Dali At The Disco

This past semester (my third) was the most intense but also the best so far for me. My first year there were a few traumatising events outside of school that definitely upped my stress levels. Plus, as I found out a few months ago, I'd been suffering from "severe vitamin D deficiency" (whatever that means, doctor), and after drinking two bottles of vitamin D around Christmas, I felt like a new person in January! I've never worked as hard as I did on this semesters project, for which we only had 3.5 weeks, and even though I worked an average of 14 hours for 14 days straight, I never had this moment where I felt like everything was going to fall apart, or that I couldn't keep going (which happened alot last year). Even when I couldn't rationally imagine that I would be able to finish everything on time, or when I serged into the bodice of a jacket, I was able to stay calm and just keep working (alright, I did freak out for about a minute after the serger incident, it was around midnight, but then I calmed down and dealt with it).

I definitely think my suddenly much greater capacity to deal with stress has to do with the vitamin D, so if you feel fatigued and depressed (during the winter months especially), get your blood checked for vitamin D deficiency! *end of PSA*

The second year focuses on variation: this semester there were two garments that we focused on, because now it's no longer just about elaborate prototypes - we get to make actual clothes! Yay! We learned to correctly sew a pair of pants and a shirt or blouse, and we each had to take an existing pair of pants / shirt, and cut it up, add stuff to it, basically use it to drape a prototype (a variation of a pair of pants / blouse), that we would then cut apart and copy onto pattern paper. Then we'd sew a muslin, fit it, adjust the pattern as needed and sew the final garment. We also did shoes! Learning to sew leather was pretty exciting, I certainly learned a lot of new skills this semester. The projects were quite stressful, because we didn't have a lot of time, but it was so good to finally make real clothes!

We started with pants: I chose to make wrap-pants, meaning the side seams are open, the back pant ties at the front (or in my case it closes with a hook and bar fastening, the hook attached to elastic for extra comfort), and the front pant ties at the back. I also wanted to make pockets, inspired by this image i found on pinterest:

For my pants, the pockets are part of the back pant leg, and the front pant leg has a cut out that lays over the pocket. I also wanted to experiment with pintucks similar to the ones in the image below, except with a rounded shape:

Below is the sketch for the pants (middle), along with two looks to compliment the pants.

And these are the finished pants (and boots, but more on those later). I'm happy with them, except for those wrinkles!! Ughh, I wish I had better pictures, with freshly ironed pants.... man, that fabric loooves to wrinkle! It was a kind of thin moirée fabric intended for interior design, and I love the moirée, but it has to be fused to something to work properly for fashion (which I did for my project). The construction of the pants was really complicated, so many facings!! So many curved edges! And weird cut-outs! And even though I adjusted the crotch after making the muslin, it still isn't right (hence the wrinkles...). But I'm happy I tried something new! I like the wrap pants, but I'm not sure about the fabric choice. The pockets kind of disappear, I should've used a contrasting fabric or something to highlight that detail. And the wrinkles! Gaah!

On to the shoes:

Again, excuse my German, it's just a lot less work to use excerpts from my documentation, it's just a lot of in-depth rambling about the process. The pictures show a bit of that: we basically buy shoes and cut them up, glue stuff over them (in my case). We make a pattern by sticking painters tape over the entire shoe (I added paper for the shaft of the boot), removing it (cutting it where we want seams), and smoothing the big pieces of layered tape onto cardboard. It really isn't as hard as I thought, but it takes time.

They turned out well! The only problem was my placing of the holes for the laces to go through, since they're not places symmetrically, the laces pull the leather in a different direction from where they were supposed to go. Live and learn.

After those two small projects we had a photography workshop, where we worked in groups. Below my favorite images from that:

Next up: the blouse!

I wanted to have a sort of dropped shoulder seam, with the sleeve gathered into it in folds. After sewing the muslin, I realised I needed to make the folds much, much bigger for them to stand out.

These are the variations of our blouse we had to draw (we did our first technical drawings this semester)

These are the variations of our blouse we had to draw (we did our first technical drawings this semester)

I knew from the start of the semester, that I wanted my project to be titled "Dali at the Disco", which is why I tried to let that influence the pants, shoes and blouse. The buttons on the blouse are stacked beads that look like eyes.

Which leads us to my project:

Last summer I listened to a lot of disco music, and I really wanted to design a collection to go dancing in. I never experienced the real disco era, but I love to dance to disco music, and the only reason I ever go out on the weekend, is if there's good music to dance to! But I wanted to add something to make it more modern, and (I don't remember how exactly) I came up with idea of sending Salvador Dali to the Disco and looking at the spectacle through his eyes.

my mood- and concept-board

my mood- and concept-board

Now for this project we had to design a 15 look collection, and execute two blouse variations and two pant variations. I choose to make a blouse, a pair of pants, a jumpsuit and a light jacket.

I designed the same way I did last project: by drawing the garments seperately, scanning them, and using photoshop to dress the croquis in as many combinations as possible. Then I choose the best options, making sure every garment only appeared once (it's only a 15 look collection after all...), and drew more garments to fill the "holes" in the collection. I arrived at this:

From these 15 Looks I choose the second to last, the green jacket (but switched up the front opening to a split placket), and the 5th look (to wear under the jacket).

Taking the blouse I'd made before as a base, I developed the patterns for the blouse and jacket. The blouse was tricky, because I wanted the white "melted" strips to hang down, and I wanted the purple fabric underneath to extend past the fold (where the white hangs down) and act as a facing on the other side of the white strips. This wouldn't have been a problem if the seam had been straight. I could have just cut the bodice pattern piece apart, and added mirrored, symmetrical melty shapes on both pieces. But the seam is rounded and includes the bust dart. This meant that I had to make the curve of the melted shapes return to the seam at certain intervals, to make sure the seam could still curve across the bust. And it meant that the two pieces (the white upper bodice and the purple lower bodice) are curved slightly diffrently (the bottom I think was more spread out.). This is really hard to explain in words, so if anyones interested let me know, i can post pictures of the pattern pieces.

The melty shapes were a pain to sew, trim and turn, especially since the white fabric is cotton, and the purple a silky lining fabric (couldn't find a nice silk in the exact color). But it was so worth it! The blouse is my favorite! It has eye buttons and for the sleeves I made cufflinks from blue teddy bear eyes! I also really like the belt bag - it attaches to the leg so it stays put while dancing! I made it using leather and a really nice fake fur I got from fabric.com after ordering swatches. It's the faux fur bobcat beige/brown, and the quality is so much higher than the other swatches I ordered! And the pattern is really beautiful and natural. I ordered 3 yards I think (since shipping is so expensive to Switzerland I ordered a lot, I'll be able to use it again).

The pants are made from the same fabric as my wrap pants, except in pink and I interfaced the entire fabric to make it sturdy enough to hold its shape. After interfacing it with a thick woven interfacing, it was really nice to work with! And no more wrinkles! I used the same fabric for the jumpsuit, but in blue. I used a wrinkled poly fabric for the top of the jumpsuit, which I had to simplify severely because of time constraints... The jacket is made from interfaced silk. The interfacing made it drape beautifully! It looked much thicker.

Here are some photos of the muslins:

To make those wavy shapes I had to sew elliptical pieces between the highest points. <and to make the shapes really stand out I edge stitched around the seams from the outside (you can see in the front view of the muslin, which hasn't been topstitched, that the silhouette isn't as clear as in the back).

SHOES! I'm still really excited about these shoes, because they turned out perfectly! I was really relieved, because I wasn't sure this technique was going to work. I basically used rope and zigzagged it together at certain points to make it form a sort of squiggly net, with loops at the front to put laces through. I got the original shoes from asos (the dark ones in the first image) and covered it in a sparkly, stretchy fabric. To do this I used painters tape (the pink stuff in the second image) to cover the area of the shoe I needed to cover, made a pattern from that, used a hairdryer to warm up the sole and slowly remove it from the shoe using a screwdriver, glued the fabric onto the shoe around the edges, stretching and folding it over, and then glued the sole back on.

I used a leather sewing machine to attach the first two rows of rope to the shoe, because it needed to be attached really well. I didn't use the pedal though, I used the handwheel all around to have enough controll around the edges... that wasn't very fun for my wrist, but it was worth it. Then for the first few rope ornaments around the edge of the shoe, I sewed by hand, and once I got far enough to somehow lay the rope under the zig zag machine, that's what I used to sew the ropes together in certain places. I always held the shoes together to copy the ornaments, so they'd be as symmetrical as possible. It's not perfect, but it's good enough! And they're actually comfortable to wear and dance in! Here my mom is modeling them:

Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-22 um 16.02.54.png

Above some of my beauty/hair/make-up/styling inspiration. Most of it is wishful thinking because I don't have the skills and/or equiptment to make this work, but even so - dream big!

An these are the two looks! The photos were made the day of the presentation, you can also see the blouse and wrap pants from before the project worn by Prisila in one photo! I'm wearing the pink pants and the blouse, and my friend Jana (who's in her first year) is my other model wearing the jumpsuit and jacket (the color is off in the two pictures of her, it's more green, like in the right-hand pictures)! I couldn't have done this without her, because she helped me sew on zippers and install snaps, cutting out pattern pieces and ironing on the interfacing... She's a lifesaver, because I really couldn't have finished in time without her! So shout-out to Jana: Thank You!!

I know the photos aren't the best, I need to do a proper photoshoot to take pictures for my portfolio, and of course I'll post those once they're done.