CREATE AND IMPROVE: Garment Development.

After visiting the tailor for the second time, the tailor provided a rough body of the garment. In this meeting, we went over smaller details that I wanted in the design, for example: The stitching, thickness of the fabric, the length of the slit in the sleeve, the length of the sleeves, the length of the body, and stitching details. In this meeting we also changed some aspects of the original design, such as the open attached cuffs. From a technical aspect this would be difficult to do, as the fabric from the sleeves would be too flimsy to hold itself and instead would cave in.

**Colored reference of front & back**

This was not the effect that I intended. I fixed the cuff by just asking her to provide the cuffs and sewing them on myself. I decided to sew the cuff directly onto the sleeve fabric just as if it were a regular dress shirt, as this would be easier. I decided to not use the tailor for this part because the cuffs were irregular. One cuff would face outward, while another one would face forward. This can be seen from the positioning of the buttons.

Here are some photos of the rough garment:

**Photos of the garment on body**

After looking at the first prototype of the garment, I decided to change the length of the body as well. I did not like the cut that I had planned, it was too short. Instead I decided to go for a waist-length, the garment being shorter in the front and longer in the back.





**Left sleeve**


**Right Sleeve**




**Hand stitching details, done by yours truly. :))) **

PRODUCT DESIGN: Garment Development

Throughout the entirety of last week, I have been working on contacting a tailor to create the garment. I visited her and her team earlier last week, and according to what she has said, the garment is probably going to be finished around this Sunday. This will give me time to photograph the final product and create my presentation for the exhibition.


*Fabric swatches provided by the tailor. These were the types of fabric available to the tailor at the time

At the tailor, I first had to pick out the fabrics that I wanted to use in the project. Naturally, being a dress shirt, I decided to use a regular cotton polyester blend for the body of the shirt, collar, as well as the cuffs.

*Colorized version of design flats. Colored and drawn in Krita

As for the second color that I am planning to use, I decided to use what feels like a blend of different fabrics (predominantly linen and possibly some synthetic fibers) in a light blue-grey-teal color. I plan to use this color on the straps and predominantly on the sleeves.


*Physical sketches for the tailor

However, while picking out fabrics for the design, I ran into a few problems. Some of which revolved around the fabrics available and the fabrics that the tailor was recommending me to use. The tailor recommended using a cotton voile blend (seen in image1 in #33). Using a cotton voile blend promised more luxurious folds in the sleeves and contrast to the cotton polyester blend. However, due to the difference in color and the sheerness to it, I decided to go against the suggestion.

*Cotton Voile blend (difference in color caused by lighting)

As for measurements, I provided the measurements for my body (as I will be modeling the clothing) to the tailor and they will create the garment accordingly. The first fitting will be this week Sunday and we will go over potential improvements and edits required to finalize the garment.

*Final notes & Garment sheet (+ additional documents) given to tailor

As for now, I am working on the final presentations of my product. This includes scheduling times to use the photography room available at school, writing posts about my work and the progress on it, and editing a poster where all of the information for this product will be found.


*Note: In terms of sustainability, I asked the tailor if they had any sustainable fabrics. They did not because sustainable and ecological fabrics are expensive and difficult to find in Beijing. If I had prior notice to this, I would have ordered fabrics off TaoBao. However, this is not the case, so I will not be using 100% ecological fabrics. However, I partially used natural fibers such as cotton, and linen. If this product were to be mass-produced or more heavily funded. I would use hemp linen fabric (shown below), which is a sustainable substitute for synthetic fabrics. Hemp fabric is “breathable” and biodegradable!

*Teal hemp fabric. From Siebenblau/Google images


I already had a customer in mind, since I noticed this huge gap in the sustainable market. Most brands in this market either offer super artistic garments that no one could wear in real life or offer overpriced basics in dirty colors and styles that don’t even flatter the size 2 model who’s wearing them. I’ve also noticed that sustainable brands have somewhat neglected the European and Asian markets and don’t sell sizes bigger than a small 8. They also overuse the word ‘sustainable’ to the point that it becomes meaningless.

User persona (own work)

The persona that I am planning to address is upper to middle-class youth (12-24) that buy from Asian markets. This can be Asian youth, or influencers that are willing to be more expressive with their clothing, as well as be more sustainable.

This video helped me a lot in learning about fashion customers and markets!


After giving the project some thought, some edits were made to the first design brief. Below are also some responses to the product criteria!

Fast Fashion Waste

DESIGN PROBLEM: Sustainability through Fashion –> Sustainable clothing.

*This has changed because now my aim is not to comment on sustainability anymore. I plan on commenting on identity in a sustainable manner. This has changed because it is related to my art practices.*

Although the design problem is still related to sustainability, it still seeks to encourage others to try more sustainable clothing alternatives. This will require more research which will come compiled in a follow-up post to this.

Hemp Organic Cotton Waffle Knit Blend

Sustainability in fashion is slowly becoming an issue that most brands will eventually have to address. Due to the nature of fast fashion, the exponentially increasing production of clothing every year, as well as the waste produced from fast fashion, fashion brands and designers must address the issue ASAP. Potential solutions include finding more sustainable fabrics (plastic infused, created from organic material, ect), or a more sustainable way of producing it. With my product, I am trying to encourage others to use more sustainable materials in their design processes! This will be seen in the materials that I use in this practical project.

However, there are possible flaws with my design, as the production of this garment might not be aiding in finding a sustainable way to produce clothing. This is also the case if the garment is planned to be reproduced for commercial use (since the audience is high fashion couture houses, which have some of their products commercially manufactured and re-distributed). Additional factors need to be considered when addressing the carbon footprint created from the garment.

Possible techniques that will be needed in this project:

Sewing/ Hand stitching


Possible ideas for sustainable fabrics:

**I very likely will be using a mix of materials! **

The garment does not have a technical purpose, as in, the clothing does serve a purpose, however it is a purpose of narrative and aesthetic rather than a functional purpose (eg. Insulating, able to store, etc.)

**Own sewing test**


The quality of a garment can be mainly determined from: design, craftsmanship, and textile. Quality also determines the price of the product, so say textiles/fabrics that are of better quality will be more expensive. For textiles, this can include fabrics that are hard to make/come across such as cashmere compared to cotton which is usually common and inexpensive. Good quality fabric can withhold time.  Depending on the design and the purpose, quality of the fabric can be determined through variables such as permeability, absorption, aesthetic, etc.  As for design, some designs require more fabric, good design needs to be aesthetically appealing. Craftsmanship will refer to the overall execution of the garment, this includes stitching, clean seams, if pins are still in the garment, and its ability to stay together as a garment. This might require learning skills such as sewing, using a sewing machine, knowing what types of thread work best with which fabric.



After going over some adjustments of the garment and considering time constraints, I thought about some more ideas of what I could potentially design/make.

Own photograph- Zaha Hadid: Future of Fashion 2 week program at RISD

For the outfit with the garments inspired from deconstructed clothing, I drew a flat (technical drawing of a garment) of the top, which I thought was a very interesting part of this concept

Own drawing- Technical flat

After receiving some feedback from my classmates (from the first blog post), I began thinking on potential fabrics. This ultimately depends on the piece that I will be making (which I am still not sure of yet…) If I’m going with the idea of the top, I’ll probably be using a cotton weave or something of the sort. If I were to make a bodysuit, I would have to use something rather elastic and fitting (currently am thinking of maybe a mix weave), however, I am thinking of doing something more abstract with the arm piece. I would consider the second project a mixed media project.

Maison Margiela Cut Out Fall 2018

I feel like brainstorming is coming along extremely well. I keep coming up with ideas of promising projects. However this is also a setback, since with each idea I draw and annotate, the more indecisive I become.

Brainstorming- Own annotated drawing

Through this experience I’ve learned a lot about how professional designers create their garments and the individual processes to realizing a garment. Such as creating “flats” and “floats”, two different technical forms of illustration. I also realized sewing different materials into each other can be very challenging: take for example a cotton weave and polyester/ PVC plastic.

Own brainstorming- annotated drawings

Moving forward I plan on finalizing one of my ideas… completely… I’m planning to contact a tailor to help me create the base of the garment after showing her pictures and concept drawings of the garment(s). I plan on adding detail after personally adding/ assembling some of the different pieces on the garment (eg, dewing the collar/cuffs onto the dress shirt and stitching together different parts of it)

Sleeve prototype sample #1


Moving forward: Contact a tailor!

Although ambitious, I am planning to create another small garment, perhaps an accessory while I wait on the tailor to create the backbone of the design.

Please leave comments with feedback! Thanks!


Some of these ideas were intended for this year’s CFS which I chose to not take part in. I believe that these ideas hold great potential and also are meaningful. However, the only problem is that they don’t tie into the idea of sustainability, which is what I intended in my original design brief.

Originally, this was meant to be presented in a 16-piece collection constituted of 8 different outfits.

The concept behind my designs is the construction and deconstruction of an identity. I took inspiration from the different processes and stages of creating a garment and used that to illustrate different stages in one’s identity. From the draping process to illustrating, and assembly process. The stylistic choices of the designs, as well as the contrast of the fabrics (sheer and opaque), are used to show vulnerability in one’s identity. This is an idea that I am pursuing in my Art HL practices and a theme that I’m exploring through my creative work.

Male model: Open jacket

Male model: Asymmetrical sheer sleeve

Male model: Knotted sleeve

Female model: Assembled crop shirt

Female model: dis-assembled shirt

Female model: Deconstructed shirt-dress

Female model: Sewn jacket


Brainstorming Board:
I drew out potential ideas for more designs that are more unconventional and tie into the problem I’m trying to address: sustainability. Most of the ideas were influenced by the Moodboard in a previous post.

See below for ideas and drawings:

Continued brainstorming other potential garments:


*Bodysuit with an arm piece made from mixed media, emphasis on material. Possible knit (?)*

*Possible jacket, similar to a raincoat that is able to hold plant life through pockets scattered along the sleeve*

*Re-purposed and upcycled dress made from deconstructed dress shirts(?)*

***First photograph: Heliot Emil FW2020***

01.0 Fashion Design: Define & Inquire

Link to padlet: HERE

Made with Padlet


Helen Shu

DESIGN PROBLEM Sustainability through fashion (?)
USER/AUDIENCE Runway/Designers/General public
PURPOSE To speak on the problem of sustainability through fashion garments.
GOALS Create a garment that supports
• Life
• Sustainable lifestyle
• Possibly a commentary on humans
o “We come from the earth and will eventually return to it”
• Textiles/Fabric
• Tailor?
Sewing machine
Design Assistants