Part II: From Concept to Garment

This is Part II of the series of how I developed a line for the lingerie photoshoot my friends and I collaborated on 2 weekends ago, on April 17th. You can read Part I here – The Process: Developing a Line for a Photoshoot.

Most fashion designers will tell you that the industry standard for developing a line is this:

1. Mood board/Concept board

This is everything that inspires you. You can create a digital mood board, like on Pinterest, or create a physical mood board on cardstock or bristol board. My friends and I collaborated on two Pinterest boards for the Spring Bride/Urban Cinderella and Avant Garde theme.

2. Fashion sketches

You’re going to have to sketch, re-sketch,  and sketch again over and over until you find a design you’re happy with. I used the Pinterest concept boards my friends and I created for inspiration. I sketched whatever came to my imagination first, then narrowed it down to what I could conceivably create within my budget.

3. Fashion drawing

I skipped this part haha. But if you want to put a design in your portfolio, it’s important to clean up your fashion sketches and re-draw them on professional-quality paper with a micron pen, and color them in with your medium of choice (watercolors, markers, etc.).

4. Fashion flats

This is the blueprint of your design. It shows both the front and back of the garment and every single stitch, zipper, hook & eye, and design detail on the garment. It’s different from the sketch or drawing because it’s more technical. It’s not meant to be pretty – it’s meant to show detail. Think of it like the photos in an Ikea manual for a table – even if you don’t speak the language, you should know what the end product would look like.

5. Sewing

Whew! So after all of the steps above, you are ready to sew!

Once I was ready to sew, I was about 1.5-2 weeks out from the photoshoot date. I work full time as an HR Specialist, and most of the models have full-time jobs as well. So we weren’t able to meet so I could do fittings before the shoot on April 17th. I asked them to send me their measurements, said a little prayer that the bra & undies would fit right, and off to work I went!

My weekdays went like this for the week and a half leading up to the photoshoot:

  • 6: 30 am: Wake up, arrange sewing materials for later in the day. Dress, get ready for my work.

  • 8:45 am – 5 pm: Work in the office at my full-time job as an HR specialist

  • 6 pm – 2 am: Come home, shower, eat dinner, then sew for 5-6 hours.

  • 2:30 am: Sleep & repeat the cycle

On the weekends I sewed for 8-hour days on Saturday. I drafted some of the bras myself, but I used Ohhhlulu patterns for a couple of the bras, like the one below:

It was a rough couple of weeks, but it taught me a lot. It taught me the value of hard work and manual labor, the love that I have for sewing to devote so much time to it, the powerful motivating force that passion can be, and the true craftsmanship that goes into creating a beautiful, handmade, well-fitting garment.

I still have so much to learn when it comes to sewing, but I have come so far from where I was just a year ago. What excites me the most about sewing is that you can spend a lifetime making garments, and still never learn all that there is to know – it’s never boring, never gets stale, and the industry never stands still.

As you can see, my “studio” is a black portable fold-away table in my room. I use this table for cutting, pinning, and making adjustments and sometimes spread out on my bed too when I need more space. My sewing machine and serger are set up on my desk.

Working on the designs for this photoshoot was one of the best experiences of my life. I love being creative. I love using my hands. And I love taking something out of my head and making a reality – making it real.

The photographer Teresa is still working on finishing editing all of the proofs from our shoot, and I will share them on here as soon as they are all done!


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