Posts filed under personal

Website

I am now in my last semester studying fashion design, and am working on my thesis collection. My portfolio website has been up for a while now, at ninabritschgi.com, in case anyone is interested in seeing what I've been up to during my studies.

I've very much neglected this space since I started studying, and I certainly won't find time to blog during this semester, but I've been wondering about my time after I graduate. After doing my 7 month internship in New York last year, I've decided to move there once I graduate. It's a scary but exciting prospect, to be so far away from my family, friends and the country I grew up in, but New York has always been my home as well, since I have family and friends here too.

Who knows, maybe I'll get back into blogging once I start working (another frightening but exciting prospect! I'm hoping to find a paying job in the industry of course, but at first I'll probably have to work some other jobs as well) - since I always love having a little space of my own to have full "creative control" over. Maybe I'll finally find time to do some furniture DIY's on the weekends! Being so busy with school work, I really miss pursuing my other hobbies. Or maybe I'll make a list of the things I've learned through school that would have been useful to me as a hobby sewer/dressmaker. We'll see. I considered shutting this blog down, but I realized I'm not quite ready to do that, even though I'm aware there's probably very few people still reading.

Posted on October 4, 2017 and filed under design school, personal.

Oldtimer Rally Gear

I mentioned a few posts ago, that my dad and I took part in an oldtimer endurance rally in Iceland last April. At the time I had conflicting emotions about the experience, because of a few personal things that happened around that time, but looking back it was a really important experience.

My dad was the driver and I was the navigator. I had never done something like this before, and it was hard work! I hadn't expected that. You get up early (as our car was the second-oldest, we were always second to start), eat a quick breakfast, look over the directions for that day, mark some important things (like gas stations!), put on 45341 layers of clothing and then off you drive! As the navigator I had to follow the instructions in the road book using a tripmaster (counts the miles you drive), use two stop-watches to time the regularities (certain sections of the route, where you have to keep a prescribed tempo for certain intervals, sometimes as short as 0.2 miles, with unpredictable check points, where every second you're off the prescribed time deducts points!) and tell my dad to drive faster or slower, navigate us through tests (small obstacle courses that are about speed), get our time-card stamped at check-in points and make sure we left on on time.

The first day we were awful! Late to everything, lost the trunk lid during a very bumpy regularity, overwhelmed by the regularities, freezing (because the car we rented from the rally organisation didn't have windows, a fact we only realized once we saw the car in person... and we were in ICELAND! In APRIL! haha)... I was feeling really grumpy around noon - I just don't like being bad at things! I told my dad "all this competition stuff is stressing me out, lets just ride along the route to see the country and enjoy ourselves and not take part in the regularities and all that". But my competitive side took over, and that night I spent two hours working through the road book, taking notes and calculating times.... and so our second day was much better! We still had a lot of car trouble (our car was an 1938 AC 16/80 March Special), with fuel suddenly leaking out of the motor, the constant use of headlights (mandatory in Iceland) causing the battery to die, the tripmaster not working, the speedometer not working... but I was getting the hang of the competition stuff, and my dad and I turned out to be a really good team! We'd make mistakes but then we'd just find a solution, and find our way back to the correct route. And all the participants were from around the world! A really interesting mix of people, all with a love of vintage cars. And even though technically it's a competition, it's more about the fun of it, exchanging stories etc., and whenever anyone has a problem, everyone tries to help as best they can, there's really a sense of "fellowship" :)

Iceland, of course, was amazing and beautiful. It's not the quaint, lush beauty of Switzerland, it's a raw, sometimes terrifying beauty, that makes you feel so small and inferior to nature.

 A detail shot of the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja

A detail shot of the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja

 Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar

 Someones stone collection at a farm in Höfn

Someones stone collection at a farm in Höfn

 Skogafoss!

Skogafoss!

 This waterfall, Gullfoss, was the most impressive to me!

This waterfall, Gullfoss, was the most impressive to me!

The rally tok us all around the Island on Route 1. We got to see a lot, but I'd like to visit Iceland again someday, to take everything in with a little more time to enjoy it. The food was also really good!

 After crossing the finish line at Harpa!

After crossing the finish line at Harpa!

I'm not sure I'm allowed to post official rally photos (they hired photographers, who would climb mountains just to take the perfect picture!), so if you want to click through there's an article with photos on sportscardigest.com. I'm just going to post one picture of my dad, me and the car in action:

 Source:  HERO ; photos: © Francesco and Roberta Rastrelli and HERO

Source: HERO; photos: © Francesco and Roberta Rastrelli and HERO

All in all the Rally was a great experience, and I'm doing another on with my dad, this time in Scotland! I've never been, so I'm really excited :) We're renting the same "Arrive & Drive" Car from HERO, we might have fallen in love with it a little bit during our Iceland Adventure :)

But now to the real reason I'm posting about this: What to wear!

In Iceland, I'd bundle up in borrowed ski pants, layers, a thick down jacket, a scarf wrapped around my neck and face to cover my nose, and a wool hat. Getting dressed too forever, because I had to layer everything in the right order so it would stay put, plus have my phone, two stopwatches and pens stored away so I could access them quickly.

So in preperation for the Scotland Rally, I want to sew some things for myself:

I plan on making:

  • a very tight sort of tube scarf (jersey, reversible with the other side being grey, I might interline it with another layer of white jersey, to make it thicker and warmer) that extends upwards to cover the mouth, and has armholes to keep it from riding up (mint)
  • long sort of gloves to go over some nice leather gloves I plan on buying (green)
  • a thin, collarless quilted vest (silver)
  • a coat
  • a hat (salmon colored)
  • a halterneck collar-vest-thingy (blue) possibly lined with sheepskin or faux sheepskin

The color cloud in the middle is just a loose sort of color scheme, incase I can't find certain colors. On the right hand sketch you can see skin between the gloves and tube-scarf thing, but in reality that would be covered by whatever I'm wearing underneath (most likely ski underwear).

My inspiration was this Tamara de Lempicka painting:

 so glamorous!

so glamorous!

Long time readers might have noticed that the coat is a reworked version of the Blanket Coat that I wanted to make. Because of school work, I'd never gotten around to making it, but since I'm on vacation now, I can finally do it! I still have the muslin, and will change the sleeves, so the horizontal seam is further up the sleeve (as it is in my new sketch above). I'm thinking about underlining the lower sleeve part with a thick canvas to help it keep its shape.

 the muslin I made in the fall of 2014

the muslin I made in the fall of 2014

I'll add pockets, and the front closure will be hidden, fabric covered snaps (if I can find those!). I want to add an inverted box pleate to the center back at the nape of the neck, to give me more room to move. I want the coat to be a sort of cocoon.

I'm still researching ways to make it really warm, and so far it looks like I'll be ordering thinsulate from somewhere. Does anyone have experience with thinsulate? I think I'll interline the whole coat with it. I'm also thinking of ways to make the coat wind proof, since there's so much wind when driving in an open car, and the blanket doesn't seem like it'd be windproof. Does anyone have tips for that? I could use some sort of technical, polyester jacket fabric, but I want the coat to be breathable, and the layers are starting to add up - blanket, poly fabric, thinsulate, lining.

The other pieces shouldn't be too hard, the hardest part will be drafting the patterns. I haven't made many hats, so I'm excited for that one. I'll try to drape a pattern on a styrofoam head I have.

I'll try to post updates on this little side project of mine!

1st semester project - research & design

Well, my first semester of fashion design has been over for a while, but I needed a little break from my first project before I went over it again to pick out things to share on the blog. The presentation was at the end of january, and now, before I dive into the next project (which I'm really looking forward to!), I'm writing this massive, image heavy post to really close that chapter.

I don't feel like going into too much detail, but I do want to explain the assignment. The first year curriculum has the title "mapping the terrain and locating your position", and our first two projects focus on research and the design process, not so much on creating a complete, well-sewn garment (this allows for a wide range of people from different backgrounds to enter into fashion design, as sewing skills are not necessary at first). That said, we were required to complete three "look-sketches", which are life-sized, three-dimensional sketches (similar to a muslin, but it can be made from pre existing garments, stapled or glued together, painted or sprayed the right color etc.), that should communicate your design idea. They split up the three "look-sketches" so each one had a specific focus: 1. color/pattern, 2. silhouette, 3. materiality (so your silhouette look-sketch didn't have to have the correct color or use the material that the actual finished garment would).

It might be a little hard to imagine, but I hope the pictures will clarify. It feels a little weird, posting pictures of "clothing" that is so far from finished (especially since this used to be more of a sewing blog, focusing on learning sewing skills and technique), but I hope you can understand their context from my explanation above.

 these are all the (front view) sketches I made

these are all the (front view) sketches I made

 material inspiration

material inspiration

 these are two of the "look-sketches"

these are two of the "look-sketches"

 high priestess look with the convertible backpack/bag I made

high priestess look with the convertible backpack/bag I made

 the strap of the bag can be pulled down into two straps to be used as a backpack. this is the "cleanest" object I got out of this project, and I really want to try to make one with real leather and that plush fabric.

the strap of the bag can be pulled down into two straps to be used as a backpack. this is the "cleanest" object I got out of this project, and I really want to try to make one with real leather and that plush fabric.

Parallel to researching and designing garments and accessories, we also have to research and create sketches for "key visuals". I'm really glad we learn this too, because I think developing a strong visual language to go with the garments is an important skill to have in this field.

So that's it! The first project. There are so many things I want to do differently next time, most importantly: stress less. And setting boundaries between work and free time for myself. I went home way too late, way too often (because I like working! which is a luxury problem, I'm aware), and 3/4 of the way through the project I felt drained and uninspired...
But now I'm recharged and ready to go :)

Red Sequin Tailcoats - Costumes for Verona 3000

I mentioned in the last post that I'd been busy with a musical. It was a project a group of young people started in june 2012 when the ensemble was cast (I was chosen along with around 29 other people between 13 and 30) and ended with 19 performances of the musical "Verona 3000".

It's a dystopian, sci-fi, modern musical version of Romeo & Juliet, that tells not only the story of two young people in love, but of our Generation. (There were many different styles of music (Rap, Hip-Hop, Blues, typical Musical songs, Swing, Funk...) and original Lyrics, all in Swiss-German)

In our version, the government has set up "hypertasers" (towers in puplic places that tase people when it senses a readiness for violence) aimed largely at young people. This leads to youth riots and the government turns to Glove TV (who have a world wide monopoly on television and general media) to distract the teenagers. So they brainstorm and the famous pop-group "Mercutio" leads them to Romeo & Juliet.

 I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by  Thomas P. Krähenbühl

I was part of the pop band "Mercutio". Photo by Thomas P. Krähenbühl

They skim the beginning of the piece and decide to start a reality show that focuses on finding the world's best couple (under 25).

This is where the costumes come in: there was one scene where the reality show was announced on Globe TV, with song and dance of course! :) It was a burlesque swing song, with an old hollywood inspired dance routine that my friend Tiffany and I choreographed, and we thought it would be really cool to have flashy, over the top, red sequin tailcoats for the women, so I sewed some. Also: huge velvet heart hats!

10246589_711694198887757_8910783252367989996_n.jpg
 Photos by  Thomas P. Krähenbühl  (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

Photos by Thomas P. Krähenbühl (that's me walking down the stairs in the first, and in the middle of the second picture ^^)

It was a stressful time so I didn't exactly enjoy sewing 5 of these sequin things, but they turned out great! The way they shimmered in the light was really cool, and it really fit the choreography. It was the only scene in the musical with identical costumes. I also made the men's ties, they have velcro on them. This is definitely the most important thing about stage costumes: they have to be easy to put on and remove! We all had about 4 minutes to change into these costumes (tights, leotard, tapshorts, heels, tailcoat and hat) and do our hair, one girl even had to do it in about 60 seconds! She had the tights, leotard and shorts on under her previous costume, so she could throw on the tailcoat, climb down two ladders and up a flight of stairs where we helped her get on her headdress.

The above photos are from rehearsals so not everyone has their heart hat on unfortunately. You can also see the costumes for a few seconds in the video below (at around 0:25):

I drafted the pattern from a bodice and skirt sloper, and made them all the same size because the fabric was stretchy, and we're all about the same size. The front closure is three golden elastics with big gold buttons on the end and loops of elastic on the other side.

I wanted to share these costumes and a bit about the musical, because it's been such a big part of my life for the past two years! It was a huge project, organized independently by young people. We all contributed ideas to the story, lyrics, music, costumes and set, and we rehearsed almost every sunday between 10 am and 5 pm for two years. I'm sad that it's over, but on the other hand I'll have time to really focus on my own projects now.

 a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!

a picture taken during rehearsal - the stage was huuuge!! We built it in a really big gym we rented. The white netting could be used to project images onto it, but it could also be lit from the back to make "shadow pictures" and when light sources right behind the net where turned on, you could see actors standing right behind it, kind of like turning on a TV screen, it was really neat!

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.

IMG_8786.jpg
IMG_8798.JPG
IMG_8804.jpg
IMG_9238.jpg
IMG_0180.jpg
IMG_0087.jpg
IMG_9450.jpg

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...)

IMG_0413.jpg
DSC04181.JPG

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!

IMG_0508.jpg
IMG_0504.jpg
IMG_0503.jpg
IMG_0741.jpg

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.