Armor Jacket -Finished!

Last monday we started a new course in school. It's a 7 week course and you could choose what you wanted to take. I took the "fine art" course, because you can work on your own project for 7 weeks! I've choosen to work on a small collection I designed recently:


The third from the left is the armor jacket I started working on last april, that I've finally finished in the proper fabrics (wool and leather)! I made the pattern and muslin last spring and then put the project aside for a while, and got started on the actual garment in the fall. I put off cutting the leather because I was so scared I'd mess up! I finished the jacket last week and took pictures yesterday. My friend Franziska modeled for me, and I'm really happy with the pictures!


I was a little nervous about the shoot, because I haven't organized/done a photoshoot outside, with a model in a really long time (over two years). I've been mostly photographing myself for the blog with a tripod and self-timer. But I got back into it pretty quickly, and I had so muich fun sorting through the photos (because I don't have to look at myself all the time!! yay!). The weather was also perfect! It was a little cold, but nicely overcast, exactly the way I needed it (diffuses the light, and gives the photos a bit of a creepy feel :)).

I'm really enjoying working on my own project all day every day! We got to set up our workspace in a classroom, I'll share pictures soon. I also continued working on a bustier top, a blazer, draped a skirt and finished a different skirt (first one from the left in the first photo!). I made a schedule for myself, because I want to make 9 garments in these 7 weeks (1 week and 2 garments down!), and so far I'm on schedule! It's nice to feel productive and work on my designs. The foundation course hasn't left much time for that in the last couple months.

Posted on February 9, 2014 and filed under Sewing, finished garments.

Fashion Photography Course

In December we had three weeks of "orientation courses" (we could choose a course to see if we would like to study that subject) and I spent 9 days in "fashion photography". We spent the first 4.5 days reworking an existing garment into something new (pants into top, blouse into dress etc.), and the next 4.5 days building photo-backgrounds and taking pictures (with the teachers amazingly expensive awesome camera and lighting equipment!) of our garments. It was super stressful (mostly the last 4.5 days, because I actually only had 3 days to prepare my shoot, because I was one of the first to photograph so I had to be done earlier) but so much fun! And I'm so happy about the pictures!!!

But first a bit more about the garment I made:

I took an old mens jacket and turned it into a skirt. You can still clearly see the lapels, I found them the most interesting design aspect of the jacket. I ripped out the sleeves and sewed the armholes shut horizontally, to exaggerate the hips. I opened a sleeve used it as the rest of the front opening. It took a little longer than you'd think, because the placket on the sleeve was fake. I had to rip out the buttons, open the sleeve and sew actual buttonholes, but it was worth it! I made the folds by draping the fabric on the mannequin (really annoying, slippery, plastic mannequins...), basting them shut by hand and then sewing them by hand from the inside so the stitches wouldn't show. I did so much hand sewing on this as we had quite a lot of time and it gave me more control.

I actually had a bit of trouble getting started, because I really dislike altering existing clothes and I'm so used to making patterns. I've also gotten used to wanting to make everything "perfect" and washable with clean seam finishes. But the teacher really wanted us to take inspiration from the existing garment and use the mannequin to work in 3D. I was really frustrated at first cause I had chosen a men's shirt and it was not inspiring me at all. I'm so glad I switched to the jacket, I feel like the course really helped me think outside the box a little and let go of the "perfect sewing" aspect in favor of just experimenting.


I made a matching bustier but used another one for the shoot to make the outfit less soft.

For the pictures I wanted to create a stylized, dramatic office environment, because I can see the skirt being worn in a modern theater play version of Snow White, where the step-mother is the CEO of her dead husbands company and terrorizes everyone who works for her. And so we build white walls from cardboard, wood and hot glue. It sounds easy but it was really stressfull to make cardboard look like a wall...


My gorgeous friend Vicki modeled for me, she did such a great job :) I love photographing people who can act! She agreed to be my model for the garments I'm working on at the moment, so excited! It was quite a challenge managing this shoot because of my six other friends who sat still for an hour even though they all had to rush off afterwards (4 people cancelled or tried to cancel like two hours before the shoot, it was a little nerve-wrecking...), I had help from the teacher who checked every photo for small details like if someones head was covering someone elses, plus his assistant who was in charge of lighting. It was definitely a good experience, and I feel like my theater background helped me deal with the situation (even though I was soo hyper and stressed...).

Again, sorry for being a lame blogger, in January I was busy working on an installation, I'll share pictures soon (and a little table DIY)!

Amazonian Crown

I want to share some of my school projects on the blog, and I'll start with what I made in the second week (last august), which we spent in the metal workshop. The assignment was to make a trophy, whatever that means to us. I spent a long time figuring out what I wanted to make until it hit me: a battle-helmet-crown! Then I sketched my design, made a paper model (which was pretty much like pattern drafting), and transferred the paper pieces onto a flat sheet of steel.


I worked with pretty much all the machines in the workshop. There was a saw for free hand cutting, a wheeling machine to "roll" the metal, there was one that helped you form "domes", welding equiptment and grinding machines (or are they called sanding machines?). They all look really scary at first, but we our teacher was great and by the end of the week I felt very comfortable using the machines. That was one of my favorite weeks, I had so much more fun than I'd expected!

I'm really happy with how the crown turned out :) On my last morning I also made some wrist protector/elbow stabber thingies and tried to make a metal bustier (wasn't enough time to properly work on that).

I'm planning on using that workshop again in a few weeks, when I have a 7-week module where I can work on my own project. I'd like to work on a collection using metal as a material (a leather/metal harness would be really cool!).

Posted on January 8, 2014 and filed under behind the scenes, DIY & Crafts.

back from real life

Hello! It's been too long! I started art school in late august and since then I've been so busy with school and the theater project and other stuff, that for a while I didn't get around to sewing at all.

I have to say though, one reason I needed a break for a while was because I was frustrated with the reaping dress. You see, I cut out an a-line skirt, but that wasn't full enough and it just looked sad and weird. So I cut a circle skirt, and that was too full and just looked "old" in a bad way, it was just too much fabric. And then I had no more fabric. So I went to Zürich to get some more aaaand of course they didn't have it anymore. That was just really "euugh" and I was so busy that I just focused on school for a while (also in the beginning I was way to tired to go to the office after working on projects form 8 to 5...).

But art school is awesome, I really really enjoy it, it just feels right. Remember how you felt when you first started sewing? How fast you got better at things, and how much you could see the difference in those first few projects? I feel like that's happening to me every week... we have weekly subjects. My first week was in the wood workshop, the second in the metal workshop, then you spend a week drawing this huge pile of tables, chairs and random objects, painting (3 weeks for this!), computer lab, gravure printing, drawing naked people, animation and then fashion photography!! (more on that in an upcoming post).

Now I'm on a two week christmas break, but I'm working hard on my application to the womenswear fashion design course at Central St. Martins in London. I'm starting to get really nervous, and I'm so scared that I'll forget one tiny little thing that will ruin it all, so it hasn't really been a relaxing holiday. But I can relax in the summer, when school is over, and the musical is over (that will be sad though!), and applications are over and I hopefully have a spot at a university (I'm also applying to a fashion design course at a school in Basel).

I think I'll just post a few pictures to end this whole "Sorry I Don-Drapered you all" Post.


Minkle grew up quite a bit! But he's still cute as ever (that red stuff on my face in the one picture is fake blood from a music video I played in for a friend, I don't walk around like that all the time...)


A skirt and bustier (wasn't done at this point) I made from an old mens jacket for the two week course "fashion Photography". We had 3.5 days to work on the fashion part (make something new from an old garment, styling etc.) and 3.5 days to build a set in which to photograph it. I'll show pictures soon!


The Armor Jacket, a bustier top (that's the back), a blazer and a skirt from the collection I've been working on for Central Saint Martins (the top and blazer are fancy muslins, the jacket is WIP and the skirt is wearable, but the fabric isn't that great, couldn't find grey sweatshirt fabric so I had to "upcycle" an old sweatshirt). I'll post more indepth on these when I'm done with my application :)

So happy new year, and see you soon! (If it makes you feel any better, I've neglected my hair as much as this blog, you can pretty much read the passing in the pictures above by looking at my roots, but I had no time and no money because you know, art school)

Posted on January 1, 2014 and filed under personal.

Reaping Dress - Smocking

Remember how I was debating whether the dress in the movie had smocking or gathering/shirring at the neckline? No? Well of course not, you have more important things to remember, but in this post I came to the conclusion that it was probably shirring/gathering and I was just being paranoid or I must have a stiffer fabric or that I'd just have to add more rows of shirring. 

How wrong I was! Erin commented on my post that she thought it was definitely smocking after looking at the pictures again. I googled it and found an article where the costume designer is quoted:

We made dozens of different versions, some sheer, some not. Originally we thought it would be cotton, but rayon looked better. We found the fabric at the Western Costume fabric shop. And we bleached and dyed it to get just the right blue, and put some smocking at the top. It’s supposed to be her mother’s dress.

I could no longer lie to myself. Sure, I could've just stuck to shirring and be like "well I don't have to copy the dress exactly" , and while that's true, I think the smocking looks alot neater and since the fabric is simple and the neckline detail is really the center of attention, I knew I had to get over my apprehension and just learn the basics of smocking! (incase I haven't made it clear enough, this was a very dramatic turn of events you guyz!)


So after squinting at the picture to the left for a while to figure out what kind of smocking was used and finding a video that explained it well (I used the second one she shows, it's called the "honeycomb" stitch(?) I think), I started practicing on scraps of fabric.

And I'm glad I practiced, because it took me a while to figure out the perfect "ratio" of gathering stitch length : smocking stitch "height". It was off on my first sample, the folds where much to deep for the small stitches I made, and you couldn't really "open" the honeycomb pattern. 

I figured out the height had to be about the same as two gathering stitches (because that's how deep the folds are).

just a phone picture, sorry.. but can you see how the folds are too deep for the smocking? 

just a phone picture, sorry.. but can you see how the folds are too deep for the smocking? 

After two practice runs I started on my reaping dress, added the facings to the bodice pieces and did the smocking. I used 0.5 cm stitches to gather the fabric, and the height of the smocking stitches is 1 cm, worked out well. Even though the smocking is much bigger on my version than the film, I really like it! I mean, if I'm going to be adding details by hand, they better be visible! :)

Bildschirmfoto 2013-08-11 um 23.56.47.png

Also: narrow hemmed facings. They look soo neat and clean it's ridiculous!  I don't think the edges will show through on the other side, it's a very thin cotton, but I'll let you know if they do.

Bildschirmfoto 2013-08-11 um 23.56.59.png

I'm pretty much in love with smocking now. I love doing decorative hand-sewing, last summer I tried embroidery for the first time and now smocking! I haven't used embroidery on a garment yet because I don't feel I've had a good enough idea for a motif or placement yet... or I'm scared I'll get sick of it. Also, smocking is somehow more geometrical, working in a pattern and all. But both are relatively portable and surprisingly relaxing! You should totally try it! It's not as hard as it looks. I even dedicated a page in my sketchbook to it:


I did 3 rows of the stitch, but I think the movie one used 5 but with smaller folds and smocking stitches. If there's one thing that bothers me teeny tiny bit, it's that even though I adjusted the neckline slightly and moved the smocking further up, it's still sloping downward a little.


Now on to the next steps, sleeve band or rolled up sleeve? Probably sleeve band. A-line skirt or 2/3 circle skirt?  Hmm, probably a bit of both? I'll see tomorrow!

Posted on August 12, 2013 and filed under Sewing.