This is not Project Runway

Recently, much publicity has surfaced about the four lovely ladies selected to write this blog about our 8th semester fashion show. We love publicity, yes, and we are greatful for it, but please, STOP comparing what we do to Project Runway.

Sure, we all were glued around the TV when the first, and maybe even the second season came out, but now, Project Runway’s welcome has worn out. What we do is far from the hyped up and glitzy drama of the show. Yes we spend many long hours creating our garments, but what you don’t realize is that we must design, create, and present garments to the standards of real couture. The process is grueling and things are not simple. We are true artists (not to say that some PR contestants weren’t) and we take pride in what we do. Project Runway is as far from fashion reality as you can get. Don’t think that a stint on a TV show will make you a famous household name, or to present your line at Bryant Park is a simple feat. There is serious, serious work involved, and it is not for the faint of heart. Here at FIT we don’t to produce masterpieces just so we can earn a spot on a TV show. All our hard work is in preparation to enter the industry as a talented, creative, and most of all, professional designer. The 8th semester graduating fashion show is to showcase to the industry the talent of the student designers that has been cultivated for four long years.

That said…

I am currently working on my second ensemble that is going to be made out of 95% cotton. I am very interested in antiques and often go to the NYC flea markets to see if I can find a buried treasure. A few months back, I found a stash of the most gorgeous Victorian era handmade cotton lace. I have been looking for a reason to use it, and now this is my chance. The piece I found was originally intended to be a large collar piece for a dress. It is made in the finest manner and it is just prettier than anything I could find in the garment district. It was originally a circular piece that I attached to the bottom of my cropped bustier and got beautiful flares, without having to do anything! Love it.

Victorian Lace

Victorian Lace

It is still in the draping phase because we had to spend more time on the first garment to meet the deadline. It will be my “spring break” (I use the phrase spring break loosely, because its more like a slower paced workweek) project.

Cropped Bustier in Progress

Cropped Bustier in Progress

This garment is due on April 12th when everything must be completed. The intimate apparel specialization will only be showing 2 garments because we would rather make two perfectly completed garments that we did not “rush” to finish. The third ensemble will be a bias gown, which everyone has to do, but will be an end of the semester project, not for the fashion show. Honestly, I can’t even think that far ahead at the moment.

If anyone can help me with my dilemma it would be much appreciated- Does anyone know a place where I could get antique lace at a price that won’t break the bank? I have already tried Lace Star and Sposabella, nothing that would work. I need some extra lace to make the bra cup and panty. Help!


Ensemble #1, check.

Fashion Sketch

Fashion Sketch

After a long and gorgeous weekend being cooped up in my tiny apartment, ensemble #1, my baby, is done.

This past  Saturday morning most of us came into class to get our robes approved by the professor. It was also the time to make any last minute corrections before the due date (today, monday). I embarked upon the hem that took a good 15 hours (most likely, I like to be a little dramatic). Of course, this too, was to be beaded (advice from the professor). I ripped my precious silk chiffon into narrow strips to make the edge trim. Something about ripping your fabric makes the process all that much more satisfying.

I finished the beading for my corset finally (hooray!), and am halfway done with beads on the robe. I love to do beading on my garments, and get very ambitious about it. The people at Bead World on 38th and Broadway know me very well. Sometimes I get a little regretful when I chose the tiniest glass seed bead possible to use. Of course, it takes A LOT longer than anticipated, but in the end it is very much worth it.

Today was presentation day for grading. Check out some close-ups.

complete ensemble

complete ensemble

Bra Close Up

Bra Close Up

The Beading

The Beading

Presentation day is not the day that our garments are chosen for the show. It is the day where we must be 98% done and we submit our garments to the professor for grading. If need be, corrections in fit can be made or suggestions on how to make your garment better. We all are usually hoping that there is no corrections to be made, but some of us aren’t so lucky. My sleeves needed to be more voluminous than what I made, and the professor and critic strongly suggested that I re-do them. I will do it, not that I want to, and nothing is actually wrong with the ones I have, but it will make my garment better. The work is never over, and my wallet is always hurting.

All of the ladies in the Intimate Apparel specialization are very talented and do just as much work as I do to meet all the deadlines. Here is a presentation from my good friend Madison. She made a beautiful lace body suit with a silk chiffon robe (check out the creative key hole and lace applique, love it). She takes risks in her designs to stand out from the crowd and she always tries to stay true to her aesthetic, which is not always easy. Some corrections aside, she did an amazing job, look for her cotton ensemble to follow!

Wednesday we are starting our 2nd ensembles. Mostly everyone has decided to participate in the Cotton Inc. competition where your garments must be made out of 95% cotton. One person from each specialization will be chosen as a winner, and receive a $2000 prize. Intimate apparel is hard to make in fabrics that do not stretch, for fit and comforts sake, but some people have already made their garments, and they came out beautifully.

and sew it began…

It’s the event that we had looked forward to when we began our BFA degree, the infamous fashion show. It seemed so far away back then, and now, it seems to be knocking at our doorstep. A month and a half ago I started my last semester with piles of swatches, drawings, and inspiration clouding my brain. We were to design 3 complete ensembles consisting of bras, panties, corsets, bodysuits, robes, etc. Nothing was off limits to our imaginations (except thongs and underthings too “cheeky” for the runway, for reasons as you could imagine). Our professor worked closely with us to choose the first perfect “couture worthy” ensemble.

We dove into our work, from creating the initial prototype, to patterns, and second prototypes. It was a rocky start. The snow days, though usually a blessing, seemed to be more of a setback, and soon Saturday sessions seemed to be commonplace. Our critic, Sarah Wolf of Betsey Johnson Intimates, visited our class to see the progress we have been making. She offers advice, opinion, and inspiration ideas to make our garments that much better.

Its already mid-semester, and I am upon completion of my first ensemble. The bra, corset, and panty need some minor elastics to be zig-zagged and the bra straps need to be DTM (dyed to match, us intimate apparel designers are CONSTANTLY dying fabrics). I am also completing the look with a silk chiffon robe. The robe is still in pieces and is awkward to sew because I am so used to handling smaller garments. There was a snafu today in class with the construction of it, but I’m taking it in strides. For the corset and waistline of robe I am doing hand beading on French lace. It takes a long, long time to accomplish, but it is going to be well worth it. I just remind myself of the sparkling crystals catching the light from the runway when I’m beading into the wee hours of the morning.

Second ensemble sketches were approved today, and will be made out of 95% cotton as part of a competition sponsored by Cotton Inc., who also happen to be the main sponsors of the show.

garments with robe prototype

garments with robe prototype

hand beading on corset

hand beading on corset