fashion design, mood, neoprene, pop art, scuba knit, sewing

Pop art-inspired Shuttlecock Dress

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.

Here is my fashion illustration of my garment–I haven’t finished the course yet (still a month to go), but I’ve learned enough to be pretty happy with my rendition! 
Here’s my Shuttlecock dress with some of the other entrants.  There were some really inventive garments (take a look at that one of the left (below), made from spoons and garbage bags, winner in the “recycled plastic” category):
The white “paper” dress on the left (below), was winner in the “yarn as inspiration” category.  The dressmaker encouraged everyone to sign or draw something on the garment.
White dress on the left (below), winner in the “transform a t-shirt” category, is all lacy on the back.
And mine, winner (out of 2 entrants 🙂 in the “pop art” category!  Thanks to the members of the Fashion Club for organizing the whole thing–it was truly a fun and challenging experience!  
Someone needs to have a costume party, and soon!  Until then, my dress will be on display in the student center at West Valley College, if you happen to be near Saratoga!

23 thoughts on “Pop art-inspired Shuttlecock Dress”

  1. You are so lucky to be able to take classes at West Valley College!! They've got videos on YouTube that I've watched repeatedly. Congrats on the win!


  2. Love it! As soon as I saw the picture of your dress and “pop art,” I immediately thought of the Nelson-Atkins shuttlecocks. My kids love looking at the shuttlecocks — they're huge and tower over us every time we visit the museum. Great interpretation!


  3. Thank you, thank you! You know, I should have taken photos before I handed it in because I have no idea when I'll get it back. But in the meantime, I'll work on tanning my belly fluff… 🙂


  4. I am incredibly jealous that you get to see them in person. I'm obsessed now! Here in the Bay Area, we have “Cupid's Span” by the same artist, but it's not the same!


  5. The instructor in the videos, Tiina Keller, was my instructor for both Patternmaking I and II! She's incredible (and I watched all those videos like crazy too, while I was sewing my class garments!)!


  6. I desperately want to wear my dress while standing next to them! I may have to make a special trip just for that (and if I do, I'll be sure to message you!)


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