Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FIDM Classes and Books: A Review

I'm slacking on my class and textbook reviews.  I think I might wait longer in the future like I did this time because I have actually had time to read and use the books.

On Wednesdays, I have my Computer Aided Design class.  In this class we learn to use Adobe Illustrator to create flats of garments we design.  So far we have learned how to create basic t-shirts, blouses and shirts, pants, and skirts.  It's a very fast pace class and I enjoy it a lot.  The homework is kind of intense though.  My eyeballs are starting to hurt from being on the computer so much.

The text book I am using is called Electric Fashion: Drawing Fashion Flats with Adobe Illustrator.

The author is my instructor as well.  The book is very clear and it shows how to work with Illustrator in a step-by-step fashion to create a flat.  My only problem with the book isn't really a problem, but more of a pet-peeve that I have.  I hate poor spelling.  Yes, I have been known to spell words wrong from time to time, or type them incorrectly in a hurry,  but in a published book?  There are so many typos, but they do not detract or distract from the actual information.  The book is SOOO informative and easy to read.  I've always been a Photoshop girl, but never used Illustrator in my life.  I now feel pretty confident in with my skills and it's only been a few weeks of class.  If you are interested in learning how to use Illustrator and like fashion and fashion sketching, I highly recommend the book.  Even if you aren't using Illustrator to make fashion flats, the book is very useful in teaching how to use the tools.  On the website, there is even a sneak peak of the book.  Check it out!

See the book here!

I'm also taking Computer Grading, Marking, and Cutting.  In this class we learn to grade basic patterns manually and then by computer using Gerber Software.  I think the thing I like most about the class is my teacher's perspective on grading, the software, and the industry in general.  He seems a little pessimistic at times, but that's something I can relate to.  Right off the bat, he told us that grading pretty much sucks.  It basically helps you cheat your way out of making a whole new pattern in a different size  and fitting it to a fit model.  He let us know right away that it's not a perfect system and many designers just don't care if there clothes fit all sizes.  He gave the example of commercial plus-size clothing.  It sounds like he knows a lot about the poor fitting of plus-size clothing first hand because he mentioned his wife is plus size.  He gave great example of fitting issues and explained ways of fixing those problems.  I really appreciated his input on the subject since I read about it often in many of the blogs I subscribe to.  I think good fit is really important and it will be something I strive for if I ever design my own line.  Sadly, in the world of mass production, clothes can't fit everyone perfectly.  I still can't find a button down blouse or a pencil skirt to fit me.

Anyways, so far in the class we have learned about the breakdowns or "breaks" in a standard front bodice, back bodice, and sleeve block.  A lot of the class is memorization, but if you understand the concepts it is a lot easier.  So far I have found the class very easy.

The book, The Essentials of Pattern Grading: The Projection of Cartesian Coordinates Into a Spherical Geometry of Fractal Order 2.5 Using Collinear Scaling As the Algebraic Matrix..... Clarified is very basic, but I'm not a fan of how it is written.  The concepts and pictures make a lot of sense, but I think the book is a little wordy.  It is difficult to weed through the junk to get to the important stuff.  That being said, our first assignment was to grade a bodice block without any real instruction from the teacher.  He basically said read the book, and follow the instructions. I read the intro chapter and bodice chapter as instructed and graded the pattern piece with almost no difficulty.  I followed directions and got an A on the assignment.  Some did poorly, and it seems others dropped the class.  I'm sure there are better books out there, but I understand it, so it works for me.  And it's only about $3 used on Amazon so if you want it, buy it!  You can definitely adapt the techniques to grade more complex patterns.  Like rare vintage patterns!

Here's a look inside!

My Textile Science class is going really well. I love my instructor and I am learning so much.  I mean sooo much!  My Pattern Drafting class is going well too. A little slow for me. We've drafted a basic skirt sloper, a 6-Gore flared skirt block, a waistband, and a flared skirt. In my last class, I was able to finish up trueing (sp?) my personal straight skirt sloper while working on the class assignment.  During my lunch break I cut out a muslin and sewed a sample.  I tried on the skirt during my last break and it fit pretty well. Some issues with the hip curve that I expected and the waist is a little big.  Easy things to fix. I had time in class to do all that!  I want more homework! Challenge me! Is that weird??

Just want to say that I am not being paid or asked to write any of the reviews I have written about classes or books.  I wish I was though :)  I need the money!

And I'm too tired to check for grammar or spelling errors. hehe.

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca,

    A couple of years ago, I took Grading at Apparel Arts in SF, and she actually referred us to a Nor
    CA-based grader. If you ever want that info, I can see if I can dig it up in my notes somewhere.