Moving on up

Growing up, sewing didn’t make sense to me. The fabric was ugly, big four patterns hurt my brain, and it took SO. MUCH. TIME. My mom, aunts, and grandmothers all got it (and were pretty good at it), but somehow the sewing bug escaped me.

Hemming curtains, the annual Halloween costume, and making small adjustments like shortening the neck strap on my painting apron on my mom’s heavy, mechanical Kenmore was the extent of my experience through college. The Kenmore had chronic tension issues and made the process pretty infuriating.

Shortly before moving to Oklahoma to become a teacher, I thrifted my own machine on a whim. It was similar to my mom’s machine, but had a penchant for zinging along when the pedal wasn’t even depressed. I only used it a handful of times before it ended up right back at the thrift store.

Then in late 2014, after watching young students tackle sewing with reckless abandon, I thought I should give it a real go. I bought a Brother cs6000i on Amazon, thrifted a bunch of bed sheets, and made a top using Sonya Philip’s Tunic No. 1 pattern. Independent pattern makers with excellent instructions, a reliable beginner machine, and the online sewing community helped me get it.

Over the next two years, I added several more machines to my collection. An industrial unused Juki I purchased at an extremely discounted price, a Janome, and a Brother Serger I’m still a little scared of.

After nearly 3 years of constant use and the beginner’s mistake of using shitty thread, never cleaning or oiling, and the Kelly Anorak, my trusty Brother became less reliable. It still works, but its maintenance costs more than it’s worth.

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With my hobby feeling more like it could be a living, I created a budget and began tracking my expenses in order to save for an upgrade. Initially, it was projected that I’d be able to purchase it after 9 months to a year of saving, but thanks to insurance returning my deductible from a car accident, a stipend from my job, some penny pinching, and a local dealer trying to bring me in to his store (he knocked $500 off the price), I was able to purchase her.

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She’s a dream and it was a real struggle to leave my house for work last week. Last night I finished Bernina’s inaugural project – birthday pajama pants for my man.

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We’re still getting acquainted, but I can tell she’s the one.

Fashion Illustration

I started taking classes at Apparel Arts in May of this year. My goal is to obtain the Patternmaking & Design certificate, a 24 to 30 month self-paced program. The bulk of the program is a 3 hour weekly class in pattern drafting and design with 10 shorter classes such as Construction, Textiles, and Manufacturing. The first of the “electives” I took was Fashion Illustration.

As a former art student, the class was lovely. It opened me up to a new style of drawing,  introduced me to many fashion illustrators I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered, and got me into the habit of drawing more regularly.

The class used the text Illustrating Fashion: Concept to Creation by Steven Stipelman. It’s a really fabulous book if you’re interested in learning to draw the fashion figure. The class was structured to start with a short lecture which moved through the history of fashion illustration and ended with the work of contemporary fashion illustrators, followed by several hours of drawing.

Here’s some of my work from the 10 week class:

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10 head croquis
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Side Profile | Turned Figure
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Clothing the figure
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Rendering prints from multiple views
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Side profile practice
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Drawing from magazines
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Some exercises included copying Stipelman’s work
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Rendering texture with colored pencil
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Quick gesture drawings from magazines
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Rendering fabric prints
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Several figures on a page
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Ace & Jig muses
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Walking figure, rendering fabric
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More Stipelman inspiration
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Muse study (Nykhor Paul), several figures on a page
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Fashion face
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Silhouettes
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Sketching for finals

Our final projects required us to draw 4-5 fashion figures and create a corresponding mood board. I had a hard time designing my own line and chose to depict some of Vika Gazinskaya’s Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection.

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Work on the right is by Marialaura Fedi

Recent Reads

Early in the year, I decided I was going to read mainly female authors, or books about bad-ass women. I think this idea to focus on women came from the extreme disappointment of the election. Who isn’t still feeling that.

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My favorites so far have been All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Towes and Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order).

I finished the book Charlotte by David Foenkinos this week. Charlotte Saloman was a German Jewish artist during WWII. She and her unborn child were gassed shortly after arriving at a concentration camp. It was a quick, depressing read, but introduced me to an artist I’d like to learn more about.

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Up Next: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Any recommendations?

Here we go.

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Hello. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I should have a space outside of Instagram. But the problem is, I LOVE Instagram. It’s a form of expression that’s mostly visual. Creating and maintaining a blog feels like such a commitment. And the words. Oh, the words. However, I’m setting the intention of creating a space that’s sightly less curated when it comes to photographs, better documents my makes and what I’m learning, and helps me connect and interact with other makers and artists. Here we go.