Houndstooth Jigsaw Dress

This houndstooth jigsaw dress was made from an existing recycled size 20 pencil dress, (as seen in the photos above).

I unpicked all the seams on this dress and cut in to quite randomly to piece this jigsaw puzzle dress together. One thing I found when fitting this on my model was that I’d cut an arch in the front, but this made the dress too short (especially when sitting). To resolve this I added additional pieces to extend the front and side length.

The dress is made up of asymmetric panels (some pleated), a front bold zipper that is partially concealed by the fold over front panel (featuring vintage buttons).

This takes on the transformative aspects of the metamorphosis theme, combined with partially hidden layers.

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Two-piece with plugged bustle

 

The two-piece garment that I designed was made from a recycled size 22 dress, a small man’s shirt and a size 12 wrap-over dress, for the skirt lining (as seen in the photos above).

 

The skirt design was in part inspired by Julian Robert’s Plug Technique, as the outer edge of the shirt was inserted (or plugged) in to a spiral cut in to the back of the skirt. I then removed the shirt arms (and sewed the armholes together, and removed and asymmetric shape out of the back of the shirt and inserted in to a diagonal line in the front of the skirt. The plugged shapes have concealed cotton tape inside, to give the design fluidity but with some control. The bustle at the back can be rearranged at will (with more of the shirt on the inside or outside of the garment). The fastening for the skirt is at the centre front, and consists of two folded pleats going towards the centre and fastens with a buttonhole and buttons from the shirt.

The bodice design uses the shirt sleeves to shape the bust, and this wrap-over feature creates the front opening. When I tried this on my model the bodice was smaller than I imagined, so to rectify this I removed 15cm from the whole hem of the skirt, folded this in half and bagged it out, then attached it to the bottom of the bodice, creating small box pleats.

By plugging shapes in to this dress, the brings in the hidden features (and something going on inside/underneath) of the metamorphosis theme. Also, because the back plugged bustle is rearrangeable, this also incorporates organic growth, evolving and changing aspects of the theme. I was very pleased with the finished design and shape of this two-piece.

House Style Exhibition – Chatsworth House, Bakewell (25 March to 22 October 2017)

 

I visited the House Style exhibition at Chatsworth House in May. The exhibition showcases five centuries of fashion. Designers featured includes: Jean Phillipe Worth, Christian Dior, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Margiela, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

This was a very inspiring exhibition to see (with my love of costume and attention to detail). It also gave me the opportunity to see some of my favourite designer’s work (Dior, Westwood and McQueen).

The only downside to the exhibition, for me, was how some of the pieces were displayed. Some of the lighting made it difficult to see some of the detail. Certain sections were too cluttered (so it was easy to miss something). The dining room was cordoned off and some garments were around the other side of the table that you couldn’t get to, so you couldn’t see the whole of the garments on display. And one room featured the mannequins positioned in a circle, facing inwards, so you had to view the front of the garments from the other side of the circle, which meant you missed out on seeing the detail at the front. Having said this, it was still a very beautiful exhibition to go and see!

Location idea for my photoshoot and private exhibition

For my final photo shoot and private exhibition, I’m considering Sheffield General Cemetery as a location. The reason being that the cemetery is a very special and tranquil place for me, as I walk in there every day with my dog. Also, the cemetery (opened in 1836) hasn’t been used and was neglected as a cemetery since 1978, but has since undergone a transformation over the years (in parts by Sheffield City Council and Sheffield General Cemetery Trust, who equally own and manage parts of the cemetery).

The cemetery also ties in with my Metamorphosis collection theme, because the cemetery has catacombs (so something hidden beneath its exterior surface) which is what I hope to incorporate into parts of my collection.

For the private exhibition, I was considering the Nonconformist Samuel Worth Chapel, which has been in a state of disrepair since the 1950s, but has since been renovated over the last two years. It is now a functional, beautiful and bright event and exhibition space. I’ve emailed Sheffield General Cemetery Trust to find out how much it would cost to hire the chapel for my private exhibition and I’m waiting for a response. I’m unsure as to whether I want to hire the inside of the chapel or see if I can set up a pop-exhibition outside on the porch, as the pillars and the doorway would make an interesting backdrop for my collection.

I think the cemetery and chapel would be the perfect location for both the photo shoot and exhibition because of the renovation undertaken. The cemetery now has a new life and purpose to its original intent. This ties in perfectly with my recycled fashion experimentation, where I’m creating something new (with hidden features) that has a different design and function to its original purpose.

Subtraction Cutting Workshop with Julian Roberts

Today I was very privileged to go to a Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting workshop at Doncaster College. I’d previously read Julian’s ‘Free cutting’ book and worked on some half-scale experiments using his tunnel, plug and displacement techniques, but they weren’t all successful!

It was amazing to see Julian in action today, to have him talk through his techniques and share his ideas so openly. It also made his techniques easier to understand, with his clear explanations, and through the workshop that followed on after his presentation.

Subtraction cut dress (tunnel technique)

This dress was made using 6 metres of stretch fabric (3 metres in each colour). The main cutaway shape to create the top of the dress was quite big, as the sewn tunnel was very heavy, so this was necessary to remove some of the weight out of the dress. The first two circles I subtracted from the fabric were different sizes (one was an easy hip measurement of 112cm and the other a larger circle of 156cm) again to reduce the weight of the garment. The larger circle was part pleated in to the smaller circle. The additional circles that were subtracted also had the easy hip measurement.

Conclusion

Julian’s tunnel technique is very visually striking, fun, creative and fast as a creative cutting technique. The whole dress took 2.5 hours in total. This included the time to prepare the tunnel, mark out the bodice pattern pieces and additional circles and to sew the garment. A very fast and effective way of creating an interesting silhouette, emphasised by a bold choice of contrasting colour.

I would like to experiment with Julian’s plug technique with some of my recycled clothes. It would be interesting to see what a whole garment (for example, a shirt) would look like plugged into a shape of the same circumference on another garment(s). This could be a very useful way of creating the hidden internal structures that I’m keen to incorporate in to my final collection.

Recycled collection theme and title: Metamorphosis

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I chose the word ‘METAMORPHOSIS’ for my experimental recycled collection because it perfectly sums up and captures what I want to create – transforming a garment(s) from one form in to a new form.

Meta = “change”         morph = “form”

“A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.”
– Oxford English Dictionary definition

Metamorphosis makes me think of:

  • Casting off an outer shell.
  • Something developing inside (tied in with hidden features, hidden treasures).
  • Transforming into something new, to take on a new form.
  • Evolving or mutating into something else.

Ideas and themes for my collection

  • Utilise zero/minimal waste cut using recycled garments – the only new materials will be linings, fastenings, etc.
  • Giving something a second life to a garment – regenerating and transforming old garments in to something new and unique.
  • Hidden treasures – incorporate hidden details in the garments, such as internal pleating or panels to give a supporting structure to the frame, whereby it’s only for the owner that knows it exists. There could also be hidden panels or features.
  • Experimentation – Explore what is possible through creative cut and see what ideas I come up with to reflect my theme and title.