How to Cope With Stress - My 3 Top Tips + I designed a Jacket!
This month I finished my 3rd semester at RMIT studying fashion design. The jump from first year to second year was a big one. They warned us but it wasn’t till we were started it was clear the workload and expectations were on a new level. Luckily the theory is this makes us more prepared for our next and final semester.
One of the big assignments this time was learning how to make and sew our own tailored jacket design. Up to this point we have covered bottoms, tops, and dresses but tailoring was a new learning curve. It was one of those situations where you don’t know how much you don’t know about a topic until you start doing it haha! There are a lot of pattern making and construction techniques specific to tailored jackets. Now I completely understand the price tag for tailored jackets out there, so much goes into these!
Today I thought I’d talk a little about my jacket as well as share 3 tips for managing stress that I used to get through this semester.
I like to work with asymmetry a lot when I design. I often regret that decision when it makes pattern making, cutting, and construction more time consuming and difficult, but the end result usually makes up for it. For this jacket I was inspired by the ocean and abstracted that into lines to represent this via a waving hem and overlays as well as the hand-painted lining. I also hand melted a nylon organza and inserted this into the overlay seam to give the look of sea spray at the edge of a wave.
One part of the inspiration for my jacket was the sound waveform of a wave breaking (above). I love listening either to rain or the ocean when I can’t sleep or I’m stressed. I use the app RainRain which has white noise sounds you can mix at different levels to what works for you. I find when I’m stressed I find it more difficult to go to sleep but I know sleep is really important to keeping me productive and healthy (otherwise hello headaches). So having something soothing to concentrate on helps me get to sleep. It also has a sleep wind down timer that slowly turns down the volume which find also helps to lull me to sleep.
Another thing I find helpful for getting to sleep is adding to a physical reminders list. If mulling over my internal to do list is keeping me awake, putting them out of my mind really helps to switch off during busy times.
During stressful times there’s often a lot to do and not much time to do it in. You have to really critically look at your to do list and deadlines and schedule things in. Do important urgent things first and then if there’s time, important less urgent tasks. If you can save some time by doing things a quicker way or skipping tasks that aren’t part of the brief or a must do, this is the time. It’s better to get all the things on the list done pretty well than get some done perfectly. I recently watched a video from Matt D'Avella (a recent fav youtuber of mine) about the 98.7% rule that explains this idea well.
3. Take a break
I heard a couple of people around uni saying there was no time for breaks, but I strongly disagree with this idea. Even if you can cram in an extra 5 or 20 minutes of work, will you be working effectively and productively in this time? I always believe a short break is worth that time. When you’re stressed with work or a big project taking time away to refresh your brain and take care or yourself is important. You might come back with a new perspective on a problem, or feeling less overwhelmed, there’s always value in taking a short break even if you don’t think there’s time.
Though it was a stressful experience pattern making, problem solving and constructing this jacket, I’m pretty happy with the overall result. I can still see my original inspiration as well as the traditional tailoring techniques. Our brief was to “Reinvent the Tailor” and it was really exciting to see my spin on a tailored jacket come to life.
Hope you enjoyed this look at my fashion school assignment and some of the inspiration behind it!
If you’d like to see some behind the scenes of creating this jacket and some of my other assignments check out my vlog below. There were quite a few things that went wrong but I got there in the end!