I thought I would take a break from sewing the winning design to explain the design process for this month’s challenge. I live streamed on Periscope an explanation of this process, but I thought I would go over it again on the blog for those of you who are not using Periscope.
Each time I prepare to design for a challenge I start in the same way. I read the design brief and try to think of how I can showcase that month’s inspirational item while following the rest of the brief.
I then get my sketch pad out and roughly draw any and everything that comes to mind. I am not a natural artist and if I want to draw a figure and not have it look like an alien I have to spend quite a bit of time sketching it. To speed up the initial sketching, I trace the outline of a figure into my sketchbook and then draw my ideas on top of this.
It is similar to how a writer would focus on getting their ideas down on paper instead of editing in their rough first draft. This draft is all about getting the ideas down while they are still flowing through their mind. Of course, they will edit their work many times after that initial draft to ensure it is the best quality it can be.
CUTTING AND CHOPPING
Narrowing these first sketches down is not too difficult. Any designs that I do not find interesting or exciting I cut right away. This month I ended up with around ten designs that I wanted to explore further.
I then drape the fabric and lace on the mannequin and photograph it. I did not do this last month, but because I had trouble narrowing it down further this month, I thought I would try draping the designs. This step turned out to be very useful part of my design process. I was surprised to find that some of my favourite designs were eliminated when I saw the photos of them draped on the mannequin. I loved the white fabric with the navy wave like pattern. I thought it would look fabulous with the striped fabric. When I put it on the mannequin, I realized that, although the two prints looked good together, the wave printed material looked too casual for a professional workplace. The designs would have looked more appropriate, and just plain fabulous, on a woman in a more creative workplace like a gallery owner or fashion editor. As I wanted to meet the brief I had set earlier, I felt that the designs with the wavy fabric had to get the chop. Boo hoo.
A WRINKLY MESS
The other thing I noticed when I was draping the designs was that some fabrics would not work well in the garments. The creamy white polka-dot fabric would be nice for a flowy top but would not suit a form-fitting dress. After a day at the office, this wrinkle-prone fabric would look unprofessional and unkempt. Who would want to stand up from their desk after working diligently all day and show up for dinner looking like they just got their dress off the floor? Not me!
Even with these factors eliminating a few designs from the running, I still needed to narrow it down further. At this point, I reminded myself of the brief and the importance of the inspirational item. Was the lace the primary focus of the garment? Was I using it in an unusual fashion? I wanted the final two designs to use the lace in different ways as well. The design sketches that used the lace as a belt suddenly did not feel very exciting to me so……CHOP, CHOP, CHOP.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
That left two designs. I will admit they were not my first choices initially, but I would love to make and wear either of them. I would love to know which designs you would have chosen. I have numbered them so if you want to comment I will know which ones you were happy never made the cut and which ones you wish would have.
APOLOGISES IN ADVANCE
The video above is the live stream I did on Periscope explaining the design process for this challenge.
WARNING: Extreme nerves and live broadcasts can lead to a very shaky introduction. Have no fear, after a very awkward minute I start to get into the swing of things.
I debated all week if I should show this video on my blog. It did not turn out as well as I had hoped. When I reminded myself that the point of this blog was to try new things, my decision was clear. This definitely qualifies as trying something new, and it turned out to be a fantastic learning experience. Seeing this a year from now, after I have just uploaded another fabulous broadcast, I will be able to see how much I have improved. I might still cringe at the number of times I say, “Um,” but I’ll live. I hope the video inspires one of you to try something new.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
I would love to use Periscope to do more broadcasts to support the blog. I have been working on new broadcast ideas for different parts of the monthly design challenges. If you have any ideas of how I could use Periscope to support this blog, please comment below. I want to know what you would like to see!