Lately I’ve become more and more interested in focusing on how a particular material can be the main aspect of a design. I love finding beautiful materials and figuring out what they want to be. I’ve had this slightly shiny, coated cotton fabric for a long time. It’s extremely light weight but very crisp. I’ve never seen anything like it. I made some vests from it last year, and I think the minimal, slightly structured architectural style suited the fabric pretty well. I also made this dress (an early version of the random fold) out of it, and this one also worked quite well -the folds stayed sharp in this fabric.
Neither of these two designs really allowed the fabric to be the main focus however. The focus was on the shape (as in the vest) or on the texture (as in the folds of the dress). A few weeks ago I was thinking about making a party dress, and thought this fabric would be great -it’s sheen and airyness seemed perfect for something a little more special. I grabbed the roll of fabric and just started draping it over the dress form and I loved the way the folds held their shape -creating folds with a bit of edge and full of volume.
So now I think the result is a dress with a very simple shape that focuses more on the material properties of the fabric. I worked with the folds a little bit and discovered that it also looked interesting with the draped part rolled over.
Then I thought a version that folded sort of like an envelope would allow it to be a little more casual. It would be great if the one dress could be worn in the three different ways but I’m not sure how I could make the fastener in this version not show. I would also have to figure out some type of facing/lining for the draped part so that the seams wouldn’t show in the rolled version. I’m still muddling this over.
I had originally made this to wear to a party, but I don’t wear things I make very often. I feel too self conscious. I’ll probably just wear something plain and black to blend into the background. Check out the beautiful party dress that Jenny from Wiksten made for herself though -she’s a great model for her clothes.
I hope the end of your year is filled with parties too. Happy New Year.
I’ve tried making felt several times in the past, and haven’t had much luck. I’m not sure if I wasn’t patient enough, or if the roving I had wasn’t pure wool, or what, but I mostly ended up with a gooey mess of un-stuck together fibers. I had some alpaca roving left over from these experiments, an idea in my head and 5 minutes last night so I tried felting again. This time I felted the roving onto some wool doubleknit fabric. And it worked! And I love it.
wool random fold dress, UNIFORM Studio, winter 2007
In architecture, the type of material that is used for a building structure or skin will start to dictate how the building is made and inspire the overall design and form. Material, detail and form are dependent on each other. Until recently I hadn’t considered how this is also true when making a garment.
Before making the random fold dress out of wool, I hadn’t made many (any?) garments a second time using a different material. When I made this version, I realized how much more drape the fabric has than the original denim, and how a deeper fold would show off this material quality better. So I made the folds on the front wider and also added a fold at the back. I really like the single fold on the back -it adds some volume to the back and makes the dress seem more like a whole rather than a dress with some detail on the front. I also like how the single fold emphasizes the asymmetry.
wool random fold dress (back), UNIFORM Studio, winter 2007
This dress is also fully lined (it’s silver!!*). Even though this is the softest wool I’ve ever felt, I thought it needed a lining to make it feel finished. And the lining allows the sleeves and bottom edge to have no visible hem, which I think makes it feel more volumetric and elegant.
wool random fold dress (fold detail), UNIFORM Studio, winter 2007
Of course, these are all minor details that you probably don’t even notice in a photograph. But fun for me to think about.
The random fold dress update to my shop is going to have to be after the first of the year. I just realized that the end of the year is coming up fast, and I have grading to do, recommendation letters to write, and lots of cookies to eat. There will be several denim dresses available (maybe more than several?) but not so many wool ones. I think I only have enough for three, possibly four, and one is spoken for. And I might just want to keep one….I have my eye out for some more soft wool though.
*it is silver, in color anyway, and bad pun completely intended.
I am so excited that my friends over at Silvercocoon have opened an online shop! They are selling their modern tannenbaum, which I am diligently saving my pennies for. There are also some great modern ornaments laser cut from acrylic, which are just beautiful.
Tia is selling some of her jewelry as well. Right now there is just a small collection online, but you can see more of her work here. I have a few of her pieces and they are among my favorites.
baby puff pants, UNIFORM Studio
I also wanted to mention a new shop, Love You Baby, that is carrying my children’s clothing. Right now there are just bloomers, but there will be more in the future. Love You Baby’s focus is on simple and contemporary but timeless children’s clothing. I am honored to be among a small group of quality designers that includes sophisticated lines such as Neige and Imps and Elfs.
Thank you to everyone who placed an order from my shop today! I appreciate it so much. I had planned on adding some Random Fold dresses as well, but in the end I decided to just concentrate on holiday gifts. I will have a special update soon with the dresses in denim as well as this amazingly soft wool shown in the image above. It is light as air, with a bit of stretch, and the front is slightly brushed, with a nap. It’s another one of those fabrics I just want to hoard.
I finally made some size labels to sew in along with my clothing labels. This is one of those things I have been meaning to do forever, and just never did. I’m still screenprinting the labels, but getting closer to ordering some from a manufacturer. The idea of having 1000 labels all pre-printed and ready to go is appealing, although the idea of paying for them is not.
We ended up getting about 6 inches of snow this weekend, and it snowed all day today too. I started getting excited thinking that this might be the year when we have a ton of snow. I want to make snow forts in the piles that the plow leaves on the side of the road like I did when I was little. And that reminds me of the Snow Show, which is an amazing collaboration between different pairs of artists and architects creating spaces using snow and ice. Look through the past projects – the light in the ice spaces is just beautiful.