Sunday, March 20, 2011

Inheritance Dress

It's finished and my entry form is submitted! Whew!

I'll post details about making it soon. Below is my artist's statement.

I feel the need to make clothing that tells a story. When I wear a garment, I imagine places I could travel to and adventures I could have in it. In my Inheritance dress, I can picture myself climbing ancient trees somewhere in Europe, maybe I’m sailing the Mediterranean… Although I might imagine incredible adventures about this garment, I will still wear it in my normal, everyday life. Clothing that is made to wear in everyday life, yet has a unique and extraordinary quality is what excites me. I could make an evening gown, but I couldn’t wear it whenever I felt like taking a walk down the street. I find myself embracing Anita Mayer’s idea of wearing something magical and unique every day.

There is something magical about the word inheritance. It conjures up thoughts of finding a hidden treasure; like a gift of something ancient. At first glance the fabric seems plain, but it has a surprising subtlety of iridescence that gives rich depth to the cloth. Like it could have been from a royal robe unearthed after centuries. For me this ancient gift takes the form of a new life through faith in Jesus Christ. I have recently been studying with my church Paul’s letter to the Colossians and this passage had an impression on me: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Being so immersed in making clothing, I am always intrigued by the role of clothing in the Bible. During our discussion, we talked about the ancient custom of putting on a new garment when receiving an inheritance. Believers in Christ have been made God’s children and thus receive His inheritance, so we put on the new clothing of serving Him with joy. When I wear this garment, I want to be encouraged to show compassion and kindness, no matter what adventures life brings. I want to be reminded of the hidden beauty of God’s kingdom and my identity in Him. That is the real story being told every day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pattern making

I'm trying pattern making again. Of course I'm self-taught so it's all a guessing game and past results have not been pretty. Ah, the challenge! This time is different because I'm using a shirt/tunic that I own to "rub" the pattern from.

I absolutely love this tunic. It goes with everything. It can be dressed up or down. And best of all, I can nurse the baby in it because of those handy buttons in front. I can't remember if I've ranted on here before about how my wardrobe pre-baby was all pull over dresses and, well, that just doesn't work when you're nursing. So this was a great find last summer and I want to duplicate it with my handwoven fabric.

Making this pattern has been very time consuming. In the picture above you can see the three different versions of the front bodice, from left to right, 1) traced from the flat garment, 2) traced on the dressform, 3) combined the two and retraced on the dressform. I was checking and rechecking the measurements--"measure twice, cut once" turned into measure 50 times, cut once.

Here is a "mock-up" that I made to check my pattern fit from fabric I had laying around. It came out surprisingly well with one major problem. As you can see in the above picture, the neckline is completely stretched out and wonky. And the button placket is not centered at all! Sometimes I will make the buttons off center on purpose.... this was not on purpose.

The best thing about this pattern is that it isn't precisely fitted. The back has a tie that cinches and makes the front tight. That made getting the fit right a lot easier.
I still haven't gotten the neckline quite right. I'm wondering if it was the bias tape stretching it and because I didn't stay-stitch it like you're supposed to. Any thoughts on getting necklines to behave?
Stay tuned for the handwoven version of this... it's in progress!