Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Design Journal: Dyeing & Toiling


The reason I've been a little quiet is because I had a week where I did very little 3D work in order to focus on my presentation and learning agreement for module 2 so that it could all be done in time. I have since had my feedback, which was surprisingly good. I was very worried because I've been playing catchup what with coming from another course, being ill, and because I've been at the research stage when the rest of my class were doing making and experimenting. But I was able to get a lot of research done in module 2, as well as really focussing on who I am as a designer and what I want to do with my career/where my market is. I was told that my research is really strong - which I must admit is really nice to hear because it's something which I struggled with on my BA. I have a lot to do in order to bring my 3D work up to match the rest of my work, but I feel it will just happen naturally once I begin toiling and making in module 2. 

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a dye workshop. It's the first induction I have been invited to since moving from the PGCert to the MA, so I definitely didn't want to turn it down. Plus I had seen and heard about the dye room and I thought it sounded really interesting, particularly because matching colours that are on the correct fabrics can be really hard. We begun by using the machine in which you can scan in any colour into the computer, tell it what fabric you're using, how much it weighs etc. and it will tell you the recipe in order to create that colour. I chose a silk and a candy pink from the pantone book, and my recipe involved a watered down yellow and some red. It was actually really fun and a bit like being back in a school science lesson where you have to wear goggles and use pipettes and test tubes. Then you top off the recipe with water, put your test strip inside then put it in the dyeing machine for like an hour and a half. Once you get the hang of it it's pretty straight forward.
I wish I had the original pantone to compare but I think the pink came out pretty accurate and it's really well covered and vibrant. The good thing about using this method is that you will get the same results each time as long as you measure the dyes correctly, but it's basically a really controlled method. We then went onto using the heated dyes in the pans, which is really inaccurate as it is unlikely you could duplicate the recipe and get the same results each time. I wanted to test my cotton sateen, as I had been told it's basically impossible to dye as the lycra wouldn't take the dye. I was actually shocked by how well the fabric took to the dye because of what I had been told, however it was a bit patchy and looks slightly washed out. (I think I should've washed it beforehand which would've helped a bit)

I also had a go at dip dyeing and just messing about with elastic bands etc. (which is partly why the pan method is described as a 'one-off' method that cannot be repeated) To be honest, I don't feel this sort of thing would really work with my project but I wanted to have a go anyway whilst I had the opportunity to try some new things out. I think it looks cool anyway. I may end up using the dye room is I'm unable to find some of my colours on the right fabrics, so I'm glad I'm now aware of how I could solve some problems.

So after I handed in module 2, and enjoyed a rest over the bank holiday weekend, I wanted to crack on with finishing this striped dress. After speaking to my tutor she suggested a smaller stripe than the previous toiling fabric I was using so I went and found one that was half the size. I don't think using a smaller striped loses the effect, but I think any smaller wouldn't look as good. I am really, really happy with the fit, as it took me several tries to get it right. I also added a panelled chevron skirt where I alternate the stripes in each panel and then match them at the seams. (I'm actually pretty proud of my pattern matching because that's the first time I've done it) The skirt and bodice don't completely match stripe to stripe, but there's not much I can do about it when they're not actually coordinating panels - if that makes sense. However, since speaking to the my tutor she has suggested I somehow pleat the top and possibly removed the panel, so that the top is softer and not so 'flat'. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that yet, but I'm going to spend this week experimenting, but I don't really want to have to pattern cut the front bodice again after how long it took me to get the fit right, as well as getting the stripe to line up which took me so long. But I will give it a go as I can see her point. I'm also probably going to reduce the amount of skirt panels by 1 or 2.

Also this past week has been particularly exciting because all the undergrads have finished and our building has been taken over by their exhibition. In our building (the Bonington), it is just the knitwear/textiles and I have to walk through some of it to get to the studio, but it's been really nice to see. I haven't had chance to see the fashion students work yet because that's in another building, but I must go see this week. I did also have the opportunity to go to graduate fashion week to see the NTU show, but in the end I decided that I need to concentrate on my work, plus I can see it in the exhibition at uni. I only took a few pictures of some of my favourites, but I was also looking at the way they present their work, and how they do their illustrations.
Predictably, I loved this textiles collection because I love all things cute and pastel. I particularly love that scarf with beads and bows inside, it reminds me of like barbie/my little pony from my childhood. But I also really liked the book she did of like trend forecasting of her own theme, as well as samples etc. It's basically a whole book telling the story of her work, and I thought it was really effective. 

I also loved these edible (not really) scarves and bags, which I would instantly buy if they were for sale. Again, I love the colours and cuteness, and these are the sort of accessories that my customer would go for.

Those were my two favourite collections out of the textiles students, but I must say that all of it was amazing, and I think it says a lot about my uni by how talented every student is! At the time I was also looking around for postcard inspiration, as this week we had to have our postcards done for the New Designers exhibition that's coming up at the end of the month. Originally I thought I could possibly do an illustration, as I'm trying hard to improve them. (I previously avoided all drawing because I really struggle with drawing and much prefer working 3D) I think my drawing has improved massively, and it has a lot to do with confidence, but I think I've still got a way to go before they are usable. In the end I just went with a photoshopped image of my striped toile against some prints/images, but I think it's something I'm going to have to think more about before our hand-in.

Until next time,


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