Mixing Prints for the Future of Mankind

Mixing Prints for the Future of Mankind - student project

Hello, everyone!  My name is Marc Aaron Bright, and I am very excited to take this class with you all.  I have been sewing for 3 1/2 years, and gaining the skills to become a proficient designer has been an ever fulfilling and continuous journey.  I have my bachelors in Costume Design, and a newly acquired AA in Fashion Design (backwards, I know!).  It took me awhile in undergrad to figure out what I wanted to do, but creating garments, whether for fashion or for theatre, really captured my passion and my heart.  I now work as a pattern-maker for a custom sports apparel company, which specializes in cycling apparel.  It's great fun to make patterns on the computer, but nothing beats draping some fabric on a form, and the connection you get with what you are making.

As a designer, my aesthetic is mostly defined by my love of mixing prints.  I will put anywhere from 2-7 prints in a single garment.  It's an exciting process to find the right fabrics that go well together, and to put them in interesting places.  I have a love of multiple colors in prints, and am always a sucker for a beautiful floral.

That being said, I decided to start sketching out ideas.  I knew I wanted to play with volume, femininity, and interesting seam lines.  I love how gathers intricately placed can enhance the look of a skirt, and I wanted to have a feminine dress that would be "toughened up" by the boldness of the prints.

*Note: My iPhone camera has decided to start giving me a persistent black dot in all of my photos, so, interpret that as it's own artistic flair.

The sketch shows off the seams and gathers, and the addition I decided on: lace trim!  I've had some that I have wanted to use for awhile, and this is the perfect dress to do so with.

I started my process by getting my supplies ready and happily organized.

Gotta love Grabbits!  I like to use pencils for tracing drape lines, so I went with that, but I couldn't help but lay out the prettily colored chalks.

Then, I got my two great loves out (my machine and my dress form), and had them pose for a family photo.

My color-organized thread rack is probably one of my favorite parts of my sewing room, and it just had to say "hey" to you all.  

After the kids were done with their photo shoot, I got my dress form taped up and ready to work.

Also, the back side...

I wasn't doing anything asymetric, so I decided to do only one side of each.  I considered briefly to do the center pieces across both sides, due to the gathers... but I didnt think that would ultimately make much of a difference.

After cutting some muslin (and finding one of those horrible mid-roll stitch lines where they attached two long pieces of yardage together! ugh! the worst), I got to draping.

First the yoke.  I did a pinch of armhole ease, because I always thinks it helps with movement, and also got lost on drawing my armhole on the correct side of the tape, so notice how I scratched out the interior line, because it was wrong! Gotta love the fluidity of draping, and being okay with not keeping it a perfectly pristine canvas.

Then, the center front piece with the gathers.  I decided to follow the princess eams, although above the bust point I decided to move in slightly for a less blocky shape.  Gotta love those gathers, and I find them very fulfilling to pin.  I did a 1/8" ease pinch at the bust point to provide room for bust ease, as well as a 1/8" markout at the princess line of the hip for ease.

Here is the Side Front!  I didnt cut out the armhole, because that isnt actually the armhole. Remember? There is a yoke.  Made sure to draw the grain line so I didn't get confused, and did a 1/8" ease pinch in the middle, as well as at the bust point (to match the CF piece...).

Well, that's the front bodice done, and already my brain is circulating with one important question: What fabrics am I using???  You can see in that above picture, there are several fabrics on the floor.  It's always a math problem placing all these prints together, but one that definitely leaves me excited.

I decided to do the skirt last, so let's move on to the back shall we?

I fought and fought with myself over the idea of doing the shoulder dart.  I mean, don't I have some more modern way to achieve fit and function without that dart? I considered doing gathers, but I didnt want to distract from the gathers at the skirt center back.  Ultimately, I got off my high horse and reminded myself that I love darts and I love sewing darts, so leave it in there :)

Also, if you noticed in my sketch, I removed a seam line that was there while I was draping.  Then, like any true artist, I decided that after the drape (like Anya said) I could change my mind and add it back in... which is exactly what I did!

This piece was so funny to drape, just because it's so unlaboured.

Say Hello to side back.  1/8" pinch at the waist for ease, and also a 1/8" markout at the hip for ease.  Once again, marked a strong grain line to keep myself in check!

Also, does anyone ever feel bad about pushing all these pins in your form?  It's a gratifying feeling, but I always worry about hurting my baby!  Ohwell.. Growing pains!

That completes the bodice portion of this ride.  Let's see how I have progressed on the fabric choosing, hm?

After pinning about 30 fabrics to my form and moving them around like rubiks cube piece, I  finally found the winning combo.  I will say, if this doesn't appeal to you, that is fine, but I always have a much better result than you would anticipate from seeing my raw fabrics.

Do you see what I mean about the love of florals?  But I love their juxtaposition with the geometric print!

So, I decided to color in my sketch.  I used my trusty prismacolor art markers and replicated the prints, save for the skirt.  I like to render my prints, but if it's something that would be overly complicated with the possibility of a bad result, I leave it to the imagination :)  Drawing complex lines over the gathers and columns of the skirt would've been a nightmare!  And I may love American Horror Story, but I wasn't about to ruin such a lovely rendering.

Seeing it come together like this really made me feel good about my decisions.  I didn't give her shoes, so let's just pretend she ordered them on Amazon and they aren't here yet, m'kay?

So let's not skirt around the issue, let's drape me a skirt!

Pinning gathers is always weirdly fun for me.  I always find draping a skirt to be so strange: the majority of it isnt attached to the form, so you really have to experiment with the fabric to get the right volume and shape.  I redid these gathers 3 times, until I got the right ratio of gathers to excess volume in the skirt hem (originally I just had too much gathering happening).

The back turned out so lovely! I cant wait to see it as a full piece.  Also, I love the gathered fringe that is above the pins.  Gotta create a garment that retains that feature some time!

Then, I joined them together at the sides.  I think the swoop from the back down to the front really is lovely, especially when paired with the gathers.

The full side view.  I'm thinking this is a little long, so I might hem it even more.  Always great to have more than less, though, right?  Right.


Update #2: Patterns, Cutting, and Sewing; Oh My!


After my draping was all done, I trued up my muslin patterns.  I made the curves nice, straightened the lines, and went over my definitve lines in red colored pencil.  It's bold, gives me better perspective on my stitching line, and makes the transfer to paper patterns much easier.

It's a habit my draping professor in college taught me, but I like doing it anyway (it's colorful!).  I decided to transfer these patterns into paper, because I prefer to do that so I can remake it later or grade the pattern into multiple sizes.  Also, as a pattern-maker, I can't help myself :)

I wanted to line this, so it was also easier to make paper patterns, because then I could make facings and specific lining patterns for the affected bodice pattern pieces.  I denote which pieces are cut out of fashion fabric, lining, interfacing, and their quantities in colored pencil.  Keeps me organized, and spices up the look of the patterns!

Also, I like to notch out.  Does anyone else like to do this?

Is anyone else addicted to rotary cutters?  I spent so much money on so many Gingher scissors, and yet I find myself mainly using these! Beautiful clean lines, quick cutting, and a sense of danger... it's all there!  I like to notch out, though, so that does make it a pain.  SUFFER FOR FASHION!

Also, does anyone think those Olfa brand boards are hugely overpriced?  I much prefer my same-quality Fiskars board that is half the price and a cute yellow color!

All the cut pieces of fashion fabric, lining, and interfaced facings!  Ready to be sewn, hungry for it even.  

This is one of the most exciting phases of sewing: the midpoint of the process, after all the patterning and cutting is done, but before you have anything sewn.  You get all excited about what you think it's going to look like when it's done.  Since I mix prints, it's always kind of a mystery to me what effect my garment will give, even if I have done a rendering.

First, I sewed the lining.  Joann's (my mortal enemy) was out of white Bemberg Rayon, so I settled for a decently smooth anti-static polyester.  I didn't attach the sleeve facings to this, because I am going to attach those to the fashion fabric armscyes and then hand sew them to the lining once they are bagged out.

Ignore my loose threads.  

I think the lace is really going to be what unifies this whole look. So far, it's having the feminine yet loud qualities I was going for!

The top looks heart shaped because I haven't gathered it in yet.  I will do that while I am pinning it to the yoke.  Also, I did two parallel basting stitches.  Prevents the gathers from forming an apex, makes smoothing them out easier (a la sleeve cap ease!).

The skirt doesnt look like much, yet, but you can see how I am using the geometric-heavy part at the bottom.


Update #3: Finale Ultimo!


I have to be honest with all of you.  I am a little sad that this is my last post.  There is really nothing left to post, unless I do some Vine videos of me ironing (I curse at my iron, so there could be entertainment value there.)

My dress is done.  It was a beautiful process of sewing seams together and increasingly seeing the vision coming together.  It was wonderful to have the support of this class, and I hope you all have enjoyed my personal journey with this dress.  I cannot compare finishing a dress to anything other than unwrapping presents on Christmas.  The surprise, the thrill, the fear...  I think that is actually what I love the most about sewing.  It's definitely an art.

Let's start with the front:

I am thrilled with this dress! It's feminine, colorful,  and bold.  I like to create things that I feel like are unseen in the world today, and I think achieved that.  I love the lace and the interesting seams, and I think there is something to look at in every area.

I did a merrow edge finish on the skirt.  With light weight skirts like this, I hate a labored hem.  Also, I can thread a merrow from memory, and that is my small town costume shop claim-to-fame.

I'm ecstatic over how the paneling in the back turned out.  Im glad I made the choice to do the insert at the top, and I think the lace really works to unify the separate seam lines and prints. The lace became a very essential part of the design, and I'm very happy I used it.

The flowing gathers in the back look different than the muslin, because this is a much slippier and fine fabric, but I definitely prefer these soft and mellow ripples of fullness.  They juxtapose wonderfully with the geometry of the print, and keep the skirt dainty.

Also, I am very proud of the multiple matching seam lines on the invisible zipper.

Side view Haiku:

My face is present

In the void of the Armhole

Is this a selfie?

3/4 Profile.

I would like to thank all of you for your support in this process.  This has been a wonderful outlet for my creativity and chance to share my art with others.  I'm always looking to improve my skills in each garment I create, and I am always pushing myself to further refine my finishings in every garment that I sew.

Thank you, Anya and the class, for viewing my project, and I hope you love it as much as I loved creating it.


P.S.  -  Bonus Update:  Modelista Floralista!


My friend Anna agreed to model for me, so we took advantage of the lush greenery in my yard and had some fun.  It was a chilly day in California, but it doesn't look like it, right?  It's her sunny dispostion.

Wonder Woman pose

I got the exact effect I wanted.   She looks lovely, loud, and demure.

And, with that, I am out of Skills to share.  I have shared all of my skills.



Pattern-Maker/Print Mixologist