Mobile Photography is the future of the art form. Discrete intimate and always accessible to capture a moment. – David S. McNamara
Photographs are said to preserve a moment in time, chronicle a piece of history, and refer to the ephemeral. Does the act of photo manipulation rewrite the history documented in the original photograph? I don’t use photos as a memory aid, but as a way to manipulate color, patterns and shape. I decided to co-mingle technology with textiles producing sticks-a-gogo Art Cloth.
For the last two years, I’ve produced images for surface design on fabric. Below are two examples, showing the original image and the resulting surface element.
Creating digital textile images via contemporary digital printing technology empowers me to make my own art cloth designs. Looking through the lens of my cellphone along with a gentle click of the finger, I am able to create a narrative of places, people and things I find interesting.
The ability to bring my vision to “life” from start to finish elevates my importance as a designer and a consumer. Utilizing new skills, which by the way, I’ve been taking classes using Photoshop Elements, supports my desire to create something special, a timeless unique piece of artwork. A symbiotic relationship develops between me and the image, I am emotionally attached to the cloth because it describes who I am.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to combine two of my passions…photography and fabric. I’ve been fascinated with Photoshop for some time, and recently discovered a vehicle for designing fabric digitally, Spoonflower.
I started out with a picture I captured with my digital camera.
Used Photoshop for fun, and uploaded my design to Spoonflower.
I proofed the design to make sure the visual imagery was what I wanted.
I’m excited about all the creative possibilities for this fabric design with more to come. Stay tuned!
It’s been awhile since my last post, and I want to start the New Year with an update as to what I’ve been doing for the last few months…
I completed another fashion design course at Canada College located in Redwood City, CA., taught by Professor Ronda Chaney, and assisted by Peggy Perruccio and Kathleen Lorist. The advanced tailoring class was combined with the beginning tailoring class, a cross-section of students with an array of ability and interests, which created an environment of camaraderie. We learned from each other.
My jacket is a Vogue Pattern, which required minimal fitting adjustments by Ronda. Matching the plaid with princess seams was the main challenge. I decided to cut the sleeves and patch pockets on the bias. The fabric is vintage Linton tweed. Linton is located in the United Kingdom, and was or perhaps still is, one of the major suppliers for Chanel. I lined the jacket with a designer cut silk charmeuse purchased at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley, CA. I like using piping as an accent.
The tweed is loosely woven which created a challenge when it came to the patch pockets. Trying to get both the same size was not easy. I solved the problem by blocking both of them on the blocking board I use for knitting.
I learned many new skills in this class. Starting with shoulder pads and sleeve heads, interfacings, bound buttonhole pocket, single welt pocket, outside welt pocket, jacket notch collar, and hand stitches. I particularly like the blind catch stitch for hemming the jacket. I used a slip stitch for the patch pockets. I found using the tailor’s ham was beneficial when stitching the hem because it supported and at the same time, elevated the jacket while stitching.
I wanted to title this post “Hand Knitting Meets The Industrial Revolution,” but I realized yarn is spun using a machine too. I recently completed two classes in Fashion Design at Canada College located in Redwood City, California, one of which was Flat Pattern Design. The other class, “Designer Techniques” discussed different ways to refashion an existing pattern and make it your own.
Demonstrating a technique not covered in class was one of the course requirements. I elected to combine hand knitting with fabric. For the sample, I incorporated techniques from Flat Pattern Design and drafted a half scale dress with princess seams.
The pattern pieces are pinned to the hand knit and traced with two rows of stitching using a teflon foot.
An alternative technique would be to baste a line of stitches on your fabric using sturdy thread. With your knitting needles, pick up into the stitches and knit down to create an attached piece of knitting.
In order to eliminate bulk from seams, position the knit fabric with an 1/8″ to 1/4″ seam allowance on the hand knit and 1/2″ seam allowance on the fabric.
Combining hand knit with fabric is an idea I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. “Designer Techniques” was the perfect venue which presented an opportunity for me to take my idea of combining hand knit and fabric a reality.
Wow! I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. It all began in August of last year…
At the end of August 2017, I decided to enroll in a Fashion Design Program at a not so local community college. Immediately, I was thrust into the lanes of commute traffic arriving at my location at least an hour before class two mornings a week. Surrounded by an interesting group of like-minded individuals, I learned so much about the material and myself.
Flat Pattern Design was an intense, rigorous class with a language all its own. The process of translating a two-dimensional design into a garment was challenging and at the same time, a rewarding experience.
Above is a sample of various half scale and quarter scale dart manipulations I produced. The final project for class consisted of using a basic bodice, sleeve and skirt sloper, along with various dart manipulations, in order to design a garment.
My design adopts and adapts the loose fit of the kimono by incorporating the dropped armhole along with the chemise silhouette. Godets are added on the side seams to add fullness imitating fabric layers of the kimono. Fabric folded origami sculptural motifs are added to the surface of the design.
The dropped armhole reflects fashion of the 1940’s along with fabric choices reminiscent of the Mod print fabrics of the 1960’s. Through the use of dart manipulation, my design expresses the influence the Japanese culture and the 1960’s played in my life.
This summer, after the removal of a vinyl pool and redwood deck that pretty much encompassed my backyard for the last 23 years, I’ve been able to plant flowers and vegetables. I purchased tomato plants and bell pepper plants from the nursery, and the zucchini, sunflowers and zinnias were planted by seed. It’s been a challenge keeping the birds, squirrels, raccoons and skunks from either eating the seeds or digging the plants up looking for grubs. As of today, I’ve been quite successful in my quest…
I enjoy the process of regeneration beginning with the planting, stages of growth and the blooming of nature. I try to focus on flowers that attract birds, bees and butterflies.
With all the physical work that goes along with planting and maintaining a garden, I decided to reap the benefits by reading a book surrounded by the ever-changing daily beauty of my garden.
Recently, in a knitting class at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA I overheard a conversation about slow fashion in comparison to cheap fashion. A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post discussing a book written by Elizabeth L. Cline, entitled “Over-Dressed The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.”
I immediately ordered the book online because I wanted to know what was going on. So far, I’ve read the first three chapters where Cline discusses the effects of global trade agreements on the garment industry beginning in the 1990s. In today’s world it’s chic, practical and democratic to buy cheap fashion. Cheap fashion fashionistas post their “shopping hauls” on YouTube and have thousands of followers. It’s a quantity versus quality culture…a garment expected to only last a couple of times through the wash becomes “disposable.” Cline mentions, “The wastefulness encouraged by buying cheap and chasing trends is obvious, but the hidden costs are even more galling. Disposable clothing is damaging the environment, the economy, and even our souls.”
I respect Elizabeth Cline’s non-judgmental discussion on the attraction of cheap fashion and its consumer, and she even admits to owning 354 pieces of cheap fashion clothing. After publishing the book in 2012, Cline owned 90 pieces of clothing.
As I progress through the book, I’m reminded why I began to sew again. I grew impatient with the lack of quality fabric, zippers and buttons along with shoddy garment construction used in ready to wear garments. At the time, I became increasingly aware of the relationship between ethical fashion, and the culture of “slow fashion” (which refers to sewing your own clothes with sustainable fabrics like wool and cotton).
I look forward to the reading the remaining chapters of this interesting book, while I enjoy communing with the many bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that visit my backyard.
On one of my recent visits to Britex in San Francisco, I learned the store was phasing out sewing patterns from the “traditional” companies like Vogue for Indie and independent designers. I respect Britex’s attention to uniqueness and its historic reputation to stand apart from the rest, especially craft/fabric stores, but it’s sad to say good-bye.
I decided to simultaneously work with a Vogue pattern and a pattern designed by independent designer, Lois Ericson. The written instructions for the Vogue pattern are more detailed, while the Sew and Design Pattern (Lois Ericson) is open-ended for creativity. I believe prior sewing experience is necessary to work with any of her patterns. (Of course, there is a new generation of designers I’m looking forward to investigating, but not limited to are Colette Patterns https://www.colettepatterns.com/ and Victory Patterns https://www.victorypatterns.com/.)
I traced the patterns onto medical pattern paper, and cut out a muslin of each pattern, and attended a garment construction class with Sally-Ann Flak. Sally-Ann fitted the patterns to my body, and I incorporated the changes to the pieces. Here is what I learned about my body in relation to these two patterns.
The pants pulled down in the back because my derriere sits low and I needed to add extra fullness. I added 1/2 inch 6 inches down from my waist by cutting and spreading the pattern piece. The front pants piece required no alterations. The top ended up being two sizes smaller than the pants.
As with the Vogue pattern, I traced and cut a muslin of the pattern. To begin with, the pants needed to be shortened 3 inches and the pant legs needed to be redrawn. The crotch length on the front needed to be shortened 2 inches. The waist on the front and back needed to be decreased by 3/8 inch. I needed to slash and decrease the hips by 1/2 inch. The back darts were a bit too long, so the adjustment didn’t require me to redraft the darts. The jacket is one size smaller than the pants, and needs to be fitted. I have a feeling the jacket needs to be one size smaller and 2 inches shorter.
Of course, the patterns are two different styles and probably is not a fair comparison, but I’m definitely developing a deeper understanding of pattern fit and alterations. My bod is not in proportion. The top of my body is two sizes smaller than the lower portion of my body with one hip higher than the other, and my hips tilt forward.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to delve into the world of fashion design, and I believe now is the right time. Staring in August, I plan on exploring the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department at Canada College in Redwood City, CA.