Hello again!

It is a little embarrassing to see my last post beginning "Happy 2013" considering we are in 2015 now. However, we mustn't dwell in the past!

I started out this 2015 rather inauspiciously, being the most sick I have been in a very long time: fever, sore throat, headache, the whole shebang. I spent most of the very beginning of 2015 asleep.

Despite the poor start, I'm very excited for this year and it has some big changes for me. My last day at Amazon was on January 2 and I am now enjoying the freedom of being unemployed. I enjoyed my time at Amazon (not the least being the opportunity to meet a certain fellow developer) but was feeling unsatisfied. Maybe it is something like the 7 year itch (6.5 years in the tech industry), getting burnt out, or getting just not taking enough care of myself.

Rather than turn entirely into a slug, I decided to pursue something I've always been interested in but never had a chance to fully explore: costume design. I've always loved costumes and have been interested in making them (done sketches and things) since I was little. I enrolled in some sewing and fashion design classes to improve my skill and so far I am loving it. Getting an opportunity to be hands on, make things, and learn new skills is great.

Part of reviving this blog is to have a place to share what I'm working on, and hopefully hold myself accountable. I don't want this "sabbatical", as my mother is calling it, to be an extended vacation. Rather, I want it to be an opportunity to explore and accomplish things I didn't have time to before. To that end, I'm going to attempt to post at least once a week with what I'm working on. I promise there will be some baking related posts, for sure, but also more posts about my other projects. Since I am already behind (damn cold), here is a summary of the classes I am taking.

Fashion Illustration

This class teaches the basics of a very specific type of drawing, which helps designers get ideas out of their heads and on to paper so they can better communicate with their clients or other people working on the design. It is a very stylized (almost cartoon-like) format but it is a lot of fun. Here is some of what I worked on in the first class.


There are a couple of different ways designers make clothes. One way is to start with a dress form and pin fabric to it. This allows you to figure out where there needs to be more fabric and where you'll need to remove some (around the waist for example). You add darts where you want to pull the fabric in tighter, mark all this on the fabric, and then take it off and it will form the basis of the pattern. Here is the front bodice I worked on. The triangles are darts that will be sewn together, pulling the garment in at the side (to allow room for the bust) and at the waist.

Sewing Technique

This is probably the most straightforward but also potentially most satisfying class. Basically we are just going through and learning about 20 different sewing techniques (different seams, hems, fastenings etc.). We get to put all our finished examples into a binder both as a helpful reminder of how to do each technique and also as part of a portfolio.

Pattern Making
This is similar to draping; the goal is to be able to create a pattern for the garment you want to design. However, instead of working off a dress form, you're working with measurements and shaping tools on paper. Here is an example of moving a dart around a bodice front. All of these patterns would fit exactly the same, but will look different, allowing the designer to select the best to match a particular idea.

These classes are pretty basic so I haven't really gotten enough information to be able to really do anything with it, but I can see how it will begin to come together and I'm excited about it. Hopefully soon I'll be able to post actual things that I've made rather than what basically amounts to homework assignments.

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