Making roses with Britta 🌹 Read on to learn how to make your own then sign up for her Dresses class 👗 Great for using up your fabric scraps! Bring a smile to someone’s face & #createwonderful everyday
Creating pants that fit seems to be the goal of every clothing sewer. That’s our goal for you two. There are nine simple steps to get there. You can start with one of the five PFI patterns that best flatter you (we have dress pants and jeans for men too!). Then visit our blog page on “Four Fast Flat Fell Seams” to choose the one you like for a professional look. Best of all, take Britta’s Pants, Jeans and Overalls class to learn the skills that will get you to your goal every time.
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Sharon Blair, of Portland Fashion Institute, and Bloom Beauty Collective, a Black-Indigenous-People of Color production and talent agency, have announced a fashion design scholarship for teen students of color, valued at nearly $20,000. Candidates have until Tuesday, September 1 at 5 p.m. to submit an application.
The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors in the Portland and Vancouver area who are persons of color. One winner will be chosen. That winner gets one year of fashion design classes valued at nearly $20,000 at the Portland Fashion Institute, located in northeast Portland.
The winner also gets a chance to intern at a local apparel company. The goal: To build skills so the winner can launch a business or create a portfolio for entry into a top fashion design college of their choice.
The winner will be announced at a Bloom Beauty Collective 2020 event. Classes start in September.
With 25 manufacturers and nearly 250 related companies, Portland is a center for the apparel industry.
“This is a challenging time for the apparel industry,” says Portland Fashion Institute owner and director Sharon Blair. “But crisis creates opportunity. Right now the world needs forward thinking in fashion design more than ever.
“We’re looking for candidates who can lead the way and tell us where they think the world of fashion is going. We believe we can find that among the many talented people in an underserved sector of our region,” says Abibat Durosimi, founder of Bloom Beauty Collective.
Candidates submit their ideas and details for a clothing line through a three-minute video to email@example.com. Entry forms are available at www.pfi.edu/scholarship.
We like trends. Not because it makes us want to run out and shop. Instead it gives us a fresh look at the clothes in our closet and find new ways to mix and match. It lets us perk up an existing capsule wardrobe. If you want something new, we say #makersgottamake Do it yourself. Choose the right fabric. Make it fit. Do it once. Do it right. It’s the sustainable thing to do.
So here we go. Perhaps you have something to rediscover or something new to bring life to your ensembles. For example, old favorites such as animal prints, jumpsuits, big shoulders, yellow and lovely lavender made dominating comebacks. Try:
From Soybean to Desert Sand, shades of beige painted the runway like a rainbow of light browns. Chicago Harper by Josh Buck
An intense 80’s revival with big sleeves and bigger silhouettes hit NYFW. Don’t want to go that far? Try mutton sleeves. We just patterned a pair in knit in our latest Pattern 4 class. Cocoon Jacket by StudioSKB
Always a reliable staple, the shirt dress is ideal for professional fashionistas and stylish savants. Try it in trending color: yellow. Day Dress PFI pattern #1551
Stripes came in all widths. Stripped down, vibrant colors, pin stripes paired with chunky stripes, parallel prints running perpendicular to perforated patterns — stripes are in. Lancaster Dress by StudioSKB
The slip dress returns as a runway favorite. Although the original slip is simple, designers have gotten a little more playful for 2020. Try it in trending lavender. Lingerie PFI pattern #7010
Animal print, electric and eclectic, lit up the runways this season. From cheetah and leopard in a variety of neon to zebra and sequins, there was enough fashion to fill a forest. Davis Blouse by StudioSKB
Overalls & Jumpsuits
The blazer dress, wide-leg pants, and the leisure suit all had their day on the runway. Although these garments continue to walk the walk, the new “it” garment is the jumpsuit. A pair of pants that doubles as a shirt, chic as can be and comfortable to boot, the jumpsuit is perfect for every occasion. Parker Jumpsuit PFI pattern #2051 (left); Marianne Jumpsuit PFI pattern #2015
Patchwork and prim, designers have spliced styles together to create a couture collection of textiles and fabrics. A great way to recycle your fabric stash. Fusion Jacket by Chuckslab
There was a lot of structure this season, from big sleeves (as we’ve seen) to skirts and blouses. But the true artistry was in the necklines, subtle and stylish. Fontaine Jacket by StudioSKB
That’s it. Everything old is new again. Shop your closet. Sew something wonderful to add joy and we’ll see you in 2020.
Spring 2020 collections embraced joy through optimistic bright colors that were met with voluminous silhouettes like the maxi dress. This season many brands moved away from athleisure references, opting instead for casual summer staples. Bermuda shorts were everywhere as a seasonal essential. Good vibes were in the air with a Midsommar theme, featuring eyelet, lace and whimsical florals. Ultralight transparent fabrics and natural materials like raffia were highlighted. Prints took on familiar, yet highly commercial motfis, from polka dots and tropicals to the new animal print du jour — zebra — while cutouts spoke to new erogenous zones. From our friends at Fashion Snoops.
New Urban is a fresh take on minimal utility, which has been strong for the past few seasons and lands at one of the most prevalent themes of Spring 2020. Details such as utility pockets and metal hardware elevate items, which have a decidedly casual look even though tailoring is also factored in. New soft brights bring excitement to an otherwise neutral palette. Key items include jumpsuits, cargo pants and structured blazers. To make this at home, try PFI patterns Roxy Raglan jacket and Avril pants; Casual Jackets + Jeans & Pants classes.
Midsommar is packed full of whimsical, summer fun. Set to a cheery color palette, materials like eyelet stand out on flowing maxi dresses. Floral prints, stripes and lace trim are just as relevant as casual spring sweater dresses. All – white looks make an entrance. To make this at home, try PFI patterns Wrap Dolman top and Boho pants; Jeans & Pants + Classic Shirts classes.
The 80s powers forward. Spring 2020 collections go BIG on shape, with strong tailored shoulders and exaggerated puff sleeves. Other highlights include bright colors, the return of polka dots, minis, ruffles and bubble hems. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Moto jacket; Casual Jackets class.
The notion of joy was featured across all fashion weeks with fun, bold and inherently optimistic colors, which also extended to neons. Bright primary hues include Sunny Yellow, Carrot Orange, Scarlet Red and Lively Green. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Lola dress; Dresses class.
One of the most powerful fashion colors to emerge for Spring 2020 is green. Both lively bright hues and dramatic jade are featured. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Isabella dress; Dresses class.
Shorts make a huge impact in Spring 2020 collections. High waist bermudas are key, while short suits bring a casual sense to tailoring. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Marianne rompers; Jumpsuits & Overalls class.
Couture-like volume was a big takeaway for Spring 2020. One of the most commercial ways to apply it is through sweeping maxi dresses. Bold color and print applications stand out. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Julia dress; Knits class.
Animal prints remain strong throughout Spring 2020 collections, with zebra as the most forward direction. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Warhol Trench Coat; Jacket class.
With a nod to the 80s, polka dots are a favorite in Spring collections. Mini and oversized scales are featured on a variety of items. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Donna dress; Couture Dress class
The J.Lo jungle dress moment defined Spring 2020, with a variety of vacation-ready lush tropical patterns. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Morgan Wrap dress; Dresses class
From gauzy netting to super fine macrame, transperancy is a key material focus. A number of European designers explored these aerated materials, bringing a sporty perspective to vacation-ready fits with embroidered overlays or fringe effects. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Bianca dress; Couture Dress class.
From basket woven raffia to macrame filaments, natural materials ruled runways. Designers opted for flexible fronds that were easily manipulated into full looks or intricate detailing. From Liza Rietz’ Innovative Design class, Dieter Vlasich’s straw dress.
Cutouts remain as one of the most popular design details, with a focus on new placements. Cutout sides and shoulders are highlighted, while new circular cutouts are a forward direction. To make this at home, try PFI pattern Baby Jane top & tunic; Knits class.
Next up: Trends in sustainability
Sewing up the future
Stephanie Basalyga — Portland Tribune
Photos by Jonathan House
Thursday, March 28, 2019
Portland Fashion Institute’s recent expansion holds good news for local apparel design
When it came time to expand Portland Fashion Institute, founder Sharon Blair found the answer in her own backyard.
The school, which uses a former house on the corner of Northeast Tillamook Street and Northeast 43rd Avenue in Portland’s Hollywood District, recently purchased and renovated a neighboring house. Blair said the purchase was necessary to meet growing demand for the school’s classes and certification programs.
The ground-floor of the second location at 4225 N.E. Tillamook St. now contains a fabric store called PFI Supply that is open to the public. Rooms on the upper floor as well as basement space are for classes taught by a faculty that includes professionals from local apparel manufacturing companies.
Blair, whose resume includes a career as a fashion designer and apparel entreprenuer, says the Hollywood location is ideal for the school’s two buildings in large part because research indicates the area boasts a high number of people interested in sewing.
Offering sewing classes was Blair’s main focus in 2002 when she started a venture called Portland Sewing, which served an initial class of four students. By 2010, she had added classes in the business of apparel. In 2016, Portland Fashion Institute opened its doors as a licensed commerical school.
As the school’s class offerings increased, so did the school’s popularity, driven as much by reality television shows like Project Runway — 11 of Portland Fashion Institute’s student have competed in the show, with one selected as a winner in season eight — as by willingness of city residents to embrace a sustainability mindset that extends to their wardrobes.
Faced with a fast-growing enrollment and lack of room in the 2,800-square-foot original location, Blair began looking for a second building. After searching for nearly a year without success, she learned the house next to the school’s original building was for sale.
From designers to DIYers
The school saw a jump in enrollment starting in 2016, when a certificate program it created was approved by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. From a first-year class with 20 students, the school has expanded to three certificate programs — apparel design, apparel technical development and apparel entrepreneurship — serving a total of 57 students at any one time.
The school serves another 630 students each year who come seeking individual classes for personal or professional development. Part of the attraction, Blair said, is the fact that Portland Fashion Institute offers classes for a range of students, from designers looking to earn certification to people interested in one or two classes either for fun or for continuing education.
Portland Fashion Institute only uses teachers who work in the fashion industry. The main goal is to ensure that teachers are up to date in industry trends and practices, but that real-world connection comes with a bonus.
“It also turns out quite a few of them are hiring managers for their companies,” Blair said. “So, they’re able to spot the next talent.”
That pipeline to jobs at local companies has resulted in a 100 percent placement rate for students once they finish their certificate programs, Blair added.
Building on basics
The world of apparel design is becoming more high-tech, but Blair holds firm in her belief that a successful career in the industry still requires building a hands-on foundation.
“You always have to know how things go together and we teach those basics,” she said. “Any garment has a certain set of operations, whether you’re doing it by machine or by human being. What we try to teach our people is (they’re) not necessarily going to be doing the sewing, but (they’d) better know how it goes together so (they) can specify that to the factory or the sample sewer or the production house who’s going to be putting that together.”
Students enrolled in the certificate programs also are required to take 36 credits of business courses. Blair has tapped local professionals to teach classes on topics that include branding, marketing strategy, building financial plans.
The school also partners with Mercy Corps Northwest’s Business Development Services along with its Small Women’s Business Center, which offers low-interest loans for entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities. About 80 percent of the students at Portland Fashion Institute are women, while 40 percent of the school’s students identify as minorities, Blair said.
Most students complete the certification program in two to two-and-a half years. The programs are broken into quarters, which align with those at local public schools.
“Most of our students have jobs, are married, have kids,” Blair said. “So, they’re trying to have a work-life balance and fit in schooling.”
Blair is looking at possibly finding a third location in the near future. The school is “very close” to receiving accreditation, according to Blair, and she believes that will attract even more students. The status means Portland Fashion Institute will be included in Department of Education and career counseling lists available to students at high schools. It also will allow the school to accept to accept Oregon Savings Plan money and federal financial aid.
The institute has long had a commitment to helping students graduate with little to no debt, even using the hashtag “studentswithoutdebt” on social media. While the school will continue to offer plans that allow students to pay for classes as they go or break up payments through a quarter, Blair also plans on hiring a financial aid officer once the school receives the accreditation.
“If (students) really insist on borrowing … through financial aid, then we’ll have somebody to help them,” she said. “But we’ll find every avenue we can to make this education affordable to them so they graduate with a clean slate and not have a monkey of debt on their backs.”
Portland Fashion Institute will serve up a double celebration on Wednesday, April 10, in honor of Portland Design Week and the school’s ninth anniversary.
The school will offer a series of demonstrations from 4 to 5 p.m. that will include patternmaking, machine knitting and fabric painting.
From 6 to 7 p.m., Michelle Lesniak, a self-taught Portland designer who won season 11 of Project Runway and moved on to become a cast member of Project Runway Allstars, will discuss what it takes to succeed in fashion design.
The school also will offer tours of its new building, including a fabric store that’s open to the public, and a special exhibit of Barbie dolls featuring 100 outfits by some of the biggest names in fashion design.
Registration to attend the demonstrations is available online here.