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Teaching and mentoring student for an upcoming fashion show/gala has been very rewarding.  For the past 5 weeks I have had the pleasure of working with Shaymaa Co-designing a gown. Shaymaa is from Iraq and is currently enrolled in The We Made This program HERE through ACC.

Shaymaa is wanting to learn the business of becoming a fashion designer.  The ACC hosted a gala where the students have teamed up with local designers to create a gown based on sketches that they have created.  Shaymaa and I first met at ACC to discuss her design and expectations.  We agreed to meet at my atelier to begin the process of creating one of the sketches that we agreed on, with some design changes as well as challenges.

“I love sewing,  I wish to become a designer.

 I came to Colorado and had the opportunity to work with Kristi and Brooks”


The annual fund raiser took place at The Space Gallery Here on July 21, 2017.  Each chosen ACC student teamed up with established designers in our community.  The fabric will be designed and provided by Knotty Tie HERE.   The event will showcase several student’s work as well as a silent and open auction.  Food was provided by the community and I understand it was all very interesting and delicious.  Unfortunately I was not able to attend the actual event.  I was there in spirit with Shaymaa and our lovely black and red designed gown.

Shaymaa and I provided Knotty Tie with the concept and they created a print based on our design.  We wanted two fabrics of opposite color palettes and we also chose the quality of the fabric to have a crepe like hand.

Sketching ideas for mentoring student

Shaymaa and I met at the center and we discussed her design ideas.  She is an excellent sketcher and her designs are fashion forward.  Each of them had interesting qualities, some of which are based on her culture.   After much discussion she and I chose the black and red sketch/design with some adjustments.  We had a deadline to create this dress so based on that  I suggested we combine the train of the black and yellow gown and the length of that gown with the red and black gown.

My quick sketch shows the changes along with adding a side drape across the midriff to balance out the  bow that will come around from the back.  I also suggested we make the base of the gown black so that the print would have a background depth that would help the entire garment ‘pop’ on the runway.

The Process of Mentoring Student

After deciding on the exact design we began the pattern making, sewing and draping process.  In my collection of gown patterns I have a strapless dress pattern that we began with.  Strapless dresses are a hard fit, so having a block to begin with is helpful.  We determined the design lines, the measurements, the proportions and proceeded to cut the paper pattern onto a muslin protype.

The First Fitting

I always tell my clients to wear the correct undergarments when the fitting process begins.  A strapless bra instead of a tank top would have shown the right fit.  The strap on the left side of the garment needs to be moved over.  We discovered that the long sleeve element was not going to work as the model could not lift her arm.  If the fabric would have been a knit, it might have helped.  We made changes accordingly, we eliminated the long sleeve and decided to look at the design on the model in the fashion fabric.  That is part of the design process.  The midriff piece needs to be on the bias, it will drape better.  We will adjust that when we cut it out in the real fabric.

The Second Fitting of Mentoring Students

After the adjustments we took apart the muslin and used it as the exact pattern.  In my real day to day designing I would make the adjustments and transfer them on the original paper pattern, re trace the pattern and make another pattern.  Since we had a close deadline I decided we could use the muslin as the pattern to cut from.  We sewed the fashion fabric for the next fitting.

The idea is coming together nicely, fit is the next challenge.  After seeing the garment on Kristi we come to the conclusion that the sleeve idea is just not going to work.  Over the phone we discuss the other possibilities.  I suggest that we compliment the side bow with another bow at the opposite shoulder.   We made changes accordingly, we eliminated the long sleeve and decided to put another complimentary strap to ‘hold’ the dress in place.  That is part of the design process.

The Final Gown of Mentoring Student

Although I was unable to attend the event, the photographer that documented the entire process shared his photos with me.  Thank you  John Abramson HERE for the great documentation!

The Event

Mayor Hancock

Attending and speaking about the importance




Silent Auction items were on display.

Other designers and their teams showcasing their designs.

Photo Opportunities for the guests

Program Coordinator

Kristi Rogers

Program Coordinator

ECDC/African Community Center’s We Made This

Thank you Kristi and ACC

For this design opportunity

  It was a wonderful learning experience for me

 I trust Shaymaa will have continued success in pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion designer


Delivery Day

On the last day of the process

In a fun sort of way

I found this project to be a challenge

The assymetry of all the pieces made my head spin!

Design is constantly challenging me

That is why I love it so much!

Check out my other finished projects HERE

Congratulations to everyone involved in