Thursday, January 21, 2010

FASHION NEWS - Spring/Summer 2010 Runway Trends

Spring/Summer 2010 Runway Trends: The Peek-A-Boo fashion

Hot off the runways for Spring 2010 fashion trends are peek-a-boo fashions, schoolgirl chic look, and painterly print fashion. Expect even the return of metallic fashion!

Of these fashion trend, I find the peek-a-boo fashion very interesting. Expect it to come in many creative forms in clothing both for Spring and Summer looks. This trend will manifest in transparent panels, use of mesh, nettings and tulle. Laces and other ornate details revealing flesh under it will be used. Detailing such as slits and cut-outs will be very popular.

Sheer is back together with other see-through and transparent fabrics! This will lead to some lingerie-look detailing. Spring 2010 fashion is not about risqué styling witnessed in the 90s but about, sexiness with mystery and sophistication.

Here are some runway trends from popular designers like Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs and others.   These are some of  their interpretation of the peek-a-boo fashion. Pictures courtesy of

How will these runway trends translate to the shelves of your favorite retailers? My dear, any peek-a-book fashion item in your closet right now?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

FASHION IDEAS - Little Black Dress of Blue Jeans?

Blue Jeans are pants primarily made from Denim fabric. Denim fabric is made from cotton woven in twill construction; where the weft threads passes under two or more weft threads, and traditionally dyed in indigo; thus called Blue Jeans.

Blue Jeans has gone a long way from its original purpose which is as work apparel to now an iconic fashion item. Brands such as Wrangler and Levi’s had made the Blue Jeans an apparel item that is so identified with American culture. American Old West made Blue Jeans a classic item.

Of course, Calvin Klein turned it into a fashion item with the introduction of designer jeans. Who can ever forget, Brooke Shield with her “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin” line? Now, almost every designer has their denim line. There are also brands such as Not Your Daughter’s Jeans that offer expanded jeans line.

Little Black Dress. Who can forget Audrey Hepburn in her little black dress (LBD) in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Remember Catherine Deneuve with her hair pinned up and heavy black eyeliner? Gone are the days when a black dress is worn as an expression of mourning. Ever since Coco Chanel gave new meaning to it, the LBD has been heralded as every woman's secret fashion weapon.

Fashion historians attribute the origins of this LBD from Coco Channel 1920s designs. To stay true to its origins, it is suppose to be in simple lines and pattern. It is normally worn with or without jewelry, depending on what the occasions call for. A true LBD must be a classic and can outlast current trends. Just like the Blue Jeans, almost every designer has their interpretation or versions of their own little black dress.

So hands down, the two most popular apparel items for any woman is Blue Jeans and Little Black Dress. Both are staple wardrobe for most women. Both can be used to dress up and dressed down by accessorizing. Both are classic fashion item. If you can only choose one, which one is it?

Blue Jeans?

Little Black Dress?

And your vote goes to??? :-)

My dear, till my next Blog!

Friday, January 15, 2010



Understanding texture means understanding the behavior and characteristics of the fabric. Although as element of design, is not just about the fabric. Trims, accessories and other finishings applied or used in the garment also affect the overall texture of the apparel.

Texture is the surface feeling or appearance of the garment whether woven or non-woven. Texture can appeal to the sense of touch or to the sense of sight or to both of these senses. Texture can thus be sensed in many ways. A surface can appear rough or smooth, prickly or pebbly, shiny or dull, soft or hard.
It is important for the student to get a basic understanding of different fibers that are used for fabrics. Different fibers have different ways of draping, feeling and looking. This also applies to the way the fabric is constructed, i.e., whether they are woven or knitted. (Morris, 2009. Elements and Principles of Design - Unraveling the Design Process in Apparel Industry)
As a designer, you can manipulate the fabrics, trims and accessories to create an exciting texture for your apparel.  On the other hand, sometimes the best way to "manipulate" a fabric is to know when not to "manipulate" it.  I am a big fan of texturizing fabric.  I love dimentional fabric.  So I have to constantly remind myself the concept of design simplification :-)
Also, in design, we need to use the principles of Balance, Emphasis, Proportion and Rhythm to create harmony in a garment.  When you already have a well-defined texture, it is a good idea not to break the harmony by using minimal detailing in your design. 
My dear,  here is an example of a fashion project where you have to control "showing off" your sewing skills.  :-)  In this set of fashion, showcases a design collection where minimal cutting, patternmaking and sewing manipulation were done.

I presented this collection in one of NAFD's (Nevada Association of Fashion Design) Annual Fashion Shows in Las Vegas.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite collections.  Plus I have the best sets of models who volunteered to model the collection for me!  Thank you girls! Especially for this photoshoot. 
My dear, till my next blog!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

FASHION PROJECT - "From Muslin" to "It's something!"

When I was thinking of a good project to show my fashion design students a lesson in creativity – I was thinking of using a material that will not cost them an arm and leg. Neither do I don’t want to use an existing garment because it is not a fashion “make-over” project. Then, I thought why not make use of the fabric that all fashion design students and sewing enthusiasts used often – the good ol’ muslin.

So using muslin as a starting point, I dyed it in purple and hand painted a silver paint in uneven pattern for accent. Now, I have a transformed my fabric from its natural, unbleached state to a more fashionable silver glittered purple-dyed cotton fabric.

I also want to show how to use details that is not commonly used in prêt-a-porter apparel. So I picked yoyo. In the world of sewing, yoyo is not the toy but a circle of fabric gathered in the middle to give a puff look. It is also called Suffolk puffs. It is used in a garment as an embellishment or as an accent, mostly for DIY projects and not much for RTW because of the obvious production concern.

To make a yoyo – simply cut circle of fabrics. The circles must be cut twice the desired finished size. Using a durable thread, make a running stitch line around the edge of the fabric, pull and gather and you have your yoyo ready. Yoyo is popular among crafters, it is used in patchwork quilt, in pillows, used as rosettes and in other knick-knacks. Clover USA also offers yoyo maker in different sizes.

So okay, I decided to use yoyo as my major detail and element of design for this project. Yoyos are normally made more interesting by what you put in the middle of the gathered part. Most craft work use decorative buttons to cover the hole part but it would be an overkill for my design, so I decided to paint it in silver as well. To avoid the hole, I did not fold the edge of the fabric circle when I made the running stitch and allowed a little thread unraveling for a little edgy finished. I decided to paint it over with the silver glitter as well.

Now, I wanna make sure that yoyo will be the major detail without really making them as one single focal point in the design.  To do it I used them all over the bodice and the result is this:

So my dear, here it is … from “Just Muslin” to “It is Something” fashion.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

FASHION NEWS - Fashion Forecast 2010

I always advised my students that even if they cannot afford the services of fashion forecasting companies, they are lucky that they are now living in the decade of amazing information technology on the web. Valuable fashion forecasts information are everywhere. Using their own fashion savvy-ness they can filter and analyze what will work and what will not in developing their design lines or collection. One site I recommend is – you’ll find a lot of valuable information and resources in this site. See screenshots from their website.

In particular, I'd like to share that the Pantone Fashion Color Report Spring 2010 is available free-of-charge. Here is part of that report.

Splashes of Sunshine for Spring 2010

Designers bring splashes of sunshine to the runway for spring 2010. Vibrant brights add a sense of excitement to the color palette, while practical neutrals provide a safety net for cautious consumers.

“Now more than ever, women are vigilant when it comes to spending,” said Leatrice Eiseman,
executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Instead of reinventing their wardrobe at the start of each season, consumers want pieces to complement what they already own. Pairing a bold color with a basic piece or freshening up their look with bright accents addresses the need for practicality, as well as fun.”

Spring and summer naturally evoke feelings of calm ocean waters and tranquil beach vacations in cool, vibrant, tropical Turquoise. This soothing hue from the blue-green family conjures feelings of escape, especially when paired with Amparo Blue. With more warmth than the typical spring navy, this particular shade of blue is extremely appealing because of its brighter, more energetic attitude. Like the scent of a blossoming flower, Violet lends a romantic air to the warm-weather palette. This intriguing purplish hue is a distinctive addition to any wardrobe. Yellow has made its mark on fashion and spring will further this trend with gleaming Aurora. Reminiscent of the first glimpse of yellow as the sun begins to rise over the horizon, this shimmering, slightly greenish yellow adds a bold infusion. Energy continues to surge throughout the warmer hues of spring, leading to provocative Fusion Coral. This inviting orange connects directly to tangy Tomato Purée, this season’s classic red. Pair it with Turquoise for a retro look. Thoughtful, cautious neutrals provide a dependable backbone to the brights of spring. Kick back and enjoy the bubbly luxury of Pink Champagne. This delicate, wispy tint is the season’s newest neutral. The melding of Pink Champagne, Tomato Purée and Amparo Blue is a refreshing take on the classic springtime combination of red, white and blue. Three additional neutrals round out the palette. Tuscany, a warm beige hue, provides the perfect backdrop and works well as a solid base color with dynamic accents like Fusion Coral or Violet. Dried Herb is the ultimate green neutral, pairing well with all other colors. Ideal for bigger ticket items, cool Eucalyptus is the eternal, practical gray. Choose this nuanced neutral and add brightly colored exclamation points in shoes, jewelry and handbags.

My dear, if you want a full copy of the report, visit and it is available free for download.

FASHION NEWS - 2nd edition Fashion Figure Templates for Fashion Portfolio

The 2nd edition of Fashion Figure Templates for Fashion Portfolio will be released on March 22. The Fashion Figure Templates for Fashion Portfolio is a collection of professionally illustrated templates of fashion croquis. These templates are ideal to use for fashion design presentations. The new edition contains more additional female templates and children templates as well. The book is printed in Black and White and can easily be traced. It is also available in CD as e-figure template files that are available for purchase separately. It is published and distributed by Lulu Press and is available at

The book is available both in print and as download.

Additional fashion figure templates available on 2nd edition.

My dear, for those who have already purchased the 2st edition of the book - email me, or leave me a message on this blog and I will extend you 35% discount to be applied on your purchase for the new edition.  I also would love to receive email of your work using my figure templates!  If you give your permission, I may include them in the future editions of this book.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SEWING TIPS & IDEAS - Transferring design by stenciling method.

I posted the idea of doing fabric print using stenciling method as a way to make a garment interesting and someone asked me how to do it. So my dear, this will be my first posting on sewing tips and ideas.

If you are working on one item or few pieces of apparel, stenciling is a good way of making a customized print on fabric. It is a practical way of transferring design idea on fabric without the use of expensive screen-printing equipment, particularly if it only requires one or two color applications. Of course in bigger production, screen-printing is the preferred and practical method.

PREPARE YOUR STENCIL. You can create your own stencil from acetate. You can draw your own design or photocopy a copyright-free design, transfer and cut your very own stencil. You can also find a lot of interesting stencils in your favorite craft stores. Using your creativity, you can use one stencil, combine or mix and match them.

PREPARE YOUR FABRIC. Fabric preparation requires choosing your fabric to stencil with care. Fabric that is treated with stain resistant finish, water-repellant finish, etc. will not work. Pre-washing fabric is a good idea as it keeps the surface free from anything that will prevent the paint from adhering.

PREAPARE YOUR PAINT & BRUSH. When working on apparel projects - I will only recommend non-toxic water-based fabric or textile paint. Period. Buy stencil brush – they are easily available in any craft stores.

If you are ready to transfer design, then make sure you have a masking tape handy to hold the stencil down to the fabric. In stenciling, paint must be applied in straight up and down, gentle pounding motion and never a stroking motion. This will prevent your textile paint from spreading under the edges of your stencil. Evenly cover your brush with paint without flooding it. It will give you a smoother finish that is different from a hand-painted design.

If you are using two or more color, have a separate brush ready and do it all at the same before you lift the stencil. Remember that it is difficult to put the stencil back and match the exact spot you are previously working on. Remove the masking tape only when you are all done and finish.

Let the fabric paint dry thoroughly. I recommend 24 hours. Then iron at the back to heat set the fabric paint.

Here's some picture to guide you. I used a silver glitter paint on black cotton knit fabric.

Position your stencil.

Use up and down, gentle pounding motion.

Gentlly remove the stencil.

The finished product.

Applied in garment.  In my Little Black Dress class, one of my student (5th from L) used this method in making her LBD interesting. Appling it on the hemline and as accent on the neckline.

My dear, stenciling is an easy way to transfer design and a sure way to make your apparel interesting!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

FASHION CHALLENGE Update 1- ASG'S 2010 Creativity Contest

So back to the featured FASHION CHALLENGE, I pose this question on my last blog “Will you modify the given patterns to suit your specific design idea? Or do you stay true to the existing pattern and use exciting trims and attention-grabbing garment details to make an interesting outfit?”

Fashion Design lessons: In creating apparel design, you don’t necessarily have to do an Albert Einstein and invent a new product or design. The word re-inventing fashion means modifying existing style and details. Oftentimes it means combining detail or details of one style to the other. That’s the reason why I hear fashion design students refer to gaucho pants as palazzo pants. Or refer to Bermuda Short as Pedal Pusher. Human have been wearing clothes since time immemorial. What you think an entirely new idea may have already been done before! That’s why court cases on “knock-offs” are hard to prove in American Courts.

So suppose you decide to stay true to the pattern or make minor alteration to it, one way to make it interesting is to use interesting fabric and create interesting details. For simple illustration purposes, let me take the basic Simplicity Pattern 2645-E which is a gored skirt. Here is a different way of using this pattern as a starting point in creating apparel.

Fashion Design lesson: In the apparel industry, most apparel companies maintain their basic block patterns.  These basic blocks are made according to the company's size specification that were developed based on its standards.  These are oftentimes grouped according to basic styles and product classificifation and selling seasons.  Apparel designers oftentimes used them as starting point to generate idea for new line, patternmaker used them as starting point in drafting the pattern.  This is how company size standards are set and maintained. With the advent of advanced technology,  sample rooms are no longer filled with tons and tons of hard-copy of patterns instead they are stored electronically.  I still remember 20 years ago, navigating our sample room filled with thick board patterns and the difficulty of getting them organized.  As soon as we transition to computerized patternmaking, voila .... from a messy to a well-organized and more efficient sample-room. 

As illustrated above, just by combining 3 or more patterns, using coordinated fabrics and trims in different color combinations, one can create a line or collection of skirts!  In my class, I always tell the students that as a fashion design student, when they are creating a design it is really not nice to hear the question, "where do I start?"  Use your creativity - there a thousand of ways to start a design!

I will focus on the two Award Categories of the ASG challenge:

1. Most effective use of Fabric/Trim.

2. Most Interesting Wardrobe Concept.

First category - whether you decide to modify the pattern or be true to the Simplicity pattern, this challenge is about your creativity, ability and skills in manipulating your fabric and trims.  Try to think outside the box, push your creative juices.  You are making one piece - you don't have to worry about coordinating it with any other pieces.  If you are a couture designer or aim to be one - this is the challange I recommend.

The second category - the thought process for this challenge should be that of an apparel designer creating a collection.  This is where as a designer, your editing skills is needed in your design ability.  What basic pattern pieces to use as starting point?  What details to put together?  What fabrics to coordinate?  Unlike the first challange, I don't recommend tht you go overboard, like I said, you need to "edit" your design to create an interesting yet well-cohesive and coordinated pieces. 

My dear, time to let your fashion design creative juices flow!

Monday, January 4, 2010

FASHION CHALLENGE - American Sewing Guild's 2010 Creativity Contest

Okay, so it’s not Lifetime’s Project Runway nor Bravo’s The Fashion Show nor Launch my Line. It doesn’t have a brand new car and $100,000 cash Grand Prize. Instead, the winners for its three categories will receive a $500 check and a serger from Brothers International Corporation. But you know what? This is a great challenge to work on!

Here’s the ASG’s invite to the contest:

“The American Sewing Guild's 2010 Creativity Contest is your invitation to a fabulous sewing journey. It begins with nine great patterns. Use just one pattern or mix them up to create a one-of-a-kind outfit. Adjust, adapt, embellish. Size them up or size them down. Sew for yourself or someone else.”

That’s exactly what I am looking for! A fashion challenge that will lead one to fashion and sewing journey! One of the many things I always emphasize to my students is this: As a fashion designer there are existing elements and details that you can adjust, adapt, alter or embellish as starting point to aid you in your design process. Or using an inspiration and skills acquired, create an entirely new detail. The bigger challenge that fashion designer have to face is how to effectively manipulate these elements of fashion design. One cannot throw in as many great details in a garment all at once. The principles of balance, emphasis, rhythm and proportion should be used as a guide in the process of “manipulating” the elements of design. The fabric, the trims, the details, the construction method, size specifications, etc. should all blend harmoniously to create that PERFECT FIT in apparel. The design process does not end when an illustration is finished; the sewing or construction phase must be completed. An effective fashion designer need not be the best patternmaker or best seamstress but these skills are important to have (and not just know) to effectively engineer your garment.

So back to the fashion challenge. The starting point: 9 Simplicity patterns.

Before I share my thought process on this, let’s read some comments in the American Sewing Guild Facebook fan page about the pattern selections.

“I was not excited about the ones they picked last year either, but when I saw the fashion show at the ASG conference I found it hard to pick out what pattern they were because they had revamped them all so much, except for the kimona one.”

“I teach youth sewing, and when I showed my kids the pattern for the youth group, (younger than 14)...they went...ewwwwww. Sorry, ASG, not your typical teen outfit here. I really wish the pattern companies would come up with some trendy patterns so our young ones can enjoy sewing!”

“The past few years at conference, I've seen some very exceptional and creative things from the younger sewers. I think these patterns have lots of potential. I've already shown them to my teen group and they have some great ideas!” 

"I see lots of potential for "creative use of fabric".... the wheels are turning ...”

Now, my thought process… In real world, in the apparel industry, designers face some “limitations” in their design process. These are things we normally discuss and study in the class. The prêt-a-porter industry is more limiting than the couture and made-to-order industry. In couture, you have one or limited yet well-defined client to satisfy. In prêt-a-porter or RTW industry, your target market is not easy to define. There is a need for a lot of marketing analysis, marketing strategy and proper merchandising techniques to consider to accurately define your target market. So this fashion challenge is not a search for the next best American fashion designer. But for a fashion design student, this challenge represents situation in real world; you have some “limitations” to deal with and this is when you use your creativity to overcome them. This challenge is using the nine Simplicity pattern as starting point in the design process to come up with the best one of a kind outfit or wardrobes for you or someone else. Will you modify the given patterns to suit your specific design idea? Or do you stay true to the existing pattern and use exciting trims and attention-grabbing garment details to make an interesting outfit? Which will pay off? Which will cost you out of the competition?

In my future blogs, I will focus on the two Award Categories:

- Most effective use of Fabric/Trim.

- Most Interesting Wardrobe Concept.

To join this creativity contest, you need to be an ASG member. For more information, visit their website at

So can you make it work? Will your ideas be in or out? Or will the judge say “I’m just not buying it?”

My dear, let the fashion challenge begins!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Finally, I am writing this blog! So what to write about? What would be a great way to start this fashion and sewing blog? What would be an interesting fashion and sewing journey to talk about? Something that my readers will follow reading? Hahaha…. That is assuming that I will capture some readers! I’m scared that I will end up reading and visiting my blogs several times a day just to generate traffic! Well I can always force my husband to just please go ahead and read by blog instead of trying to figure out why I am up at night smiling and sometimes laughing in front of my computer. I can force my friends to please read and visit it. Or threaten my family and relatives to do the same? Or maybe make it a requirement for my students to visit my blog? Or better yet beg my two little techie boys to visit this site as often as they can?

So what to expect from this blog?  If I have to group my ideas for this blogs - it will fall into these major categories:
  • Fashion News - Interesting fashion news and fashion forecasts.
  • Sewing Tips and Ideas - Educational sewing tips and ideas such as how to texturize fabrics, how to make circle skirts, etc. 
  • Feature Fashion Designers - I will be featuring some great fashion design ideas from my friends, students, readers, etc. (including mine of course!)
  • Fashion Challenges
Fashion Challenges? Well, in the world of reality shows, in particular, fashion reality shows – the word Fashion Challenge is now a major addition to fashion vocabulary. So what is a Fashion Challenge? It is a dare to engage in a fashion struggle, contest, competition, etc. using fashion skills, talents and strengths. Yes! Now ... I just found the inspiration on the question what kind of fashion and sewing journey to talk about first? FASHION CHALLENGES! To make this blog interesting I will engage in fashion challenges and engage my readers as well! These fashion challenges will walk us to the journey of exploring fashion design using the ability to manipulate the elements and principles of designs and maximizing acquired sewing skills.

My dear, watch out for my next blog as I drag you along with me to the world of fashion challenges!