Rebecca Robinson, UK
Model: Foxy Dubois
Photographer: Jamie Huntley
Seeing that the theme was architecture I immediately wanted to include some creative pattern cutting into this project as it’s something I enjoy experimenting with but rarely get the excuse to work on. Being from North East England, my first inspiration came from The Sage, Gateshead, due to the rolling hills appearance and almost full glass construction.
Researching glass structures and contemporary architecture, focused on curves and unconventional shapes, brought me to concept images of India's Wadala Tower. The twisting spiral appearance outside, paired with the visible stairs within, is reflected in the sleeve and beading design, whilst the corset pattern and button stand was inspired by the fluid glass panelling of the Sage.
As my inspiration is a combination of strong and fluid, I began experimenting with tapered wrap trouser ideas, wanting to avoid the straight box-like hem usually part of that style to add a soft, flowing feel that would move in a light breeze. Contrasting that, the shirt has been heavily inspired by drafting techniques used in my Final Major Project at University last year, inspired by Shingo Sato's TR work, and are very structured. Finally, the colour choices came from the surroundings of the Sage which is right on the river Tyne and often has a brilliant blue-purple evening sky reflecting off the roof.
The concept for the photo shoot was to give the impression that she had been lifted by the breeze into the evening clouds, hinted at by the wispy smoke and bold background colour.
I adapted the shirt from a similar one I had made for my Final Major Project at University last year, altering the quantity of button stand levels, removing the collar and drafting a different TR inspired sleeve pattern. Overall there are over 40 cut pieces in this shirt, the sleeves taking up the most time due to the accordion nature of the spirals. The under layers of sleeve spiral and buttons are ice blue silk to break up the solid white palette.
- White Sandhurst Cotton, silk dupion, bondaweb, buttons
I began drafting an underbust, drawing the wavy horizontal lines during the fitting. I considered making it with just the 5 horizontal pieces, but they didn’t all lie 100% flat like first thought, so I decided not to take the risk and cut the pattern into 30 pieces per side. Embroidering took a lot of time, although it wasn’t finished for the photoshoot I finished it afterwards and took a flat photo to show the finished beading.
- Silk dupion, coutil, spiral and flat steel, gunmetal eyelets, lacing cord, assorted beads
Looking at images online, I plotted the shape out to measurements, tapering in from the hem to make the split more pronounced. They were cut with the selvedge along the bottom so I wouldn’t have to hem that part, keeping a soft edge along the floor. The fabric didn’t like being french seamed, so I slip stitched the hems and waist tie to prevent distortion and damage.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
I waited far too long before finally deciding to do it, so I would definitely say to start sooner than later so you're not fighting against time. Make your idea, if you really really don't like it once it's finished, you don't have to enter it. It's far better to have made something and maybe not enter it then to not make anything and wonder what you could have done.