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Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Lesson 14 of 14

Constructing Clothes: Make it Special and Finish Well

Jay Calderin

Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew

Jay Calderin

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Lesson Info

14. Constructing Clothes: Make it Special and Finish Well

Lesson Info

Constructing Clothes: Make it Special and Finish Well

So, this is the master shot. I love this photograph. This is actually the work of an incredible couturier in Boston, Daniel Faucher, and he's also our draping teacher at the school. And, inside this garment, you just see the construction. Outside, it just looks like this lacy dress. This kind of work is almost invisible. You can't see it put together, even though you see all that structure, it's so delicate, I always think it's done by elves. It's so, so, delicate. I call them the ladies. I worked for designers who have these ladies who work magic. And, you have to have the touch. You know, it's a lot of experience in touch. But then you also have visible, Where you want to see that top stitching, and that construction, and that's part of the design. Resurfacing is when you're changing the surface, terraforming the textile. Sculpture, you're engineering the shape. And, destruction, actually breaking down fabrics. If you want kind of a raw quality, and I have a couple of quick examples.

These are some surface treatments, so adding sequins, adding embroidery. Beautiful beading, this is a Mary McFadden fabrics. And, working with all different textiles. And, this is sculpting. So, you take a basic fabric. And this is one piece of fabric that's all being tucked by hand, to create these beautiful structures. And, this is on a bigger scale. So, this is a student who's sculpting with this shape as the top of the skirt. And here, almost like a peplum. You know, where it's just at the hip and at the neck line. These are all former students who I'm very proud of. So, and, this is the destruction. This is sort of saying, I don't want it all crisp and clean, and I want it to fray, and yet look at how elegant the actual dress is. Simple little dress, but adding that element of the same fabric, and you're reinventing the fabric, almost, gives it a real unique quality. And then, the finishing process, is something that I like to reinforce with everybody, because we've made this beautiful dress, right? We worked on the pattern, we made this beautiful dress. Why not make sure that hem is working? You know, a twisted hem or a hem where you can see stitches, is something that's worth undoing and doing it again. And my students hate hearing that, but it's so, so, key, because you could have the most beautiful dress, and if that hem line is horrible, that's all you remember about the dress. Same thing is true for pressing and seaming garments. Nothing worse than seeing something come down the runway, or in an editorial shoot that has bad wrinkles in it, you know, that weren't planned. You can have cool wrinkles, but, it's really bad wrinkles, because, you traveled with it, and it got messed up. You don't want to do that. And then, also thinking about these other areas of storing clothing. How you store it, whether it's flat... To give you one historical example, the Fortuny Delphos dresses, which were pleated, they're stored in museums by being twisted and rolled into a coil, so that they keep the integrity of their pleats. So, that is one way to do it. Knits, you wouldn't normally hang on a hanger, if it's a sweater, 'cause it will stretch out. So, things like that, you want to consider, even with tailored garments that have real structure, you might want to fill them with tissue paper, so, that they retain their body, because they can very easily be crushed. And then, delivering materials and methods, this is also very important. You're not gonna send a wedding gown in a cardboard box. You want to ask yourself, what kind of box am I presenting in? What kind of bag? How it's being delivered. You know, do you really want to send it UPS, or do you want to hand deliver it? So, things like that, I know seem like extras and not really a main concern, but, they all are extensions of you as a designer and your brand, which we'll actually be talking about next time, but they're key, I think, and there are some bonus materials included in this section, which speak about the care and feeding of a garment, and all that good stuff, so that you can have almost have little checklists to say, am I making sure I'm serving this up in the best possible way. And these are some examples of the insides of garments. Let me go back to that one. This was a hem that has the horse hair, to give it a little body. Here's hanging straps, so that you can put a strapless dress on a hanger. Right? And those are the little details we forget, until we run into the issue of actually having to do it. All right, Jay, well, that was a lot crammed in. Yes. (both laughing) Does anyone have any quick final questions on that, or do you have any sort of final thoughts about... With these last two lessons about where to go from here, or with the importance of what we've just gone from, the drawing, and then the draping and the putting it all together? Well, I think, I mean, the drawing, I think, is, that one place where hopefully now, when you've seen all this, it can actually inform your drawing. For instance, where you're putting that dart, not just kind of do what you normally do, but think about, where do I really want that dart? How do you manipulate it, since we've seen it actually done? The sketching works hand-in-hand with this, but, it's that one thing you can do right now, when you go home, and really experiment with, and once you can take classes... What you said, we have a creative live sewing classes. Once you have more time with that, and have experimented, and learned from mistakes, and things like that, then you can start, I think, spending more time actually physically producing what you create, I mean, what you've created on paper. And as for the draping, you can... It's hard to do draping on an actual person, unless it's very free-form, 'cause you can't pin the person, so, it's a little tricky. So, you want to think about, you know, what would best suit you, in terms of having a baseline to work from. And, one of the things that I might recommend... I always recommend doing your own, but, there are pattern companies that offer sloper garments, like, you know, a basic dress, a basic pant, a basic abatis, and you can use those if you transfer those onto a heavier paper, and start to play and manipulate. It's a good baseline, if you don't have the resources to have a dress forum. And a lot of people will downplay the use of commercial patterns, 'cause they are a little different than professional patterns, but those sloper garments, you know, those basic garments, it's a good way to get that baseline for yourself, that you can work from, and it's only going to be a matter of practice.

Class Description

Bring your designs to life with Jay Calderin in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft, and Sew!

Jay Calderin has been called a “a budding designer's best friend,” and in this class he’ll show you exactly what it takes to create and construct custom clothes. 

You’ll learn about:
  • Drawing and planning for clothing production
  • The stages of pattern making
  • Constructing and finishing garments
Jay will help you get started with smart drafting tips and offer insights on working with muslin so your patterns lay and drape properly.

If you want to produce one-of-a-kind garments, join Jay Calderin for a complete primer on getting started in Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew.


Jacquelyn Bradley-Nelson

I love this class, I'm glad I found it. This what I want to learn or add to my knowledge. JayC you are awesome! I need more learning on rendering coloring for illustration for that is. I can't wait to see what's on the other class I will take. Thanks! Signed: rm515jb.

Andrea Leggett

I really enjoyed this and the draping really opened my eyes to what can be achieved. Jay made it look easy so I plan a shot at draping later and will post my effort on Instagram with thanks to him! Thank you Creative LIve for bringing this to me (in the UK) and special thanks to Jay. When I'm in Boston in August I"ll buy you a beer!


Loved the draping information. It was logical and clear enough to make me want to try it.