Contemporary Workshop Begins

Another day at the Jacaranda…

The contemporary workshop started today and already I can tell that leaving last week behind, simply admiring what we achieved with Ashok, and switching our mind set from art to fashion will allow our designs to develop in a new way. We started off by discussing with Rajat our concepts and the designs we wish to explore this week. Immediately my mind set was shifted from traditional to contemporary when he suggested we look into fabric manipulations to mimic lines on my concept board, such as pleating. I explored this idea in depth using calico, pleating and stitching it to develop shapes and line work that aesthetically lean towards the shell. Incorporating this into my designs/ developing a new design with this in mind will add another layer to my exploration of my concept and what is achievable with this subject.


First contemporary design on paper


I chose to use a technique which involved, lines of running stitch parallel along the fabric to then be pulled/ gathered to create folds/ secure pleats. In my first calico sample I pulled the running stitches prior to covering the whole piece of fabric and discovered that the fabric would fan out where the pleated ended, unintentionally yet ultimately creating the curve of the shell shape. Looking at this effect I decided to attempt it on a larger piece that I could layer with matte and a sheer fabric along with embroidery to achieve the shell look. After stitching many lines of running stitch parallel on an half A4 size piece of silk and pulling the threads, unfortunately it did not have the same effect as the small piece. I think this could be due to calico vs silk in terms of thickness, also the size of the pieces. Thus, I have decided to move away from larger pieces and create multiple small “shells” using this technique, in both matte and sheer fabric, which can be layered on top of each other to give depth and texture to the design. After completing these fabric manipulation samples/ tests I spoke to Rajat again and he was particularly interested in my sequin personal project, and suggested that I combine the sequin technique with the pleating/ gathering technique to create a new texture and dimension for my design. I am very intrigued as to how this would look and will attempt this tomorrow.

My sequin personal project. Using side hole sequins layered in a gradient of colour.

My sequin personal project. Using side hole sequins layered in a gradient of colour.



Pleated calico sample laid over my first paper design


First attempt at the running stitch technique


Large silk pleating attempt. As you can see it looks too much like shirring and even when the thread was pulled tight it did not create even pleats.  


After Rajat and the artisans left, I reflected on the day and considered how I could expand what was discussed today further to potentially become either a collaboration with the artisans or simply another personal project. I have decided to pleat/ gather/ pull sheer and matte shells in just fabric, layer these with sequined techniques, along with lines of beads and thread work to complement and enhance the idea. I will create small shells using the pleating but make each shell unique using sequins, beads and thread, however they will all marry together as they will be the same shape. Enabling them to be draped as a group or separately, also for the exhibition I can display them as a grouping on a toile or mannequin.



Silk organza pleating sample.


Silk organza piece with invert box pleats along curve to imitate the lines of the shell. I would love to add beads or thread work to enhance this idea.


Inverted box pleats detail, this imitates the shell shape perfectly especially the image on my mood board (up top).


Calico Pleat Sample

Small silk pleating sample, not as stiff as the calico yet the lines are more defined in a smaller sample.

Small silk pleating sample, not as stiff as the calico yet the lines are more defined in a smaller sample.

Another idea I will explore this week with the gathering/ pleating is using paint along the pleats as a design feature. This was inspired by a dress I saw at a boutique on the second day. I would pleat/ gather the fabric and then put paint along this area, so that when you move/ separate the folds slightly the fabric colour is revealed. This will be a huge experiment and I do not know how it will turn out/ if it will look aesthetically pleasing but we will see…


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