Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costume Fun

This year I got so excited about this fun holiday that I took my costume-making to the next level and created full body costumes for myself and my partner. I took forever to decide which particular costumes I liked best and then left myself only 4 days to complete them.

Eventually, I decided on Jasmine and Aladdin. Since I had no time to draft full patterns, I got creative using the patterns in my stash and adapting them to recreate the shapes of the Disney characters' garb.

To make the pants, both for Jasmine and Aladdin, I used McCall's patterns 2586, the drawstring cargo pants. However, I flared them out quite a bit to make them look more Eastern-inspired. I added 6 inches of fullness to front and back panel of each pant. The result was roomy full harem-like pants.

To make a vest for Aladdin I used, the basic man's shirt block and cropped and rounded it in the front. I added gold trims to the armholes and all the way around the neckline and hem.

To make Jasmine's top, I used Simplicity Pattern 1875. That dress had the perfect top for my costume. I cropped and embellished it. I added chiffon ruffles to the sweetheart neckline of it. I found a purple agate stone that looked exactly like Jasmine's! I attached it to the centre front and added the golden braid trim to the top of neckline and sleeves' edges which I cut of the matching colour chiffon.

I then stitched the second row of trim and swirled it around the stone. I like how it created the illusion that the stone is set into a golden frame. I also added the golden beaded decorative trim at the hem of the top. 

The top is fully lined, stiffened with interfacing and has boning to keep it up. The back of the top is adjustable because it is laced closed (I used the same trim here as on the Aladdin's vest):

To sew an over skirt/belt for the bottom of my costume I used a part of Butterick B5811 pattern. It's peplum skirt, shorter in the front and longer in the back, was perfect for my purposes. I changed the waistband shape to create the triangle shape at the centre. As for the petals of the peplum, which I cut out of the same chiffon as the sleeves, I roll-hemmed them on my serger without attaching the side panels together so that they would flow freely. I decorated the bottom edge of the waistband with the same trim as the top hem and added an emerald stone in the centre.

Isn't it interesting how with slight modifications you can create a historical look using the current patterns? I had lots of fun with it! Here is the overall look of my epic costume-sewing quest!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fashion Week Buzz

This has been another joyous albeit busy week in the life of Yours Truly since besides it being the weekend of Halloween fun it was also World Mastercard Toronto Fashion Week

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be present at the Paraezo Couture runway show of wedding gowns. I was in awe watching the angelic creatures glide up and down the runway like swans in Bruce Dang's  (lead designer of Paraezo Couture) marvelous creations.

Here you can see a snippet of what I saw real time in all its glitter and glory:

After the show, there was no end to my joy when I had a few minutes of Bruce Dang's time and asked him some questions. I had to wait in line of other reporters of course. But it was all worth the wait! Here is our conversion:

First of all, congratulations on such a spectacular show! This was fantastic! I am sure beginning designers will be interested to hear your answers to some of my questions.

Thank you!

When you started your career as a designer what was the one thing that college had not taught you but that you wished you had known before you embarked on this journey of a lead designer?

One thing that I had to learn on my own was stress! You have to learn to be calm, make sure you have a good team to work behind you. If you don’t have a good team behind you that’s fine too. You will just have to do everything yourself. You have to make sure that everything is perfect, the way you want it to be. In the end of the day, even when people say that you are not good, keep trying and work harder. Work hard at what you love and you will get there!

So keep believing in yourself?


So in regards to doing what you love, how hands on are you when designing your collection. Do you just sketch, do you participate in executing the pieces?

Right now all I do is I get my inspiration, get all my ideas, fabrics and textures I want. When I get the fabrics that’s when I get the most inspired, from the fabrics!  When the fabrics have different textures I see that can use them in this and that way. Then I start sketching. I sketch one dress and then one leads to another to another to the next, until I get about 80. And then I narrow them down for my collection.

What aspect of your daily work as a designer do you like the most?

Looking for fabrics and sketching. I love to do that. Sketching and figuring our new ideas.

What aspect of your work do you like the least? What do you not like doing in your work?

Things that have to do with stress. When problems arise. And problems will always arise. But you have to try to stay calm and be happy and make your team happy.

What advice would you give to design students who would like to be just like you and have their own business or become a lead designer like you?

As I said before, don't give up. Keep believing in yourself, working hard. And remember that there are a lot of people in this country who will help you. Maybe the Toronto Fashion Incubator – they helped me a lot. Or things like this show.

So you did find support on the way?

Yes, a lot of support.

That’s wonderful! Thank you very much! Congratulations again!

Bruce Dang being interviewed for SliceTV

Bruce Dang also made an appearance on Global Television the day before the show. Here he talks about the inspiration for his collection, about the structure and details of his gowns.

I am beyond wow-ed since not only did I get to see the spectacular creations at an arm's length but I also got to talk to the man responsible for them. There is nothing more inspirational than that!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Project Catwalk continued...


Here is a parade of the other teams' creations that competed for the main prize in the Project Catwalk.

Coco Fashion Design Institute

Georgian College

Academy of Design and Technology

And, finally, the winner....

George Brown College

Oh and did I mention the prizes! The mere number and value of them was unbelievable! Rowenta steamer, an iron cleaning system, $100 worth of Swarowski crystals, numerous pairs of scissors, spool organizers, and more more more!!! They definitely made you feel like a winner even if you were just a runner up! Thank you Creativ Festival!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Project Catwalk at Creativ Festival

I have something very special to share! I have been reveling in a creative oblivion for the past few days. My past weekend was wholly and solely occupied by a very exciting event - Project Catwalk at Creativ Festival. This is a weekend-long event which takes place every October at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It is the biggest marketplace for the lovers of crafts of all kinds. The festival offers a multitude of workshops, classes, presentations and seminars bound to satisfy any creative craving out there. The best part of the festival for me is the Project Catwalk competition. And this year I became the lucky participant!!!

We - me and my wonderful team mates, Stefanie and Cindy - were given a challenge to create a runway look in three days: beginning Friday 11 a.m. and ending Sunday at 3 p.m. The theme of this year's challenge was the 25th years anniversary of the festival. Thus, the overarching topic was "Celebration with a touch of Silver". Each of the five competing teams was given $200 to spend on the materials for the garment. One of the conditions of the competition was that all of the materials for our garment had to come from the floor of the marketplace. So, ready to design, draft, stitch and sew, off we went!

I could write on and on about the experience I had at the competition. But one picture is worth a thousand of words. Therefore, I will not strain your eyes with more text but rather share some of the pictures from this fantastic event.

Sewing away at our assigned Seneca booth, where we spent 3 days with no food, water or breaks (not that we wanted any of those anyway!).

Inspired by the Silver Screen starlets of the late 50's/early 60's, we designed a convertible look: a body-hugging LBD a la Audrey Hepburn, with a shawl collar which can be worn as a hood, as a shalw, or off the shoulders. The dress has princess seams, is fully lined and has a marvelous sparkly zipper in the back.

Our little black dress with a touch of sliver.
To add glamour to the look we created a detachable over-skirt made of various panels, asymmetrical in the front and symmetrical and, may I say, quite spectacular in the back. Some of the panels were machine embroidered by our kind sponsor Bernina Sewing Equipment. We decorated the waistband of the skirt with crystals and Cindy made earrings and a bracelet to go with the outfit. You can tell that we had no shortage of silver in our look!

Putting together the panels of the over-skirt.
Here is the whole runway look! We wanted it to exude celebration, glamour and originality.

And here are my lovely team mates! Thank you ladies for such a tight and organized team! You rock!

                                               To many more adventure in creative land!!!