My Material Life

Fashion Illustration Class


I’m so excited to finally be learning about fashion illustration at Camp Fashionista in San Jose.  I completed this drawing during my very first session on Friday afternoon.  I couldn’t wait to race home and show it to everyone, including my sister and brother-in-law, Kathie and Doug, who were spending the night with us.  Kathie used to love drawing things like this when she was young.  Let me tell you, Dori Duncan, who is teaching the class and owns and runs Camp Fashionista, is one good teacher.  My drawing started out looking like a space alien or one of those frightening ice hockey goalie masks.  I couldn’t believe I ended up with such a pretty likeness of Arizona Muse, the model whose photo I based my drawing on.  But like Dori explained, it’s mostly a matter of proportion and proper placement (plus her expert tips of course!)  I do like to make clothing sketches, but I don’t have much experience with body parts.  I made my favorite fashion sketches (shown below) during a visit to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. about a decade ago – can you tell who these clothes were created for?

Most of Dorie’s current offerings are geared towards young people, but don’t let that stop you from taking a class there.  I was the only adult in my class and I had a great time.  I sat next to a teenage girl who was so sweet to ask me if I wanted to be a fashion designer.  I haven’t been asked what I wanted to be in so long that I wasn’t sure how to answer, so I quickly turned the question back to her and found that she wants to be one.  She made a beautiful drawing of her model.  I’m sure Dori will inspire a lot of young designers and sewers.  She is extremely patient with the kids and has developed her own method of teaching sewing (including early sewing on paper).  And she’s created a fun environment in her studio.  It’s the kind of place you want to be in – well, I want to be in anyway.

But back to that teenager’s question.  Though I don’t have dreams of being a fashion designer, I do want to be able to design my own clothes.  So last fall I took a moulage class at another studio.  A moulage is a fitted muslin shell that fits your body with no added ease at the seams – like a mold.  (The amount of ease determines how easily you can move in your clothing and whether a garment is loose or fitted.)  You create a moulage by first drafting a flat pattern based on your own measurements.  I’ll tell you more about it when I get mine done.  Goodness knows this post has gone on long enough, but the reason I’m bringing it up now is that the March issue of Threads magazine has a fairly extensive article about how to do this.  If you are at all interested in pattern-making, I suggest you snap it up.  I went searching through back issues for just this kind of article while I was taking my class, but I couldn’t find anything.  I don’t think they use the word moulage in the article, but it looks like the same kind of thing we did in my class.  My guess is that the term is not used extensively in the industry.  If you search it up online, you’ll find more references to fake blood and body parts and things like that than to fashion, so be prepared.

The March Issue, No. 165

The March Issue, No. 165


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