2018 Trade Scholar – Fashion Technology
CSM Draping Womenswear
The big exciting adventure of Central Saint Martin’s (CSM) started four days after arriving in London and the accents were still very new and exciting to me.
The best part of attending CSM was how equally excited and curious the other students are about fashion and arts. My first course, Draping Womenswear Design, was one I chose because draping is an area that I wanted to know more about.
‘How do you keep getting inspired by draping without it constantly looking like a cowl or toga?’
At the start of the week we did a refresh on fitted form. This is creating all the foundation pieces of the body for a fitted garment. I had learnt this at TAFE but it was a really good way to get a feel for it again. We then went to the library to start conceptualising our own ideas inspired by patterns. I chose ocean life, some chose architecture, others chose sculptures. We gathered images and scanned them and warped them to create new shapes of inspiration. This would form the basis of our conceptual draping project.
We did a full day of experimenting with shapes. I was able to learn to use shapes on top, and as negative space into our designs. The designs are limitless and my teachers showed us that experimentation is so important. We also incorporated some sewing in, by sewing back the gap of the shape we had cut out to create unique fold effects.
I created a big beautiful draped pieces with hundreds of circles, which I was extremely proud of. Although it was only rough, I knew I put so much effort into it and created something unique.
The draping course was amazing to expand my creativity and to introduce ideas of negative and positive space of fabric manipulation. It was so valuable because I learned how important it is to let the creative process develop itself. I’ve always enjoyed creative freedom, and this showed me how important it is to trust the process and just keep developing the idea, instead of trying to create a narrow vision.
CSM Couture Tailoring
This was the course I had been most excited about. Tailoring and precision can be so far from how I operate and I was really eager to learn the traditional techniques. We were creating one half of a traditional tailored jacket.
Firstly we learned how important it is to fully prep the fabric by washing, and pressing before you even lay it to cut. This ensures the fabric won’t shrink later and will be set in shape forever. We then traced all the pattern pieces and pinned them to our fabric, cut and basted each notch, grain line and seam. Basting is a traditional technique that I’m sure is used much less now. It ensures that each point is perfectly marked, and removes room for error. Through the construction, I understood more why these jackets are so expensive and take so long to create. There is so many steps behind the scenes that make this piece sit so perfectly forever. Its so important to have such a powerful piece of clothing fit perfectly. Thats what gives it power.
Our teacher showed us six hand stitching techniques that are essential for tailoring. Each stitch plays an important role and needs to be perfect. I also learned that you need to be able to move the fabric well with your fingers into very precise positions. Between each step, we hung the jacket on our mannequin to make sure it still hung perfectly and without any ripples.
Patience is the most prominent tool I will take away from my couture tailoring course. The traditional techniques have been developed and practiced over hundreds of years and the garment is not its best unless each step is done precisely. Now, I find myself critiquing jackets I see.
Edward Tailor Textiles
Edward Tailor textiles was a very different environment to my two courses. Here, they develop patterns and designs for sublimation dyed fabric, mainly for sportswear. This is the process of creating a design, printing the design on full scale in special inks, and then heat transferring the design to the ready-cut fabric.
I stayed with Karen Vidoretti and her family, a friend of an old teacher who has had a long career in fashion and is a hands-on creative like myself. Karen works as Head of Product Development at Edward Tailor.
I was fortunate enough to be able to have been offered the chance to make a jersey for myself. Karen showed me how she develops CAD patterns from garments and digitally lays the pieces on fabric to make the most of the meterage. Their head designer taught me how they use Illustrator and Photoshop to develop designs for clients, and the importance of matching colours from swatches rather than screen (they can be wildly different!). I was then able to play around and create a unique Canberra Raiders jersey for my boyfriend who’d just had a birthday. I cut out the pieces, sent the design to print, heat transferred onto the fabric and sent to the machinist. Karen’s sample machinist, Hifsul, was lovely to fit me into his busy day. After no more than one hour, Hifsul had brought my design to life.
This experience was so eye opening because I had never seen these processes in action before. So often we only see the end result of a garment.
It was so great to see how much care is taken to reduce waste and know that each garment is produced only as it is needed.
Although they are produced with much more technology, these are still bespoke garments and this experience was so insightful into how far the fashion industry has developed. I look forward to seeing where technology can assist us in the future of fashion and design.
If it weren’t for BBM, I would no doubt have never moved abroad or had these experiences. I have grown as an individual, and am learning about the world of design and chasing goals. Writing this report has made me realise how fortunate I am to have these opportunities available to me. I have to specially thank my family and friends for always supporting me and pushing me in the right direction, my mentor Carol Costa for sacrificing her time so lovingly to help me learn, and of course, BBM for believing in me and providing me this unbelievable opportunity. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but this opportunity will stay with me forever.