If you are the kind of person that loves surprising loved ones with one-of-a-kind, special gifts, you are probably always going the extra mile in your search for unique products. What catches your eye is most likely something that is seldom available in brick and mortar stores and quite difficult to come across in general.
Whether you enjoy being the best gift-giver in your family or the smile on that loved one's face, putting some thought into that special gift, especially around the holiday season, can be truly rewarding. Needless to say, if you are reading this, you love to give that special woman in your life gifts that she is sure to remember. The good news is that while you love gifting them, we have the passion for creating them at Doina Alexei.
These fashion products (as we like to call them) have truly inspired us and are all about YOU. They are constructed with your needs, your passions and your little indulgences in mind. Whether you are searching for something educational, functional, unique, or simply aesthetically flattering, the special gift items we hand picked below might prove to be just what you are looking for this gift-giving season. There is a sense of whimsy and excitement about every single one of them.
It is worth to note of course, that every item is handmade and individually tagged and packaged with care to safely arrive at your doorstep right before Christmas (or that special birthday!).
Whether it is for a wife, girlfriend, mother, grandmother or your favorite aunt, here are the three fashion products that will prove to be some of the most one-of-a-kind, successful gifts this Christmas season.
The 11:11 Jacket- A Jacket Convertible To Shoulder Bag
The 11:11 Jacket- the convertible jacket to bag is bound to put a smile on the face of everyone gathered around the Christmas tree. The name of it has already partially given away its secret- As you might have guessed, it transforms from fully functional jacket to fully functional shoulder bag in just a few easy steps.
We've all been fascinated by convertible products especially in the apparel industry. Quite often however, we shy away from wearing them due to their heavyweight, hardware-rich characteristic. The goal with the 11:11 Jacket was to construct a piece of apparel with no overwhelmingly visible hardware which risks being heavy and aesthetically uncomfortable to wear. When in jacket form, it resembles more of a trench coat giving no impression that it is a convertible garment. If you do look very carefully, the separating zippers, which are sleekly sewn into the side seams, give you a little hint that this isn't just another boring jacket.
A clothing item that serves us in more than one way is always a great investment and worthy of becoming a life-long item in your closet. For that reason, the 11:11 Jacket offers a classic silhouette that is appropriate to style with just about anything in your closet.
It is not bulky or thick but rather lightweight, making it interchangeable through transitioning seasons. The length stops right above the knee featuring a subtly curved hem at the back which adds softness and increases flattery.
Now for the fun part: How does it work? How does a seemingly classic jacket with no visible heavy hardware on its surface transform into a fully functional, roomy bag? The secret is in the back panel.
The back panel itself provides for a hidden compartment that houses two light yet extremely durable D-rings. Once the side separating zippers are zipped fully to form the bag compartment, the back panel is simply flipped over the neckline and shoulders to expose the D-rings hiding the neckline underneath. This panel not only creates a straight bag opening edge, it also provides a clean look on the inside of the shoulder bag by hiding the neckline opening underneath.
Each clip on the bag strap, which is naturally housed inside the jacket, is then attached to each one of the D-rings completing the formation of the bag. Because no bag is complete without a means to close it, the bottom of the jacket folds over the bag opening in a unique fashion to create a beautiful ruffle flap. The curved edge of the back hem hides all the layers of the jacket's bottom underneath, which increases the authenticity and functionality of the bag.
As you play around with the conversion steps, you'll find that you cannot tell either item is of the convertible type whether it is in jacket or bag form. That was truly the goal in the creation of this design- being able to interchange the two whenever necessary without compromising their ability to fully serve their functional purpose.
When you are out on a walk, running errands, or simply going to work in the morning you may be faced with changing temperatures throughout the day. Start with the jacket during those cool early mornings and convert it to a bag as you deem necessary. We think that this simple idea of interchangeable products is the true beauty of functionality.
The Learn To Sew Box
The Learn To Sew Box is perfect for those that steer more towards educational gifts. It is just as enticing for a student as it is for the person looking to add an extra skill to his/her repertoire. How many times have you heard the phrase: "I wish I could make my own clothes..."? Well, now you can with the Learn To Sew Box as it includes all the basic necessities to get started.
We might not all have the courage to start a blog but almost all of us love to read and browse them from time to time. Whether it is fashion, beauty, food, DIY, or just about anything you can think of, blogs give us a little glimpse into the life of those daring enough to share. Vivienne So is one of the courageous ones that allows her readers a little window into her life whether by reviewing the products she loves or sharing heartwarming glimpses of precious moments with her son.
Years ago, she started her first blog based on her, as she describes it, "tragic and humorous dating life". Today, the blog remains a mystery as it is no longer live. The good news? We might expect to read the juicy stories all compiled in a book at some point in the future. Even as life got in the way, she never lost her passion for writing which she now shares with the world on her current blog- Jollie Pagaille.
On Jolie Pagaille, a blog that was born at the persuasion of a friend sharing the same fashion and beauty interests, Vivienne still does not shy away from sharing little personal stories here and there. Her writing style makes you feel as if you are sitting on a comfy couch with her while she tells you all about the new shoes she loves or a new beauty product she recently came across. From food to fashion, Vivienne is not limited by what the (sometimes) cookie-cutter world of blogging expects of her but rather sharing what she truly loves with the world when she has the urge to do so.
As a single mother working a full time job, Vivienne appeals to just about any woman out there that does not allow her job to get in the way of her passion for writing, beauty and fashion.
If you've ever considered starting a blog but find the idea impossible to fathom due to time constraints, Vivienne So gives us some precious insight into what it is like to juggle a busy life as a single mom and still find time and inspiration to blog.
When and how did you get into blogging? Is there a specific event or moment in your life that inspired you to get started?
I actually started blogging when it was still fairly new. People were writing more about their lives than about products back then. I had always wanted to do creative writing and blogging was a great outlet for it. I first started with a very personal blog, but it was rather boring. So I started another blog that was loosely based on my tragic and humorous dating life. It was exciting and was a bit fictional at times, but it garnered a nice following. It no longer exist, but I've often thought about turning it into a book.
I started Jolie Pagaille later when I became heavily involved with a guy who's interests were in line with mine- Beauty and fashion. He actually encouraged me to create a blog that catered to beauty and fashion! There are sprinkles of personal stories on there, but that's part of blogging.
Is there a message that you try to portray with your blog whether personal or on a larger scale, socially?
On Jolie Pagaille, I try to give my honest review of products. I try everything and if I don't like a product, I'll write my honest opinion and sometimes I won't write a review of it. I think it's important to be authentic when it comes to writing about products. I'm not going to promote a product favorably if it's uncomfortable or gives me a rash. There's not value in it for me to do that.
Your blog clearly shows your individual personality and style. Does it get difficult to maintain your identity without being influenced by the outpouring of ideas and work from other bloggers? How do you keep your individual style intact?
It can be hard! If I see a celebrity blogger carrying an "it" piece/bag, of course I'll be tempted to want it. For the most part though, I'm pretty true to my style. I love comfort, but I also like to dress according to my mood or weather. During summertime, I tend to be a little bohemian. At work I'm a bit more reserved in my attire and tend to choose outfits with clean lines. I'm currently into white, even after Labor Day!
The world of modeling is just as much glamour and mystery as it is hard work. What we don't see in an ad campaign or the final images of an editorial are the long hours of behind-the-scenes work in grueling weather conditions using sometimes uncomfortable garments and props. What truly separates the weak from the strong is the ability to produce beautifully crafted and effortless images regardless of the unpredictable conditions endured behind the camera. A model that works great under pressure, adjusting to different settings and offering variety in her/his look is the result of not only talent but years of practice and experience. On the "strong" list is Melanie Blankenship-A talented, versatile model we've had the pleasure of working with on numerous occasions.
Whether it is beauty, bridal or fashion, there isn't a topic not covered in Melanie's portfolio. She can do commercial just as well as she does editorial easily transitioning from classic-feminine to punk-rocker without losing her personal edge. As you'll see in some examples of her work below, Melanie's ability to adapt to different styles and conceptual looks allow her to be greatly sought after both in the Washington DC area, where she currently lives and works, as well as various major cities across the US and abroad.
In the array of questions to follow, Melanie lets us in on her background and work, piquing the curiosity of anyone interested in learning a bit more about the modeling industry. Topics like what it is like to work as a freelance model, should you work with an agency, and what are the industry moments that have helped her build thick skin are just a few that Melanie Blankenship shares with us in the interview below.
How did you get involved in modeling? How old were you when you did your first photo shoot and what was that experience like?
One of my really good friends and photographer Stephen Archer got me into modeling in high school. He would always ask me to model for him for his college portfolio. Stephen interned with photographer Roy Cox, and when I was 17, Roy asked me to come into his studio for a professional photo shoot with a makeup artist. I was hooked on modeling and the whole experience of it from there. The first shoot was a beauty shoot with a few different makeup looks and also the first time I worked with a makeup artist- it was really fun!
It is so often that we fall in love with unique styles yet tend to shy away from actually buying them if they appear to be difficult to style or wear. If you feel intimidated by more challenging-to-wear clothing, rest assured that there are plenty of options to style even the most difficult items without forgoing comfort.
Here is a list of commonly difficult-to-wear clothing and how to fix some of the styling issues associated with them:
Backless or Open-Back Tops and Dresses:
So why are backless and open-back tops and dresses so intimidating yet so appealing to us? It is true that an open back garment can feel like a risky choice yet if designed and worn properly, exudes elegance in evening wear and more casual styles. If you learn a few tricks to comfortably wear and style them, open back garments can become regularly used clothing items in your closet.
The main challenge when it comes to backless clothing is what to do with that pesky back bra strap. How can you achieve comfort and support without going fully braless (unless you feel comfortable doing so!)? The good news is that there are plenty of accessories and products on the market that allow you to have comfortable coverage and support without the inconvenience of the back bra strap. You can choose whichever product works best for you based on your comfort level and style.
Truly, the easiest way to wear a backless garment is going completely braless- That of course, is if you feel comfortable enough doing so. If you invest in some pasties for nipple coverage, you’ll be able to tackle wearing any backless style you fall in love with. If going braless is not up to your comfort level and you need a bit more coverage and support, there are some adhesive products and invisible back-strap bras that offer additional comfort and coverage.
Get creative! Just because a clothing item features an open back design does not mean the back has to be completely uncovered. If you have a black or contrast color bra, allow the back strap to show for a more relaxed, casual look. Don’t forget to hide or trim any tags the bra has at the back. Try to avoid tan or white bra colors as these colors are more suitable for wearing underneath clothing. If you are feeling a bit more risqué, a colorful lace bra can add a flirty, feminine flare when paired with more casual backless clothing.
Another option for styling backless clothing items includes pairing them with racer-back bras. These style bras add a unique design touch to open-back garments. The most common racer-back styles on the market include crisscross and bandeaux shapes. If you are lucky enough to find a color match, these styles will incorporate with you backless garments beautifully giving the impression that they are part of the design. If you prefer more coverage and support, a racer-back bra will work with most of your open back clothing providing a more casual look that does not jeopardize comfort.
Spaghetti Strap Blouses and Dresses:
The beauty of spaghetti strap tops and dresses is that they make great layering pieces. Believe it or not, spaghetti strap styles can become everyday items easily adjustable from an office setting to an evening out afterwards. During the late spring and summer months, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses will make a versatile, feminine addition to any closet.
It is certainly true that spaghetti strap clothing can be a little bit tricky to wear if you particularly dislike your bra strap showing. For that reason, many women shy away from purchasing spaghetti straps all together and may sometimes become a bit uneasy with this somewhat junior-esque style.
When it comes to wearing a spaghetti strap garment, we encourage you to embrace your figure regardless of size or shape. If you feel comfortable enough going braless, do so, especially if wearing a bra has always felt a bit too confining for you. If you choose to go braless, pasties are a great way to add a bit more comfort and solve the issues of the nipples showing through the lightweight fabric.
Adhesive bras on the other end, are another suitable option if you prefer more coverage, support and maybe a bit of extra padding. The adhesive nature of these products are often a hassle to wear on a regular basis but will become a go-to with more formal eveningwear and cocktail dresses that feature spaghetti straps.
On the other hand, a traditional strapless bra may be quite suitable if the spaghetti strap item in question features a horizontal seam underneath the bust line. The main issue with traditional strapless bras is that they shift down during movement which can be frustrating and uncomfortable. A horizontal seam underneath the bust line may provide more stability for a regular strapless bra by preventing it from shifting down during wear. If you are lucky enough to fall in love with a spaghetti strap item that already has built in padding at the bust, you do not have to worry about bra straps all together.
In the case you don’t mind having the bra straps showing, spaghetti strap dresses and blouses can actually handle this look very well if you choose a neutral bra color. The combination of the straps will create a more casual look and allow you to get creative when pairing the bra strap color with the spaghetti strap item at hand. Keep in mind that wearing a simple black bra with black straps will work with almost any spaghetti strap dresses or blouses. Even better, if you find a bra color that matches the dress or top in question, pairing them might give the impression that the bra strap is part of the spaghetti strap design. You can also go for a more color blocked look by combining a bra of contrasting color with the spaghetti strap items you own. We do encourage you to stay away from styling spaghetti strap items with tan or white bras as most of them are designed to be worn under clothing.
If you get a bit too warm during the fall and early spring months, layering a spaghetti strap blouse or dress underneath heavier pieces will provide a great balancing act temperature wise. Spaghetti strap blouses work great with light cardigans and blazers and can be paired with almost any bottoms. They make a perfect addition to an office setting while easily adjusting to any environment outside of work. These styles are lightweight enough to be tucked into higher waist pants and skirts while also eliminating bulkiness in the layering process.
Low, Plunging V-Necklines:
We’ve all fallen in love (in theory) with a deep V-neck dress or blouse at some point or another, but are we daring enough to wear them? It is true that not only are they a bit difficult to style and high maintenance to wear, they are certainly not suitable for every occasion.
Deep V-necks are commonly added to evening gowns, cocktail dresses and formal/evening blouses. While they may not provide an everyday style suitable for the office, a plunging V-neck garment is feminine and sexy yet still maintains an elegant flare.
As is also the case for backless garments, lower V-neck clothing often requires investing in a few additional items in order to wear and style comfortably. The problem area is usually the bust- Specifically, choosing between the right support and coverage such that it does not show in the open V area. Needless to say, a regular bra just won’t work.
Let start with the simplest solution: Going completely braless. If you feel comfortable or have the courage to do it, simply going braless will create a clean look and eliminate the need to hide any unwanted bra elements. If you do decide to go braless however, you may want to use pasties to eliminate the nipple-issue. Invest in some double sided adhesive tape to hold some of the unstable fabric edges down thus avoiding those risky “peek-a-boo” accidents. If you are looking for a quick fix and don’t have time to go on a search for adhesive bra tape, use duct tape. It adheres just as well (if not even better) and nobody has to know your secret!
If you are not so daring as to go completely braless, or you need some additional support and cup-enhancement, there are plenty of products on the market that will fulfill these requirements. For starters, if the V-neck in question is very low, whether it is open or sheer, you may want to invest in adhesive side cups. These adhere to each side of the bust leaving the center completely uncovered. Some adhesive bras are more padded than others providing an option for size enhancement as well.
In the case of a garment that features a higher cut V-neck not extending all the way to the belly button, there are some specialty bras on the market that are designed to accommodate less exaggerated V-neck styles. These bras replicate the V shape of a V-neck garment by extending lower than a regular bra. They also feature a thicker band under the bust area providing more stability and support.
You might find this difficult to believe, but a basic sheer blouse is truly an everyday item. If you familiarize yourself with some simple styling tricks, it is incredibly easy to transition most sheer blouses from the office to an evening out afterwards. They are lightweight enough to be layered with cardigans, sweaters, and blazers which classifies them as multi-seasonal. See-through blouses like those made of chiffon are elegant and appropriate enough work just as well with a pair of blue jeans as they do tucked into a tailored skirt.
Don’t be intimidated by the transparent characteristic of the fabric. If you invest in a few spaghetti strap tank tops in different colors you can effortlessly pair them with all the chiffon blouses you own. Not only does this fix the see-through issue, the spaghetti strap tanks provide enough warmth thus counteracting the lightweight characteristic of the blouse.
Vise versa, you may layer a sheer blouse with a slightly revealing dress to make it more formal or work appropriate. The best example is a spaghetti strap dress that requires a bit of shoulder coverage- Throwing a chiffon button-down blouse over it can make it more elegant and appropriate for a number of different settings. You may tie the bottom edges of the blouse at the waist area for a more playful, casual look.
Corset-Imitation Tops and Dresses:
As opposed to actual corsets, corset-style clothing features less complicated seams and often forgoes the use of boning, padding and other structural elements. A corset silhouette can be quite flattering to the waist and bust area but it can prove to be a bit tricky to style and perhaps not quite appropriate for every setting.
When it come to a corset-style top, choosing the most suitable bottoms in the styling process can be a bit of a challenge. For a more feminine look, pair a softly draping skirt with more form-fitting corset items. If you like to juxtapose your styles a bit, pair a corset fitted top with tailored trousers and skirts. In the case you prefer a form-fitted look from head to toe, a pair of fitted skinny jeans in combination with a corset-imitation blouse can accentuate your waist and hips alluding to a more elongated figure.
As is common with all styles that are trickier to wear, some corset-imitation clothing can sometimes cause challenges at the bust area. Due to the increased cost, many corset-imitation tops and dresses do not have built in padding at the bust area. This means that if you are a smaller cup size, you may experience some fit issues in this particular area.
However, corset-type clothing is very friendly with various styles of removable padding whether adhesive or non-adhesive in nature. This is made possible due to the placement of the seams which provide enough stability and structure to support added padding at the bust area. If you usually steer clear of adhesive bras, you can cheat the system and use regular, non-stick cup enhancements. With most corset-inspired clothing, the form-fitted silhouette and horizontal seams underneath the bust line (if any) should be enough to hold them in place during wear.
Dropped Shoulder or One-Shoulder Clothing:
When it comes to dropped shoulder or one-shoulder garments, the main challenge is the bust area- What to do with those pesky bra straps? It can be somewhat of an undertaking to incorporate bra straps into the styling of a dropped or single-shoulder clothing item. While perfectly matched color bra straps might give you some pleasantly surprising results, adding the extra strap risks altering the look and design of the garment. Needless to say, the extra strap will jeopardize the one-shoulder look.
The solution? This is where those adhesive products can really come through for you. If you are comfortable not wearing a bra all together, some simple adhesive pasties will provide an easy, quick fix. If you are after a bit more coverage and support or perhaps an enhanced cup size, adhesive bras will work great with dropped shoulder or one-shoulder styles. It is true that adhesive products are not always suitable for everyday use and can be a quite a hassle to apply and remove on a regular basis. For that reason, they are more suitable for occasional rather than regular use.
If you prefer to steer clear of adhesive products all together, you can always go for a traditional strapless bra. One shoulder garments provide an additional advantage when paired with a regular strapless bra- You can actually leave one of the bra straps on for additional stability and support by hiding it under the covered shoulder portion. Doing so will prevent the bra from shifting down during movement which is such a common issue with traditional strapless bras.
If you own a lot of dropped shoulder and one-shoulder clothing, it is a good idea to invest in a specialty bra specifically designed to tackle the challenges associated with this style. Single shoulder bras are available on the market and come in a few different designs and support capabilities. Most of them feature a wider single strap resembling somewhat of a sports bra look.
A wider strap will allow for increased stability and support without jeopardizing comfort. Other options include thin, removable straps that can be used with one shoulder garments featuring thinner straps themselves. In many cases, multiple thin straps are preferred in order to maintain stability. Regardless the design, investing in a one shoulder bra, especially if you own a large number of single-shoulder clothing items, will take the hassle out of styling and comfortably wearing these challenging styles.
As a side note, single shoulder and especially dropped shoulder items are not particularly easy to layer. Their asymmetric nature is designed to work best alone and not in a layered combination. That is not say that you should completely shy away from pairing them with other pieces in your closet- if you get a bit creative you can certainly make one-shoulder items work in a layered outfit.
Crop tops are looked upon as a younger, more junior silhouette. If you feel like you are past the age where crop tops are appropriate, you might still get away with wearing them if you learn how to style and use them in the appropriate setting. While crop tops might not be a winner at the office, they are a great option for a night out with the girls weather you are going out for a drinks or risking it all on the dance floor.
The secret? Pair them with high-waist bottoms.
There is nothing wrong with showing your belly button in your teens and early twenties but when you get a bit older it is always safer to lean on the elegant side. Believe or not, crop tops can still be elegant while providing a casual, playful edge. As mentioned above, the principal rule is to combine them with higher waist bottoms. Not only does this combination provide comfort and allows for more coverage, it also creates the illusion of longer legs thus elongating the figure.
Due to the shorter length, crop tops offer a great option for women that have a longer torso by providing somewhat of a balancing act proportionally. In addition, pairing crop tops with high waist jeans, trousers or skirts will further accentuate the waist allowing for a more slender appearance.
A cropped sweater works great in combination with high-waist, blue jeans providing a more casual, everyday look. On the other hand, cropped silk blouses mix beautifully with high-waist tailored skirts for an elevated, more elegant style. Needless to say, cropped tops can provide a lot of versatility regardless of age if you apply the right styling tricks. They are a great tool for layering especially with longer cardigans and blazers for a flattering, elongating effect. When styled in this fashion, the variation in hemlines provide a visually balanced appearance that enhances the waist and hip area.
Fashion illustration is a skill that is developed over time contingent on lots of patience and practice. Perhaps the most rewarding part about learning how to draw a fashion figure is being able to sketch your own clothing design ideas in an effortless, readable way. This is especially valuable if you want to learn how to design and make your own clothing.
Lets face it, the concept of drawing clothing on a fashion figure can feel quite intimidating. However, you really don't have to have a fashion design degree to learn how to design clothing on your own and effortlessly sketch your ideas down on paper.
The good news is there are a few simple steps you can follow that will help you avoid some of the confusion associated with proportion and movement and allow you to focus and prioritize when drawing clothing. Before tackling the clothing sketches, it is first important to understand how to draw a fashion figure. Drawing the figure first and then dressing it with your design ideas will not only help you bring the clothing item to life, it will also allow for a much easier sketching process and understanding of basic fabric drape, fit and movement.
A fashion figure is different than a regular figure drawing in the fact that it is a more dramatic, less detailed representation featuring more exaggerated movement and proportions. Fashion figures can essentially take any shape you desire stylistically allowing you to really express your style artistically. Often times, the style of your fashion sketches reflects the style of the clothing you are designing. As a beginner , don't stress too much about finding your style right away- this is something that occurs naturally over time whether you strive for it or not. For now, focus on learning the basic proportion and movement concepts described below which should hopefully lay out the bullring blocks for finding your drawing style over time.
As described above, a good fashion drawing should be able to capture the movement of the design and fabric you are envisioning. If you learn a few basic concepts about proportion, balance and movement you'll be able to sketch a fashion figure in just a few minutes. As you practice, you will find what works best for you and your drawing style.
Before getting started, here are a few things to keep in mind:
-Practice makes perfect. Keep practicing until your hand loosens up and you feel confident with your pencil and work surface.
-Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
-You can bend the rules! Try different things despite what the "rules" tell you. This is essential in finding your comfort level and eventually developing your own style.
-Practice drawing continuous lines at different widths and pressures. Try to avoid drawing multiple dash lines to form a continuous line. This can get a bit messy and does not allow you to completely loosen up when sketching.
- Keep it simple. Simple line impressions that capture general movement and proportion are often enough to make a fashion figure sketch look finished.
Drawing a Fashion Figure: Simple Step-By-Step Guide
1. Draw a subtly curved vertical line in one continuous movement. Don't worry about how straight or how curved the line is, just free-hand a vertical line. This will serve as your vertical balance line.
Traditionally, a vertical balance line is a straight line that determines figure balance and foot placement. To make it a bit easier, we are bending the rules and making this line semi-curved. This semi-curved line will still allow you to draw the correct balance in your fashion figure but it will also help you capture the figure's movement much easier, especially if you are a beginner.
The traditional vertical balance line rule is: Both feet CANNOT be positioned on the same side of the line or it will make the figure look like it is falling over. Each foot should be positioned on opposite sides of the vertical line. It is quite okay if one of the feet is touching the vertical line as long as most of the foot surface stays on the opposite side of the line than the second foot.
The same rule applies to the semi-curved vertical balance line displayed above. However, it is quite OK if the foot crosses over a bit more on the opposite side of the line. You can usually estimate foot placement by the fashion figure's movement which we'll show you how to do below.
2. Next, draw a slanted horizontal line less than half the distance down from the top of the vertical line as displayed in the image below.
Again, don't worry too much about measuring the exact distance as long as the horizontal line is placed higher than the midpoint of the vertical line. This will serve as the hip line.
Don't worry about the length of this horizontal line either. Simply free hand it in one continuous line ensuring that it is slightly slanted.
As you'll learn below, the direction in which this horizontal line (hip line) is slanted affects the movement of the body and works hand-in-hand with the shoulder line.
3. From the horizontal line you just drew (the hip line) divide the top portion of the vertical line in 3 parts. Draw dash lines to help you visualize the division better. The first part from the hip line up should be approximately the same length as the upper most part of the vertical line. The middle portion should be slightly longer than the two outer parts described.
Take a look at the image below and notice the proportion between these dash lines- try to replicate this placement in your drawing.
4. On the first dash from the top draw another horizontal slanted line in the opposite direction to the hip line. This will serve as the shoulder line.
Just as you did for the hip line, don't worry about the measurement of the shoulder line. Free hand it in one continuous line ensuring that it slants in the opposite direction to the hip line.
To put this into perspective, one of the edges of the hip line and one of the edges of the shoulder line should be pointing towards each other while the other ends should be pointing away from each other.
As described above, the shoulder line and hip lines work dependently when it comes to movement. They should always be slanted in opposite directions in order to achieve the correct figure pose. The more slanted the lines are the more exaggerated the movement will be, usually resulting in a more dramatic looking fashion figure.
As you practice different versions, you'll be able to find your style and figure out which method you prefer more. Often times, you'll find that if you are sketching a garment with more drape it will require more movement in your fashion figure in which case the hip and shoulder lines should be more slanted.
If hypothetically, the hip line in the sketch above was slanted the other direction then the shoulder line would be pointed the opposite direction as well.
5. Move down to the next dash (right in the middle) and sketch a smaller horizontal line that is just a little bit slanted in the same direction as the hip line- This will mark the waist line.
The idea is to have the waist line just slightly slanted but not as slanted as the hip line. In some cases you can leave this line straight.
Keep in mind that the waist line should be much shorter than the hip and shoulder lines. Don't concern yourself with exact distance at this point as long as you keep this proportion in mind.
6. Note the distance between the waist line and the hip line. Use this half measurement and place a horizontal dash line along the vertical balance line at this distance down from the hip line- this will mark the crotch line. If this sounds a bit confusing, use the sketches below as reference.
The crotch line might seem unimportant now but it will actually help tremendously when you are drawing the legs and capturing the organic shape of the hips.
7. Now for the connect the dots portion: You will connect the shoulders to the waist, the waist to the hips and the hips to the bottom center dash on both side of the figure. This will complete a rough draft of the torso and you will finally start to see your fashion figure emerge from all the lines.
There are however a two basic proportionality rules you should keep in mind:
-The shoulder should always be slightly wider than the hips. It is up to you how wide you want to make it as long as you keep this proportion in mind.
-The waist can be as thin or as wide as you wish. For a more dramatic fashion drawing, you can make the waist very thin.
It helps to draw little markers (vertical dashes) on the horizontal lines to note how wide you want the shoulders, hips and waist to be.
Once you've noted these markings, connect them with semi-curved continuous lines: It is easiest to go from shoulder down to hip and from hip down to waist on both sides as shown in the images bellow.
8. Starting at the side hip, draw a semi-curved line (with the curve opening down) to the edge of the lower most dash line (crotch line). Repeat this step on both sides of the hips.
On the side where the hip is pointing up, add a small elongation from the hip line down in order to give it a more organic, stretched feature. Use the image bellow as a guide.
These horizontal semi-curved lines will mark the underwear line. You will likely erase this later when dressing your fashion figure. However, drawing them at this stage will allow you to get a better understanding of the 3-dimensional aspect of the legs and hips. The underwear line is also quite helpful in displaying the organic movement of the body. This will help you better visualize fabric drape and facilitate drawing the seams of the garment, especially when sketching pant bottoms.
9. Next, lets focus on drawing the legs:
Returning to our vertical balance line: mark a dash line at the mid point between the hip line and the bottom of the vertical line. This will mark a general (approximate) placement/proportion for the knees.
Now for the tricky part: Drawing the legs will take some trial and error (it might even get a little frustrating).
We'll show you two leg placements to start with below. Once you can draw and understand the movement of these two examples, practice more variations using the elements described.
Leg Placement #1: Drawing the legs apart
When drawing the second leg, follow the same concept but position both the top portion of the leg (thigh) and lower portion of the leg straight in relation to the vertical center line.
The ankles typically end at approximately where the vertical center line stops at the bottom. For a more elongated fashion figure, you can make the legs much longer as desired.
Leg Placement #2: Crossing Legs
10. Drawing the arms:
This is a bit of a tricky part. Just like drawing the legs, it will take some practice getting there. Here's what you should keep in mind about the proportions of the arms in relation to the rest of the fashion figure:
- When the figure is standing straight, the elbows will be aligned with the waist and the wrist will be aligned to the hip line.
-When the hips and shoulders change with movement, the wrists and the elbows will change with it. This means that if the hip is pointing up on one side, the wrist of the arm associated with it will now be aligned with the upper thigh area. Following that same logic, the elbow placement will also move downwards and align closer to the hip line.
- Vise versa, when the hip is pointing down, the wrist will now be positioned higher than the hip line. The elbow placement will move up from the waist as well.
If you follow this logic, you will notice that when the shoulder line points up and the hip points down, the elbow and wrist are placed higher in relation to the waist and the hips. Vise versa, when the shoulder points down and the hip points up, the elbow and wrist will fall lower in relation to the waist and the hips.
If you observe the relation between arm placement and shoulder movement, you should notice a natural correlation between the two.
Now for the drawing part: Using very soft curved lines, draw the arms from shoulder to elbow making sure the elbow stops at the waist area in accordance with the concept described above. Next, use softly curved continuous lines to draw the forearm starting at the elbow to the wrist ensuring that the wrist ends at the hip area.
It will take a few tries to really get the hang of drawing arms. However, if you keep practicing and follow the proportional-movement concept described above, drawing the arms will become second nature to you in no time.
If you are in the learning process, it is a good idea to first practice drawing the arm extended straight before attempting a bent or foreshortened arm variation.
In the image above, you can see the correlation between the hips and waist to the elbows and wrists of both arms. The dash lines display the hip and waist placement when the figure is standing perfectly straight. You will notice that the approximate area of both wrists correspond to the hip dash line.
Now look at the waist dash line: The elbows correspond to the approximate area of the straight waist (dash line). This means that when the figure moves, the arms don't actually change their length but rather change their alignment to the waist and hips of the fashion figure.
11. Drawing the feet and hands:
Feet and hands are are perhaps the most challenging to draw even for more experienced fashion illustrators. Before getting started, keep in mind it will take lots of practice to understand not only the proportion and movement but also the size in relation to the human form.
When it comes to hands, it is a good idea to practice drawing them individually on a piece of paper before adding them to your fashion figure. Practice different hand gestures but don't focus too much on depicting every detail. Understanding hand proportion and being able to display it with just a few simple lines is all you need for a fashion drawing- a subtle hand impression should suffice.
Speaking of size, the length of a fashion figure's hand should be the same as the vertical length of the head. Keep this concept in mind when drawing the hands on your fashion figure.
To start with, it may help to break down the hand into 3 portions and use simple geometric shapes to draw each portion in relation to one another. This not only allows you to visualize the organic shape and structure of the hands but it also helps with understanding movement.
Once you practice drawing a few hand positions using the geometric concept describe above, try to break this down further by adding some impressions of fingers. A tip here is to focus on the thumb placement, pointer finger and pinky. Use a few simple lines to depict just the gesture of these three fingers in relation to one another. A subtle impression should be more than enough to complete your fashion figure. Keep in mind that the more detailed you try to make the hands, the more difficult it will be to achieve the correct movement, finger placement and proportion.
Focus on the transition between the wrist, knuckles and finger joints: Understanding how they work together will help you achieve proper movement and finger placement.
Follow some of the sketches above and keep practicing until you feel comfortable drawing a few different variations.
Note the hands in our fashion figure: The impression of the pointer finger, thumb and a small mark depicting the middle finger in the back is enough to depict a full fashion hand. Notice the line transition from the wrist to the joints as well as the placement of the thumb in relation to the rest of the hand- keep these relational elements in mind when drawing your fashion figure's hands.
Once you feel comfortable drawing the hand individually, try a few hand gestures with your fashion figure. Keep in mind that it will take a few tries to get the right size in relation to the rest of the body. If you are concerned about size, it is always a better idea to go a bit longer than shorter- this could work stylistically and provide a more dramatic style in your fashion drawing. As you practice you will find your own style and what works most naturally for you.
12. Drawing Shoes/Feet:
When it comes to drawing a fashion figure, it's not really about drawing the feet as much as it is drawing shoes. Just like the hands, you do not need to worry about detailed drawings but rather a few general variations of foot placement and perspective views. Unless you are designing shoes, you should be OK with just a subtle impression of the shoes. Keep in mind that the shoe position should correspond to the pose and the proportion of the fashion figure.
Fashion figure drawing is a more artistic representation of the human form which means you can actually cut some corners in the drawing process. What this means is that you do not necessarily need to draw shoes on both feet. As long as you have a general impression of a shoe on the balance foot (usually the foot that holds the figure's weight), it should give the drawing a finished look.
Just like you did for the hands, practice some individual sketches of shoes at different views and placements.
Here are four main shoe perspectives to practice:
The front view: Keep it simple by drawing just the curved impression of the front.
Three quarter views: This one is a bit tricky because it requires some foreshortening. Practice three quarter shoe placement by focusing mainly on the front curves and the position of the heel in relation to the body of the shoe. As opposed to a profile view, a three quarter view is drawn such that the heel and the front of the shoe appear to be closer together. The platform of the shoe appears to be shorter and extends upwards in a more exaggerated fashion.
The profile view: Once you get the hang of the correct proportions, this will be a fun shoe placement to draw. Keep in mind that in a profile view, the heel and front platform should fall on the same line/surface. The back of the shoe always curves out- it may help to draw a circle at the back to visualize this organic concept better.
The back view: Just like the profile view, make sure the bottom of the heel falls on the same line as the front platform. The back of the shoe appears to be somewhat of a triangle shape while the top portion of the foot is a circular shape.
The front view of the shoe in our sketch is a simple impression of the front shoe perspective. By including just a couple of main lines, the human eye can fill in the blanks for the general shape of the shoe and its placement.
13. Drawing the neck and the face:
Drawing the neck:
When it comes to drawing the neck, remember to always use single stroke lines. This results in a more organic, loose drawing. Drawing the neck is where this can really benefit the movement of your fashion figure.
In this case, the easier option is to follow the direction of the curved vertical balance line. Don't stress too much about the size and length of the neck but keep in mind that longer is always better than shorter when drawing a fashion figure.
Use just a simple impression of the neck sketching a longer continuous line on one side and a shorter line on the other side. This somewhat unfinished structure allows for a bit more room for error without affecting the movement and perspective of the fashion figure. Remember, the human eye can fill in the blanks so just a couple of lines should be sufficient to give you the correct neck shape.
Drawing the head and the face:
If you are not familiar with some of the basic proportionality rules associated with drawing a face, you might have a hard time with this one. If you are a beginner, try to keep things simple by following the suggested steps described below:
Use the basic guidelines described above to practice a few different hairstyles and facial features. Keep in mind that a longer neck will be more beneficial to your fashion figure by elongating it. Also, don't forget to utilize simple lines when drawing the face.
Your fashion figure is now complete! If you are having a hard time with some of the aspects described here, start over and keep practicing. It is quite normal not to get the hang of it right away. Keep in mind that drawing a fashion figure is something to be mastered over time.
Dressing your fashion figure:
Dressing the fashion figure is undeniably the most fun part- this is where you can really let those brilliant design ideas come to life.
Use the movement of your fashion figure to draw the correct fabric drape. Once you have the fashion figure drawn, this is easy to do by following the hip and shoulder placement. Make the waistline of your garment a bit curved to create more 3-dimensional movement. This is especially relevant if you are drawing a high waist skirt or pants. Curve the waist just slightly, with the curve opening up, to make sure that the cylindrical shape of the waist is displayed in your sketch.
Pay attention to the hem as well. For a straight hem, the hemline should always follow the direction of the hip line. If the hip is pointing up on one side then so should the hem of the garment. This follows the same concept as the arm placement in relation to the shoulder line discussed above. Always keep in mind that all elements on a fashion figure should work and move together in a codependent relation.
Once your garment is sketched on top of the figure, erase some of the figure pencil marks that overlap the garment. Add some movement lines to recreate the folds, drape or any sort of gathering/pleating your design features.
The most satisfying part about learning how to draw a fashion figure is that once you have the shape, proportion and movement down, the clothing design options are limited only by your creativity.
Take your fashion figure a step further by using a thick prisma colored marker (preferably in a lighter color) and adding some color to the garment. Add more color on more shaded areas along the sides of the garment and the fabric folds.
Who says educational gifts are for kids and students only? You should never stop being curious or loose your sense of discovery whether you’re at work or at play. The good news is, there’s an educational aspect to just about any game out there. Whether on a small or a large scale, games and products that stimulate our interest and get our brain thinking are educational whether they are labeled as that or not.
For many people who get lost in the day to day routine and lose their purpose and excitement in life, adding something that exercises their brain with a sense of play could be the answer to a better mood and maybe even a newly discovered hobby. While there are many educational games and products out there that are suitable for kids, not many are labeled as "educational" and brain stimulating for adults. Next time you’re searching for the perfect gift for a loved one, throw in a semi-educational but fun product in the mix! There are thousands of great innovative products on the market, but we’ve picked eight ideas we love that might make your search for that perfect gift a little easier:
We all remember that semi-boring periodic table from high school… Thankfully, this deck of cards gives us a new perspective and awakens our interest in taking a look at it again- with some enthusiasm this time. It has bold images of what each element looks like finally giving us a more exciting visual of what we’re learning. Yes, this is a perfect learning tool if you’re struggling to pass that chemistry test in school, but there is also no reason why this shouldn’t be a fun tool for adults that want to awaken their memory. This great way to learn includes scientific facts and data on the back of each card along with stories that will help you remember them better. And speaking of memory, provided also are some additional cards that suggest activities and study tips as well as an explanation of each one of the elements and their arrangement. In the words of Uncommongoods, “ get yours before they Argon!”.
Aristotel's Numbers Puzzle
Math might not be something you choose to practice in your spare time, but if you bring a sense of play to it, it will do wonders for your brain. Scientists say there are long lasting benefits to exercising your brain with math, and The Aristotle’s Numbers Puzzle will add a little more excitement to something that is notorious for not being “fun” for most people. So how does it work? It is a puzzle made out of antique-looking wood comprised of number tiles which are meant to be aligned to give the same total in each row. Once you start exploring all the different combinations of numbers, math starts to be a little more fun- and guess what? Your brain is benefiting from it at the same time. Plus, it’s kind of nice to keep your mind off the daily grind, and give your brain some well-deserved, smart playfulness.
The Lucky Gardner DYI Green Terrarium
This gift is definitely for the nurturing soul. Although it might not come across as educational right away, you’ll definitely learn a thing or two about plant biology in the process. First of all, it is imperative to mention that this product is entirely handmade in the US- New York to be more specific, and we love that! The best thing about it however, is the uniqueness of each individual terrarium which is fully determined on each user. It feels great to put something together with your own hands and then watch it grow into a beautiful little landscape that is unique to you. The beauty of this product is that it makes such a sweet, thoughtful gift and the size and look is just perfect. If you live in the city or a more industrialized area, this cute little glass terrarium will allow you to personalize your own mini-conservatory. A proprietary mix of soil along with the seeds, embellishments and full instructions are included. How is this educational? You will learn about what is biologically necessary to plant and grow a green living thing- How much light it needs; how much water it feeds on; its behavior as it grows.
Hudinni’s Tricklock Puzzle
Since we’re on the topic of puzzles, this one is definitely one to make you scratch your head- Or maybe not, if you’re the brainy engineer in the family. This is a gift that will inspire some intense logic and critical thinking. Why? Well because this baffling lock looks just like any old one. It even comes with a key! The problem is that the key won’t do you much good with unlocking it- but your brain will. Concentrate and you’ll be able to unlock this padlock while giving your brain an intense workout. We love this gift because it is small and charming but has the unique power to really make you think. Its versatile nature makes it a perfect gift not only for those close to you but also for coworkers and acquaintances. It also reminds us of Houdini’s magic and its lasting impression on modern society!
If you are familiar with “escape the room" games, Codex-Silenda is a similar concept but in physical form. It comes from an independent inventor and it is one of the more intricate and unique puzzles on the market. It is made of beautiful wood-work and comes in the format of a book with 5 pages. Each page has intricate puzzles that need to be solved in order to unlock the next page. What we love about it is the meticulous attention to detail and high quality work behind every component of the book. It is every mechanical engineer's dream game that includes a variety of different problem solving skills and critical thinking. The puzzle-book is not yet available on the mass market, but you can pre-order one by pledging on the maker’s Crowdfunding page until it is manufactured and readily available (hopefully). Either way, it is worth the wait!
Perplexus 3-D Puzzle
We had to include a marble maze puzzle on this list! This one caught our attention because of its intricate nature. It has 125 barriers including some that you probably won’t find in your average labyrinth puzzle. It give the impression of a computerized game by offering so much variety when it comes to its barriers. Although this makes a great game for the teenagers in your family, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pick it up every once in a while and play! Marble mazes stimulate your thinking in a gentle, playful way while exercising your quick thinking and attention span. We love the Perplexus in particular because it's visually pleasing and offers lots of variety all-inclusive in a single space.
Learn to Sew Box
This is a great gift for the ladies in your life! Most women would love to learn how to sew and ultimately make and design their own clothing. It is truly a valuable skill whether you need to alter something or learn how to sew from scratch. The issue with learning how to sew is that there really wasn’t anything on the market that could get you started without feeling overwhelming and requiring lots of time, money and dedication- until now. The Learn To Sew Box has changed the process of learning how to sew from a scary one to a fun one! It is a charming little blue box that includes everything you need to sew an A-line dress from start to finish.
The box is personalized by allowing you to choose from 2 fabric prints and a solid and between three sizes: Small, Medium and Large. The box includes the fabric, your dress patterns (that are simplified and labeled accordingly), customized binding (for finishing raw edges), matching spool of thread, a water soluble marking pencil, a seam ripper and a jar of pins. To walk you through the process, the box includes a simple, visual guide that helps you cut, mark and sew the dress from start to finish while also giving you some tips and secrets along the way. This makes an exciting educational gift for every woman but especially the one that has tried to learn to sew before without success. It is not only brain stimulating but also rewarding, and it could potentially signify the beginning of a new hobby in you loved one’s life!
West Coast Style IPA Beer Brewing Kit
You might be wondering how this might be stimulating your brain… and we’re definitely not referring to drinking the final product. This is a fun, educational “game” for adults that is bound to add some excitement to your daily routine. Why educational? Well because this kit will teach you how to craft your own beer, which is an art in itself. It includes everything you need to brew your own IPA which is bound to teach you a thing or two about aging and chemistry. The kit includes a simple guide with component ingredients like malt extract, grains, high-quality yeast and two types of hops. This kit makes a great gift for your loved ones and yourself- it is rewarding and you’ll never look at beer the same again. Not only is it educational in the fact that it teaches you a new skill, it will further develop your pallet to understand how the taste of beer is achieved. Watching and understanding how the ingredients interact and the purpose of each one of them will teach you a thing or two about beer brewing chemistry.
A journey into our design process, sewing tutorials, fashion tips, and all the inspiring people and things we love.
Today, allow yourself a few moments to explore and feel inspired because everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. Never stop searching for what makes you truly happy.