Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pucker Up!!!

For many years, the world of fashion design was totally separate from that of textiles. We looked at fabrics in terms of fibers content, weave and print. And then came the 1990's and the dominance of Japanese designers who revolutionized the market by introducing a new way of looking at materials used in garment design. It's called "surface treatments" which includes both familiar artisanal methods of coloring (tie-dye, dip dye, batik) to the more experimental approaches that begin with alter the surface of familiar fabrics like...devore, shibori, permanent pleating. The fact is...nothing is new in fashion. We live in an era of basic shapes and silhouettes. What distinguishes one design from another is....fabric!!!
Last August, we made our own rendition of "Fortuny" pleats with our "Twist & Shout" project. It wasn't really permanent, but given the tiny quantities needed for the doll, we didn't really need to worry about the pleats falling out. Today's project explores permanent fabric manipulation using polyester or nylon fabric, and tiny objects which provide three-dimensional special effects to our fabric.
For this project you will need polyester or nylon fabric, a needle and heavy duty cotton thread and any size or shape of tiny object you desire (beads, coins, bolts, seeds, etc).
Pink: coins; Blue: beads; Dots: Running stitches gathered
One by one, entrap each object with the fabric. Run a stitch underneath the object then wrap the thread around two or three times then make another stitch and pull. You want secure the object but not so much as to make it too difficult to remove the thread later. Put as many or as few. Feel free to combine different shapes and sizes of objects. You can also make rows of running stitches and gather to make puckers or pleats.
Wrap each fabric in aluminum foil before placing in the oven.
Heat your oven to 325F (170C). Wrap each fabric in aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.You want to fiber to soften but not melt or burn. So after 15 minutes, take a peak to make sure nothing is turning yellow. Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the string.

Remove the thread and Voila!
Okay, so now that you've got this really cool fabric samples, how do you use them? If you want to apply to a specific garment, I will advise that you keep it simple. Make a large simple garment, then apply the surface treatment the way we suggested in "Twist & Shout." Or you can make the fabric and use the samples to adapt an existing garment. Use them for collars, skirts, capes, shawls.....

Regarding the garments featured here, the pink (effects created with coins) was simply tossed over the shoulders of Muriel as an evening wrap.

The blue is a fabric, readily found in stores known as "crystal polyester." The puckers were created using beads. I simply tacked it over an existing dress.

For the polka dotted black sheer, I gathered rows of running stitches. But instead of using the resulting effect as a horizontal pleating, I chose to use it on the vertical. This "tube" dress was created with single stitch down the back.
The aqua blue ensemble was made with two pieces of fabric made awhile ago. The fabric was so pretty, I couldn't bring myself to cut it. So I simply folded it in half, added clear plastic thread to make "spaghetti straps" and made tiny stitches to pull some of the 3-D back close to the body. Her wrap encases the arms with tiny stitches, as well.

The girls are off to Philadelphia, this weekend to attend the opening of the Patrick Kelly Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Then next, we're back in Paris where lots of fun events (including the Barbie exhibition) await us. We'll be back next week with full reports!!!

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  1. Hi April! I adore the blue one!!!
    this is an absolutely amazing tecnique!
    I look forward for the girls reports about all these events....

    1. Hi Billa, This is so much fun, I wonder why I didn't do this earlier! Me and the girls are really looking forward to the trip! A bientot!!!

  2. The fabric done with beads is beautiful. I'm adding this to my must-try list.

    1. Teva, this is surprisingly easy. Most of the work is in the preparation. Have fun!!!


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