I wanted to be more experiential with my fabrics as well as with my designs. It may seem a bit late in the game to start playing around with new fabrics but, since I’ve got almost all of the components for my two garments ready, I’ve decided to start looking at what other materials I could use as other potential jackets (this is a collection after all).
The fabrics that I’ve decided to try out are, wool serge; drill cotton sateen; cotton sateen arian, poly/visc hazelwood and natural denim (which hasn’t arrived yet – the other four I got off Maggie). As with any new fabrics, I started by sampling each fabric in the dye bath before deciding what colour and fabric combinations I wanted to take into samples. Having already done quite a bit of experimenting with times, I was quite confident in my colour and choosing the correct amount of time as as I didn’t have to go through the whole lot of full colour testing.
The colours I made were beautiful. I realise that its my collection and I chose these colours so i should love them, but damn; they are just stunning. I could look at them all day and be happy! (I won’t, promise!
Both Monday and yesterday were dedicated to garment production; cutting pattern species, attempting to sew seams, more pattern cutting. I made the body and sleeves of my first jacket, but since I don’t have the level of skill to put in sleeves, that’s something that will have to wait for another day.
Yesterday evening however, was dedicated to making a few new designs that I could then take into print and experiment with for the rest of the week. i decided to be a bit experimental with my designs, using a piece of charcoal, I took some of the shapes from my original photographs and turned them into quick marks, along with translating a bit of knit which was on my board, into a a few curved marks, which turned out to be quite interesting. I then spent the night scanning these in and turning them in designs/patterns. I’m looking forward to experimenting with these designs in print, especially using Devore.
The fabric that I died for my lining, wasn’t enough to fit all the pattern pieces onto. I could fit the body and the hood, onto it but the sleeves where a no go. Thankfully Maggie has a role of moleskin (which I really wished I’d had found out earlier) so I was able to go into the dye baths today and make more fabric, in the right colour (HA!) for the sleeve lining.
What was quite annoying was that after I made the dye bath, from the same recipe I used for the first part of the lining, I tested in on a small square of fabric until the same colour was achieved. Confident that it was right, I put the rest of the fabric in and waited the allotted time, only to take the fabric out and have a light orange/yellow, which is quite noticeably darker than the lining I dyed for the sleeves!
I don’t know if this is going to be ok to use? Im planning to speak to Beth and Irene about it on Monday.
Having spend two days last week dying my fabric, it now came to the task of waxing and and interfacing the beast. 3 meters of fabric is actaully quite a lot, but I had a plan of action! On Saturday my wax arrived so it was time to put the plan into action. Phases one, gather supplies – fabric, check. Wax, check. Fusible felt, check. Surface area big enough to work on, kind of. My dining table was big enough that I would be able to do the whole width of the fabric, I just could fit all 3 meters on it, so I started working in sections.
It didn’t take too long to wax the fabric completely (I contracted help!), which was surprising, which just made me get to the sang that much sooner. I ordered 3 meters of fusible felt to pad out the cotton, but the width of the felt was half the width of the cotton. Meaning … that I only had enough felt to covered just over half of the cotton. It was my fault completely, I didn’t check the width before I ordered it, so ill just have to wait until the next batch arrives so that I can finish this stage and move onto the printing and cutting stage!
The next step after dying my fabric was to look at coating it. I’ve chosen to experiment with waxing my fabric – I really love the feel of it, how it changes to colours of the fabrics – as a method of waterproofing my material. I’d previously experimented with using scotch guard but there was no noticeable different to the fabric which was quite disappointing.
After speaking with Irene I started to experiment wth different ways in which I can wax my fabrics. Firstly I tried an all over wax which I achieved by rubbing the wax onto the fabric, similar to using a crayon, and then ironing so that the wax sank into the fabric. I then moved on to melting the wax before applying to the fabric to see if this would be a quicker way of waxing my fabric as I have 3 metres that needs to be waxed. However, the wax solidified too much on the brush before, causing dried wax strip over the fabric. As this didn’t melt into the fabric, I then had to iron the wax so that it would absorb into the fabric.
The final wax experiment I tried was to draw a grid over the fabric with the wax, which was actually really easy. I used the wax, again like a crayon, to draw the lines of the grid shape. The wax expands into the fabric when it gets melted, making to the lines thicker. I didn’t expect to like this experiment, I was prepared to try it and dismiss it but I actually really like it. I’m not keen on the fact that if I wax in a grid pattern not all of the fabric will be waterproof, however the visual effect was really cool.
Trying to keep this idea of having a grid on my fabric also, I took one of my fully waxed sample into the print room, and using a deep orange colour, I printed a grid over the fabric. Where the fabric was lighter in colour the grid was more prominent, then subtle becoming less noticeable the darker the fabric good which was a really cool effect. At the moment I’m really interested in using this technique for my jacket fabric as this would insure that my whole jacket is waterproof.
The fabric that I have chosen to use for my first jacket is a very thin, no-stretch cotton which is similar to the sports of fabrics used for parka’s and anorak’s. I chose this fabric because of the tightness of the weave and because it seems like a waterproof fabric even though it hasn’t been coated.
In order to make my fabric more suitable for my jacket, I’ve used Fusible Felt as a way to pad the fabric into a thicker, sturdier weight. Its also had the effect of maxing the wax fabric softer. After waxing the fabric becomes stiff and the Fusible Felt gives it much more freedom of movement.
I think my tutorial went quite well. I was a bit nervous because I was speaking in front of people, and while I have gotten so much better at presenting in these last three years, I still don’t like it. I explained my idea to Keireine, Irene and Helen, how I want to to use three main photos II had taken of manhole covers and use these as the inspiration for my samples. I explained how I thought I was focusing too much on the production of the garment instead of being free to experiment with my sampling, and how I’m trying to just go back to focusing on ideas and samples.
They really liked my colours and my ideas, as well as my dye samples and they had some really good advice for creating a rust dye bath, and also layering up the samples I have with my laser cutting and painted idea and juts taking photos and see what looks good; and to also put more of myself and my designs onto my board.