Fabric Manipulations

Few things come as natural to me as sewing.  My first lesson was sometime in my early teens when puberty forced me to skip all Junior-sized clothes and head straight for the khaki pants and elastic waistband-filled world of the Women’s department.  Dreading the mom-look, I spent many hours with my own mother who patiently guided me with Butterick patterns and Jo-Ann fabric 30%-off scores in creating many embarrassingly shiny, sequined half-garments.  From there, my curiosity and need for a challenge drove me to fashion school and corsets made with 80 pattern pieces.  I realized that life would change when I sewed for a couture designer in Seattle who draped wet fabric on his models.  I stitched quietly while being exposed to Tupac and marijuana smoke (that I was disgustedly against), while meeting my match in an industrial Juki sewing machine.  From then on, I’ve had a mild obsession with both Tupac and my Juki with automatic backstitch.

Fast forward to my love of fabric manipulations.  I’ve always been fascinated by creating volume with fabric.  When designing my own clothes, I was always looking for fabrics with more depth, texture, and interesting constructions than what was available to me at our local retailers.  The closest I’d found in inspirational fabrics were at mill-end closeout sales down in Portland, Oregon.  Even so, I focused mainly on crinkled and pleated fabrics or elastic stitched designs and wild embroideries.  When a friend mentioned textile design as a career possibility, I had no idea what she was talking about.  The possibility of creating fabrics instead of buying them soon led me down the rabbit hole of choosing textile design as my next educational adventure.  After getting accepted to both FIT in NY and Central St. Martins in London, the choice really came down to affordability.  Creatively, I regret not choosing London for it’s technological advances but my surprising love of weaving is the result of my education at FIT.  Upon near completion of my schooling, I decided to integrate my love of sewing with fabric design.  The textiles on the right are the outcome of such study.

These textiles concepts were created to explore a few ideas regarding movement through color, pattern, and creating volume.  I’d love to further examine these ideas and figure out how to transform them into products.  From cut pleats to screenprinting, dyeing, and hand stitching, there is an unexpected amount of mathematics involved with manipulating cloth.  Almost every person I’ve shown this collection to had the same initial sense engaged.  Touch.  I was surprised at how our instincts are universal and how I could create the experience just by sewing a bit.  I guess I’m not the only one who has a tactile fixation!  All of these were inspired by an unlikely and contrary image.  More on that here.