Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Canvas mock up
Stitching up mock up
Fitting #3 with lace up strips
Fabric selection

Final custom pattern

Preparing lining for cutting

Figuring out layout for fashion fabric
Grommets set

Laced up!

Only the binding is left to finish
To be continued....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Line and proportion

Line and proportion are two topics that aren't talked about as much as they should imho. The line or silhouette of the clothing can make you look taller, thinner, or shorter and stumpier. Think of your favorite piece of clothing or outfit. How does it fit you? How does it make you feel? Now take a closer look. I want you to look at the design lines of the garment. Look at the seams. Which way do they go? Do they visually lengthen you? Do they add curves where you need them and skim/smooth those that need them? Does the garment flow or is it tight?

Some general concepts about lines:

-Vertical lines make you look taller and usually thinner. These lines help the eye visually lengthen as you look up and down. However if strong vertical lines are very far apart they start to look wider.

-Horizontal lines move side to side and visually increase your width. The more contrast there is the wider you will look also (think of a black and white horizontal, striped shirt).

-Diagonals are a bit in between horizontal and vertical. Depending on how much they tip one way or the other they can either be slimming or thickening.

-Curved lines add softness and femininity. You rarely see heavily curved design lines on mens' wear for this reason.

-Straight lines are seen as more formal.Often straight lines are seen in tailored garments. Straight lines can also counteract the natural curves of the body.

Proportion is how pieces make up the whole. For example, how does your jacket and skirt relate to each as part of the whole outfit? Its a type of relationship of your garment(s). Is your outfit pleasing to the eye? Or is it so off balanced that it just looks silly...perhaps a skimpy crop top paired with a full ball gown style skirt would not have a balanced proportion to your eye. With that being said, designers (and nature) often group things in odd numbers. Like 1, 3, or 5 buttons on a blazer or jacket. Odd numbers and odd proportions (1/3 vs 1/2) are often more visually interesting than a completely balanced outfit.

So next time you are putting together an outfit or sketching a new design, take a pause to think about your style lines and the proportion of the garment.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dressing for your body shape

Over the years I've read a number of books on dressing for your body shape (if you want tips on how to find your own body shape take a look at my earlier post)

One of the best books I've ever found in Mary Duffy's  HOAX book. I believe it is out of print, but you can find it on Amazon. Feel free to use my affiliate link below, you'll help me stay in design school with your easy contribution!

Yes the book is a dated (it was written in the 80s) but it right on point, especially for fuller figures. I find this book to be an excellent reference! I used to check out this book from the library all the time. Mary Duffy was a former plus size model that created her own plus size modeling agency. She really knows her stuff. In her book she makes and argument for 4 basic body styles and nicknames them H, O, A, and X. For the H shape, she is a straight up and down body shape, with little waist definition. O is the typical apple shape, full on top and skinnier legs. An A lady is also called a pear shape, smaller on the top and full through the hips and legs. X is the hourglass shape a lot of women envy, full bust and full hips and small waist. No matter your body shape this book will help you look your best. I would really love to see this book updated and reprinted!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to find your body shape

No matter what size you are or how much you weigh, to look your best you should dress according to your body shape. People come in all shapes, sizes and heights but there are some basic categories. Different people call them by different names, and sometimes you fit kind of in the middle of two different descriptions. I'd like to give you some general guidance.Some clothes look better on some body types than others for the simple reason of body shape. Have you ever tried on something with a friend that's the same size? Did it look better on her than you? Even if you are the same size on the rack, you may have very different body shapes.

First think about your height. Are you 5'2" or under? Then you fall into the petite category. Are you the average height of 5'5"? Then you=average. If you are taller than 5'8" you generally fall into the tall category when it comes to clothing.

A tip I've read that is pretty cool in helping you visualize your body shape, but can only be done if you have two people unfortunately is to get a big piece of poster paper and hang it on your wall. Grab a close friend and put on a form fitting (tight) outfit like a body suit, bathing suit, tights and tight tank, etc. Then stand straight and tall against the wall and have the other person trace you. Take down the piece of paper and put another one up and this time turn to the side. Have your friend trace your profile. With these two tracings you will be able to see where you carry your weight.

Once you see where your weight distribution is you can better classify your body type. An alternative way is to take your measurements. It is important to get accurate measurements, so it is best if you can have someone else do this for you. You will want to at least take your full bust, waist, and low hip measurements. You can take them on yourself using a mirror. Make sure you good form and don't suck in or tense up your muscles. When measuring yourself you will want to keep the tape measure straight and parallel to the floor. Don't let the measuring tape get crooked or twisted. Measure at the widest part, snugly. Not too tight or too loose. You want accurate measurements! Once you have your measurements you can see where you carry your weight better.

Using both of these methods will give you the best idea of your body shape. The tracing gives you a visual representation of the actual space your body is taking up, while the measurements give you concrete dimensions.

Let's start from the top. People who carry most of their weight in the top third of their body (shoulders, bust, waist) are usually called top heavy, broad shoulder or thick waisted. Sometimes these shapes are referred to as V-shaped (broad shoulders) apple shaped (full bust or full waist). Typically the lower torso and legs are quite small in comparison. Women who carry most of their weight in the bottom half of their bodies are often called pair shaped. This shape usually has slim top half (arms, bust, and even tummy) and heavier butt, hips, and thighs. This is an extremely common body shaped. If your bust and hip measurements (or tracings) are about equal and you have at least and 8" drop in circumference from bust to waist you are part of the so called body ideal of hourglass. This curvy shape is very balanced, but can range from looking pretty straight up and down (but waist goes in) to very, very curvy.

Of course there are gray areas and blends of body shapes. With weight gain or loss you may move from one shape to another. Whether you are petite, average or tall also makes your clothes fall differently. Just think of wearing a petite sized mini skirt if you are 5'10"...not only will it be super short on you, the buttons and details may look to small and imbalanced.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Where do you find your inspiration?

I found a lot of inspiration from this book "Contemporary Lingerie Designs." You can read my review of the book on Amazon here (if you purchase the book through my link above it will help me continue to provide information to you:) I am always intrigued by where designers find their inspiration. I know some people start from a concept, others from a silhouette, some from nature or a certain fabric. Some designers use a combination of methods. How do you find inspiration? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

For the Spring 2013 line, I was inspired by 80s glamor. In particular I had seen some beautiful 1980s vintage lingerie on Etsy. I loved the silhouettes of the teddies and wondered how I might apply that to a full figured lingerie line. I started loosely sketching some ideas. From there I narrowed down my ideas. For our class we had to come up with at least 5 complete looks. I also started looking at color palettes and doing magazine tears.

Inspiration Resources:

An awesome site is Designs Seeds. This site has different pictures that the artist then pulls out the colors and creates palettes with usually about 5 colors. Another great site for color inspiration is the Adobe Kuler site.

I recommend looking through some of the Pinterest pin boards. I've linked to my page, but also try googling "Pinterest + a designer's name or season." If you're inspired by street fashion take a look at the blog style website lookbook.nu.

If you'd like to start with the fabric first, check out fabric.com or nyfashioncenterfabrics.com/ or search for a particular fabric designer's name or line.

Friday, June 1, 2012

More board pics

I finally took some better shots of my mood board and technical board (including some close ups). I posted a few pics of my tech board and storyboard earlier. If you want to see even more of the progression check out where I started on blogging about it on Tortilla Designs.

Without further ado here they are!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lingerie blogs

Ah a girl after my own heart! I came across this awesome site "The Lingerie Addict." A very nice blog I might add. She shares a lot of information on sales, trends, and her personal taste. Plus she gives alot of shot outs to indie designers. Lots of tips and even give a ways. All in all a great site to check out!

Here's a few posts you might find interesting:

Top 10 bra brands for plus size women

Polish larger size bras

Lingerie for outer wear

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fabric swatches

I've found a few potential fabrics, I like the color of the brocades but I'm looking for something a bit higher quality that shreds less! Anyone have tips for working with brocades? The pink lace has a bit of pink satin under it. The gold is a poly satin and the black lace is all by itself. I think I have a lead of the bamboo jersey, I love the feel of that stuff! So tactile! I have a bad habit of feeling random materials including clothing people are wearing!!!

6 colors and 4 swatches=10

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lingerie inspiration

I came across this blog "Life in Lingerie." First of all I love the name of the blog and second of all that have some awesome lingerie. Take a look for some inspiration and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Technical Drawings

These were truly a labor of love. I'm pretty darn proud how they turned on. It's a good feeling when you impress yourself:) The technical drawings were created in Adobe Illustrator. There was much cursing, hair pulling and otherwise all out frustration during the process. I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. I will add that many of these I had to draw twice, first I had tried to do my tech drawing using 1/2 of my fashion sketch lady (because she is not straight on to the camera so to speak) and I got a big slap on the hand by my instructor (I still love you Jason) and had to redo them on a the straight on perspective plus size croqui. The layouts were done in Adobe InDesign for the lookbook and technical board. You can see more of the progress of my class on my other blog, Tortilla Designs here.
The Sable Babydoll set

The Fallon Cami

Alexis corset

My favorite, the Domonique Kimono

Fallon long slip

Another topper, the Samantha Pegnoir
Alexis Tap pant

Krystle teddy, my second fav

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fashion photography entry for Creative Live

I really, really want to attend! I would love to learn from Lindsay Adler. Her fashion photography is amazing! If I'm able to attend I promise to share what I learn with you fine folks. Here's my entry! Wish me luck! Say a little prayer for me:)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Logo design

I created this logo for "Marlena" using Adobe Illustrator. I was going for an elegant look that was a bit traditional. I also choose to have the logo in just black and shades of grey. This way it is more versatile and won't look dated. Plus it helps save money in printing costs. If I want to colorize it for a particular reason, it will be easy to do. What do you think of this logo?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spr 2013 Lookbook

Technical Board

A quick look at my completed Technical Board. I'll have to add my tech drawings in another post, I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.

Color Story

For the Spring 2013 line here are the colors:

Ocean Blue 
Tempting Turquoise
Royal Purple
Sultry Pink
Metallic Gold
Black Oil

These bright, bold colors are reminiscent of the 80s.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Moodboard progression

I've decided to just give a visual of the progress of my moodboard. If you want to read more in detail check out my posts here or here

Story behind Marlena

After searching and searching for just the right name for my line I decided to do a bit of research on the name Marlena. After I found out about it's dual meaning, I decided to roll with it!

Directly from my Spring 2013 Lookbook:

Marlena designs and markets beautiful lingerie for women with curves. The origin of the name Marlena is the combination of Mary (purity) and Magdalena (an unholy lady). Marlena interprets this dichotomy by letting each individual choose whether to be naughty or nice. Each piece is carefully hand crafted to ensure the highest quality of construction. Marlena is moderately priced, perfect for the woman who loves to spoil herself. The company is a LLC based in Tacoma, Washington.

Oh and did I mention that Marlena is my middle name? My mom swears when she looked it up back in the day the meaning was "tower of strength" but here's the modern info I found.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It all begins with an idea

What begins with an idea? Everything! From product creation, to Nobel prizes, to overthrowing old regimes, it all begins with an idea.

Join me as I take Marlena boutique from concept to reality. Please stay tuned tuned to watch and learn with me as I take Marlena Boutique from an idea to a full fledged product line.

You can see some of my earlier posts on my other site Tortilla Designs.

Here's a few of my rough sketches.