Tuesday, February 26, 2008

print repeats

In a zero-waste approach to fashion creation, fabric poses significant considerations for design that one might not otherwise think about. Recently, in my industry job, I did, however, need to think in a no-waste approach, sort of. We were using a print that was essentially a very large check - a 55cm repeat - to make a full-length bias-cut dress. Because the same print placement was desired for all the dresses about to be produced, the yield (or yardage, meterage, etc.) was going to be a multiple of 55cm. I then needed to work out the smallest multiple of 55cm that we could get the dress out of. I think in the end it was seven repeats, or 3.85 metres.

The amount of waste? HUGE, much bigger than the figures put forward by Cooklin and others. I work as a patternmaker, making patterns according to the designer's sketch. These generally aren't negotiable. Yes, I feel awful about it, but at the moment working is about keeping me fed to the end of my PhD, and I still don't know how most companies would go from a conventional, wasteful approach to wasting little or none. Anyway, unlike many of the awful cheap fabrics (result of people demanding ever more awful and cheap clothes, I think) I've had to work with over the years, this was quite beautiful and the print was begging for a creative no-waste approach. It wasn't to be, but I will be using some conventionally repeating prints or patterns (e.g. checks) in the collection to see what the implications are. I may also use -gasp- digital printing although 99% of the time it looks too much like, well, digital printing. It seems that anyone capable of operating a scanner and/or Photoshop is a textile designer these days. But there I go digressing again. (Need to discuss collection fabrication in detail here soon, too. Very problematic, if a holistic approach is to be adopted in terms of sustainability.)

The collection... The working title is 'Bad Dogs', for reasons I'll explain another time. A lively conversation about related stuff today produced 'Do Not Iron the Poof', which might just work as a title. But time for sleep now.

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