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Create Abstract and Engaging Forms

Threads magazine - 172 - April/May 2014

Pamela Vanderlinde explains how to create garments with shapes that really make a statement in Threads #172.

What’s old is new again is a continuing theme in the world of fashion. Recently, many designer runway shows featured garments with abstract piecework that hearkens back to the 20th century textile work of painter Sonia Delaunay and Gilbert Adrian’s fashion designs.

Designers can even move beyond traditional seamlines by incorporating them into the shaped pieces. This technique is based on a method of three-dimensional pattern manipulation that I call “Patterning Insertions.” Its design possibilities are limited only by your imagination, fabric choice, and sewing skills. After preparing a garment muslin from a pattern, your design is drawn directly on the garment as it hangs from your body or a dress form. The muslin becomes a canvas upon which you explore the ideas of color and print blocking as you divide the surface area into new shapes.

Pattern insertions can be used in any type of garment. Sonia Delaunay designed bathing suits and dresses, as well as coats, pieced from repeating geometric shapes, while Adrian splashed abstract shapes and bold colors across dresses and used the technique to manipulate striped fabrics in suits. I prefer to incorporate pattern insertions into jackets and coats, since, in my opinion, this technique is best reserved for creating big statement pieces. In this article, I’ll teach you how to use this technique to create the same kind of beautiful and unique abstract piecework in your own garments.

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