Salk Institute Women & Science collaborate with San Diego Mesa Fashion Students 13 Teams - Scientists and designers paired together

On April 5, 2017, pre-selected Mesa fashion students attended a luncheon at the Salk Institute. While there, they met with scientists who had also been pre- selected to collaborate and team with the students, on a design of a fashion garment.

I get to meet my scientist, Elena, for the first time on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. We have also connected on LinkedIn. I am visiting with her at Salk and will bring my iPad which has a few pictures gathered up and saved on my Pinterest account. Mostly pictures that have design lines that I may be able to use in our "original" design. I'm also hoping to hear more about her current project and look at some more images that she may have. Between Elena's images and my images, I hope to leave tomorrow with a pretty solid design in mind.

Astrocytes illuminate as they assist with neurological connections

Today was the first time Elena and I were able to meet! We looked at each other's photos: mages from her astrocyte research and images of gowns I found in several different silhouettes. We then discussed in length, the photos that moved us. Then we discussed the visual interpretation and how design lines in each garment may lend itself to simulating the scientific imagery of her science project.

Elena Blanco Suarez - Salk Institute Scientist

We reviewed how each garment might lend itself to expressing her work visually and through color contrasts. We also discussed textures of textiles that may be good choices for the gala gown.

Large full skirt - Ballroom Silouette

Body hugging torso & flair at the knee - Mermaid Silouette

We both decided that a big Gala Gown would be appropriate to represent our scientific image.

Starting the pattern by hand drafting method

A skirt block (template) was used to flare and length the skirt.

Adjusting the flare and fullness...

The finished skirt pattern.

Checking fit on the mannequin.

Cutting the muslin (proto-type).

Hand drafted empire bodice foundation
Preparing ruffles of netting to start the petticoat
Building the petticoat- using a sewing machine and a serger. Pinning the ruffles and checking the fullness of the ruffles in relation to the drape that the outer- skirt will need.

Hypnotized by the lines in the petticoat!

The petticoat was completed with several rows and over 8 yards of ruffled organza fabric.

At this point, friends that saw the petticoat were very moved by the organic silhouette and wanted me to finish the dress as is!

This is the finished petticoat and empire bodice foundation.

I was also moved by the petticoat and I captioned this "Ruffles and Romance". After deep consideration, it became obvious that it was important to continue with the garment and drape the outer skirt and hem ruffle.

After draping the outer-skirt over the petticoat, I was happy that I stayed with the original design.

This is the outer skirt, ruffled hem and foundation empire bodice with the petticoat underneath.
Analyzing feathers and jewels as I prepare materials to finish with. The black skirt will be entirely hand feathered with black duck feathers and then embellished with sapphire blue Swarovski crystals.
Items needed to make a custom fascinator hat to match the gown.
Planning and stitching the hat.
The fascinator almost completed.

All the major components have been completed. Next I will be stitching on all the pieces of the dress, adding lining to the empire bodice, stitching up the center back, adding an elastic with hook and eye fastener and then the zipper.

The final component will be embellishing the skirt with the black feathers and sapphire blue Swarovski crystals. Staying true to the design concept as originally drawn.

The process of gluing black duck feathers and gluing Swarovski sapphire blue crystals to the yellow rooster feathers.

The final gown is now completed and will walk the runway at the Salk Women & Science, Design and Discovery Fashion Showcase on October 4, 2017.

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