I’ve been taking fashion design classes at a local community college…a class a semester, whatever I can fit into my teaching schedule, nothing too strenuous. Anyhow, while sitting in my fashion illustration class a month ago, there was an announcement for a fashion design competition. Well, the college athlete in me can’t resist a competition, so I entered!
There were multiple categories in the design challenge and I randomly selected “Pop Art” as my inspiration. After some research for ideas, I came upon this series of sculptures, “Shuttlecock” by artist Claes Oldenburg:
|(The birdie, not the building.)|
The process of designing the garment in my head took a while. At multiple points, I was reminded quite clearly that I am actually NOT a fashion designer! I knew it had to be made out of scuba knit (purchased from Mood here and here)—-the feathers would be so much easier to manage and give a nice, stiff yet flexible look–and I knew boning would have to be involved. How to put it all together? Yeah, that was the hard part.
The bodice is drafted from a contouring sloper bodice (to my measurements!) and is sewn with front and back darts, with a strip of velcro on the side. The feathers involved some trial and error–in the end, each one is a double layer of scuba knit, with a strip of covered boning sewn down the length. The top layer of the feather was randomly slashed to give a more “feather-like” appearance. Each is attached to the bodice with a stay of 1″ wide elastic.
A circle of boning at the waist is hand stitched to each feather, with a tiny snap at the side as an opening. After trying on the dress, it was clear the feathers needed to be tacked down for modesty, so the bottom layer of each feather is tacked to its neighbor.