Sunday 10 June 2012

The search for nuno felt couture

The long weekend loomed long and large, with much creativity anticipated. 
Before I update this far, here's a few pics from recent weekends of creating the garments that went down to Tasmania for a successful showing in the Campbell Town Show. 
Slate dress felt layout
Slate dress decorative layout
Wetted out layout over resist
Rolling. rolling, rolling!!
Just found this newspaper pic with my garments hanging up to the right!!
'Christopher Horne arranges some of the outfits for the Campbell Town Show fashion parade. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON'
And here is a photo of a lovely 'design consult' session with Miss Jenelle and Mr Mish in the garden on a fine Autumn day, before we got this miserable Winter weather! 
Slate dress, Mr Mish, & Miss Jenelle
Saturday started with an exercise in draping, to see what kind of shapes might work for me to make in felt, then use for draping.  

 To go back to the beginning……. Tuesday night at TAFE, I was alerted to the existence of Yiqin Yin, a French/Asian fashion designer. 
Yiqin Yin Dress/Jacket
I saw one of her works a few classes ago, and loved it, this amazing jacket/dress, but our fabulous teacher Chris Twine had gone and printed out lots of her designs, and it was this red dress that really caught my attention, and inspired me towards a new direction for my nuno felt dresses. 
Yiqin Yin Red Dress

Working with felting the whole garment with the resist method is just not quite giving me the result I want, and Yiqin’s work provided me with a Eureka moment. Why not create felt fabric pieces to drape over a shaped shift, highlighting the beauty and texture of the felt, whilst creating a textured couture fashion shape and finish?An extra bonus of felt being that you can use several pieces across a garment and not worry about unfinished edges – in fact the feathered edges can be quite a feature.

After starting with a 112cm x 130cm piece, a quick diagonal cut across the middle gave me two pieces which worked well together – well , they covered the body and looked good! So this is what I decided to make in felt. To take care of the shrinkage, I cut a piece of paj silk slightly larger at 160cm long. I decided to reverse the Vilte technique of working back to front, and laid down my fabric, then my wool, then my decorative fibres. It took forever to wet down, as the top surface not being covered was quite delicate. Being a bit cold too, it took quite a bit of felting, although as usual, I probably didn’t go as long as I should before throwing! For the first time, I ironed my nuno felt when finished, only over the non-textured bits, to help flatten it out and make it as fine as possible for draping – I like it!
Sunday morning I played with draping the two pieces – they were about the same size, and really one needs to be a little smaller than the other. I ended up with a lot of material at the back, and although I love the bustle effect, it may be a little chunky in this case. Still, I am happy with the direction it is taking.
White sculptured nuno felt dress
Whilst Matt went to the movies, I worked on another version, this time working backwards a-la Vilte, using tissue silk and 2 criss-cross layers of wool. 

Nuno felt layout
I used some left over pink silk pieces from the last dress, but thought I’d try just using white wool, and white silk fibres, and see how they they integrated. Not badly, and I was happy with the way the dyed silk pieces bled through the wool, but it was still a slightly too stark difference between the two, so I poured a little dye along the centre, squished it through and steamed to set.  I’m about to play now with how it looks on the mannequin. I can see beading bringing these to life, too.
We’ve still got one more day to go, and I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. I’d also like to welcome my dear Matt to the blogosphere, bringing to life his very own blog, the Oily Rag!

Good to have the whole team here!!

Long live the long weekend!!