise once it’s made.
Angle – Head on

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise, once it's made. Angle - Side view

How the top will look from the back, shape-wise, once it’s made.
Angle – Side view

Standard
Fabrics, Fashion Design

“This is my Design”

So today is the design reveal! I’m excited! This must be how James Franco feels when he writes a poem he knows is going to get published because he’s James Franco. Or when he gets into an Ivy League because he’s James Franco. Or when he gets to play a version of himself in every single movie he’s in because he’s James Franco. Maybe I should start a “Thoughts on James Franco” blog…

Anyway, where was I? Yes. The design! It’s at the bottom of this post! I should warn you that my sketching ability is nothing close to anything on Project Runway, so if some of it looks like a Picasso, it’s unintentional and definitely not genius. And since my drawings rarely do justice to my thoughts and the visualization in my mind, I’ll explain the design a little. (Seriously, please don’t be scared off by the drawings, bear with me, I’m learning. Haha.)

The conception of this design really started with me researching techniques for making clothing using a dress form, which led me to a video on youtube about how to drape (fancy speak for shape) a top on a model. Since this appeared to be the simplest technique in the video series by a lovely Scandinavian fellow, Sten Martin Jonsson, I decided to go with it as my base. Essentially, it is a very fitted, sleeveless top, as you can see in my sketch. Not only will this satisfy my need for something appropriate for a beginner but it will satisfy my dress form’s desire to be taken out of the closet (poor thing has been cooped up in there since I got it for my 16th birthday…I really didn’t know how to use it).

But honestly, a fitted top has got to be the most boring thing on the planet, besides the movie “Quantum of Solace” (I’d say poor Daniel Craig but you can’t really pity that guy, can you?). So I had to shake it up and yet still keep it simple.

Since I love opposites and contrast (hello, bioengineer making clothes here), I thought why not take a fitted, streamlined silhouette and layer it with something more boxy? That’s how I came up with the outer, slightly-cinched-at-the-waist T-shirt dress (yes, on the sketch it does look like an outline floating over an actual outfit, I didn’t know how to draw it very well, but you get the idea). It’s not fitted. It’s loose but yet it’s structural. And to keep the streamlined underneath, I’ll do a fitted skirt (I was originally going to go with some slim cigarette pants, with a full skirt layered on top instead of the dress, but it felt like too much fabric, this isn’t a wedding dress after all). I’m going to crop the top a bit, exposing a strip of midriff, to give a visual break at the waist which will highlight the fact that the box dress goes in a little at that point (this will also add to the color story, which is coming right up).

Since my brain seems to only work in the color white, this design naturally came to me in red. No it didn’t. It came to me in white (Apologies for the lame, somewhat confusing joke). So the fitted top and skirt will be white, probably made of a simple, light cotton fabric, or, if I’m, feeling adventurous, white pleather, though that might get bulky unless I can fit it really well.

Now the box dress. I knew I wanted it to be made out of a stiff and yet fine-grain mesh so you can see the top and skirt underneath. With that vision, my mind jumped to “X-Ray,” which is all about contrast (and, funnily enough, part of my favorite class in college about medical imaging technology). So the color for the box dress will be a dusty, dark navy color (I thought black might be a little harsh and the grey hues from the dustiness of the navy would introduce something that looked a little like bluriness). The visual break between the underlying top and bottom will therefore break the solid white but the mesh on top will maintain the continuity of the outfit again by introducing a sort of blur.

So that’s my spiel. I’m sure the design will evolve as I go along, and that’s what will be fun about documenting the process in this blog. You will get to see the changes I make and be able to experience with me the thought process that comes with taking something from design to finished product.

Next blog, I think I’ll do a little draping and pattern making for the top (which I guess you could say is the technical design of the outfit and making all the parts that you need to construct it).

Also, please feel free to leave comments below! I’d love some feedback (since I don’t have Tim Gunn in tow).

-Yours Truly, the girl who hopes they have the exact fabrics she wants at the fabric store, pretty please?

Music Credit: John Mayer (Aka: What I was listening to while I wrote this blog/made my design)

As Will Graham of Hannibal would say, "This is my design."

As Will Graham of Hannibal would say, “This is my design.”

Standard
Fashion Design

Summer in September: Swapping Housewives for Fashion Design

Summer is a time of boredom. For me anyway. Long days filled with nothing to do but watch hours of Bravo, or Netflix, or HBO.

Well, this summer was a little different. I had an internship for 3 months at an aerospace company. But now that’s over, and since my university thinks that summer ends in October (brilliant), I have an entire month of summer left with nothing to do but watch hours of Bravo, or Netflix, or HBO. It’s like they want me to numb my brain to near paralysis!

I shan’t succumb to this sabotage!

Recently, I’ve found myself thirsty for an outlet for originality and creativity. As a bioengineering student at UCLA, I spend my entire year doing problem after problem after problem, which is fine for learning, but hardly original. All those problems have an answer, a correct answer, a single answer, and all 100 students in the class are going to end up with the same thing, the only originality on behalf of the professor who came up with the tortuous problem to begin with.

So I’m returning to my roots. I guess. I’m not sure that’s the right term. Basically, I used to satisfy my craving for creativity through designing clothes, but when I hit high school and got caught up in the crazy panic that was homework and grades and competing to get into a good college, I let the burdens of school work slowly squeeze the breath out of my passion. And since I’ve always wanted to do something incredible (not necessarily moon-landing incredible, more like Tom-Ford-dress incredible), it’s a good time to start (because there’s nothing incredible about watching Real Housewives for hours on end).

So the plan is, in this month, I will design and produce an entire outfit, (excuse my French) pour moi, from scratch. Everything, from the original design, to the making of the pattern, to the construction will be done by me.

Which means I’ll be learning everything as I go since I have literally no experience or technical training (well, actually, that’s a lie. I did take a sewing class when I was 12 at Jo-Ann Fabrics where I learnt how to sew a pillowcase). And because I don’t know how long it will take (and to account for intermittent summer laziness), I’m going to give myself the entire month.

Since I’m sure the process will be filled with hilarity (aka possible failed attempts, aka not actually hilarity but frustration others might find hilarious), I will be blogging about it daily (aka almost daily…I’ll try to be good).

So the bottom line is, I’m a bioengineer with experience in aerospace engineering who’s (re)trying my hand at fashion design…and blogging about it. If that isn’t grounds for quality entertainment, I don’t know what is. This might be madness, but at least it won’t be dull. Hopefully.

I’ll be posting a sketch of the design in the next blog!

-Yours Truly, Lillian

(I think I’ll sign off like that, until I think of something better)

Standard