Project Fabricland: Diva Inspiration

My mom and I

In January, I participated for the fifth time in Project Fabricland, a sewing competition, similar to Project Runway.  Each week, students meet for three hours to sew garments based on a theme.  This year, the theme was Divas.  This included style icons such as Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Cher, among others.  Sophia Loren has been my personal favorite icon in all aspects ever since I saw her in one of my favorite movies, Houseboat (1958).  In Houseboat, Loren plays a young Italian lady who helps a widower (Cary Grant) raise his three children; they end up forming a relationship after Grant sees Loren providing the care that his children so deeply craved, and being the charismatic person she is.  Like all Loren movies, she is feisty and an individual, and does not play a woman who falls at the needs of a man – she’s willing to through a slap here and there :).  After seeing her speak at an event, I was inspired by her honesty, boldness, humor, and dashing beauty, and therefore crafted a dress that I believe to capture who she is.

Once I chose my icon, I immediately drew up an A-line dress with a pleated sweetheart neckline, with a coordinating surrounding border.  I wanted it so it embraced the colors of Sophia Loren’s heritage, and I wanted a silhouette that was reflective of one that she may have worn in the 50s.  Last year, I made a coat, and while I have made three dresses, I wanted to return to the dress-making scene to make a more advanced dress – an “event” dress.  With light blue-green sateen, and bright red lace cotton, this dress is made to shine.  Plus, with all the structural details like boning, tailor tacts, and the difficulties of sewing a slippery lining, it was plenty a challenge – but one from which I learned.  Sophia is from Italy, and I wanted to use the colors of Italy such as the red from the flag and the sea-blue from the ocean.

Twelve weeks after my initial class, there was judging.  For the judging, we have to create a poster board (part of our score) to show who our icon is, and where in particular we drew our inspiration from.  I used a canvas and drew a little version of my drawing of the dress, as well as a map of Italy with a little pearl button indicating where she’s from (Naples).  On the side of my drawing, I made a reel of her most favorite movies including the one that won her an Oscar award, Two Women (1961).  On the left of my favorite picture of Loren, I wrote all the things she is, and on the right, one of her quotes “Character is the most important condition of beauty.”

Former Project Runway contestant Helen Castillo and me

This years Special Guest was Helen Castillo, contestant in the 12th season of Project Runway.  She’s edgy, cool, and very kind.  It was a pleasure to meet her, and see everyone’s amazing garments.  It’s a day that I always look forward to.  This year I received Honorable Mention 🙂

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