In almost all seasons of Project Runway that I've seen, there is always that one challenge that asks the designer to showcase who they are as a designer. And for most of the contestants, it is that one challenge that is most stressful but incredibly fulfilling. I believe that at the end of the challenge day, every designer emerges a winner whether or not she/he goes home. As long as one believes in his/her work and demonstrates persistence and discipline to carry on and 'make it work' (even after the show is over), there is simply no reason to succeed.
Speaking of challenges, I recently challenged myself to create a dress that is different from the one-piece dresses that I've made in the past. At first, I was not sure how to go about it because I know how tedious drafting patterns can be. I spent days (days! because I am soooo OC) reading up on the best pattern drafting technique that I could use. I was so serious about it that I even created my own Microsoft Excel software to help me document and calculate measurements such that they would be ready before I start drafting. I've used several techniques, and, I have to say that each one has its drawbacks. So I kept reading, watching lessons/videos, exploring new methods, and comparing one with the other, until I could finally find one that I can connect with.
The fashion school that I am currently attending (Slim's Fashion & Arts School) actually has an impeccable reputation for its courses, which include Dressmaking. I am more than excited to take the course next year after I finish my Fashion Design course. Meantime, I just keep learning on my own and busying myself with sewing and sharing my passion with others by taking on commissioned projects, which, gratefully, also open me to new learning...and more projects! :)
Going back to the dress challenge. I woke up one morning to this book entitled "Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear" by Mr. Winifred Aldrich, which I meticulously researched on, and ordered through Amazon. I was GIDDY like a little girl when it arrived as I did not expect it to arrive sooo early. Anyway, I love how substantial and easy it is to use. I believe that all pattern drafting books, to some extent, would be difficult to understand without an incredible amount of patience; but, in comparison with other instruction materials I've encountered, this book is a clear winner. I am also planning to get the Children's wear and Menswear books...but that is after I have 'mastered' Women's wear. hihi.
I used the book when I drafted the pattern for the 'challenge dress,' which I made for my twin sister.
|My initial sketch of the dress.|
The challenge I did was take this simple dress design and 'tweak' the bodice and skirt pattern blocks. I decided to make a front bodice with three panels (plus collar), back bodice with two panels (plus zipper), and the skirt with four panels and side pockets. As it was my first time to make a dress with so many panels and trimmings, it took a lot of work (and patience). Finishing it, however, was very fulfilling. :)
|In the words of Monet, 'I must have flowers, always, and always.'|
This dress fits my sister (and me) immaculately. :)
|Back with invisible zipper and flower button.|
After finishing this dress, I figured that it's not really the challenge that is daunting. Oftentimes, it will always be that little voice inside our soul that puts us in an unsure position, and asks us the question: Can I do this?
It's always this little voice's answer that becomes big enough to either push us to believe in what we are capable of, or hold us back to retreat. Also, sometimes, the challenge may also be too exciting that it scares us...but in a good kind of way. If that is the case, take it on, and, as Tim Gunn would say, 'Make it work.'
The good news is that this little voice inside us probably already knows what we are capable of accomplishing--those mini goals or dreams that we want to fulfill little by little to get somewhere. Mr. Paulo Coelho calls it one's 'Personal Legend.' It's all a matter of listening to it, believing it, and being patient and disciplined enough to pursue it.
Have you challenged yourself lately? Carry on and make it work!
With handmade love,
P.S. I was really rooting for Designer Alexandria, but Designer Dom is an equally talented designer and textile genius. Happy for all of them who made it NY Fashion Week! #ProjectRunwaySeason12 :)