Dressing the Grand Rapids Ballet
Students in KCAD's Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion KCFS 320 Construction IV course are working directly with Grand Rapids Ballet and choreographer Penny Saunders to create the costumes for the Ballet's MOVEMEDIA Program II: Base ∞. In this series of posts, students give readers an inside view of the process... and the final result!
The Finishing Touches
April 20, 2015 | Nicole Cruz-Flores, Fashion Studies student
This past week, we finalized our designs for The Grand Rapids Ballet. After we put on the final touches, we took a step back and watched it all unfold on stage during dress rehearsal. This moment was very important for us because we’ve worked hard to put this all together and we’re very proud of it. Working with everyone at the ballet has been a rewarding experience.
Fashion Studies students Juliann Cannon (above) and Ben Armstrong (below) put the finishing touches on garments for the Grand Rapids Ballet
Over the course of the time working with The Grand Rapids Ballet, we’ve learned a lot of things. Thanks to Brennan Smith and Patricia Barker, we’ve matured as designers and have learned a lot about working with a client. From design decisions to construction and final realization, we’ve put work into this to bring Penny’s vision to life and make this a successful production.
Fashion Studies student Alexis Troxell finishes up her project
Make it Work!
March 30, 2015 | Ziyue Chen, Fashion Studies student
Showtime is near! During a recent session of our Fashion Construction class, we worked on finishing our own leotard prototypes in the Grand Rapids Ballet costume shop and learned many new skills for working with four-way stretch material. In order to make the final product more professional and successful, the class decided to separate people into three groups: construction, illustration, and fabric/accessories.
Fashion Studies stduents cut patterns for their leotard prototypes
The construction group working on leotard prototypes
The construction group made a prototype leotard for woman and a vest for men. The illustration group was working on the Ballet Bible, which requires a collection of all the things we did in this project, such as the dancer profile, fabric costing sheet, illustration, stage setting, and final production. We discussed all the details of the prototype and received feedback via Skype from MOVEMEDIA II choreographer Penny Saunders. These items were put into an exhibit that is currently on display in the lobby of the Grand Rapids Ballet.
Leotard design sketches
The class presents their leotard prototypes via Skype to MOVEMEDIA II choreographer Penny Saunders
We are looking forward to finishing our final prototypes and putting them to the test on the stage next week! Stay tuned!
Designs Coming to Life
March 20, 2015 | Juliann Cannon, Fashion Studies student
During a recent session of our Fashion Construction class, we got to experience using the Ballet's costume shop sewing machines as a class to sew on four way stretch fabric. We got to browse the Ballet's leotard patterns, create our own patterns, and cut the stretch fabric to the dancers' sizes. We constructed our leotard prototypes from that point. We also worked with Brennan, a Grand Rapids Ballet costume shop employee who showed us how to use the machine properly and gave us examples of garments that the machine can stitch.
Student Ben Armstrong practices a top stitch over elastic on four-way fabric
Brennan showed us how to use the binding machine that binds with elastic to complete the edges of the leotard. Each student got the chance to sew on the industrial machines and start our own leotard. We all loved the experience of using the different commercial sewing machines. The commercial serger machine serges real smooth like butter - unlike any home machine we have used before.
Student Nicole Cruz Flores attaches elastic to a scrap of fabric
Student Emily Prchlik top stitching on her leotard prototype
Next week we are going to Skype with choreographer Penny Saunders to show her constructed prototypes of the leotards for her to finalize. Stay tuned!
Sketching and Stretching: One step closer to showtime
March 18, 2015 | Lauren Talsma, Fashion Studies student
Our class recently met together at the Grand Rapids Ballet to have a Skype meeting with Penny Saunders, the choreographer of the MOVEMEDIA production we’re collaborating with. Penny gave us some feedback about which designs she felt fit her vision and which designs didn’t. She envisions an elegant and classical look, yet also a rugged and contemporary style. After receiving her feedback, the class decided to put our heads together and go back to the drawing board for more sketching and research.
Students receive feedback via Skype from MOVEMEDIA II choreographer Penny Saunders
Fabrics and appliques from the Ballet's costume shop
Patricia Barker, the Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet, found some fabrics and appliques in the ballet costume shop and let us look around at the different options available there. We got to use these fabrics to play around with and get a feel for how we wanted the leotard designs to look. Patricia then gave us a step-by-step demonstration on how to fully construct a leotard using the industrial sewing machines in the shop. The process of construction took only about 20 minutes, and we learned a lot from watching the leotard come to life.
Fashion Studies students Emily Prchlik (left) and Audrey Langejans (right) working on a leotard prototype
Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker constructing a leotard on an industrial sewing machine.
We look forward to creating our very own leotard prototypes in the costume shop next time - stay tuned!
Down to Business: From ideation to construction
February 27, 2015 | Alexis Troxell, Fashion Studies student
This week, our class was able to work with in the costume design room of the Grand Rapids Ballet with Patricia Barker, Artistic Director. During this time we were engaged in a great conversation on the process of developing our designs from sketching to construction. The class was introduced to an industrial binding machine, industrial top stitching machine and fabrics of all different stretch and colors. Patricia gave demonstrations and advice to the class as we presented our new ideas and sketches.
The main progress we made this week was the decision to work as a collaborative whole and play to the individual strengths of the group. Some of the strengths identified were drafting, constructing, illustrating, men’s construction and organization. In doing this we were able to break into our specific areas and develop an even greater understanding of our direction and how we are going to get there.
Next week we will Skype with Penny and get her feedback on our progress and hopefully a green light on one of our designs to start constructing!
Pushing Possibility: Fine-tuning the designs through collaborative research
February 23, 2015 | Audrey Langejans, Fashion Studies student
This past week, the class met at the Grand Rapids Ballet's headquarters once again to go over sketches and to get feedback from the choreographer, Penny (who we finally go to meet in person). She is really pushing us towards a classic dancewear design, which is requiring us to do more research on fabric and silhouette of dancewear. To be honest, this project is really getting us to step out of our boxes and at least, for me, it’s been pretty tough. We really need to step our game up and collaborate all together to come up with a cohesive collection.
Fashion Studies students discuss design directions at the offices of the Grand Rapids Ballet
Design sketches by student Lauren Talsma
Fabric research includes looking for four-way stretch so the dancers can easily move while they’re dancing. Silhouette research includes searching for modern and classic leotards with sheer cutouts that compliment the female dancers' bodies appropriately. The toughest design so far has been figuring out what to do with the men because the choreographer hasn’t completely decided what she wants yet. We’re looking at different pants that aren’t too feminine and some sort of formal jacket. We hope to really please the choreographer and the costume director the next time we see them.
Design sketches by student Audrey Langejans Design sketches by student Alexis Troxell
MOVEMEDIA: A student perspective
February 20, 2015 | Emily Prchlik, Junior Fashion Studies student
This week Kendall Fashion Studies Juniors met with the Grand Rapids Ballet to view MOVEMEDIA dancers in action as they practiced for their upcoming performance. Afterwards, the students met with Penny Saunders, choreographer of the production, to further discuss design ideas for her dancers.
Design sketches by Emily Prchlik
Students were able to present their current sketches and discuss revisions with Penny. After seeing the dancers in motion and discussing designs further with Penny, students will gather next Wednesday to present more designs and see the costume shop of the Grand Rapids Ballet.
Students working on their design sketches
Fashion Studies creates costumes for Grand Rapids Ballet MOVEMEDIA
February 13, 2015 | Lori Faulkner, Fashion Studies Chair
KCAD Fashion Studies students are getting a chance to see their designs come to life on stage at GR Ballet. In December, I met with Patricia Barker, Artistic Director of the Ballet, to discuss possible collaborations. This meeting resulted in an opportunity for students to work with professionals at the GR Ballet in a real world experience.
Patricia Barker, Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet(third from right), speaks to Fashion Design/Construction IV class
Juniors enrolled in KCFS 320 Fashion Design/Construction 4 this semester with Instructor Dorothy Dorney will be working with choreographer Penny Saunders to create the costume designs for the dancers chosen for the world premiere piece in MOVEMEDIA Program II, taking place on April 16, 17 and 19, 2015. In its 4th year, MOVEMEDIA was created to allow visiting choreographers the chance to work with no restrictions or boundaries.
Junior Krystal Peto shows her sketches to Patricia Barker
Skype session with MOVEMEDIA Program II choreographer Penny Saunders
The students received a grand tour of the Ballet and costume design room on February 9. They watched videos of past ballet performances to familiarize themselves with costume designs and props used in previous MOVEMEDIA presentations. After a Skype session with Penny to define her vision for the costumes, class members presented their illustrations to Patricia Barker for initial feedback. The students will return to the Ballet next week to meet the dancers chosen for the performance and take measurements for the designs they will be creating. Stay Tuned!
Sketch by Junior Eva Chen