Who is eligible to apply? Designers (and aspiring designers), ages 18+, currently residing in New England, (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI), with less than 5 consecutive years of professional fashion design experience. Everyone from students to self-taught designers to working designers and retirees is enthusiastically encouraged to apply.
What is the challenge? Eight emerging designers are selected to participate in this fast-paced 2-day design challenge. Each designer will design and execute their vision of a New England streetwear look using deadstock fabric and excess materials from New England manufacturers. Prepare yourself for some twists!
Below are images from my Kaftan Pinterest Board. These images capture many of the elements I want: Minimalist design. All black. No extra surface design. Straight hem, not handkerchief style. Deep v-neck. Cocoonish shape. Midi length. Some upper arm coverage.
I shared my sewing process in my Instagram stories. Check out the JUN highlight for process videos and photos.
The image below on the right is me wearing the final dress. Please forgive the bad photo. It was actually the best photo of the lot and I think it does at-least give you a sense of the shape of the dress. I bought the fabric from JOANN Fabrics. It is a linen blend with a heavenly drape. So soft and comfortable. And washable too.
What I learned on this project:
What I’ve learned with this project is that secondhand fast fashion items can be used as patterns for home sewers. When I shop at charity shops I’ve ALWAYS ignored fast fashion items because they are made with cheap polyester fabric and because the construction is generally very poor …. HOWEVER…. often the silhouettes are more inline with what I’m interested in sewing than actual clothing patterns that I can buy in a store like JOANN Fabrics.
I know there are lots of independent designers that are selling clothing patterns online but — A) I don’t know how to search them all to find what I want, and B) I am not interested in printing out multiple 8.5 by 11 pages and taping them together to create a pattern. Store bought patterns come with directions but I personally learn so much about construction from seam ripping apart a piece of clothing. Also, secondhand fast fashion items are sometimes only a few dollars which is probably cheaper than buying a clothing pattern. It’s definitely not great that charity shops are filled with so much fast fashion but if home sewers can use them as patterns it’s better than it just ending up in a landfill, right?
This is the fifth blog post in my 2021 Sewing Plans blog series. Click here to see the video where I share my inspiration for each month. My May project was to create Wrap Pants. I love wrap dressing because it can grow or shrink with your body. I also appreciate the feeling of wrap dressing — like an apron that hugs you but doesn’t feel constrictive.
Below are images from my Wrap Pants Pinterest board. I love the casual yet sophisticated nature of these pants. I particularly love the black pair by Center For Cosmic Wonder. I think all but the jean pair could be dressed up or down. Watch the video below for tips on how to style wrap pants.
I shared my progress in my Instagram stories. Check out the MAY highlight for process videos and photos.
What I learned on this project:
From now on when I’m sewing something complicated like this — without a pattern –that I’ve never done before — I’m going to start referring to these pieces as prototypes. It helps me to reframe the results as a success. Instead of thinking that I made pants that didn’t meet my expectations, I’m going say to myself — ” I designed and finished a prototype!” 🙂