In the last ‘fashion college’ post, I wrote about our most recent project of designing costumes for the local Olympic festival. This time round I have a bunch of samples to share with you. I want to say that sampling is a really important part of the design process, but then again every part is equally so: research, design, sample. When I began sewing in 2010, it was a case of have an idea and make it. Then I began sketching out ideas and construction lines. Now I find myself going through the whole process for pretty much every project I make. Ultimately it results in the best and furthest developed ideas.
The colour scheme is indigo and white/cream, so I tried out some indigo dyes and transfer paint to create different patterns. Actually, the transfer paint was a happy accident. There was confusion in the studio which meant I went home with a pot of tranfer dye instead of the brusho dye and consequently spent the evening with a confused expression on my face, wondering why this square of cotton muslin was staying a near pristine white in a tub of deep blue dye..
Of course it all made sense the next day when the pot of brusho turned up and I realised my wasted evening (-_-). But it made sense to try out the proper use of transfer paint whilst it was there and the result was pretty cool. All you need to do is mix it with a spot of water and paint a pattern on scrap paper, then iron this straight onto synthetic fabric.
I just splattered the paint onto paper for a really organic feel. It turned green but photoshop can change that for the sketchbook ;)
But what I had set out to do was to dye using shibori techniques, so this was the next method to try. I prepared several pieces of cotton muslin and lawn by tying knots, stitching and manipulating according to traditional shibori and tie-dye. This was my first time dyeing fabric and the results were mixed, but I was happy with a few pieces. The dye wasn’t as ‘indigo’ as I would have like, but they still produce interesting patterns.
First photo: typical tie-dye. These were simply scrunched up into balls and tied with thread. The smaller piece looks like the sky on a summer day.
Second photo: the top piece was pleated and sewn up through the middle. I pressed it religiously and I think it paid off. The middle piece was folded up very small, pressed and tied with string. I like how it looks sort-of crystalized. The bottom piece was a fail at first. Since then this little piece has grown on me. It looks a bit like a stormy sky. What I did was wrap the cotton around a pencil, then wrapped thread diagonally around this, and then scrunched this up still on the pencil.
Third photo: the two outer pieces were tied up around buttons. There are way too faint, but would be successful with a higher constrast. The middle piece was very technical and involved pinching tiny bits of fabric and then tying tight with thread. It looked like a tiny cone and gave this pattern, which you may recognise as a traditional Japanese pattern. Yes, this is how the Japanese achieved that pattern! I admire their patience, even this irregular piece took forever to prepare.
Now what to do with those samples? Well, they directly contribute to the final designs and I hope to use some as prints for the womens’ leotards. You may notice that I backed each sample with white card, which I recommend as it looks much better and allows the sample to stand out on it’s own.
Thanks for reading about my project! I wonder which is your favourite pattern? The next installment will show my final designs and illustrations. Happy Friday ♥