Week 32 Betsey Johnson Pattern
We often look to the past in order to forecast what fashions will be in vogue in seasons to come. I've been delighted to have in my pattern collection a retro design by Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat for Butterick. I knew I needed to try and rework this pattern into a zero-waste design, staying within the one yard of fabric constraint.
Betsey Johnson has long been one of my favourite fashion designers with her carefree, fun and outrageous style. She has literally become a household name with her branded Kleenex boxes, making her design esthetic available to everyone.
The result of this pattern adaptation is a long, sleeveless, button up shirt. I tossed around the idea of using eyelet lace as in the photo above, but opted for a simpler finish, in order to attempt a Shibora dye pattern with the acorn dye I discovered last week. The dye pattern was unsuccessful, or at least, very faint, so I finished the garment by redying it completely in the acorn dye.
The interesting challenge that I discovered was how do I create facing for the armholes in this garment? The button and collar facing were included in the original pattern, but since I had to subtract the sleeves, I had to find a way to finish the armholes. My solution was to piece together the remaining off cuts of fabric into about two inch wide strips. But this certainly was a Frankenstein approach to the problem.
This challenge leads me to question the future of facing in design, particularly in "microwave fashion" or more popular, fast fashion. It also gets me excited about computer-aided drafting, as it gives the zero-waste designer a great tool to manipulate lines and cuts, pieces and measurements.
The other observation I have from this hands-on exploration, is that nothing is ever perfect. This is where I wonder if computer aided design butts heads with reality, making true zero-waste design less than perfect. Just like carpentry, fabric is never truly square, seams fall short, and accidents happen.
Then enters 3-D printing. I've been trying to reimagine fashion design with a 3-D printer. In short it might be the ultimate in zero-waste design. Finishing questions like facing and hems would be a thing of the past and we would be entering an unexplored chapter in the history of fashion. Would this bring design to each individual, giving us the ability to customize each garment uniquely? Have clothes printed then shipped to us, or even print out an outfit at home to wear out for a night on the town, that night! We are already seeing glimpses of this in jewerly and accessory sales. Maybe Betsey Johnson has always been ahead of the crowd, making fashion accessible to each and all of us.
I am that I am.