Well here it is my first university project in its entirety!
As you may have guessed the project was called ‘Inside Out’ and the outcome was to design a Jacket using Nature, specifically exoskeletons, as out inspiration.
I looked into designers who used nature in their work such as Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Wesfeld and Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse.
I decided I wanted to use Coral as my start point but hadn’t realised the variety there are to choose from. I started with looking at lettuce coral as that looked a little like an Alexander McQueen dress I liked. It had a black to cream ombre and almost looked like ironed in pleats. Using this as inspiration I tried to recreate the texture from the dress by making a rosette type circular base where i pleated the fabric as i sewed. This created almost a too structured look as the fabric weight and type was too strong with no stretch. After trying this sample on the mannequins I decided this wasn’t the look I wanted to develop.
I further researched into types of coral and found my favourite was a circular type of coral that can be seen in my pictures below. It looked a little like wire circles all stringed together and wrapped in wool or thread. I thought this looked a little like some of the deconstructed Alexander McQueen dresses alto pictured and decided from this that I wanted to create a lace look.
Experimenting with stretch lace and embroidered mesh, I used a heat gun to see if I could create a more interesting texture. This had to include circular aspects that matched my coral inspiration. None of my attempts worked as the lace pretty much broke down instantly and became plastic to the touch. From this I remembered I had made a lace like structure in previous years with the use of dissolvable fabrics.
Digging out my old work I discovered I had some of my rice wafer paper left (which amazingly you cannot find in shops anymore) and set to work. I sewed onto the rice paper using my sewing machine and two different feet; an embroidery foot for movability and freehand sewing and a straight foot for fashion stitches and straight lines.
I tried both on this method and only the straight foot worked. This created grid like structures that I deemed too harsh for the soft feel I was going for. Speaking to my tutor I found out about a variety of dissolvable fabrics and decided on the cheaper and all around easier to work with AquaSol. In the end I bought 5 Meters of this stuff and boy did I need it!
Sewing with the fabric in an embroidery circle and the embroidery food I settled on a circular motion creating the circular sample you can see in the pictures. I chose this to be my final fabric design, oh boy did I not know what I was in for!
I looked into shapes and styles of jackets that I liked in particular Chanel jackets, they were simple and beautifully tailored. Somehow Chanel jackets are timeless and this fascinates me, how a jacket can be so well designed to be loved still decades later. I chose a simple short cropped style that cut at the waist. Although I loved the longer versions and where I played with the sizes of the collars and sleeves, I felt if I was going to make my own lace it had to be the main attraction. And boy was it!
The lace outer, made in my final pattern pieces, took around 200 hours to create. I even had my own mother sewing it while I completed the paper work side of things (mood boards, final designs and illustrations, not forgetting my evaluation that ended up being 3 pages long). Man I can talk. God bless her, she truly was my saviour! I created my inner jacket out of plain white cotton, which I dyed with diluted ink to a coral colour, and a bright white polyester silk suitable for wedding dresses if you ask me. Sewing this was a challenge as I had no previous experience with jacket making or making facing. I had never even lined anything I have previously made so when it was completed, albeit with the help of my amazing mother, I was ecstatic with the result.
Placing the lace patter pieces over the jacket we got a feel for the size and what else we needed to add to make it fit perfectly. The best way to sew these pieces together was with a hand stitch around the sleeve connection and bonding the shoulder and sides together by merging them on the sewing machine. This created a clean line and stopped the jacket from looking too pieced together.
After many hand washes and an iron the jacket was done and it was finally over. Hand in day was here!
You can see the final product, paper work and all below.
The stress was over and believe me it was worth it!
Final grades Distinction Distinction!
Personal Triumph if you ask me! After 2 years of thinking I was terrible… this was a little bit of closure!
Til next time