Dear ASDP Board

  • 03/02/2014 6:35 PM | Anonymous

    My name is Francesca Sterlacci. Many moons ago I applied to fashion college. Although my high school offered art classes, none of our art teachers knew the  first thing about how to prepare a fashion college admissions portfolio or what it took to be a fashion designer for that matter. My high school sewing teacher, Mrs. Tieri, who was a 1940s Pratt graduate, offered technical sewing advice but to be honest, she really wasn’t a fan of my design sense. She was in love with 1940s style, you know, Mainbocher, Dior, and Balenciaga (I would later appreciate the work of these talented designers). In contrast, the designers that were inspiring me at the time were 1960s designers like, Gernreich, Courreges and Rabanne. Not only did Mrs. Tieri not “get” my design sense, she questioned my hubris in reworking commercial patterns to fit my designs, a big no-­no in  her class!  Despite our differences I successfully compiled an art portfolio and clothing samples, then applied and got accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Years later, I became a Seventh Avenue designer under the label “Francesca Sterlacci Ltd” and manufactured 100% of my collection in New York City. My collection sold at  Saks,  Barneys,  Nordstroms and other fine stores   around the country. It was 8 years later when Mrs. Tieri and I reconnected. Just like a proud parent, she had saved all of my press clippings over the years (so sweet). She even volunteered to work for me that summer! Why I am telling you this?

    Fast forward to 1990 when I closed my company after 10 years. It seemed like more of my time was spent running the business and less time designing the collection. So, I started a freelance design company called Design Instinct and began teaching part-time at FIT. It was there at FIT that I met designer Geoffrey Beene who inspired me to think of ways to keep the art of fashion design alive in the U.S., particularly the hands-on skills of pattern making, sewing and draping, at a time when this knowledge was increasingly being exported off-shore. Having always been a “hands-on” designer, one who needs to touch fabric and drape it on a dress form for inspiration, I wanted to share my hands-on skills with my students. I found that books, although I had written several, just weren’t the right medium to teach my hands-on sensibility to today’s generation of aspiring fashion designers. Today’s students, as I learned while teaching graduate level design online for six years at the Academy of Art University San Francisco, want to learn from a more visual approach to teaching.

    I am not sure whether living for 9 years in Silicon Valley, the home of Facebook, Google and Apple, wasn’t the inspiration or because I am passionate about things Made in USA, but suddenly it hit me: Create a fashion design video library! A video library that tapped into all my fashion contacts over the years and brought in the best fashion college professors and fashion industry pros to share their knowledge and skills through professionally produced videos with the hope of jump-starting a Made in USA manufacturing  movement.  I began  by filming basic lessons, just the way you would learn if you were sitting in the classroom at any of the best fashion colleges. I then expanded on the concept to offer more advanced lessons. I wanted the website to inspire and empower people to become designers

    The University of Fashion launched on July 4, 2013 with a large library of videos spanning the 5 fashion design disciplines of draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing and product development. I wanted to make my video library affordable to the many home sewers and aspiring designers in the world today. I wanted to create a place where students could go who needed help with their college admissions portfolio, for those who didn’t get into a prestigious fashion college or those who simply couldn’t afford to go. I wanted everyone to get the same access. In addition, I wanted to offer my video library to fashion companies, to train their designer employees and, to high schools and colleges as a supplement to their “live” teaching programs. Mrs. Tieri, I think, you’d be proud!

    At the University of Fashion, we continually add new video content to the website. In fact, we are now offering fashion lectures on subjects like costume history, fashion licensing, and fashion marketing, all taught by college Profs and industry pros. Next month we will launch lectures on fashion branding, color theory and a 3-part series on how to start a fashion brand taught by a successful New York fashion designer. In addition to our “how-to” and lecture videos, we have interviews with famous fashion designers and tours of fashion museums and other key fashion industry resources. Our goal is to be the ones-top fashion hub for fashion professionals, aspiring fashion designers, teachers of fashion, home sewers, and the fashion curious.

    Now that you know the history and mission of the University of Fashion, let me tell you a bit about how we produce our videos. After making 2 pilot videos in 2008, we conducted market research at high schools and fashion colleges to learn the best way to deliver our video content. We made substantial changes and came up with what we believe is our “secret sauce”, adding motion graphics, music and well-edited content designed to keep the viewer engaged. We recruit the best teachers at fashion colleges known for their expertise in a particular discipline. Each fashion college instructor has excellent teaching credentials with stellar peer and student evaluations at their institution. Our  fashion  industry  instructors  are  considered  leaders  in  their  field   and all of our instructors have spent a minimum of 6 years in the industry, most having more than 20 years. These folks know their stuff!

    We tested our videos in classrooms to insure positive student learning outcomes. Faculty at fashion schools have also tested and endorsed our videos. Our subscribers continually send us pictures of their work and some have even written testimonials. In addition to our video library, we offer a blog that keeps up with fashion industry news. Our Pinterest boards are designed as inspirational resources with links back to our lessons to show how it’s done.

    Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Group International, Seventeen magazine and fashion websites like Fashionista and Refinery29 have also endorsed the U of F.    Beginning in January 2014 we are offering the U of F library to schools and  organizations.  The first fashion college to acquire the library will be FIT,  followed by Parsons.  Schools that are interested should contact us through our website. Our goal is to not only offer the library to high schools and colleges but also to organizations, which is why we have made a generous discounted offer to ASDP members that we hope to launch in the near future.

    Based on ASDP’s recent Online Education Survey Results, it looks like the U of F will be a big hit! Six years ago when I started the U of F, I realized that online learning is the future of education, even for fashion design. To make U of F videos more effective, I leveraged my career as a New York fashion designer, tapped my many industry connections, and, after 20 years in academia (both onsite and online), have been able to recruit the best faculty at the best fashion colleges in the world. At the U of F, we are dedicated to fashion. We don’t offer cooking lessons or crafts projects. We concentrate only on fashion: in-depth and professional. The University of Fashion website is created by a designer for designers. Check out our free lessons and soon you’ll be hooked. The U of F is affordable, convenient, effective, and a great place to “Master Design One Step at a Time.” Try us on for size

    Written by Francesca Sterlacci

  • 03/01/2014 6:17 PM | Anonymous

    I arrived in London to visit my 95 year old Mother and work for an English client one day before the exhibit ‘The Glamour of Belleville Sassoon’ was scheduled to close at the Fashion & Textile Museum (a small museum south of the Thames river -nearest tube stop: London Bridge). What a delight to discover that indeed David Sassoon was in the gallery that afternoon.

    Helen Haughey and David Sassoon

    My sister and I began in the first small room which had a collection of 5 garments worn by Royals. (No photos allowed!) Belleville Sassoon has dressed all the female members of the royal family apart from Her Majesty the Queen. On display was the going away outfit  created  for  Princess  Diana  for  her  wedding  to   Prince Charles and during the small tour that David Sassoon gave us he told us he had been very fortunate to find the glorious coral two-piece outfit and have it o  display.   It was thought to be lost. He had made two jackets for the dress: a short sleeve version for warmer weather and a long sleeve one if it was cold.

    In the main gallery almost at its entrance was displayed the Lifetime Achievement Award given to David Sassoon at the ASDP conference in Chicago in 2008.

    That gallery had a large collection of custom couture garments, with a small grouping made for several American socialites.

    The upper gallery had ready-to-wear garments including several prototypes of Vogue patterns.

    Also in glass cases were some beaded bodice pieces ready to be stitched together.

    When I asked David the order of construction it was as you would expect (at least for those of us familiar with stitching together a French jacket):

    • construct and fit muslin 
    • take apart, cut fashion fabric and thread trace stitching lines on fashion fabric 
    • bead or embroidery or hand  paint 
    • stitch the beaded/embroidered/hand painted pieces together 
    • bead, embroider or hand paint over the seams

    And finally in a room being set up for a class the  following day were a series of sketch boards from the decades in which Belleville Sassoon had been in business.




    I can’t think of a better way to start a stay in London!

    If you are planning a visit, be sure to check out the Fashion and Textile Museum

    Written by Helen Haughey

    Helen Haughey by Chuck Islander

  • 12/11/2013 7:56 PM | Anonymous

    During the Nashville conference I had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with representatives of all our chapters. I was able to give updates on the new resources available for chapters: a revised version of the procedural manual has been posted on the website. Those who remember the huge red binder that was distributed years ago will be happy to know that this is a much more portable version, and one that can easily be revised in years to come. I would like to thank the committee that assisted in the huge task of revising the manual: Karen Ahrens, Karen Bengston, and Debby Spence. I couldn’t have done it without you! To access this manual, log in on the website and go to Chapter Resources.

    The New England chapter held a lively October meeting when Maureen Egan presented a program on painting silk fabric. The meeting was well attended by both members and guests. Maureen is a chapter member and also belongs to Silk Painters International. She shared a wealth of knowledge during her demonstration and lecture, along with beautiful samples of her work. The session ended with plenty of time allowed for participants to try out several of the techniques. Donna Fortier and I also shared some of our experiences from the ASDP national conference.

    Baltimore chapter members gathered for their November meeting, which included sharing techniques from conference classes and officer elections. Planning their programs for the new year was also on the agenda. The chapter was well represented in Nashville, as you can see by the photo!

    Sadly, we have one less chapter now, as the Empire State (New York) Chapter has been disbanded. Its members voted to dissolve after several years of struggling to continue with very few members. Being separated by great distances, the core group had been able to meet only sporadically, and each had served the chapter as officers for many years. My thanks go to Marcia Cohen, Kathy Burns, and Kathy Levy, longtime members who gave so much of their time to keep the chapter going. They, along with other chapter members, will remain members of ASDP.

    In the past several months, I have sent packets to several people interested in learning how to start a chapter. There are members in the Detroit area, in Nashville, and a former member in Seattle who are looking for others willing to come together to form a local chapter. As I come to the end of my term as VP of Chapter Relations, I look forward to watching these come together, and hope that more of our members will have the chance to experience the benefits of having a local group, with the opportunity to learn and share with one another.

    Written by Janee Connor, VP of Chapter Relations

  • 12/10/2013 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    Do you get up from your sewing machine fuzzy and off-balance? Working too long and too hard, too often goes with being self-employed. Fortunately, there are some reasonable fixes to keep us healthier (and saner, a bonus to family/ friends).

    We tend to curl into close work at our machines, for hand sewing, etc. (my relaxation is reading and knitting, which doesn’t help). This is hard on our backs and necks, and that tension brings arm and hand aches. Aim for positions that encourage good posture with joints at 90° angles.

    Moving around is good. I used to think setting up my sewing machine, serger, and press so I could work by swiveling my chair would be more efficient. I’m in better shape when I have to get up and move several feet from one work area to the next. If your balance is good enough, stand to sew or serge.

    There are commercial tables that will angle your machine.

    A couple of honking big doorstops (not dainty standard ones) will do the same and can do double-duty for your tablet or computer keyboard. The optimal angle is 11-12°.

    As I don’t need computerized and/or industrial machines, I sew on a late-50s Singer 411G - gear drive, built-in stitches, double-needle capacity. I converted it from an electric back to a treadle (the first thing I did was rewire the light) and ergonomically-engineered its cabinet. I get exercise while I sew and have superb control! There’s more power in my (formerly thunder-) thigh muscles than in a motor that will fit in any home machine head.

    If you’re interested in a treadle conversion, you must have the head that was cast with a belt slot. There are still a few around. They’re beloved by Amish communities and folks who cope with third-world conditions.

    Alternately, you may have inherited or been lucky enough to find an old straight-stitch treadle machine. (my mom taught me to sew on one when I was seven). It’s possible to put lumber under the back legs to tip it to that 11-12°, but rock it a little to be sure it’s stable.

    My studio has color-balanced fluorescent lights, and I haven’t had SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter since I started using them.

    See the plants? They clean the air as well as turn my used breath into oxygen.

    When you know you’re headed into an intense project, set a kitchen timer to remind you to stop and gently stretch every 20-30 minutes. Stay hydrated! If you drink a glass of water whenever you get up, your body will remind you of your next break. Notice where you’re carrying tension and shake it out. Think what you might alter.

    Don’t eat at your machine. Take time to sit somewhere else and relax. If possible, go for a walk. You’ll more than make up the time “wasted” by greater energy and an increased attention span.

    If moving around is difficult for you, at least gently stretch and do range-of-motion exercises with your arms and hands.

    Think about what you could fix right now, and ponder how you could reset your routines or your studio down the road. You’ll be less apt to get up and fall on your face after a marathon project.

    Written by Carol Kimball

  • 12/05/2013 7:26 PM | Anonymous

    It isn’t often that you get to see a collection of a famous star’s costumes up close and personal. But at this year’s national conference in Nashville we had the privilege of displaying nine of Dolly Parton’s costumes at our Welcome Reception. (It would have been ten costumes but I’ll get to that story.) We worked with some of the ladies who used to sew for Dolly, in particular Lynn Lesher, to secure the display. In addition, one of our own members, Alania Sheeley, who also lives in Nashville, used to sew for Dolly and was a huge help in setting up the display. Big kudos also go out to Rachel Kurland who brought three dress forms from home that were small enough to accommodate Dolly’s figure.

    It was quite a challenge to get all of those dress forms to fit Dolly’s costumes! We had to stuff, prod, and poke those mannequins until we got them just right. The reason we couldn’t show the tenth costume was that we simply didn’t have a dress form small enough to handle the 23” waistline. Most of the costumes had about a 24” waist so we squeezed the garments onto the forms and didn’t zip some of them all the way, but that last one was just not going on any form we had.

    We would have advertised the display earlier so that all of our members knew about the event, but we didn’t fully secure the costumes until the week before conference. Lynn Lesher corralled three other people from Dolly’s staff and from Textile Fabrics to help collect and transport the costumes to conference.

    We learned a few things from those who worked/work for Dolly while dressing the mannequins: Dolly only wears each costume once. And she may change 4 – 5 times a day when she’s on the road. Dolly then donates her costumes and they are auctioned off in order to raise money for her foundations, one being to buy books for children under 5 years old. 655,000 children received books from Dolly’s Imagination Library in 2012 alone. Since its inception the program has distributed 45 million books. The costumes we were lent for exhibition covered a range of styles. Whether leather, tweed, or feathers, Dolly always pays attention to style and works closely with her designers.

    It was a huge bonus to be able to view Dolly’s costumes and to have Lynn and Alania there to talk about their past experiences sewing for Dolly. Dolly’s home is in Nashville, so it was only “fitting” that we have her costumes on display there!

    Written by Debbie Bone-Harris, VP of Membership

    Debbie Bone-Harris, VP of Membership

  • 12/04/2013 7:20 PM | Anonymous

    This year’s Volunteer Project at the ASDP conference in Nashville started with a snag and ended up fabulous due to the ingenuity and many helping hands of our members. It had been requested that members donate fabric and thread to make aprons for Thistle Farms’ Thistle Stop Café. While preparing the room beforehand, we realized the sewing machines were missing. There was plenty of cutting to do, so our initial thought was we could at least cut them out and ask volunteers to take aprons home to be completed.

    Never underestimate the power of ASDP members! Two ladies had sewing machines at the hotel and scurried to their rooms to get them. Then a classroom serger was put into action. Extra irons and ironing boards were confiscated from various rooms and we were on a roll. Sewers began working on aprons that had been previously cut out and others started working at the cutting stations. As the cutting progressed, the sewers were asked to work on the ties and neck straps so they could be turned right side out and pressed. Soon the apron seam allowances were being pressed and unsewn aprons were assembled into complete units. The 3 hours flew by and in the end we had 11 completed aprons to give to Thistle Farms the next day. Approximately 25 more aprons, in various stages of completion, were picked up by several members to be completed at home and then forwarded to Thistle Farms.

    We would like to thank members for their donations of fabric and thread, the use of their cutting mats, rotary cutters and sewing machines. Thank you to the members who took aprons home to complete and sent them on to Thistles Farms at their own expense. The quick action of everyone getting the process in motion in an efficient and orderly manner was greatly appreciated. It is amazing what this talented group of ladies can do when we work together. We accomplished what we set out to do and had some fun and lively conversation while doing it.

    Thank you again to everyone involved

    Written by Kathy Levy

    Kathy Levy by Chuck Islander

  • 12/03/2013 7:11 PM | Anonymous

    I must confess I did not know who the designer Manuel was. That was until I went on his studio tour in Nashville. Wow - have I been missing glitz and bling! Manuel is a designer for Rock & Roll and Country acts. The man is not a fashion designer; he is a costumer and an artist. His original designs have become the trademark of true American style. One name says it all; he is Manuel. He is often referred to as the “Rhinestone Rembrandt,” Here is a little history and background of Manuel.

    He was born Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez Sr.on April 23, 1938 in Coalcomán de Vázquez Pallares in Mexico as the fifth of twelve children of Esperanza and José Guadalupe Cuevas. Manuel’s fascination with his craft began at the age of seven, when his older brother, Adolfo, taught him how to sew. As a young boy growing up in a small village in Mexico, Manuel Cuevas Martinez once sold oranges on the side of the road to make money for a ticket to see a Western starring the Lone Ranger. Years later, as the chief designer in famed Western wear purveyor Nudie Cohen’s shop in California, Manuel’s first custom order was to design a shirt for none other than Clayton Moore - the Lone Ranger himself. From the time his brother first sat him at a sewing machine, Manuel’s destiny was set and he knew America was the place to make his dreams come true. He has made his own clothes ever since. During this time Manuel mastered a wide scope of the clothier’s art, including leather working, hat making, silver working and boot making.

    In the late 1940’s Manuel began to commission prom dresses to the girls in his hometown saving his earnings to move to the USA. During the 1930s and ‘40s, as cowboy stars Tom Mix and Gene Autry rose to stardom, several immigrant custom tailors also found prominence. Rodeo Ben, Nathan Turk and Nudie Cohen brought their colorful fabrics, whimsical detailed embroidery, and elements of Slavic folk art to their designs, and the Western entertainers were soon snatching them up as quickly as they could be turned out.

    With a natural flair for color and cloth, Manuel arrived in Los Angeles during the height of this era in the mid-1950s, and took a job as a fitter with Sy Devore, the Hollywood tailor to clients including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and the Rat Pack. However, he soon became bored with everyday clothing. Soon after, he went to work at the studio of master embroiderer Viola Grae, who taught him how to use the embroidery machines that are crucial to his design process today and where he met Nudie Cohn. He started work for Cohn around 1960, and later became head tailor and then head designer. He then married Nudie Cohn’s daughter, Barbara L. Cohn on September 4, 1965 in Los Angeles. They had a son, Manuel Cuevas, Jr. (born 1973) and they divorced around 1975.

    Soon after opening his shop around 1974, Manuel purchased a dozen or so machines from the infamous designer, Nathan Turk. Turk had just closed up his business, Turk of Hollywood, due to health reasons. In a generous gesture, Turk never cashed Manuel’s check for those machines. Manuel has always admired Nathan Turk and has given credit to Turk for some of his inspirations. Manuel, himself has also been known to be generous in giving a few of his creations away to some of the newer up-coming country musicians who otherwise would do without. He then moved on to the world of costumes at Nudie’s famed western store, designing for the likes of Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. After 14 years in western wear, Manuel branched out and opened his own shop in North Hollywood, Manuel Couture. Eventually Manuel relocated to Nashville, TN in 1989 to continue his association with the music industy. The previous address was 1922 Broadway, Nashville, TN. It is a beautiful four-story 20th century building. A 7000 square foot brick house built in 1904 as brothel! When Manuel moved his company into this building he didn’t change a thing. The ornately detailed sliding doors, wooden trim, mantel and fireplaces matched the exquisite aesthetic of the garments they house. During the summer of 2013, Manuel began to move to his current location 800 Broadway. When we toured the new location, the company had been “settled in” for only a few weeks.

    Manuel’s studio is so impressive on so many levels. First, every garment is made in-house and by-hand. Every Swarovski crystal is set by hand, a very tedious job considering the thousands and thousands that are on some garments. There are so many items to look at when you are in his studio; you do not know where to begin looking. Bling & glitz everywhere! There are garments for sale in the studio as it is also a retail store in the front of the building. You can try on garments, but I must warn you—they are heavy with all those crystals!!! To set all of these crystals, there is a 1951 stone setter machine that sets all of the Swarovski’s - it is the machine of choice compared to the newer machines.

    Manuel himself works in his studio every day alongside his seamster, Carlos Bonola. Manuel’s right-hand lady, Corissa Benchley, manages the business— sales, accounts, client relations, in-store appointments and press inquiries. Manuel’s son, Manny, has a ready-to-wear line of his own inspired by Manuel and often collaborates with the master on couture pieces. Manuel’s two daughters, Morelia and Jesse-Justin run the shop; Morelia schedules and plans store events and off-site bookings, while Jesse Justin oversees business operations from Chicago where she is pursuing a law degree.

    The second impressive item is a 10 year-long project. After a lifetime of achievements and countless ventures, Manuel chose to give back to the country that brought his dream to a reality. Manuel is more than a clothing designer. His story is the American Dream. A collection of 50 state jackets, one for each state in the USA, each painstakingly tailored to include specific details from each state’s history. The jackets are full of embroidered and rhinestone landscapes and titles. This project is breathtaking as well as extreme dedication. The collection is his way of saying thanks to a country that has offered him a life nearly beyond his imagination His creations are truly a work of art and can be found in museums nationwide, including Metropolitan, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and even the Smithsonian. Locally, in Nashville, you can find his works on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and if you’re just lucky enough to know Manuel’s close friend, Marty Stuart, his closet is rumored to hold over 3000 pieces of Country Cowboy Couture that includes masterpieces from Turk, Nudie and, of course, Manuel. He was responsible for making Johnny Cash the man in black. He crafted Elvis’ signature gold lamé suit. He fashioned the garments Bob Dylan wore when performing for the Pope. He has dressed all three Hank Williams. And if this is not enough to bring him a legendary status in music history, you can thank him for both The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead’s notorious insignias but, it doesn’t stop here: presidents, athletes, dancers, artists and movie stars have donned his glittering couture. He has done wardrobe for over 90 movies and 13 television shows.

    Most of Manuel’s custom-made outfits, all of which are sold as custom-made with Manuel’s direct involvement, will normally sell from $5,000 to $7,500, yet some can cost $20,000 or more. A buyer can also opt to buy from Manuel’s’ ready to wear line, Manuel Limited Collection is offered a lower cost across the country at only the finest of Western Wear Stores.

    Here are two quotes from Manuel: “Record companies call me to help fabricate personalities for their artists,” he declares. “I do for artists what they need—not what they think they need.” and “You have to measure your dreams and your efforts with the same ruler!”

    Written by Robin Kunzer

  • 12/02/2013 7:01 PM | Anonymous

    This year’s conference was held in Nashville TN. If you didn’t get the chance to see the fashion show you missed some very creative garments!

    I would like to take this time to give you some background about myself and how I ended up saying “yes” to the position of Fashion Show Coordinator.

    Although I have been a member of ASDP since 2007 and have attended every conference since Denver, I never volunteered to “chair” any ASDP event. However, that all changed last year. Due to unexpected circumstances, last year’s Fashion Show Coordinator had to step down. Robin Bolton, a previous fashion show coordinator, called to ask if I would be interested in being Fashion Show Coordinator in 2012. I had participated and modeled for fashion shows years ago, but I had never been a Fashion Show Coordinator! What was I getting myself into? Robin assured me she would guide me through the process. I knew the background of the situation so how could I say no? The event needed a coordinator, so I said yes!

    Debbie Bone-Harris, Helen Haughey in their country garb

    As the rookie, I worked with Robin B. in Novi. I took notes and tried to absorb as much as I could regarding what needed to be done in a short period of time. Though overwhelmed at the time, I began to think that maybe I would consider being the coordinator for the following year. When asked to be the coordinator for 2013 I said yes!

    Modified Dolman by Sabrina Breitenmoser modeled by LeilThere was so much to do the day of the Fashion Show that I had to leave class early. The first order of business was to line up the 26 garments and arrange all of the Member Showcase entries in numerical order. All garments in the line-up were dropped off the night before and that morning. A clothes rack of garments had to be transported from the second floor down to the first floor and into a dressing room, a difficult maneuver when moving the rack by yourself. All of the garments entered in the show had previously been matched with a model, but only on paper. My task was to find as many models as I could, match them up to their selected garment(s), have them try the garment(s) on and pray to the “runway goddess” that they fit. You guessed I; there were a few garments that did not fit the assigned model correctly and new models needed to be found.

    In the meantime, the 15 Threads Sleeves Challenge garments were being juried by Susan Khalje, Judith Neukam and Lynn Lesher. Since I was privy to the photos in the Sleeve Challenge, I can tell you we have some very, very creative people in our group! The judging process takes time and the judges could not be disturbed, so the job of matching models and garments, for this section of the fashion show, came to a halt. I had to wait until the judging was completed. The clock was ticking!

    The next job was to make sure the fashion show equipment was up and running. This included making sure the sound system was compatible with the IPad we were using to play the background music and to be sure the microphone was working. I also needed to be sure the setup and layout of the runway were correct. We needed more lighting on the runway, so spot lights were brought in and adjusted so they did not blind the models while walking the runway.

    Vision in Aubergine by Denise LissI received word the judging for the Threads Challenge was complete and the garments headed down to the back stage area. Although most of the designers who entered the challenge were modeling their own designs, a few designers chose not to. I needed to make sure each of these garments had a model and there were still a few Member Showcase garments without models. The hunt for models continued.

    At 5:30 pm all involved in the fashion show were in the dressing room to receive instructions. The garments and accessories are ready to go. Healthy snacks and beverages have been provided for those who have not had a chance to eat dinner. We had a discussion on the line-up, walking the runway, playing to the audience and the procedure for having photos taken. There was a short question and answer session and a walk through.

    At 7 pm the models were beginning to get dressed with the help of their “handmaids”. Although there are some fast changes backstage, it is important not to be too rushed when getting dressed. A “handmaid” is a volunteer ready to help the model in and out of the garment as fast as possible. Another important volunteer is the “line-up person.” This person is responsible for lining up the models in the correct order and checking the models over before they walk on the runway. These are the two most viable backstage volunteers who help make the fashion show run smoothly.

     Winter Violets by Joyce Hittesdorf Don Claussen, of “Trap the Light Photography”, was our photographer for the event. Photos were taken a little differently this year. Instead of taking pictures on the runway, still shots were taken. A small space was set up just before the models walked out onto the runway. Here the models were asked to pose for their “photo shoot.” Don made all the models feel very relaxed in front of the camera. I talked to Don a couple of weeks after the fashion show. He said, “I had a great time and really enjoyed the opportunity to see some wonderful garments worn by such friendly models.” 

    At 7:30 pm the first ten models had been photographed and were standing in line waiting to go on stage. It was show time! I was standing to the back and side of the runway. My responsibility at this point was to have all the models in the correct order and to have eye contact with the commentator should there be a mishap. Helen Haughey welcomed the audience and the show was underway.

     Rain Jacket and Skirt by Judy Gross, available from Lightheart GearThe second group of models was photographed and ready to go as the first group left the runway. Several models from the first group needed to do quick changes since they had at least one more outfit to show. It was an atmosphere of calm chaos in the back stage area, but all went well. 

    The 15 entries for the Threads Sleeve Challenge were lined up in order and ready to walk out onto the runway. As they walked out one at a time, the audience had a chance to study the garments. The Threads finalists returned to the runway for a final walk so the audience had a chance to choose their favorite for the “Audience Choice Award.” Among these entries are innovative ideas and designs and choosing just one is difficult! Susan Khalje introduced the judges for the Threads Challenge; Judith Neukam, Lynn Lesher and Susan Khalje. Judith Neukam explained the judging process, the categories, and commented on the amazing talent of the group. She had a few personal comments and thoughts before announcing the winners of the 2013 Threads Challenge.

    Third Time is the Charm by Denise Liss, modeled by Cisa KubleyWild or Mild Winter by Karen Gay

    And the winners are:

    • Debbie Spence – Best Overall 
    • Debbie Bone Harris – Best Construction 
    • Barbie McCormick – Most Innovative 
    • Sylvie Privat – Best Inspiration 
    • Debbie Bone-Harris – Audience Choice

    There was much excitement as well as happy tears as ASDP members hugged and congratulated one another. The atrium was filled with exuberance. Congratulations to all Challenger Winners!

    Sugar Plum by Michelle Moenssen, modeled by Barbara Van Houten’s grandaughterCape, Brenda Breitenmoser

    The show is over! Everything ran smoothly in the front where I was stationed. I do not have a clue what went on in back, but I have heard things ran exceptionally well backstage. Positive comments were received such as beautiful, ran smoothly, rehearsal was helpful, and it was wonderful to have all of the women who volunteered backstage. I’d like to take this time to thank all of the members who volunteered to make this event run smoothly. It is very much appreciated.

    I can’t tell you everything that is involved in presenting a fashion show because I’m still learning what goes on behind the scenes and in the spotlight. Check in with me again next year because I said “yes” yet again for another year of Fashion Show Coordinator for ASDP in 2014. See you in “Liberty Town!”

  • 12/01/2013 6:54 PM | Anonymous

    Networking can be defined as: The practice of gathering of contacts, the process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities.

    Networking is sometimes an overused term, but the definition given above definitely describes what happens when our members get together oneon-one, in a chapter, in social media, or at our national conference. Two people getting together for a cup of coffee may not feel like networking, but there is much information exchanged. Discussions about where to find a certain thread or the color and type of fabric used for a client’s garment or how to deal with the construction of a garment are but a few exchanges that might occur between two individuals.

    On the chapter level, networking can evolve even more. Chapters many times will invite an outside speaker to come and give a presentation to its members. This presentation is a springboard to an active discussion during the meeting and continued interactions in the days and months to follow. If a chapter chooses to do a community service project, the networking that occurs is not only between its members, but reaches the local community and lets others know about ASDP. Of course, this may spark someone who has been considering a sewing business into action and possibly more members for ASDP.

    Facebook, blogs, Go to Meeting, Go to Webinar are some examples of social media in which networking occurs. In the past year, our national board has started utilizing Go to Meeting for its monthly meetings. Go to Meeting has made board meetings more intimate in that feedback is given not only verbally but also through facial expressions. I feel much more connected to other board members because of this face-to-face interaction.

    The ASDP annual conference is networking on a huge scale. Not only do members converse with each other, but there are also ample opportunities to learn a new skill, or listen to how others solve a particular sewing issue. Meeting together, learning together, shopping together, socializing together, touching fabric and notions together, laughing, hugging and supporting each other is what conference is all about. This physicality of being together is much more than any Go to Meeting, blog or Facebook could ever be.

    I am very pleased to say that we had ten brand new ASDP members who attended their very first conference this year! It is my hope that these new members, some of them young enough to be my daughter, will continue their relationship with this organization. It was truly a delight to meet them and find out about their businesses, future plans, and to feel the level of professionalism they have.

    A majority of conference attendees state that by the end of conference, “with all of the information and networking, their brain feels like mush.” This issue of Perspectives contains quite a bit of conference related material. It is our way of sharing a bit of conference with everyone. Enjoy!

    Written by Teresa Nieswaag, President

    Teresa Nieswaag by Chuck Islander

  • 09/05/2013 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    MSDP has some exciting news. Our new Master Alteration Specialist (MAS) Certification Program is now open for registration! Many ASDP members asked us to create a program tailored to those who do alterations. So, who better to ask to be on the committee that helped create this than four highly respected alteration specialists as well as two members of the MSDP board of directors. We worked over a year to come up with this comprehensive program for the MAS Certification.

    This program consists of five modules: Professional Practices, Fabrics, Alteration Techniques, Alteration Fit, and Alteration Overview. Each has its specific requirements and methods of evaluation. Upon successful completion of all five modules, a certificate will be awarded and the participant will be allowed to use the MAS designation in his/her business.

    All evaluators have been carefully screened and approved by the MSDP Board of Directors. Blind evaluation will be conducted on all modules except Alteration Fit, which will be juried in person by a three-member evaluation team, and Professional Practices, which will be evaluated by a Small Business Administration Center director. Applicants will be assigned an identification number to be used on all submissions. Blind evaluation will be conducted so evaluators will not know whose work they are evaluating and the applicants will not be aware of who is evaluating their work.

    Be the first to register for the Master Alteration Specialist Certification Program!

    The cost of the MAS Certification Program is $800 for ASDP members and $1200 for non-ASDP members. We look forward to working with you to become a Master Alteration Specialist!

    Written by Linda Macke, MSDP Liason

     Linda Macke MSDP Liaison by Chuck Islander

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