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Student Profile: A Tech Professional's Foray Into Fashion

Garment by Stephanie Feddock
Garment by Stephanie Feddock

We’re thrilled to feature Stephanie Feddock, a Continuing and Professional Education student who recently completed Construction Techniques 2 online with Parsons. We caught up with Stephanie about her process for constructing a jacket from scratch and how fashion design helps her stay balanced as a leader in tech.

In your current technology career (I know fashion design is a hobby!), what do you do? Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional progression.

I have a doctorate in Computer Science and have been working in technology for the past 25 years. Currently, I work for a global insurance organization as Senior Technology Leader, with a focus on technology risk and controls.

Yes, pattern drafting and garment construction are a hobby. I use it as a way to disconnect from screens and to use my hands and mind to think through design, construction, and have fun making garments!

What experience, if any, did you have with fashion design before you started your coursework with CPE?

My experience with sewing was self-taught through books I collected from the 1920s-1970s. I have built skills to learn how to draft patterns and sew garments. Prior to this course, I had no formal training other than one sewing course in 7th grade. That was 30 years ago.

How did Construction Techniques 2 help you to develop and hone your perspective about (and approach to) fashion design?

Construction Techniques 2 provided me with a holistic view of fashion, not only in thinking about pattern design but also in how to logically construct garments. This gave me a sense of how quality is embedded in the design. Seeing how muslin is draped, marking the drape, transferring to a pattern to true lines—all of this gave me awareness about how garments are constructed.

This knowledge helped me connect the dots and to understand how some labels cut corners to reduce price, and how the quality suffers. My eyes were opened as a consumer purchasing garments for myself, and how to create my own designs with quality at their foundation. And save money!

Tell us about the construction of the finished jacket you created as your project.

My final garment started as a torso drape. I made the necessary alterations to the draft, creating a basic notched collar jacket pattern. I then selected a medium-weight denim in indigo for the shell and a gold cotton canvas for the facings and under the collar. I machine-stitched all of the seams and used a gold poly-cotton bias tape to finish the seams since it’s an unlined garment.

I attached the collar, finished the hem, and did the sleeves by hand to ensure there were no visible stitch lines on the garment. For the buttons, I found natural-colored wood buttons similar in color to the contrast fabric. The button holes were machine-sewn and the buttons were sewn by hand. An important part of the design was to create patch pockets that were large enough to hold a phone, without distorting the garment. I did a few iterations, adjusting the size of the pockets so they’re pleasing to look at—and functional for use.

"The new skills allow me to disconnect from the high stress of technology and to be hands-on without being on a screen."

- Stephanie Feddock

Are any of the skills you learned transferable to your job, even if they’re soft skills?

As a technologist, I’m always thinking about creating sustainable technical solutions (that can withstand the test of time) in an ever-evolving technical, regulatory, and cyber landscape. Garment construction is very similar. They both involve thinking about how to create classic, timeless pieces to outlive trends and fast fashion styles and are loved for decades (not days).

When I was creating the final project, at the forefront of my mind were these thoughts and questions: Will I still enjoy wearing this in years to come? How can I make this durable and lasting? What are the high-stress points and can they be restored during the garment’s lifecycle? This thinking guided me in selecting the right fabric and deciding which seam finishes I would use.

"As a technologist, I’m always thinking about creating sustainable technical solutions. Garment construction is very similar."

- Stephanie Feddock

Were there any memorable lessons or interactions with your instructors or fellow students you’d like to share?

Even in a virtual environment, I was able to create meaningful relationships with both the instructor and other students. The course collaboration tool (Canvas) gave us a way to interact, discuss lessons and challenges, and share tips with other students as well as the instructor. This was a great way to create new connections and to learn from other people. I enjoyed sharing my work and having others provide feedback and helpful tips; it made the class very interactive.

What was something about Construction Techniques 2 that surprised you most?

The amount of knowledge that was shared in a nine-week setting. I was surprised how many concepts were shared and explained, and how each skill continued to build off of the others to create an inventory of tools for future reference.

Do you have any advice for future students of this course?

Don’t let the outcomes overwhelm you. When you see what needs to be done to finish the course, it might seem overwhelming at first glance. However, this is the way the course is structured, allowing you time to dig deep, understand the concepts, and apply what you learn week over week. These (manageable) bites create the foundation to imagine, design, and create future trends, classic staples, and fun artistic designs. Have fun, take risks, and learn from any setbacks!

Want to check out Construction Techniques 1 or Construction Techniques 2 courses and create your own garment? Register for the next available session. Note: These courses also count toward the completion of the Fashion Design Certificate or Fashion Business Certificate.

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