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Current Research and Studio Production-Part 3

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

As I've continued my work and have completed my midterm, I knew that the second half of the semester would be a lot of work, but I'm up for the challenge. After asking some new questions and furthering the tasks that I needed to do, I knew that there was one thing that I needed to get done first. Try on some dresses. I needed to try on dresses because I needed to see what style would fit and look the best on my body. After all, I am making this dress for myself. I did have a concept dress ready to go but I knew the first step was to see what dress best suited my style, as I was designing this dress for myself.

Current Outcomes & Reflections

Design Concepts:

When I originally created my concept dress, I knew I didn't want to make it concrete until I had tried on dresses for myself. But from what I had first originally sketched, I enjoyed the dresses I got to try on. I stuck with dresses that I loved and that I would have gone for if I had been looking for dresses myself anyway. So this research was to try and find the style that best suited me.

My original concept drawings and the top right drawing was initially my final concept drawing.

When I decided to try on dresses, I wasn't sure where to go. I wanted to try on dresses that had parts that I liked or parts that were similar to my concept drawing and see how that detail presented itself in real life. When I finally decided where to go, I was able to do it on a whim at my place of work-The Tilted Veil. I was able to try on dresses during a cancelled appointment time, so I tried on about 5 different dresses and styles that I liked. The photos below are the dresses I tried on and the looks I leaned towards for my final thesis look-as this dress design was specifically for me.

Now, one thing I know as a designer is that you CAN NOT copy someone else's work! You can absolutely get inspiration from their work but never copy. So with this design, I figured that I wanted to find a silhouette I liked and get inspiration from it!


The photos above were taken at "The Tilted Veil" wedding boutique in Guelph, ON. They are put in a slideshow format. The Following dresses were designed by Alyssa Kristin, White One, and Tara Lauren.

I realized as I was trying on dresses, a lot of them were more simple and didn't show much surface design like how I imagined my final thesis. I know I'm not a big fan of lace but I know what I want to create isn't going to look like lace but more of an imprint on the dress. I actually don't mind designs on a gown, but I've gotten tired of looking at the common repeat lace that's on a dress. Going forward, I think I'll design a new concept based on my fabric research and go from there.

Surface Design

I know that I want to include surface design into my work using cultural references like imagery, so I needed to look into my resources and start my design work. When I originally began, I wasn't sure if I wanted to work with my abstract continual line drawing method that I enjoy working with or if I wanted to go into more detail and really show the illustrations clearly. Below are some samples of drawing research to look into what style I want to have my drawings. Although I'm most likely using my designs for devore purposes, I want to make sure I choose the correct drawing tool that will show the most detail in my surface design.

1.1 1.2 1.3

1.1 Example drawing of Scottish thistle using a Prisma pen marker-small end.

1.2 Samples of drawing tools and their specific line thickness, appearance, etc.

1.3 Example drawing of Scottish thistle using 6B graphite water-soluble pencil.

I am currently building up my surface design pattern but I wanted to include the following images that I researched from my last post which can be seen here

I will be using my own preferred imagery as I create this design but I wanted to incorporate some cultural importance from our historical backgrounds. I decided to pick images based on importance to culture, things of my own liking, etc. So my surface design will possibly include the following:

Animals Botanicals

Northern Lapwing-Bird Shamrock

Unicorn Scottish Thistle

Lion Tudor Rose

Mute Swan Daisy

Irish Hare Primrose

Scottish Wildcat Heather

Golden Eagle Forget-me-knot

Red Squirrel

Red Fox

European hedgehog


Sewing Fabric Samples -Part 2

The next big decision I need to make is if I want to work with the original fabric I liked which was the silk viscose velvet, or if I wanted to work with the silk viscose satin. When I originally started doing research I remember working with the silk viscose velvet and fell in love with it, but I had never really sewn with it before so I knew I needed to sew a sample dress in order to figure that out. Before my midterm critique, I decided to sew together a pot dyed, devore dress in order to consider it as relevant material. This was my conclusion:

My Sewing Notes: when I started working with this, I thought it would be decent. I was wrong! When I started working with it, it liked to move and adjust where it sat before I sewed it together, causing me to have to rip the seams and redo them. Even with pins and things tacking them into place, it seemed to slip and slide while I was sewing it. After some time, I found a good way to work with it, but I had to be cautious. As I continued I also noticed that it became thick on the seams and I got thinking about how that would look If I wanted to create a dress. Would certain seams stick out more? would I have a problem with how it would look fully completed? I wasn't sure. When I finally finished the dress, I really enjoyed how it looked. I know I still need to make a few tweaks here and there but overall, I'm really happy with it. I consider silk viscose velvet to still be in the running at this point, but I need to sew a bit with the silk viscose satin and see how I like that to determine the final fabric.

I also worked with a few other Devore Fabrics that I've been sewing on to see if there is a specific fabric that I think would be better suited for this project. The photos below are the fabric I'm using and the devore sample from each fabric.

Top Right: Coated Silk Viscose Satin

Top Left: Viscose / Polyester Elsa White

Bottom Right: Silk Viscose Velvet

Bottom Left: Silk Viscose Satin

Embroidery Samples

One thing I also knew I needed to do was to finish completing my fully researched sewing sample portfolio. When I first started my sewing samples, I knew I needed to practice sewing the fabrics I was interested in using for the thesis both the outside fabric and the lining. I was really happy with how my samples turned out and really made me see what fabrics worked better for certain jobs. I wrote down any problems I faced, the pros and cons of each fabric, and if there was anything specific that I did.

I also needed to practice embroidering on certain fabrics using both machine and hand embroidery techniques. I wanted to be able to create a similar sample for each one but something that was quick to make in a small amount of time. For my hand embroidery samples, I worked with 7 different threads to see how each fabric would look and if it would be easy to work with each thread. I ended up finding out a lot about which ones I did and didn't like.

My favourite fabrics to work with were:

From Top Right in Semi-Circle: Silk Cotton Satin, Coated Silk Viscose Satin, Silk Hemp Satin, Silk Viscose Velvet, Silk Viscose Satin.

While my biggest let down's were:

Top Right Over: Silk Charmeuse, 100% Satin Polyester, Viscose/ Polyester Elsa White.

When I completed the machine embroidery samples, I found it wasn't as nice and it seemed to be harder to work with. I worked with both Devore and non-devore fabrics but because I know that I'll be working with devore, I figured it would be best to focus on those samples. The only thread I enjoyed working with was the gold 100% polyester metallic embroidery thread. I found it stood out really well on each fabric, but that would be the only thing I would ever consider using. I don't think I could see myself using this technique for my final piece, but I included a time-lapse video below to show the machine embroidery process.

In Order:

Coated Silk Viscose Satin, Viscose/ Polyester Elsa White, Silk Viscose Satin, Back of Silk Viscose Satin, Silk Viscose Velvet.

The time-lapse video below is from a 20-minute sewing duration where I was machine embroidering multiple samples.

I enjoyed trying to break down these questions and felt good moving forward in the direction this was taking me in. I look forward to seeing my next development stage.

Next Steps:

  • Design a new concept drawing

  • Start developing a dress pattern using my dress form and draping tape

  • Create pattern pieces using the constructed draped tape

  • Using tracing paper, I'll retrace the original pattern pieces sketched and turn them into a paper pattern

  • Start sewing a complete sample dress mock-up based on my pattern pieces

  • I'll start creating detailed drawings for my surface design

  • I'll start roughing out my final drawn imagery and where they'll be placed

  • Finish my research on the business aspect of wedding gowns-interviewing designers

As always,


*Any photos and videos in this post are my own personal property.

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