Making a dress, the January project

Making a dress

Making a dress is complicated. There’s all sorts of hidden layers to the process that you need to research first, or be mentored by another who’s versed in the art. I have inches in the bookshelf dedicated to the process, and I completely disregarded them as I went about created a dress in early Jan.

Retrospectively, it’s literally because I forgot they were there, and now I have one in front of me that has all sorts of wisdom to impart:

So many layers

So many layers; from Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

Which I am looking forwards to going through. This one too;

Dislocated joints, creating distress signals, dealing with distemper, the perfect diving technique and correctly filing for divorce are all covered across two pages of this gem, and so much more.

Dislocated joints, creating distress signals, dealing with distemper, the perfect diving technique and correctly filing for divorce are all covered across two pages of this gem, and so much more.

I’ve made the dress already though, and here’s a rough breakdown of the process (the one I took, that’s not officially sanctioned by any kind of Reader’s Digest anything);

Step one; create a lot of uniform triangles.

So many triangles!

So many triangles!

Step two; start sewing them together. Note that the tesselation will work with the curvature in your body, save this information for later.

Sew and sew.

Sew and sew.

Step three; just keep sewing on those triangles to create enough material to cover everything.

Eventually, it gets larger

Eventually, it gets larger

Morphs

Morphs

Some unpicking may be required

Some unpicking may be required

This is the longest stage, although it goes pretty quickly because there’s a goal to get to, a designated amount of material to create. The end finishes perhaps take more time due to the last-stage fiddling around with small details.

Step four; closing it up to add in a zip. This was another stage that required some playing around, so that same-coloured tringles didn’t end up being sewn together. Another was removing some triangles around the waistline to add some definition. Already, the stitching and seams for the triangles was starting to make my torso look like a multicoloured woolly sack (heh) and so I felt that a waist line was an important addition to the finished piece.

Sew so many triangles like so.

Sew so many triangles like so.

So, the triangles are sewn in a pattern creating hexagons with two triangles on each side at the top and bottom buttressing a following hexagon.

Soft-edged hexagon...

Soft-edged hexagon…

Here’s what I did to create the waistline: a few of these dress hexagons are actually pentagons (sneaky, right?)

Step five; sew it all up the sides and include a zip which you forget to take any pictures of.

Last few triangles placed carefully

Last few triangles placed carefully

Step six; what’s left? Surprisingly few triangles, actually:

About half a dozen triangles left at the end

About half a dozen triangles left at the end

What’s left will be great since I need to add about that many more to the top to create some kind of neckline.

Note the 'flair'

Note the ‘flair’

So the majority of the dress is finished. Step six is taking stock, seeing what should be done next. That is pretty obvious both when I lay it out and when I wear it: one side is longer than the other.

hemming

How do we hem this?

This was addressed by creating a longer black line on one side of the dress, with a bulkier, curlier set of ruffles which balances out the sides (at least for me, there’s no longer a noticable weight issue on one side as opposed to the other).

Step seven, was obviously then, hemming.

Step eight; neckling and straps. This was done by measuring the distance from the dress as worn when sitting and knowing the tension of the wool from working with it over the last three weeks. So, after chaining and attaching spaghetti-like straps to the dress, it was really a matter of building up the thickness with a series of single, double and half-treble crochet stitches (and remembering one side to be able to repeat it for the other).

Adding the layers as needed

Adding the layers as needed

2013-01-18 18.55.32

Remove, add a few more rows of stitches

Another try

Another try

Eventually, I am finished with the straps of the dress, and want to add some ridiculosity. And why the hell not?

So there you have it

So there you have it

One lady, three weeks, a hundred triangles, one dress.

2013-01-22 19.54.11

One partner that cannot take a decent photo

Hello, tiredness.

There we go.

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
This entry was posted in Crafternoons, Crochet & Knitting, Experiments, How-to, Textiles, Works in progress and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Making a dress, the January project

  1. Liz says:

    Hey KM,
    This is a great project. Looks great on you as well! Thanks for sharing your process – very interesting read.

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