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Career Technical High School Students Create Couture Dresses Out of Paper

What would you do if someone gave you a stack of letter-sized paper and told you to make a dress out of it using only sewing pins, scissors, and tape? That was the challenge that Sheila Sanford gave to her students in Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center’s (SVCTE) Fashion Design & Production class.  The results are amazing!  View the ten dresses complete with paper butterflies, flowing designs, and detailed texture featured in an online YouTube exhibit:  http://youtu.be/tQeUkjRKNfk

Sanford said she admits her students thought she was crazy when she first told them of the project. She said, “they rose to the occasion and created amazing dresses.”  Each of the dresses is created without the use of any patterns and was designed either through sketches or from inspiration gathered from fashion magazines.

Students worked in groups of two to four to create their dresses from the “unconventional materials” and it took a few weeks to create each design. All of the letter-sized paper was recycled from another class.

SVCTE Fashion Design and Leland High School senior, Karla Maldonado, said that “it was pretty hard to work with paper because if you made a mistake, it showed in places.” Leland High School senior Dimitra Taousanis, worked on a design with Maldonado, and added that most of the designs include an origami technique because of all of the folding.  She said she is “amazed” at what they accomplished and it is something they will be able to showcase in their portfolios.

Through class projects such as a holiday boutique, students learn how to work in teams to select, design, produce, and market their creations.  From December 10 to 13, during their holiday boutique, the class is handing out QR codes, which guests can scan with their smartphone, to showcase their paper dress exhibit online. This allows the students to showcase multiple designs at once.   All profits from the class holiday boutique will be used toward a field trip next year.

Fashion Design & Production is a new class at SVCTE this year and students learn the nuts and bolts of Fashion Design through hands on, realistic assignments. The first semester focuses on textiles, construction, alterations, and design.  The second semester focuses on flat pattern making, computer-aided design, and machine embroidery. 

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