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Threads to Award Marist Student for Excellence in Garment Construction

Junior-year fashion design students at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, have spent the last semester learning and incorporating tailoring techniques in their garment collections. One of those students will be awarded a $500 scholarship from Threads for excellence in garment construction.

The magazine’s editors recently reviewed the students’ work and will recognize the winner at the 33rd annual Marist Silver Needle Runway show Friday, May 10. The event, planned and run by Marist fashion program students, features the best work of the school’s senior designers. Threads’ 2018 outstanding garment construction award winner, Anna Cortese, will be among this year’s senior designers. (We’ve been told to watch for a beautifully designed and constructed blue dress she has created for her senior collection.)

After receiving the Threads sewing award last year, Anna talked about designing and sewing her junior-year collection.

Images of birds, fishing, and water influenced her design and fabric choices. She explained that she was inspired by her roots: Adopted at a young age, she later discovered she was born in a fishing village in southern China, where cormorants—aquatic birds—are commonly seen. Her collection included  a black fisherman’s cape, navy silk chiffon blouse, white wool jacket, white wool trousers, and long white wool coat.

The close-fitting knit virgin wool cropped fisherman’s cape with turtleneck has princess seams that start at the neckline; shirt-style cuffs, each with two faux button closures over snap closures; and an exposed separating metal zipper at center back.


The white Italian wool cropped jacket with front separating zipper closure has multiple seams, and two front pockets incorporated into the front princess seams. Several seams in front and back are highlighted with contrasting flat piping.


The silk chiffon blouse features a bodice front of woven silk chiffon strips. The strips were cut on grain, oriented on the bodice on an angle, and hand-tacked at each intersection. The blouse has a narrow waistband, long flared sleeves, and a 7-inch invisible zipper closure at the left side seam.


Without realizing it in some instances, Anna had included design elements in threes: a trio of fabric flaps on the shoulders of her cropped jacket . . .


The shoulder portion of each raglan sleeve on the wool jacket features a trio of overlapping decorative flaps, reminiscent of the cormorant’s wings and feathers. There are 22 mother-of-pearl gold-plated buttons in two sizes, an interpretation of the bird’s eyes.

. . . three buttons on each sleeve of her long white coat . . .

The long coat sleeves have three-button closures and are lined with silk habotai that was digitally printed with an image manipulated in Photoshop to resemble water.

. . . and a triple-point notched collar on the coat.

Many of her junior-year creations had a narrow silhouette. “I like things more sculpted to the body,” she said.

White wool trousers with cutouts below the knees reveal the digitally printed silk habotai lining. Each pant leg has multiple vertical seams, as each is constructed of six vertical panels, similar to the seaming on the cropped jacket. The pants have back welt pockets, a fly-front zipper, and hook-and-eye waistband closure.

Anna purposely challenged herself in many ways while creating the garments. One unintended challenge, however, came from the fabric. Anna said she thought the white wool she found on sale while fabric shopping in Manhattan was a steal. When she got it back to school and began cutting, she discovered it was too narrow and that it had multiple permanent stains. She had to work around them throughout her garment cutting.

Anna designed the coat narrow in the upper bodice and fuller as it extended to the floor. The split princess seams created a triangular panel on each front panel. Anna designed a raised empire waist on the coat back by seaming at the widest point of the back, following a horizontal balance line. She says she envisioned a floor-length coat with a train, but a shortage of fabric forced her to adjust that plan.

Many of this year’s juniors had similar challenges, no doubt. Their instructors said it was the first time many had tried tailoring techniques. The students surely discovered that their designs and fabric choices played key roles in successful tailoring. The students will move on to their senior year prepared to create collections for the 2020 Silver Needle Runway.




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