Author Archives: atd86

the end

For my final concept presentation I did an animation based on three of my swimsuit designs, I was really happy with the end product, and I think it was worth the 4 days with no sleep…! Haha (but seriously).

Anyway, enjoy, “in bloom” a 09/10 swimwear collection by Ana Diaz:



number 5. Or thereabouts

I decided to start sewing this morning before coffee……….. bad bad choice. 

I’m not going to go into too much detail, but let’s just say some inside-out sewing occurred, on the zig zag machine, on a really small stitch, which is impossible to see let alone unpick….and I have to recut the top half..none of which would be a deal at all if I didn’t have a massive-o exam tomorrow afternoon that finishes at 5pm 😦

Bah. I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today. I knew the little man was after me.

Sooo I know it’ll get done. Was just hoping it would be today. It could have been a LOT worse so I shouldn’t whine too much… But I will just a little bit because it makes me feel better 🙂

Ok back to study… xx

number 4 – i should stop numbering these posts…

…because it makes it a lot easier to know how long ago I last posted.

Sorry folks, been a little MIA of late, and like a few others I’ve done some Sydney trips, an internship, some fun times, all resulting in a really difficult time getting back in the swing of things (read: Uni). I would post up lots of photos of my trip, except i didn’t actually take any.. mainly because me + camera + kodak moment = 193484 photos of the same thing all in different settings cuz I can’t get the flash right (so what if it can go underwater??? It can’t focus for sh*te!), and just end up with lots of blurry photos and a full memory card..

So I generally avoid taking my camera out to avoid awkward moments. Needless to say, I had a really good time, hung out with Max and Ange in a new town, learnt lots at Lover and got to partake in the stress that is ‘the-week-before-fashion-week’. Lots of fun!!

Anywho, back to the real world now… it’s s 4 days til patterns and garment are due, and I am surprisingly a lot less stressed than I usually would/should be. Disappointingly,  I have no photos of my current progress 😦 but…. if you look in my previous posts, everything is roughly the same, except a lot less trial and error, and the fabric is black. Beaaauuutiful black wool…! It’s working out very nicely for my draped swimsuit…


(Can anyone remember him?? Don’t blame you if you don’t, it’s been a while… recap)

All in all, I only have a few minor details left on my swimsuit. Once I’d perfected the pattern, it was really just (nervously) cutting the fabric, and veryyyyy slooowwwwllyyy assembling it, because i don’t want to make any booboo’s (i don’t have enough fabric to recut). I’m nearly finished now, just have to join the top half/straps together.

Sample review went quite well, I had a chance to see my swimsuit on a  model and had a few very minor changes to make – I extended the torso slightly, and fixed up the gathering at the back – but all in all I was really happy with it. I haven’t gotten those photos off Helen yet though.. so as soon as I do… I can show you all.

Until next time…and good luck everybody in your final stages of production! I promise I’ll have more photos in my next post.


number 3 – rain rain maybe you should stay for the good of all design students

I’m with everyone here – rainy days means less procrastination, less wishing we were lying on the grass in the sun, and less taking lunch/coffee/snack/even TOILET breaks every half hour – because doing so means you’ll end up looking like a drowned rat. Nobody likes fuzzy hair!

Thursday was my second day in the studio, and it was AWESOME. I’ve done the unimaginable and nearly finished my sample swimsuit! (well the pattern anyway, which is the hardest part) . I have a habit of doing about 5 samples until the final ‘sample’ for sample review.. only to make it one last time as the final garment. I guess it’s a good thing as once i get to the final, I’ve done it so many times it’s manageable and not too scary. On the other hand, i waste a lot of time and fabric.

Anywho, nothing changed this semester, I have so far made about 4 unfinished samples in two days, which was pretty much essential because I had to do the following process:

1. Drape shape on mannequin. Cut into it, pin/sew/tuck/whatever, until I was happy with the look.

2. Pull it off the mannequin. Cut along seam lines, trace, get pattern

3. Cut out of new fabric, put together, put back on mannequin – does it look the same as step 1? If not.. find out what i need to change, and start the process again! And again.. and again… and again.. until it’s perfect!

First thing I did on Thursday morning bright and early, was continue on the shorts dilemma. Once i’d figuered that out, it was pretty much smooth sailing!

p40200012          p40200022        p4020003

You can see the progression on the last one, where I’ve started to experiment on how it would look with the front two pocket seams sewn together. I was really loving the way that the short gathered on the thigh at this stage, You can’t see too much from the picture but it’s EXACTLY what I envisioned…!


Next step…. work out how the top will fit into all of this.

p4020006                         p4020007

After cutting the pattern of the same top I had fitted two days earlier (and adding some extra to curve around to the back), I tacked the top onto the bottom to see how it would work. Gillian gave me the idea of fitting the pockets into the top seam by pleating it, so it would drape nicely. So far so good, but I still had to figure out a way of gathering those two front panels together. Could it really be as easy as sewing them together!? I was unconvinced, for some reason i thought it would be too bubbly, and wouldn’t drape properly. Well, apparently so and apparently not! I just had to chop off a bit of fabric to make it sit high enough so the front wouldn’t bubble.

p4020022         p4020027

You can kind of see what i mean here by ‘bubbling’. The front crotch area that runs off the pockets is sitting slightly low, making it come away from the body in a sort of pouch thing. There was a really easy solution to this, which was altering the pattern and making the top area which is folded into the seam shorter.

So, time for another sample! I altered the pattern and started again 🙂

This time I also worked with lining for the top half of the swimsuit, which raised a few other nitty gritty problems…..

To cut another long story short, I just cut out the altered pattern, two of the top (one for lining) and sewed it all together as neatly as possible, writing the process as I went along so I wouldn’t forget..

p4020029   p4020032     p4020035

I mastered the zig zag machine, and the elasticator (see side of bust in pic three – very small but it’s there), and I am SO happy with the front of the garment!!!!! It’s pretty much exactly what I want. ONE question –> should I make the pockets even MORE draped??? Or is it fine the way it is? At the moment it’s not too dramatic (which fits in with my wabi-sabi theme pretty well), it’s very wearable and I love how it sits. However, the bigger hipped the lady gets, the more the draping is lost…. hmm dilemma. Thoughts?

Now for the back… throughout the process i’ve experimented a lot with how the back will work. Here are a few images…

p4020004      p4020015      p4020033    p4020034

The last is a side view of the third option. Which is better?! Another option is to eliminate all drape from the back, instead redistributing it to the pockets (that is, no little pocket thingie on the centre back. Gee my terminology is so professional…). Thoughts again??

The last things I have left are:

1. Figuring out the straps. I’m trying to decide whether I will make them continue on from the top half as a single pattern piece (fabric length permitting) OR making them a completely separate piece all together.

2. That darned back. I’m sure i’ll figure it out with the help of my lovely audience…!

3.  A nitty gritty thing – if you can see the final photo above, the side of the swimsuit that leads to the back is pulling in a weird way. Must fix this – it’ll just be a pattern issue.

Then to my FINAL sample (!).

How exciting!



number 2… the makening

The process begins – I had an idea of what i wanted, and an idea of how to get there…. that helped A LOT, particularly because I’ve had a late start to the semester….

Just for a refresher this is my original design..









Basically it’s a draped short swimsuit with twisted straps that cross at the back. Very organic, and no idea where to start on paper, so I knew I had to do a combination of pattern-making and mannequin draping.

Day 1.

Tuesday was the beginning of my toiling/sampling process. It was tough to get started or even know where to start, but I decided to work on the base first. Cutting off the boy short block, I ended up with this lovely number… (thanks to the lovely Maxie’s mum for the jazzy purple lycra..!)

first tryStrange, crotchless mannequin aside, I was already really happy with the block fit of this swimsuit, which made things easy. I had to fix the bust/strap area, so i cut a little off:

second try

My swimsuit is almost completely backless except for the straps, so i wanted to make the bust as streamlined as possible, leading into a low back. Also, the block neckline was a little high, so i lowered that slightly.

This aside, I started to drape the boyshort. I tried a few different ways, by literally hacking into fabric and seeing what effect it had… My idea was basically to use a whole piece of fabric that turned up on itself to create the short. 













Looking okay… but a couple of dilemma’s. EG. How am I going to join the two front pieces so there’s not a big gap in the middle? How will they join in the back? Possibilities included panel lines down the front, another panel completely that they were tucked into, or just adding more fabric at the front so it actually joins.

The last idea made the most sense. But the pockets had to be sewn into somewhere. I cut apart the swimsuit i had made, and started making a pattern for the shorts alone, that had a vertical seamline down the front…


image023 Cutting the short in two, from the centre front to centre back, i was able to get a base for a pattern that would make extending the drape short a LOT easier…… I was over it by this stage so i decided to come back to it another day refreshed and ready….


DAY 2 (Coming VERY soon)……

Subtlety…. is it me!? The first installment

I was originally basing my ideas on the lost city of atlantis, and had a very strong reference to ancient greek aesthetic….after days of creative block I wisely/unwisely (not sure yet) decided to change my topic, a full 4 days before D DAY. It might be the crazy-lady in me talking but I’m very glad I changed my concept in the end, I’m very happy with my designs, I’ve challenged myself and done something completely opposite to what I would normally do: MINIMALISM

Wabi sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy that celebrates imperfection.  Things ‘wabi-sabi’ are indifferent to conventional ideas of good taste, and they celebrate and embrace nature.   A key idea of Wabi-Sabi is the constant transience of all things – pulling either away or towards ‘nothingness’. I really love this idea of impermanence; that everything is either growing, or disintegrating at any given time.

I found the whole concept of wabi-sabi very inspiring, obtaining most of my information from the book Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Calif Berkeley; a very short but very stimulating book about what wabi-sabi is and isn’t in today’s modern world, and how to keep alive not just the aesthetic, but also the philosophy behind it. Thanks to the lovely people at Google Books, you can preview the book here.

There is a very beautiful video you can view, entitled “Wabi Sabi Moments”, which really exemplifies the beauty of the unappreciated that I focused on in my work…. it just sets the mood for my ideas. (For the record this isn’t my video).

In the past, I have mainly designed things that are defined by their ‘extras’ – a feature collar, a ruffle, a motif.. it was always the decorational elements that were the focus.  Particularly coming from an avant-garde project, it was all I wanted to do….. however, I felt like I was overdesigning, uninspired, and freaking out! It made me want to do the complete opposite. So I did. I focused completely on structure (not solid, but organic) – completely disregarded what I aesthetically believe is ‘beautiful’, and focused on the things that I normally wouldn’t… To elaborate:

– SEAMS were a big feature in my collection – misplaced and random seams that were in unconventional places.

-DRAPE was also a big part of my work – in fact, my chosen design is a drape-based piece. By drape I don’t mean loads of fabric, i just mean a different way of constructing the garment so that it has the fall that i’m after – it won’t be skintight as a swimsuit is normally thought to be.

-SUBTLETY was something that i found particularly difficult. One part of me wanted to design the standout, editorial swimsuit – the huge feature collar, the unusual structure and the futuristic design. That was a BIG part of me! I had to fight that desire (even though I had doubts – which were heightened by everyone elses incredible and innovative designs), and I’m glad that I challenged myself and did. I have had trouble coming to grips with a solid concept, even after design selection. The more I think about it, the more multi-faceted and complicated my concept becomes. I think i have to stop overthinking the idea and trying to link it to some life changing social commentary, and accept it for what it is – a celebration of simplicity, imperfection and subtlety.

To be honest, even though these are the most minimal designs i have ever done, they were by far the most difficult….I had to think very conceptually, and work a lot more with the fabric to see its characteristics. Optimally i would have been able to do a sample of everything i designed first, to see if it actually worked!

I did however, get a chance to do a few experiments on a mannequin….


Ignore the belt, it was holding up the top fabric… can’t pin into a plastic mannequin!

The following is the swimsuit I am going ahead with.. the draped boyshort:




So here’s to hoping that it all works out… a bit worried about time constraints but I’m going to give it all I’ve got!