Remember what I said about Alexa Chung? Yeah, I take it back. Patrick Wolf is the answer to whatever. I’m always surprised by the big voice and theatrics that comes out of this lanky demure lad. And a campaign face for Burberry? Patrick, you pimp.
All I have to say is: The fact that the NYT has to congratulate women for getting nice jobs as scientists is clearly an indicator of how shitty the playing field is. I don’t buy this “oh you can do it!” pocket change wisdom coming from people who’ve already made it. It’s ALWAYS easier in hindsight.
This dress features diagonal pleating with the map of Tokyo printed in Japan’s flag motif and semi-hidden ruffles in the back.The draping was a labor of love, so if you own it, you actually own hours of my life.
When Gandhi meet the queen of England, she was appalled by his attire or lack there of and he only replied, “you are wearing enough clothes for the both of us.”
There’s always been a struggle of materialism in fashion. The whole industry is about displaying your possessions, wanting more, better, showing off. But we shouldn’t want so much—it’s too Randian of us to think that our individualism is so important that style should be anything but a luxury.
I too have grown complacent with the materialism and forgotten that fashion designers are simply artists and there’s no rule that says we need to represent the glamour of rich and fame or that you are any less of a person for dressing ordinarily. It’s time to take a step back.
I took a look at my closet yesterday in preparation for moving to my new apartment and realized something horrible: I had hangers full of dresses that I had only worn once and no intention of ever wearing again. And what’s worse is that I’d made all of them down to the last little detail so I couldn’t possibly just wear and waste.
You see, I have this awful predilection for wanting a new dress for every event I go to. In the next few weeks, I already have three dresses slated to get made for three events. Moda magazine launch party-dress, faux-intellectual prom-dress, graduation-dress….and it’s been this way ever since I started to sew and I’ve gathered up quite the collection of things which I’ve exhausted.
Every little event is like some glorifying debut for things I’ve made; so much so that everyone’s used to it now and automatically inquire, “did you make this one?” Instead of hitting the streets and buying something I’d at least guilt myself into wearing more than once, I’ve devalued my own time and labor by making clothing that seem to me disposable because of the minuscule monetary sum it took to make them. But it’s not disposable! Ever! It just piles up!
I should just get over myself and wear them again, yes I know, but you don’t understand…I made each and every one of them for a singular event, and in my mind, they don’t seem to fit any other occasion.
My dining room looks like a storm blew through it. There is fabric everywhere in piles and scraps along with pieces of paper and drawing littered about. I finally got a new iron so it is standing tall in the midst of all the chaos saying “one day soon, I will flatten all of this into a wearable collection.
I admit, the blue cornflower curtains are a bit little house on the prarie, but we were desperate to shut out the disrespectful neighbors next door who keep staring at us through the windows.
And the dress on the window brings us to the slash and spread technique. It’s the bread and butter of design. You take a simple sloper pattern and draft your changes on it. It makes life so much easier because it saves you the time of draping and truing a pattern.
So here’s the skinny:
Make a copy of your basic pattern. I use tissue paper for working with light fabrics and newspaper when working with colored ones since the newspaper ink likes to rub off. Draw lines for where your pleats, darts, or other expansions will be and cut the paper apart there.
Arrange the pieces how you want to expand. I’m making two inch diagonal pleats that disappear at the sides. Tape some strips underneath to keep the new pattern. Fold it back to make sure it returns to the original shape.
And now you use it to sew! Here’s my finished product. This is a pretty simple case, we can look at more complicated cases later!
Hello~~ Daniele here, looking for some bona fide advice for UChicago, and who better to ask? I'm really hoping this doesn't come off as creepy, but I want to be you. I love to sew (and adore your clothes) and am thinking about going into biochem with UChicago #1 on my list. I toured the place and loved it, but I know nothing is as perfectly amazing as an admissions office makes it seem. Recommend, yes/no?
I love Uchicago. I knew from the moment I got the admissions packet that I would go here. I never visited, I never interviewed, I never spoke to any students, I just went. For the sake of my parents, I hemmed and ha-ed about going to Cornell and some other places, but my decision had already been made before the question was even asked.
And that’s my advice about this place. It’s not a school for people with second thoughts. It’s hard academically and it’s hells cold, but everyone is incredibly proud to be here. The Uchicago student moans and bitches a lot but secretly would never want anywhere else. Biochem is a very long and strenuous endeavor, but there lots of research opportunities and we’re also getting a new molecular engineering department next year! Most of my friends from the major have been either accepted to great graduate or medical schools—you don’t have to worry about your future coming out of here, that’s one thing for sure.
There are lots of strange people here, some you’ll delight in, some you’ll be annoyed by. The pre-meds are always just a bit too studious; the humanities majors are always preaching their philosophy, the econ majors are trying to convince your friendships are only a transaction—but I think that happens everywhere. People here have strong convictions about themselves and you’ll seldom find jocks and beach tanned blonde girls who party 5 times a week. There are parties and there is lots of drunkenness, but at the end of the day you come here be to somebody, not to have the rowdy college experience.
As for fashion and sewing, the theater department is pretty skimpy and there’s not a whole lot of opportunity there but there is MODA, the fashion organization I’m part of. We run a design program for people who want to learn to design (headed by yours truly) and have a lot of industry ties with the greater Chicago fashion community. Go the fashion school if you’re really into design though, don’t slog thru 4 years of the life of the mind.
hope that helps! Talk to me again if you come and need a leg up for something!
Being a graduating senior with no classes to take, I have been largely lounging around my house watching lots of netflix. I think I’ve seen every national geographic documentary ever made now. Pathetic, I know. But it’s been a hard 4 years of being snooty about my elite and prestigious education. I think I deserve a break.
Made me a lace skirt yo. I think a lace item is a must have for any wardrobe—you can wear it any time anywhere really. Except for during sporting events of course.
And now I’m tired. Must lay back and watch some more mindless television. I learned today that rich families go to seminars about “how to keep the wealth in the family”. Who knew? Gosh that must be such a burden.
Model: Jen Wells-Qu Photographer: Emily Lo Hair+Makeup: Apez Dream Team
I had to walk away from the shoot to go attend to a model stuck in the bathroom because her weave is too big to put clothes on over (which is apparently not a problem for seasoned professional models because, according to designers, they stand around naked backstage most of the time and always have 5 people dressing them…)Just slipping in an uncomfortable little secret, you know.
Photographers are always preoccupied with adjusting their lens and the model never knows what they look like, so when you walk away, the shoot looses direction. You can’t see the dress in half the pictures and let’s be Tyra here, there’s no connection with the camera.
And it’s not the fault of the photographer or the model, you just always need a 3rd set of eyes to say “hold it ladies, this is looking a little weird.”
Start with a cheap looking pair, can be anything. If it’s thinner than the ones i’m starting with, just add more! Fake lashes really make an ensemble a lot more dramatic so they’re great for any stage or performance costume.
You will need: some not-so-impressive lashes, some eyelash glue, and feathers the color of your choosing. I’m boring so I did black.
1. Trim lash ends and taper the nose side of the lashes. Better looking falsies start here. These aren’t going to look natural (obviously..) but they still need to follow the shape of an eye so they look higher production value.
2. Prep add-ons by cutting out some feather barbs. Cut at an angle so you don’t end up with flat ends.
3. Apply a thin line of eyelash glue onto the top of the lashes and gradually glue your feather pieces on. The long ones should go on the outside, the short ones on the middle. Don’t add any in the tapered corner.
4. Keep going and fill in any holes with 2-3 strand feathers.
So you walk into the fabric store and you see some overpriced bolts labeled “designer fabric”, but just what is designer fabric?
It certainly is not fabric made by a designer. Can you see Donna Karan sitting down in some fabric mill designing cloth? me either. Well…maybe to some extent it is “designed” by the design house, but unless its a really distinct house print (think burberry), it really isn’t.
Designer fabric is basically the leftovers from a designer’s collection that didn’t sell according to plan. Most designers order fabric from overseas mills by hundred yard increments depending on how many copies they project the public will buy. Labor is always more expensive than material so they only produce batches of the clothes based on demand and when a particular collection fails to sell, there’s a lot of left over fabric.
And to prevent losing too much money, they sell the remainder to fabric stores at the purchased wholesale price. You are purchasing it at retail price so the designers don’t profit, only the fabric stores do. With that said, the fabric is usually from previous seasons, but is often of impeccable quality so you be the judge.
Oh, and if you are hunting for some genuine Burberry fabric from last season, stop the search, there probably isn’t any. Houses with very distinctive trademark fabrics usually burn the extra and just take the loss.
Model: Savannah Thais Photography: Emily Lo + Jessica Wong Hair+makeup: Apez Dream Team
The styling on this one was just incredible. You can’t really see it in the photos, but she looked like her lashes could bat a few times and carry her away. I actually sat down and made all the lashes out of feathers so they were more dramatic.
Chiffon and silk taffeta under-dress. This one was a bit of a chore: completely draped, about 3 hours of it.
Here’s how to make a scarf to compensate for it. It only takes a five minutes and you don’t need to leave the house—unless you want to go buy some fabric, but honestly that’s even too ambitious for me.
Take an existing light-weight spring scarf (a very long one too), and stitch two rows. Gather the rows and make some perpendicular securing stitches every few inches or so. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even make it with new fabric.
Yeah, that’s it.
And on my wall is this piece of artwork I like to call “telephone”. Tell me it isn’t creepy, not even a little bit.
I believe these were shot in an elevator foyer. A little blurry and soft focused, but you know—good lighting is remarkably difficult to find at night, DUH.
Much love to everyone who worked hard to make this happen.
Model: Joni Zucker Photographer: Emily Lo + Jessica Wong Hair+Makeup: Apex Dream Team + Zoe Steinberg
Oh and of course, love to that fiendish and controversial best buddy of fashion, Adobe Photoshop. I’m not talking about retouching here, you use make up for that. It’s just always amazing what light and color editing do for photos.
I’m eavesdropping AND peeping!
Curtain polyester, some taffeta, and some sparkly. I was excited to finally make a size 0 (32-25-34) master pattern. The bodice was made using slash-and-spread of said master pattern, which I will imminently spill all secrets on in the future. Skirt was draped and sewn on the dress form -_-
This show was very special to me not only because it was in Downtown Chicago, but because I was a part of putting it together. Being on the management end of a show really endears it to you. Every little detail is an ordeal. An event like this is, for lack of better description, is like 6 weeks of labor and uncomfortably birthing a huge fashion baby.
Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. The Cultural Centre was spectacular with its deep red and high ceilings—really brought out the classy in everyone. It was a pity that I was not really in front house for more than 5 minutes, but I would say no regrets.
After sitting around for a couple weeks moaning about how I couldn’t fine any inspiration, I finally abandoned the hope that I would wake up one morning having dreamt up some undeniably fantastic designs. It just wasn’t going to happen. All I could do was let the work speak for itself. What happens when you’re pressed and panicked with no ideas? Mystical magical things.
My collection, for your viewing pleasure. One is absent because no one it seems managed to capture her. Maybe she walked too fast…
Finally watching it come down the runway is like breathing in deeply and only afterwards do you realize you were unknowingly holding your breath until that moment. I’ve often told people that showing your art is like baring your soul to the public—like telling someone that you secretly really love Justin Bieber (which I certainly do not).
The hardest part isn’t taking criticism on it, or struggling to put it together in time, it’s having the courage to let it walk out from behind the wall and allow it to speak for itself. And what does my collection say?
I got asked this question during an interview and was at a loss of words. So many “tell me about yourself” and “tell me about your work” has kind of muddied the meaning of the answers. All I could say while on the spot was that it reminded me of the last glimpse of sunlight at dusk.
Let’s do this 24 style. Intense and blood pressure elevating. The 24 hours before a fashion show are always super nerve wrecking—and I’ll be sure to let you in on every gory detail.
I lost the first 12 hours to homework and sleeping, so that makes for a very uneventful episode….
However, at 9am, 12 hrs prior, my hair stylist calls to tell me she’s come down with a 102F fever and cannot make it. This is the 5th person in the show who has told me they’re getting sick. I have the sinking suspicion I’ll end up succumbing to the plague as well sometime this weekend. Curses you microbes!
CRISIS, jesus. but it’s alright, the Apex dream team just put me on their general schedule; they bringing my weave anyway, so it’s all good. I did happen to miss my Thermodynamics class at 9:30, but arrived at 10:20 to turn in my problem set at the end only to see that about half the class had skipped and was doing the exact same trick. Ah the laziness of college.
Back on topic! Lots of weave is mandatory for the runway; so are sassy emails, so proceeded then to check my email and saw a flood of MODA messages, each sassy and high strung in their own way. Wrote some clever replies and that was that. I’ve been told the board comes across as petty often, but when you put a large group of snobbish and entitled girls together, what else is going to happen?
Oh yes, I am a snob and I love myself, almost as much as my cat. It’s true.
And now I am basking in the pre-show calm, lounging in my ergonomic desk chair at work, waiting for the free lunch that comes with lab meeting. I have split my cells for the weekend, cleaned my bench, and refilled some ethanol bottles. Good karma best be on its way for tonight.
But wait, cliff-hanger!
My designer bootcamp children are not done with their collections? But we only have 9 hours left!!??
I’m disappointed to report that I did not have a solid concept while building this collection, but ironically, it is more cohesive than usual. I’m usually pretty sporadic about fabric choice like my idol Chris Benz, but using the same fabric over and over again was one of the only strict rules I could set for myself this time.
God I am looking forward to some quality styling and photography at the show. Tired of this hot mess haha.
This surprisingly reminds me a pokemon…you know, the horse with the big billowing tail.
The fabric isn’t chiffon, but is really thin. I don’t know—but I bought 5 yards of it! Lots of boning and netting. It kind of pokes a little on me since my model is substantially taller than I am, as most of the general population is too.
Come to the show if you are in Chicago on March 4!
As my last post hinted, my radio silence has been due to the graduate school interview season (just got back from Yale actually). I haven’t been up to much because of the travel and preparing for the upcoming fashion show, but here’s a peak at some things I made for the occasion. I am rather proud of the fact the self-made fraction of my closet has grown quite large.
Shirt resized from an old grandma top. Skirt made with wool left over from tie making. Such fabulous drape!
Gold is the color emperors because it is so divine. If I was in ancient china, I probably would be executed for daring to wear it.
They say it is worth it to suffer discomfort for fashion, but this is one instance that no one of sound judgment should be fashionable. Chicago is buried under many many inches of snow and so is my apartment.
It’s a snowpocalypse.
The sidewalks are sometimes clear, but the streets certainly are not.
Before you roll your eyes at me, I insist that I am not a raging werewolf feminist and that this is not a rant about how women are under-represented in science.
We are, but I am not here to complain about how we have fewer opportunities and how we’re all struggling in a man’s world, because that is not really true anymore. I am actually here to tell you that being a woman in science is terrible, and you should not consider it.
This has been something that has eaten away at me ever since I decided to follow the footsteps of the decorated few, the lady scientists who chose their wit and intellect over all else. But now I am wavering, because an awful truth has come out about us.
"I am a scientist, and I’d like to remind you that scientists are people too."
That is what a former graduate student in the lab used to write to people whenever they wronged him. And sure, that’s a hilarious and charming thing to say, but I must tell you, women in science are in fact, inhuman, they are not people at all!
And what do I mean by this, you say?
I mean that science departments everywhere eat their young, especially the female young. It isn’t that women don’t have the means to be in science; science is simply so unfriendly towards women that they don’t want to stay. And you should get out while you still can. If you choose to be a woman in science, you almost always must settle for a solitary life.
Allow me to give you some stats. In a science department I am well acquainted with, the faculty is only 15% female, and of those 15%, only a single professor is married—to some else in the department. None of these women have children.The male faculty are almost all married with children. Does anyone else see something wrong here?
Let’s take a look at the life of a scientist. Graduate school is 5-6 years(PhD that is. masters is 2-3, but those aren’t real scientists), meaning by the time you emerge into the working world, you are effectively 30. 30, an age where you start to get wrinkles and become fearful you’ve wasted the best years, a scary time when most everyone else has already settled into a career and are well on their way life building. But you? Why you are a scientist, and you have just begun.
If you go into industry, you start your job. If you go into academia, you start your post-docs, another series of many drifting years ahead. The trouble is that all these transitions are happening at 30, when everyone else has moved forward with their lives already but you are only moving from city to city. Long distance relationships are always doomed. It’s easy for the guys, they can just tote their wives along with them.
We can’t do that, because our boyfriends have their own careers and dreams and it is much harder for a man to give his up. How are you supposed to get married and start a family then? Okay, so you reach
stability at age 40, but by then, let’s face it, it’s too late. Nobody wants to date a old lady who has lost her youth to academia (you know men hate being with women who are smarter than them). And us scientists are more afraid of old age children and birth defects than anyone so children are out of the question. Inevitably, you either choose your ambitions or you choose your life, and most women are appalled at the idea of being alone.
We either end up being the ones toted along by our scientist boyfriends we met in school where we spend an eternity or we end up with the job but not the family.
Sure we can be progressive, we can think positively, we can be strong and self-sufficient, but at the end of the day, we still have so little to show for it. We won’t be rich, we’re won’t be famous, and we’ll seldom have someone to love us but our parents and our cat. And our loneliness will certainly not be glorified like doctors by television.
But we’ll leave the legacy of all the research we have accomplished, you say. It’s an empty accomplishment.
I purchased a dress online from ebay (because I’ve been told that clothing on ebay is an outrageous good deal), but got sent the wrong dress. And now they won’t send me a replacement.This thing was floor length and just….all kinds of frump.
What else to do but cut it up and make it wearable?
I did this one in the spirit of a look from the super over-hyped Pattern Magic which I thought was intensely clever looking.
I’m still trying to figure out a good way to tie the front, a reproducible way that is. The original intended way isn’t working too well for the flimsy cotton so I kind of just twisted and tied until it came eventually together.