Michelle Fitzgerald, Colorado, USA (Clockwork Faerie)
Self-modelled and photographed
I am a garden.
Texture was my main inspiration here. Architecture was hard for me to feel inspired by, until I started looking at countryside cottages, thatched roofs, moss-covered doors, and hand-built walls. Ever inspired by nature, this feeling of hand-built and partially taken over by nature was the way forward for me.
Alexander McQueen is my artistic hero. I love how his designs instantly spark and convey strong emotions. The feelings I wanted to communicate were coziness and comfort, but also strength and authority. I wanted to really feel like myself in this garment. The dichotomy of delicate and yet solid is where I am finding my feet.
This design had been bouncing around in my mind for a long time. It changed a lot from my first sketches, where it was originally a short swing coat with bell sleeves.
I loved the organic and soft feel of hand-stacked stone walls and warm white plaster, combined with the hard strength of ancient wrought iron door hinges. To convey the hand-stacked feeling I decided to go with quilting this coat.
It’s about 60% machine quilted, and 40% hand-quilted with big stitches (average length ~4mm) in varying colors in-between the rows of machine quilting. The pieces were cut with big seam allowances to account for shrinkage first, then spray-basted together and quilted. Pieces were marked with blue water-soluble pen. Assembly came last. The backing and facing are plain quilting cotton, with a layer of poly micro fleece as the batting/filling. There are no shoulder pads. The face side is a creamy ivory, and the inside is pure white.
The back appliqués are faux-leather. They were cut with scissors, spray-basted to the back after it was quilted, then machine stitched on (straight stitch all around the edge).
I'm a notoriously terrible planner and finisher of projects! This project was great for me to practice those skills. Having the competition was a great motivator!
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
It was great to have this "excuse" to do something just for the fun/art of it and not for a client. Even if you don't finish in time for the deadline, I'd definitely encourage you to do it anyway as you'll grow and learn SO MUCH!