FIDM Fashion Design Grad and Instructor Ivy Vining

Ivy Vining Returns to Her Alma Mater to Teach in the Fashion Design Program

FIDM Alumna Ivy Vining has returned to her alma mater to teach garment construction courses in the Fashion Design program. She joined the faculty just as the pandemic began and has been teaching remotely. Embracing the challenge, she created all of her own videos for her pattern and sewing courses and is a “fantastic new instructor” and a “wonderful addition to the faculty,” according to Fashion Design Co-Chair David Paul. We caught up with her to learn more about her professional experience, her teaching philosophy, and how she designed her instructional videos.

What classes at FIDM do you teach? I teach many of the garment construction related courses: Industry Sewing, Applied Draping Techniques, Pattern Drafting 1, Pattern Drafting 2.

You've created all your own videos for your courses. Tell us a little bit about the virtual remote content that you've created? Once I got over the initial shock and fear about the idea of teaching these types of hands-on courses fully remotely, I instead decided to look at what topics could almost be taught even better in a virtual format, and focus on creating original content in those areas. The primary area I focused on was sewing tutorials. Typically, while teaching a live sewing class, 12 or more students would have to be huddled around a single instructor at a sewing machine, sometimes still many feet away from what they need to see, (which also happens to be incredibly small and detailed). I built camera mounts at my sewing machine, ironing station, and drafting table that would allow me to show them techniques from inches away, rather than feet, and used this to record any sewing tutorial required for Industry Sewing, as well as the required sewing projects in the Pattern Drafting classes. Additionally, I chose to make a series of videos showing the initial draping process for the Applied Draping Techniques class, which also allowed for better views in terms of both closeness and angle than could be achieved during an in-person class. An added benefit to all of these videos is being able to edit the instruction to make it more concise (speeding up sections that are necessary but tedious, skipping over portions where the same steps are doubled for the other side of the garment). Students have the ability to watch, pause, and re-watch the tutorials to work alongside them at their own pace. Even as we return to in-person teaching on campus, I feel that having these tutorial videos will be a beneficial addition to my teaching materials. 

Tell us some of the highlights of your professional experience in the industry: Aside from teaching, I’ve spent a good portion of my career creating one-of-a-kind custom pieces for clients. Doing custom work has given me a broader skill set than if I was only doing my own collection-based designing, as I’ve had to learn how to create pieces and utilize techniques that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Having a large “toolbox” of skills in different types of design work has proven to be one of the best things I can bring to my teaching.

Describe your teaching philosophy: I admit it’s a bit cliché, but I’m a big fan of the famous Picasso quote, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” When it comes to a technical subject like pattern drafting, sometimes the projects the students must create in the beginning are not the most creatively satisfying. I like to make sure they know that having a strong technical background is what will ultimately make them better at not just bringing their ideas to life, but even coming up with those more creative ideas altogether. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM? I always get the most joy just from seeing the growth of a student. Sometimes that’s just within the span of a quarter; other times I’ll have repeat students where that growth can be seen over a bigger stretch of time. I love when I can see the moment where things finally ”click” for them, and then they just take off from there. 

As a FIDM Alumna yourself, what advantages does this offer you coming back as an instructor? One obvious advantage is simply having been in their shoes, and being understanding of the rigors that they are going through. Additionally, coming back to teach pattern drafting courses has required me to brush up on my own skills and revisit fundamentals that are sometimes forgotten or brushed aside once entering the industry as a professional. (This is a call back to my earlier referencing of the quote, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”) I can also refer back to my experience as a student in identifying what concepts may have not sunk in well for me at the time, and put extra emphasis on figuring out how to teach them well to my students now. All of these things have felt advantageous to not only how I teach, but also to myself in my own personal design work.

Keep up with Ivy Vining on Instagram @ivyvining.

Attend our Online Lecture Series event, Fashion Sketching Workshop: Ideas Beyond Words, on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM PDT. Register for the free event here.

Categories:  Fashion Design Online Learning Alumni Faculty