This second experiment involved pleating the bodice in place first, suppressing the pleats at the waist and under the bust, but allowing the pleats to naturally expand outwards at the top of the dress. This bodice would need a built-in corset or panel to cover the bust, where the pleats expand out. The full underskirt was pleated off the stand to the waist measurement, then attached over the bodice. The final peplum layer was pleated directly on to the waist, allowing the pleats to fall naturally.
I think this design had an elegant 1950s look to it, and I like the way that the suppressed pleating really pulled the shape in. However, this wasn’t a particularly interesting or innovative design. This was a good experiment, none-the-less, because it was a fast approach to stand draping. It was also an interesting way of using evenly cut, pleated panels but manipulating and controlling the pleating to mould a design to the body.
I found rolls of pleated paper from Ciment, waiting to be recycled and didn’t want to see this turned to waste! Instead I cut strips of this off and worked with it directly on a stand to produce two designs. This was a great way to see what I could create by suppressing and releasing pleated panels, without spending hours at the ironing board pleating up metres of fabric!
For this first experiment I started from the back waist and wrapped a 25cm wide strip of paper up and around the body, fanning the pleating out at the neck (crossing the pleating at the front). The pleats were suppressed around the bust, and curving down to the centre back waist, to draw the shape in close to the body. The two pleated skirt layers were pleated straight in place, allowing the pleats to fall naturally.
I really liked the top half of this design. The unusual, high collar and the way that the pleating flowed and twisted around the top of this dress made this an interesting and beautiful silhouette. To work this further, it would have been more interesting to continue this flowing spiral further down in to the skirt of the dress.
The aim of the experiment was to create designs on the stand using zero waste and minimal cut techniques. Each design created incremental tucks, to try and push what I could create with the garment still relatively in its original form.
Denim was a good choice in some ways – to create rigid, interesting structures; but bad in other ways – creating too much bulk in areas of a garment where you wouldn’t want excess bulk (around the armholes).
Overall it was an interesting exercise and a partial success. And although I found faults with the design experiments, there are interesting features that could be repurposed for one of my final designs (either as an external decorative feature or an internal, concealed structure).
This final design used the same pieces as used in design 3 (with no additional cuts). I used the same skirt from design 3). In this design I used the seat of the jeans to create a bolero inspired jacket. The original fly front of the jeans was opened up to create a rolled collar The excess fabric at the front arm hole would need bar tacks to secure the tucks at intervals.
I liked the overall shape of the bolero, but the bulk at the front armhole would make this look ugly and bulky to wear.
This final design had 2 additional cuts to the original pair of jeans, cutting the tops of the leg off near the crotch, creating 3 whole pieces to work with. I turned the trouser legs on the side and joined them, then pleated them at the waist and hem, creating an oval shape. The bodice used the seat of the jeans upside down, tucked at intervals around the top to shape it above the bust. The bodice could either be zipped for a more fitted shape, or unzipped for a loser fit. Both the skirt and the bodice would need buttons and buttonholes at the centre front.
This fit my brief of minimal cut and zero waste, but wasn’t an interesting design or silhouette.
For this second design I made a second cut in the jeans (up the centre back seat). This allowed me to drawer the centre back in more, and add front pleats (that would be top stitched down) to shape in the waist. The jean legs were swept round to the back and pleated together then secured to the back to create a bustle.
For this design to be secure this would need straps (which I could make by cutting off the jean hem from both legs). The overall shape is interesting because of everything sweeping round towards the back.
For these experiment, I wanted to create designs on the stand using minimal cut. So the first design has one cut, the second design two cuts and the third design three cuts. These ideas also adhere to zero waste. I worked with one pair of Levis.
This top design was created by making one cut on the original pair of jeans (on the inside leg from the right leg all the way round to the left leg). The jean hem formed the neckline, with the excess had large tucks at the back, and the centre back jean seams was pinned outwards (like a spine). This was an accidental H R Giger style at the back.
This would be a very ill-fitting armhole, and quite bulky in places, so it wouldn’t work as a design. I did really like what was happening at the back of this top though and thought that it created a very interesting structure.