Function meets form and construction in TSA Fashion Challenge

HILLSBORO – Three Hillsboro High TSA students are striving to be next in tech fashion. Through the TSA Fashion Design and Technology challenge, Callie Bernhardt, Kyla Isaac and Olivia Slater designed their take on incorporating antimicrobial fibers and stain-resistant fabrics into chef’s wear and medical scrubs following the Fashion in the Workplace theme.

The ladies have to construct and model their garments, and they must create their own patterns using CAD 2D design software.

We don’t have the ability to print patterns; we print the full-size CAD and then transfer the printout to vellum paper,” said Isaac.

The girls began working together after Isaac and Slater jumped into TSA through dragster design. The teamwork aspect of fashion design caught the girls’ attention.

Slater joined a year later.

We were looking at this list and through ideas and we narrowed it down to fashion design and technology, or animatronics. We really liked the fashion theme that year of CosPlay,” said Bernhardt.

The team worked together last school year, before COVID-19 ended their season after they had already purchased fabric for the futuristic formalwear theme.

This year’s Fashion in the Workplace theme had the team thinking about trades, and their various challenges related to functional garments.

We decided to do a scrub uniform – shirt and pants – and a chef’s jacket. We used stain-resistant technology for the chef shirt,” said Isaac. Bernhardt added, the group swapped out the traditional buttons for velcro, allowing for easier and faster removal in case of a burn.

With parents in medicine and farming, the three “got a general idea what are issues and decided what’s realistic for us,” said Isaac.

Bernhardt said when it came to incorporating technology into the garments, “it could either be actual technology or science technology, like copper threading” which has antimicrobial properties. The pants will also have a built in digital pedometer.

Bernhardt will be modeling the chef jacket while Isaac will be wearing the scrub outfit.

We’re being creative with it. Workplace fashion isn’t the most exciting thing. You want to design. We are taking something simple and making the neckline a little more elaborate on the scrubs,” she said.

The scrub pants are constructed with a three-panel design, to allow for larger, practical pockets.

We took some of our inspiration for leggings,” said Slater.

Bernhardt said the girls use their own wardrobes for inspiration and pattern design.

Bernhardt said the team tested their chef’s jacket material with barbecue sauce, to make sure it was up for the task.

Bernhardt who is one of the talented seamstresses on the team said, “I grew up sewing with my grandma. If I don’t know something, I’ll take it to Grandma and ask.”

Setting up the sewing machine was a major challenge for the team, “It was painful, and out of whack. The settings are a pain. It took weeks to get it to sew right,” said Isaac.

However, the project is more than three fully constructed garments, “we took CAD classes, and a lot of design stuff. We have to write three essays for the portfolio and have to do research,” said Isaac.

The team said Bernhardt is the primary seamstress, while Isaac jumps in and Slater is responsible for writing and documentation.

The project as a whole, which will be presented at the end of the month, has been a challenge for the team.

It’s not as easy as it looks. You think it’s just, put these fabrics together and it’ll look great. It takes time and effort and calculated steps and thinking about it,” said Bernhardt.

The girls said while they have been fastidious about their project, they are working toward presenting three wearable, tailored garments on March 31.

We’ve had to unstitch things many, many times,” said Isaac.

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