MAJOR PROJECT: experimentation and production // toiles and leather


Images: by myself (Sony Nex5N)

This past week has been pretty busy. Monday was my last presentation for the major project. Sadly, one of my tutors had to leave as we had once more gone over time. He was only there for the beginning of my presentation when I was recapping over my concept for everyone else. He pretty much missed out on all my progression over the last 3 weeks. Despite this I feel like the project reached out to everyone who remained in the room. After uni on Monday evening I worked with the Powertex again to see it's effects on calico. I wanted to create a toile for the hat design but work with something more static to envision the design better. The Powertex certainly helped with that and locked up the calico to form a whole new textural makeup.

Tuesday was a bit of a negative day as I was feeling a little disheartened over one of my mentor's feedback, or potential clash of design aesthetic. As a student who is very keen to learn it is often hard to filter through useful and formidable suggestions and the opinion of someone who does not envision the project in the same manner. It is even more complicated as this mentor may well be upon my judging panel as she is the only fashion professional in the university. I find this very alarming, for no other reasons than the fact the COFA needs more fashion professionals and her design vision encourages maximalism ideologies (more is more) which I fear may clash with my project. Despite that, I love working with this particular mentor, she is very nice and she challenges me. I don't think she realises how much work I have set for myself for the major project so she doesn't realise that I need to spread my time and concentration across the board of both graphic and textile design. But it's fine, she has pushed some of my sketches further and I totally agree with her. 
I spent the day at uni and working with shaping leather on a mannequin at the uni. With the help of Powertex, I have managed to create an interesting form with the leather (as seen in the images)

Wednesday was spent printing and preparing pattern pieces for altering. I have decided that I will design a cascading leather jacket with coiled shoulders and leather pants with coiled panel details. Time is running out so I just had this instinct to just begin working on a base design and to build up from there. I will (in possibly the next post) post up some design sketches of the wearables. So I spent the day altering the jacket pattern, tracing and cutting the pattern out in calico. After, I decided to coil some leather and relax before taking my bag of coiling equipment to my friend's farewell drinks where I said goodbye to a great person who is leaving for NYC for a new life. A pretty inspiring move if you ask me.

I awoke early Thursday morning because I was still intoxicated from the previous night I found it difficult to go back to bed, so I began sewing the calico together making mental notes of the order of operation etc. I must admit, considering I have not sewn a proper toile since 2010, it came surprisingly natural to me. Or maybe it was the cider swimming merrily through my veins. Anyway it was an extremely productive morning for me which gave me alot to recap with my Thursday tutor, who could obviously see that I am not wasting time. The finished toile is above also. I aim to make some adjustments to the front (cut back excessive cascade fabric), the shoulders will be assembled with coiled leather as a textural protection, the back is frumpy and may need darts, and the side seams on the arms will be pinch sewn all the way down to give a hand crafted feel to the garment. I am also awaiting Elfy's arm length measurements to alter the length.

Friday began a little shaky due to ongoing deep family disturbances which continue to maim my progress and focus, not to mention my happiness. I spent most of friday sketching, tracing and cutting leather for a hat design which can be seen being sewn above. I began sewing the hat together by hand stitching along the top. But before I could finish, I went to work in the night and came home at midnight and continued sewing and watching Harry Potter until it was complete.

Saturday was spent sleeping in (bad Mel) cuddling my cat Mishka and sewing the brim to the crown of the hat. I finished sewing about 10pm, glued up the excess crown upwards to form a band around the bottom rim and then began applying Powertex to strengthen the leather. After, the hat sat in front of the heater whilst being rotated on a steel stilt rack to encourage heat flow under the hat. It is now currently on my head looking great. I am extremely pleased with it indeed. It will need another coat of Powertex soon and potentially more time on my head to stretch it a little, but it really looks like it has been made by a simple craftsman which is really the aim of my concept to bring it back to quality craftsmanship, time, care and passion.

As I write this post it is almost 2am on a Sunday morning so I shall hop into bed and hope for a productive day tomorrow. I aim to work solely on the jacket tomorrow and hope that I may be able to fit in the pattern making of the leather pants. 

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