Finally, pictures of the collection I’ve been working on for the past 8 months or so! (See here and here for the work in progress – especially the second picture in the first link). I’ve called it “Traces of Thread”, and the pieces were inspired by Norwegian folk costumes, with a dash of Victorian era and some nostalgia thrown in for good measure. I think that shows!
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The key piece of the collection – the wool melton coat. Between the wool fabric, and the magenta silk charmeuse lining, facings, and interfacing – there are a ton of pattern-pieces! The most time-consuming feature is in the back – cartridge pleating, with the lining fabric showing on the edge. This is definitely strongly inspired by the “bunad”; the skirt of mine has this kind of pleating all around the waist. Just imagine how heavy that skirt gets!
The seamlines in the front and the back are also inspired by the seamlines of my particular regional version of the “bunad” (click the image to see it larger!). The wool was an absolute dream to work with, like sewing in butter! This was by far my most tailored piece, and I have a post coming up about what sort of techniques I used on the coat.
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The lace top was also quite an undertaking! I knit the top from a lace-weight yarn, and I think there must be multiple thousands of stitches in this thing! This will also get a post of its own I think – I guess I like to talk about stuff I’ve made, and how I made it! The skirt is made in cotton sateen, which has a wonderful feel and weightyness to it, but can be a little difficult to sew with since pins and needles leave marks in the fabric. The draping on the side is a nod to Victorian bustles, but also the hiking up of heavy skirts when climbing stairs or such.
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The cartridge pleating strikes again! This was actually also a bit of a technical challenge – and I have pictures, but that’s for another day and another post. The fabric is a silk gauze, and it was my first time working with that. It frays, it’s really shifty, but it’s all worth it for the fantastic way it drapes, and for the richness the gauze weave. Because of how it’s woven there is a subtle pattern, as well as some dimension to the fabric. Beautiful!
The fabric for the belt is screenprinted, with a design I composed. It’s been a lot of fun to be the creator of the fabric, from designing, to prepping the screen, to actually printing the fabric. Hmm, I smell another separate post coming…! The skirt is in a lovely wool flannel. I just love working with wool – it does exactly what you want it to do, especially with steam and gentle prodding!
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And lastly, my knit jacket ensemble. The jacket pattern is based on traditional folk wear, with largely geometric pieces. For example, the shoulder has a couple of rectangles inserted, and then gathered into the collar just like the “bunad”-shirts I studied (don’t worry, there are more details coming up in a separate post!). The vest underneath is bound with bias silk dupioni, and has a front panel that attaches with snaps. And the leather belt cinches in the waist in good Victorian fashion, while the clasps bring back the folk and traditional feel.
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Well, there it is! It has, not surprisingly, been a lot of work these last months, but a tremendous learning process. I’m more sure than ever that I *love* making things, and making them in the most beautiful and well-constructed way possible. I’m also really glad to have been able to include knit-wear, and textile manipulation, like some dyed fabrics for the linings, and the screenprinting – to be part of the making of the fabric itself! The next step I guess, is to go further down into the hierarchy of making – spin my own yarn, weave my own fabric? Regardless, now it’s time to step back, pat myself on the back, and be proud.
Photos – John M. Burnham
Hair/Make-up – Ingrid Feder
Model – Sally Freeman
(If you’re in the Chicago-area, do come check out the upcoming fashion show I’ll be in! May 17th, Garfield Park Conservatory, great collections, nice people? Good combination!)