Some of my holiday this year was spent at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy. Yes, you read it right. I know I constantly complain about my summers in the Netherlands (or their non existence) and for me it was a very though decision to take those days to do something like this. I could have been travelling, lying in the beach or being at home doing absolutely nothing (which sounds pretty sweet actually!), but I just felt that it was the right moment.
It is no surprise to you that I am passionate about fashion, and I mean fashion as the whole package. I always enjoyed to get dressed and choose my clothes – ask my mom about that time I made her buying me those beautiful shoes in patent leather with a bow that would only fit me if I curled my toes (she got to know that later). I was 3 years old. In high school I spent a lot of time drawing dresses when free drawing was the homework for art class. And since I’m sewing that I get more and more interested in the technique and the art behind making a garment. So I went for it, it was a lot of fun; I learned a lot and met really interesting people!
Creative Pattern Cutting
The creative pattern cutting course was the first course I followed. I didn’t know what to expect at first and I had zero experience with pattern cutting, let alone the creative part. But there we were. Drawing on paper our own ideas as we applied the techniques we were learning. We started by using basic shapes to create patterns and we learned how to remove darts. From there on, we were asked to create our own pattern by adding personal design detailing. We would first make a small sketch on paper, and then create the pattern, and finally we would run to those dream machines (yes, because they have industrial sewing machines which are super fast and super silent) and sew our garment based on the pattern we created. This was my first attempt at removing darts.
We learned how to add fullness to the garment by using pleating, gathering, tucking and split’n’spread. As you can see below, this was my take on adding pleats to a bodice. It was great fun to create the pattern, but not as much fun to do the sewing… From now on I’ve got serious respect for people that make pleats!
We also learned how to apply armholes in different garments and shapes. The top below started simply from two big circles (one for each side). And if you look closely, there is no conventional armhole to be seen. I love this piece. I should really find the time to replicate it in my size!
We have also created more abstract design concepts by adding 3D shapes to a garment, which unfortunately we didn’t have time to sew. Adding to all this, we still played around with the spiral concept, based on the idea of creating a pattern in spiral that requires only one seam. We did all this in a week and it was pretty amazing how far we got. Apart from the techniques we learned, I think the most important lesson to take from this course is that everything is possible. There are no limits for how creative you can be with a piece of clothing.
The fashion design course was also extremely interesting. Before we actually got our hands on the design process, we learned a lot about the different types of fashion and the different collections. We also learned that research is perhaps the most important step in the process – trend forecasting, material availability, theme & inspiration, storyline, client profile, and budgeting and costing. All these factors must be taken into consideration before starting a collection.
First we picket which kind of collection we wanted to do. I decided I want to design office wear, something nice with a bit of tailoring that would allow women in their professional environment to dress formal but trendy – well this was my first idea anyway.
We started by creating mood boards. I created mood boards for textiles, color, design ideas and client profile.
Then we went through the design process. First just getting all of our ideas out, then making it coherent and mixing it and finally we loaded it in Photoshop where we could add color, textiles, etc.
Et voilà, my first imaginary collection was born! And because it is imaginary I picked beautiful fabric. So beautiful that it costs $600 a meter – bam!
Please excuse the amateur touch! It was my first time actually designing something and this was the best I could come up with in a couple days. Now it is time to practice so that my future designs will include the feet, the hands, and the faces of the ladies, and also all the detailing that I have in my mind and wish to put on paper.
What do you think? I’m accepting orders. Just kidding!
And there you go, my first post about my summer vacation. But believe me, no regrets at all. I feel that we can never have enough knowledge and learning is *never* a waste of time!