Design / Fashion / Handbags

Everything Isn’t As It Seams

Many people I know imagine the life of a fashion design major to be sitting at a desk drawing pretty pictures of clothing all day, but they could never be more wrong. Designing takes A LOT of work. Yes, it does consist of sketching out your ideas. However,  we also learn how to develop design concepts, professionally present them to potential buyers and properly construct our original pieces. Constructing involves drafting the design’s pattern as well as sewing it together. These tasks can take up several hours of your week depending on the intricacy of the design (20 hours or more). Recently, I had the honor of making my little sister’s senior prom dress. It took about a month to sketch, draft out the pattern, make fitting samples, and finally complete the dress.

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Drafted pattern for contoured bodice

I remember when Brynn first mentioned working on prototypes for her bag designs. She referred to them as skeletons and I was like “WHAAAAATTT????” (LOL) I wasn’t sure of what she was talking about at first. As a fashion designer, I call all of my prototypes muslin(s). They’re given that name because the name of the fabric they are typically made out of is cotton muslin. Before anything is pieced together a pattern must be drafted. This is absolutely mandatory when creating apparel. Patterns acts as a blue print and are referred back to to correct mistakes or if dissatisfied with the outcome, redesign.

However, this week I discovered when making the prototype for a handbag, drafting a pattern isn’t completely necessary, depending on how simple or complex the design is, because handbags consist of standard geometric shapes while apparel involves creating shapes that mold to the body.

Since we already had a good idea of what we wanted the dimensions to be from all of our original sketches and illustrator files, making the prototype was easy. The fold over clutch was simply cut after we measured everything out with a ruler. Denim was our fabric of choice. Brynn told me she uses denim because it’s structure sort of mimics that of leather. After cutting it out and finally piecing it together we decided the dimensions for the new clutch design looked entirely too small.

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Asymmetrical fold over bag design prototypes.

We ended up having to go back to the drawing board three different times before we were happy with the results. During this entire process, I realized visualizing certain dimensions may appear differently once physically created. I run into this problem often making my apparel designs, but I really underestimated the simplicity of a handbag’s design. I have a feeling the side bag will be a little more difficult than the fold over bag.

Overall, it was a lot of fun making the different prototypes. Constructing is where I always feel most at home.

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