Where passion and skill meet: Advanced Apparel Construction

Photography by Prajakta Prasana

It was a sunny Thursday afternoon – last day of class here at LdM before fall break and exams were approaching fast when we caught up with Prof. Sophie Springer and her Advanced Apparel Construction class. As we chatted, the students were hard at work to present a small collection comprising of four finished garments: a blouse, a skirt, a dress and a coat at the end of the term.

It might sound like a lot, but luckily Prof. Springer, who in addition to teaching at LdM, also has her own line of beautiful handbags, is always there to give the students guidance, help refine their creative visions, and – most importantly – correct mistakes before it’s too late. Although making clothes isn’t exactly a straightforward process, Prof. Springer breaks it down into easy to follow steps:

Draw it.

Drape it.

Cut it.

Saw it.

Fit it.

Apparel Construction

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With over 10 years’ experience of teaching at LdM, Prof. Springer admits that cutting the pattern out of paper is the least popular part of the process amongst her students. Figuring out the geometry of a garment and transforming it from 2D into 3D can be challenging. Fortunately, it can be taught. Precision is key to making a well-fitting garment, but anyone who puts their mind to it, can master the technique. So it’s really not the most difficult part of the class, even if most students think so, laughs Prof. Springer.

At this stage you might think that if the pattern is cut with precision, which means that the different pieces of a garment fit together well, assembling the whole garment should be a piece of cake. Not quite. How a garment fits, looks and moves ultimately depends on that individual combination of talent and skill, of technique and vision. Those are unique to every designer.

Finding the perfect meeting point for your skills and vision while making a blouse or a dress – that’s the real challenge. But when we asked Prof. Springer about her favourite part of teaching this class, she said with charming honesty: “it is seeing the students’ personality shine through their designs”. So even though making a garment fit well might require extra patience and care, and a lot of time, as Italians say, il gioco vale la candela – the game is worth the candle.

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Praji Prasana is double majoring in graphic design and studio art at University of the Pacific. While at LdM she takes her classes and takes photos of Florence. After graduation she hopes to make a career as a graphic designer and to keep doing photography.