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July 26, 2011 / KristenMakes

My Work! (part two)

Imagery_Reversible button

Reversible is a project in which I share the work that I am doing for my MA in Fashion & Textiles Design.  I am investigating sustainable design for knitwear in a reversible and reworkable context.  Utilising the organic quality of the knitted structure to create intrinsic shaping and detail as fabric and garment are simultaneously created, I am designing and knitting a garment that can be worn in different ways and produce different looks.  As such, I invite the wearer to engage personally with their own wardrobe, and hopefully value and meaning can be instilled into a garment that would otherwise be thrown out after a few wears.  In this blog feature, I will talk about why I chose this path, how I am proceeding, and what the final product will be.  I encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences in this space so that we may all learn and benefit.

Good afternoon!  Sorry for such a long delay in between Reversible posts, I didn’t intend for it!  Last week was quite hustled in terms of getting things ready for a photoshoot that didn’t happen.  No big problems, just a postponement!  Anyhow, I also deliberately delayed this post additionally so that I would have more work to show, but turns out it’s a chicken and the egg thing: what comes first, my post about my uni work or finishing up my uni work, of which this post is a part?   Sheesh!  Anyhow, I’ve settled in that I will show you what I have so far of the garment and anything else that happens in the next week and a half (yes, that’s what little time I have left!), I will post a further update to satisfy your curiosities, if you so desire (i.e. photographs, further illustrations, finished final samples – basically the final hand-in).  Till then, I’ll continue with my work thus far…

So right at the beginning of my third and final semester, I had a clear idea of the garment I wanted.  I dove right in to hand-knit a second version of my half-size toile.  I wanted it to be reversible, and reworkable, meaning that there were several ways in which to wear it.  I was pretty happy with the shape and the multi-wear options.

Toile 2dd

Toile 2i    Toile 2q

Toile 2e    Toile 2l

At the same time, I had many, MANY appointments with the Shima technician in which I could work out the textile design and incorporate that into the garment shape I wanted.  This step was very much like designing for hand-knitting, although instead of perhaps 6 stitches per inch, we are talking 6 stitches per centimetre.  But the idea is the same: work out your measurements and figure how many stitches and rows (or courses) that is.   I broke the garment into sections to approach each individually.  The skirt went really quickly, as it was a basic A-line shape.  I found the stitch pattern I liked, incorporated it into the shaped panel, and experimented with colour.  This portion was to be plaited, so I needed to carefully select two colours that would work well together.


The blouse portion was trickier.  I went through many different versions to get the right look and fit.

Toile 18 garment development 4 CIMG1512

left to right: (1) attempting a ‘flechage’ which is similar to short rows in hand-knitting; (2) too big; (3) very nice.

The belt and trimmings were the simplest.  I wanted the waistband to be ribbed and sturdy, and this ended up being a half-milano stitch 3×1 rib, with the ribs horizontal. The next step after all pieces were knitted was to bring the pieces and cones of the yarn to a professional linker in Hawick.  Linking pieces is similar to sewing up in hand-knitting, only the construction method is more like a crochet chain.  I would have loved to learn to link myself, but with the deadline coming and the garment being so involved, I opted for the professional.  The linker did a fabulous job; and I got to enjoy a lovely day out in Hawick while she worked on the piece!  Then I washed the garment (which makes quite a difference), added buttonholes, and ironed the piece and it was ready.




garment after linking, before washing.


garment after washing

 And, finally a finished garment, with many ways to wear it!

garment printing
While I was doing all this, at the same time I was thinking about other things to present.  I knew I would like a photoshoot, hand-drawn illustrations, CAD illustrations, fabric samples, and of course some spiffy amazing way in which to present all my hard work.  As yet, the ‘finalised’ versions of all of the above is still in progress, and of course after my submission on August 5th, I’ll fill you in on the results.   But I figured I’d share my progress on those elements so far.

As per hand-drawn illustrations, I was really intimidated to get started, and it is something I am still working on.  I consulted with some friends and my tutor, and came to learn that I just needed get over my fear, set down, and try it out.  I decided I really liked the look of watercolour, as far as mood and evoking the feeling of the garment rather than exhibiting exact details (that is what flats are for!).  So I got myself a wee set and tried out a few strokes.
watercolour practise 1

watercolour practise 2  watercolour practise 3

And later, I tried illustrating the garment and its shape.  I have a lot more experimentation to do, but I am pleased with this so far.  I’m still hoping to find my own style of illustration.


When I first started painting I was very intimidated that I would just be a copier of other people’s styles (unintentionally), but I think experimenting and practising definitely helped me be a bit more free.  Don’t misinterpret me though, I have a long way to go and this is just initial experimentation. Its quite challenging but quite fun to try to capture the essence or mood of a fabric rather than the technical details of the garment.


If I get anywhere further in these endeavors as well as in Photoshop & Illustrator, perhaps I’ll continue to share!  I’m starting to think that I consider having ‘far to go’ in everything I do.  But that’s not so bad, I like to treat life a constant chance to better myself, learn more, be more.

Hey, so how about ending that last post on a cliché but hopefully uplifting life lesson?  I really had hoped to share more with you, but as is usually the case in project deadlines, it looks like the remainder of my practical work all hangs in until the last minute.  I have faith that all will be done in time, but I can’t help but be nervous and anxious.  Alright, so as this was the penultimate post in The Reversible Project series, I have nothing left but to give a teaser for the final post.  I have been sooooooo thrilled with all the experiences you have shared with me along the way, and I thought I might do a bit of a round-up of all our comments, to sort of bring the discussion all in to one final post.  So this will be less about me and more about you lovely readers.  Thanks so much for being a part of this, I’m so so pleased with the experience!

Lastly, if you want to have a closer look at any of these pictures and more, you can visit the flickr set for my uni work.



Leave a Comment
  1. Sarah / Jul 26 2011 12:18 pm

    Good golly, what an amazing project!!! I absolutely love how versatile the garment it (knit dress? yes, please!) and it’s just so pretty!

    Your watercolours are lovely! I did gasp out loud when I saw your illustration of the dress. Beautiful! Looking forward to the penultimate post (love Lemony Snicket….)

  2. aviewintomyworld / Jul 26 2011 4:04 pm

    best of luck getting finished up in time for your deadline.
    your sketches and paintings are great, i find it really difficult to translate images in my head onto paper, this reminds me to keep trying 🙂

  3. Debi / Jul 27 2011 3:20 am

    Absolutely FANTASTIC! I love this so much! I love how it can be either a jacket or a skirt or both! pure genius! This is really the coolest project EVER! Sorry I missed the installation! Would have love to seen it in person!@

  4. Rue / Jul 27 2011 8:41 pm

    What a lovely piece! I’m really enjoying seeing your design process. And I especially like learning about all of the other aspects of making a new garment (sketching, etc.). Can’t wait for more!

  5. Angeli / Jul 28 2011 5:05 pm

    This is a really neat idea Kristen. Nice work!

  6. Ali / Jul 28 2011 7:24 pm

    Kristen — this is SO lovely! I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey. I know very little about knitting but can certainly see the allure — and very real option — of having an incredible versatile wardrobe of knitted items in terms of both comfort and ease. This dress is great — you know I loved the UP dress because of its versatility (this rocks the party even more, but shhhh 😉

    PS Also loved the zero waste home video — inspiring!

  7. Noas' Libellule / Jul 29 2011 3:29 am

    This is great!!! Not sure how I missed this post!

  8. Jen / Jul 30 2011 9:54 am

    I am bowled over by your work ! I mean, your projects themselves are super fascinating and intriguing, but your drawings !!! Your drawings/paintings are in a league of their own.

    ::claps wildly::

  9. Helen / Jul 31 2011 4:21 am

    I agree with Jen, above. Your work is beautiful. And I love the simplicity of the drawings. Beautifully clear and clean. Wonderful. I would say “good luck” for your results, but I really don’t think you need any added luck – your hard work and skill will see you flying through.

  10. KristenMakes / Jul 31 2011 4:43 pm

    @Helen, Hi! Thanks so much! I am so pleased you like them!

  11. KristenMakes / Jul 31 2011 4:44 pm

    @Jen, haha, thanks! You made me laugh out loud!

  12. KristenMakes / Jul 31 2011 4:46 pm

    @Ali, thanks! The UP definitely was one of the initial inspirations that drew me to the concept of getting more mileage out of our wardrobe. Now that I’m almost done, soon I’ll get to make my own LBD! I’m glad you enjoyed this!

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