Friday, March 28, 2014

Aha! Moments and continuing with 20 time.

Coming to realizations is very difficult. And while reading the other day, I came across a comment on a random article that basically said "I've always been the kind of person that stood on the outside of conversations and never said anything because of a fear of being awkward and uninteresting, which inherently came off as awkward and uninteresting." I was a little disturbed with how much I related to this. I've always been a shy person who was too afraid to jump in and share ideas from an irrational fear of embarrassing myself. This is definitely not something I'm proud of, as it holds me back in ways that make me incredibly unhappy. My aha! moment came along with the realization that this is precisely the approach I have taken to 20 time. When we were assigned 20 time, I sat in my desk with an unreal excitement and an overambitious drive and the idea that I was going to create something really, really wonderful. However when 20 time really got rolling, I found myself sitting on the outside watching people create and accomplish really wonderful and ambitious things. I had so many ideas and ways I knew I could succeed. But I was too afraid of failing and embarrassing myself to jump into the circle and join these wonderful ambitions. EVEN THOUGH FAILURE HAS BEEN A LEGITIMATE OPTION IN THIS PROJECT FROM DAY 1. Looking back, I have no idea why I always do this. Here I sit, the end of 20 time in sight, with absolutely nothing besides one skirt and a blog to show for it. I had this amazing opportunity to create and explore and I didn't take full advantage because of an irrational fear of failure and embarrassment. I like to think of myself as a go-getter. And I think I am, within the comfortable and safe confinement of my own head. I have so many ideas and things that I want to do and let them fall before my feet for probably the single most pathetic and sad reason ever to exist. Looking forward, I want to take the final stages of 20 time and reach my full potential. I want to be able to go out for my presentation and say that I conquered this irrational fear, and created something without a worry that someone wouldn't like it as much as I do. 20 time is changing for me and I am ready and excited to take this as far as I can. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Disappointing...

This weekend, I planned to spend all of Sunday on 20 Time, as my mom would be home for two days and could therefore take me to get fabric. To accommodate this, I set out to rewrite (my first draft was horrible) my entire essay beginning Friday night right after school. I continued to work though late Saturday night, and finally finished my essay right on schedule. HOWEVER. My trusty PC failed me and deleted my entire essay, which claimed my 20 Time time for the weekend. I'm very upset about this, as my mom is going out of town again and I won't be able to purchase fabric or make progress for a little while longer. I'm getting a little anxious, and I want to move forward with my project. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

20 Time Update

20 time is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to me all year. It is teaching me to push boundaries of creativity in ways I haven't experienced since elementary school. Once I got into middle school, I really felt like creativity took the back burner in my education. Everything was focused on research/non-fiction/the real world, and I think part of me forgot how to be creative. 20 Time has challenged that, forcing me to reconnect with passions for design and fashion that I all but completely ignored for years. I'm learning a lot about myself and my limits, as well as the limits I can push with design. 
My one criticism of 20 time, however, is the lack of ability for effective class time use. I can't exactly figure out how to word this properly, but essentially I wish we were forced to do something like make mini-presentations on our projects to present the class to ensure productivity and motivation. I've had difficulty with motivation, and I think that would be helped through sharing my project and updates with my classmates publically, in addition to my weekly blog posts. I feel like a lot of times our 20 time days are spent unguided as we scroll aimlessly through other blogs. Aside from a lack of classroom motivation, I enjoy 20 time. It's the first opportunity I've had in years to express creativity in my education, and has made me a more independent, creative, and present human being. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Midwinter break is over, and I have made lots of progress with 20 time!! My mom was out of town throughout the entirety of the week, so I wasn't able to purchase any fabric to make clothes, but I did just about everything short of that for all the remaining garments. That doesn't seem like much, but for all the remaining garments my only task will be sewing pieces together. Hopefully, this will be simple and as soon as my mom gets back from her work trip I will be able to piece together the garments and move on to the next phase of the project: photographing and selling the clothes!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

NYFW

New York fashion week is this week!!! This means LOTS of inspiration has been coming my way. I found a lot of inspiration in a few of the pieces from Christian Siriano's collection. He's a designer that I've watched from his public beginning on project runway a few years ago. I've watched him grow as a designer and I am SO inspired and awed by the garments he comes up with. (This is a personal favorite of mine)
I've been thinking a lot about my own designs as I watch a lot of the NYFW shows, and think that I want to branch out a little bit structurally. Since I have zero formal training when it comes to sewing (everything I do when it comes to fashion is self-taught. Pattern making, sketching, production) and I've been thinking about signing up for some classes to improve those skills. I really want to get my clothes up on etsy ASAP, which is why mid-winter break is going to be crucial. I want to take some classes and learn to make pants. From what I've read, that's one of the most difficult garments to produce to fit well, and feel like I am up to the challenge and ready to branch out and get better as a designer. Thank you, NYFW, for restoring my inspiration and motivation for 20 time!! I can't wait to get to work. 
ALSO SOME EXCITING NEWS: a new high-quality fabric store is moving in about three blocks from my house! I'm so excited, hopefully that will be a good opportunity to find nice textiles for my collection. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bored

These past few weeks have been very busy with midterms, break and choir competition this past weekend. I've been finding myself with very little free time, most of which has been filled by studying for/ working on the mock trial, with absolutely no motivation to spend my spare few minutes working on 20 time. I've been trying to get back into it, but I've felt very uninspired and bored with my project recently, with no desire to spend my time on it. I'm hoping that I will begin to regain interest in my project very soon, as it is vital that I begin to produce more garments as we head into second semester. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Midterms are over!!

As I said in my most recent blog post, the majority of this past week was dedicated to midterms and studying, so 20 time unfortunately was not a high priority this week. I look forward to continuing my project this week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Not much has occurred this week!! Looking forward, have been thinking about the topic of my presentation and have thought of some good ideas that I think summarize everything that 20 time has taught me so far. I am hoping that m productivity will increase after midterm exams, as they will be my primary focus for the next two weeks, however I am continuing to sketch and plan for the upcoming months hoping to get a concrete plan for the second half of 20 time!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

so I made some clothes...


It's been quite a while since I've posted... But I've been very busy moving forward with my collection! Over the past two weeks, I've been working on producing some of the clothes in my line, with both success and failure. I began by heading over to our local fabric store with a very specific idea about the textile that I planned to purchase, and ended up wandering around the store for nearly an hour with no potential options that fit the perfect fabric that I envisioned. With this, I went back to the drawing board to reassess where I would go from there, and ended up deciding on a very nice fabric that was completely different from what I thought I wanted. I then ventured over to get other essentials (zippers, thread, lining, and of course... leather trim). My total came out to about $30, which was not bad. Since I had already made the patterns, all I had to do was cut and sew the fabric (harder than it sounds with my expectations for what I was going to be making...). I began by lining all of the pieces for the dress with a vinyl-blend to ensure it would hang properly and not end up sticking to tights (my pet peeve... Had to make sure it wouldn't happen with my collection!). This took longer than I expected, and then began the REALLY tumultuous part of the dress from hell (this, evidently, was one of my failures). I began assembling the dress, sewing the hems, and insetting the sleeves. When all was said and done after repairing my unreliable sewing machine twice, the dress was just ugly. I couldn't stand the way it looked.. My sister really liked it and wanted me to continue to finish the garment, but I knew I just couldn't go forward with the look and had to begin with something else.  So I decided to go out on a limb and create a skirt.. Without making a pattern first. I don't know why I decided to do this, but once I got the idea in my head I was just on a roll. In one day, I made and (almost) finished a high-waisted leather-trimmed skirt with a cute (if I do say so myself) pleat detail. Though my sewing machine had some SERIOUS issues with the thick leather, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. (I have still yet to finish the bottom hem or decide whether or not to add a waistband. What do you think?).

Here are some shots of the process and the final skirt that I ended up with. 





Sunday, December 15, 2013

This was a slow week, with tech week for sounds of the Season. But i have continued to prep patterns and make shopping lists for Monday the 23rd when I plan to buy allot my materials. I have been finalizing sketches and editing down some ideas. I'm getting really really excited to see my work come together. I've made clothes before but a collection that I'm making complete from start to finish is really exciting. I can't wait to start sewing and assembling. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

So the past few weeks I have been really struggling with inspiration and moving forward, but I think things are finally starting to turn around. I have begun pattern making for a few of the designs I have been working on. The process for making patterns for a garment are as follows:
First, you decide measurements. In this case, I'm using standard measurements for a women's medium. I also had to decide measurements for the sweep (circumference of the bottom hem) and shape and length of things like necklines, sleeves, and waistlines. I believe the hardest part of making a garment is the pattern making, because everything after that is simply putting the puzzle together. I have been testing some if the patterns on my dress form which is very close to the standard measurements.
Second, you measure out all of the measurements to make the garment the size and shape that you want it. You do this in halves: the front side and the back side, with additional patterns for things like sleeves and pockets. Usually, the difference between the front and back patterns is a matter of changing the height of the neckline and eliminating darts, so really once you have the pattern for the front, everything really begins to fall together. However, this is my first time making patterns without some type of guide. I am making patterns based on drawings that I made, which is testing my abilities greatly, but I am enjoying the challenge. I can really see myself growing as a clothing designer and manufacturer. I can't wait to see how/if the patterns work. 
I have also added a new design to my list of ones officially going in the collection (attached)!
I have been focusing mainly on dresses so far, and I have to make a decision soon as to whether or not that's all my collection will consist of. It's usually best to have diversity in the collection to show that you are strong with separates as well as single garments. I will see how it goes (it is my first collection, after all). 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Uninspired

Sorry for the late post! Last week, I spent the week in Florida with my family. We went to Disney world, where there unfortunately lies a severe lack of fashion inspiration. Through all the Mickey Mouse tshirts and sweatshirts, I found myself extremely uninspired when I sat down with my sketchbook. On our last day in Orlando we spent a few hours at Cirque du Soleil where I gathered ideas from the extravagant and intricate costume designs. I have been continuing with sketches and patterns so look for another update later this week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Em by Emily

Unfortunately this week has not been nearly as productive as last. I was extremely busy with sports and school so the amount of time I was able to dedicate to moving forward with Em by Emily was small. I had time to edit some of my sketches and brainstorm more ideas, but unfortunately not much more than that occurred. 
I have been working on timing for this project, and have decided that I'd like to get a good amount of initial sewing of samples finished over Christmas break. I also thought maybe in addition to selling on my etsy shop I could take my samples into locally owned boutiques and sell them from there. That is something I will have to look into. This week I hope to continue sketching and finalizing looks to keep moving forward with Em by Emily. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Progress!

This week I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out exactly where I'm going with my collection. I feel like hundreds of ideas pop into my head all at once and it's hard to sketch them down in time before I forget. However, thanks to recent generous gifts from Evernote, I was able to sketch down a few ideas today in my moleskin during church. (Probably not the way I'm supposed to spend my time in church...but I was able to sketch and remember a dress that I think would work real well in my collection). Here's the rough sketch I scribbled down: 

In addition to that, I finally compiled all of my ideas for the direction of this collection into my moleskin. Here's what I wrote down: 
Em by Emily: winter/spring 2014 rtw collection 

Ideas:
-Classy but edgy
---structured silhouettes with leather trims and a touch of a more edgy style for the modern high fashion individual 
---mixing of colors, prints, and textures 
---neutrals with a pop of color 
---inspired by Rachel Zoe spring 2014 rtw collection 

-Overall Themes
---neutrals with pops of color 
---leather trims
---overall classy yet edgy feel to the collection 

-Collection Outline
---6 outfits
--------pants, skirts, dresses, tops, coats, etc. 

-Who wears Em by Emily?
---modern, edgy and confident individual 
---consists of everyday clothes suitable for day time with the ability to transition to evening 

Lastly, I've been experimenting with color palettes and different ways to incorporate a pop of color. 



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Budget Planning

After a failed initial budget meeting with my primary investors in the company, I went back to the drawing board. They suggested I come back for my second proposal with a more concrete plan. Here is what I have so far:

Cheapest Option:
8 looks, at least 3-5 yards per look.
24 yards of fabric at $7 per yard
--fabric would be cheaper and lower quality, wouldn't be able to make a complete profit
Total cost: $168 for fabric, plus an estimated $50 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

Middle Option:
6 looks, 4 yards of fabric per look
24 yards of fabric at $12 per yard
--fabric would be higher quality than the cheaper option, and provides the most opportunity for profitable turnaround 
Total cost: $288 for fabric, plus an estimated $40 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

Most Expensive Option:
6 looks, 4 yards of fabric per look
24 yards of fabric at $15-17 per yard
--fabric would be of extremely good quality, would be able to sell clothes for more money therefore has potential for either a highly profitable turnaround or no sales at all because of higher prices on clothin
Total cost: $360-408 for fabric, plus an estimated $40 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

A closer look at the typical Etsy buyer: choosing the best budget
 
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/etsy.com - a credible website with a ton of info on the everyday etsy buyer
Etsy is the 42nd most visited site in the US and the 142nd most visited site worldwide 
Buyers often spend around ten minutes on the site at a time, meaning pictures must spark a quick initial interest
A large majority of the demographic is female, meaning clothes made for women have buying potential

Final budget planning:
My parents have chosen to give me the initial budget of the cheapest option and to up the budget based on fabric needs of particular looks.
We have also decided to create a line with only the initial six looks to ensure well made clothing and a reasonable time commitment 
The current goal is to design and produce the line for sale around springtime (lighter, cheaper fabrics that would allow for a more profitable turnaround to increase sales and continue the business further on from the initial 6 looks)


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Timelines, fabrics and cutbacks

A very busy week this week, one that has proven to me that this project is going to require a set amount of time outside of school that is purely dedicated to the completion of this project. From now on, I am going to begin each blog post with my goal for the upcoming week to ensure at least a little bit of progress. 
By this time next week, I hope to have purchased all or most of the fabric that I will need for the beginning stages of this project. I have spent a great deal of time searching for fabrics, and have made little progress. I have been in a constant back and forth decision regarding whether to sacrifice quantity for quality or vice versa. As I touched on in my previous blog post, fabric is EXPENSIVE, almost to the point where the clothes would be ridiculously expensive because if it. I think I am going to go the route of buying cheaper, but still good quality fabrics, and not necessarily in bulk.
 At this point, I'm still pretty set on my original goal in terms of making cute, affordable, well-made and on trend garments for the everyday girl. However, the original goal of making two to three looks for every standard size is not going to be feasible. For an eight piece collection, that is looking at about anywhere from 48-72 garments. I think I will try my best to make one garment for each standard size per look, which is looking at around 24 garments, still a large amount, yet more doable in the long run. 
I am extremely excited about this project. It's so much work, but I'm looking forward to being able to express my design creativity this way. This is something I've always wanted to do and I'm extremely excited/nervous/anxious/intrigued to see how this will all turn out. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Second guessing and trouble moving forward

To the eleven people that have viewed my blog in the United States and the two in Germany, hello and guten Tag!
Being extremely indecisive has proved to be a major obstacle in the beginning stages of this project. I had my entire collection designed and ready to go until this past Friday when I came up with better basis for the collection that seems so much more on trend and just all together BETTER than my original.
I have so many ideas for this second collection that already I've sketched 25 different looks that I want to make and it's overwhelming and I think I'm going crazy and THIS PROJECT IS REALLY FUN. Anyway, this collection is very edgy and neutral with small pops of color in certain pieces and I'm really excited about it's potential. I feel like this dramatic change in direction is going to be very beneficial in the long term because I have more ideas now that I can use later.
In terms of fabrics for this collection, I'm thinking knits in neutral colors and black leather... Which SOUNDS very odd and a little too edgy but I love the idea of adding leather as trim or to a sleeve just to make an item very current or allow it to transfer from day to night. But as I have learned this week, leather is expensive. Like, really expensive. We're talking $14 a yard for FAKE leather. Definitely not something I can afford to buy in bulk. I'm going to try and find something a little bit cheaper yet still high quality. Worse comes to worst I'll incorporate the leather in a smaller, more affordable way. A huge part of my Etsy shop is to make cute clothes that are fashion forward and AFFORDABLE for the everyday girl. Using expensive fabrics would increase the price of garments, which would take away from that goal. Definitely not something I'm interested in doing.
At this point in the project, I feel a little bit stuck and unsure of where to start next and a little apprehensive to begin purchases. I'm going to try and sit down with my mom this week to work out where my initial funding is going to come from. I need to take time to outline my business in order to remain organized and efficient.

I have attached a very rough and tentative sketch of a dress I want to put in my collection (I'm trying to sketch on my iPad so it shows up better on here. Needless to say I'm still getting used to it). It probably won't be white, but the collar and pockets will be black leather, and the top will be black lace lined with a neutral color that goes with the dress. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pattern Making


Motivating myself to begin this project has proved to be an extremely large obstacle. I began making patterns for some of the pieces in my collection, and for a self-taught pattern-maker it's going surprisingly well. I started making patterns a few years ago when I made myself a Christmas dress, and  it was surprisingly simple. However, this time around I have been experimenting with harder silhouettes that proves to be more difficult. For some reason I really do not understand sleeves. Contrary to popular belief, they are not tube shaped things that you sew into a garment. They are incredibly oddly shaped and I don't understand how to make them. First obstacle of the 20 time project? I guess I'll have to figure it out considering 3 garments in my collection have sleeves... Time to bring in the mentor. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Em by Emily

Coming up with the idea for this project was easy, I've always wanted to have my own store selling the clothes that I make and design. The hard part, however, is going to be actually executing the plan. In order to have my store open to the general public I have to provide a range of sizes (technically I don't HAVE to, but I want to appeal to all kinds of buyers on etsy). The plan is to hopefully create two or three garments per standard size of small, medium, and large. For an eight piece collection, this means at least 48 garments. I guess we will see how that goes.
TENTATIVE TIMELINE FOR THE STARTUP OF EM BY EMILY:
1. Create samples for every piece in the collection. These will be used to photograph and put on the website but never  actually sold
2. Photograph the clothing in an interesting way to captivate buyers
3. Make the clothes that will be for sale. Will MOST LIKELY make the store live once one sample is created for every size 
4. Set standard prices based on amount spent on materials for the largest size, with a profit margin large enough to continue buying materials

I have a feeling this is going to keep me extremely busy this year.