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Author: Sophie Millan Page 1 of 3

collage exploration!

I  started to explore more ways I could develop my collages, I looked into an artist named Deborah Dancy, her expressive work was really stunning. The way she creates blocks of colour was similar to the way I worked with my expression book and i knew i wanted to explore this further aswell.

my expressive book is a book filled with expressive mark-making using multi media collage. I use different medias with different dencities to show the different fabric qualities, its a really beautiful way to abstractly capture the samples. this is how I created my prints by making different collages, although this worked well for me i decided to take it further and look at how i could change this more.

I started by playing with the scale, this is a largere book and i played about with a more loose approach not showing so much on detail but focusing on the opeque cilours and bold marks. I wasnt a huge fan of the work on the larger scale i felt it missed the essence of the samples so i didnt take this idea further.

i also played around with creating multimedia prints, tearing them up and collaging back over, this was to symbolise the different layers to the samples. i personally feel the chaotic yet exciting energy best captures the spirits of the samples, and were most like Deborahs work, they capture fun bold marks with a playful twist best linking to the samples.


i feel working In collage was the best idea for this project, the samples energy cant be recreated in a really detailed drawing. i wanted to make sure the drawings really captured the fun and expressive nature of the prints and by making these I feel they did.

Final sample breakdown and boards!

My final sample is created using the large sublimation print which was machine manipulated to create repeats within the ruffling, I choose to do two lines of manipulation as between the fabric almost manipulates itself into stunning irregular ruffles, this allowed the expressive print on top to almost come alive, essentuating the painterly feel, like my previous research. Keeping in mind with the individulist style i have create an irregular shape with defining edges, this down a runway really does have that wow factor. I choose to layer a placement of alternative materials, featuring the plastic bag which was machine manipulated, a range of materials composed in a way to highlight each texture of the fabric, similarly to the weave. I also used the repetitive tape measure to layer inbetween with loopy upcycled shoelaces which again really essentuated that quirky feel whilst still being sustainable. I feel this aura of the same works well, the conversation between the placement and the print harmonises and highlights each other well, creating a beautiful eclectic conversation on the body.


I choose to illustrate in a funky way to portray the playfulness of the samples. i used collage to mimic models but added larger features to enhance the quirky feel. I planned the garment to be a showstopper and represented this through collage with materials and a collection of mark-making with different media types.

supporting sample board- 

I’ve chosen to keep the boards more basic to highlight the samples and their qualities. Like my presentation I’ve chosen key words to describe my samples i.e Quirky, tactile and playful. i also choose to use eco friendly boards as sustainability has been an aspect to this project i feel its important to keep this going.

Main board-  

I choose to name my sample Daily pandemic. I choose to show my colour pallet through the fabric qualities. I also choose my favourite illustration to show the placement on the body in the quirkiest way whilst still having my main sample big enough to be the main attraction.


supporting sample deconstructed!

I took a lot of inspiration from this eclectic weave. i really love how the layers just blend together, you have a mix if all juxtaposing fabric which have all been manipulated. The thin and arreatic nature of the manipulated plastic bag merging effortlessly with the knotted tulle blended next with the patternecd fabric and upcycled ikea handles. This is paired with machine manipulated upcycled tape meaures arranged loosely to give a fun, tactile look paired with loose shoe laces, these are then repeated. I really just love how well the fabrics communicate with each other. bringing this into the main i want to repeat elements similarly to how i have in the weave, its pathed the way for how the materials should be paired but in a really fun and playful way.

As i have worked larger scale i wanted to go smaller also, I choose to create this sample to showcase my favourite part of the weave which was the erratic nature of the alternative materials. This is a deconstructed version. I choose one of my heat transfered fabric and used the machine to manipulate to create the pleats within the fabric, i then layered on top a repeat of overlaying tape measure almost effortlessly creating layers. Looking back at my trends i also looked at cord, this was my upcycled laces, i manipulated in a fun loose way, essentuating each curve of the lace for this playful eclectic vibe. Looking forward i wanted to look at how this would work on a larger sample possible with more print.

For my third supporting sample I choose the large manipulated print with a placement sample to the left. This incorporated my favourite aspects from each sample above and also from my analytical notes of my previous samples. I decided the best way to get the chaotic vs calm feel was to have a placement sample connected to the print sample, having the manipulation clustered together on one aspect of the sample worked well, it was interesting and it made you go in for a closer look to see how each fabric complimented the other. This layered on top of the larger sublimation sample really harmonised the print was manipulated to flow this combined with the more chaotic sample just complimented each other making this sample sucessful.


New sampling!

My thought process is messy, I’m very ettratic with my notes but what helps me as a designer is laying everything out, having sketchbooks, exsisting sampling, collages and drawings . I then take paper and start writing and analysing so far. I looked at first the sampling as a whole and started to make connection to my research, making sure everything connected and I was following the trends research.

To make my supporting samples and final samples I choose my favourites and starting analysing them, why did this work? why was this technique effective? what colour proportions was this? did it give off the same chaotic aura as the rest? doing this is essential so i can take the best parts of my samples and essentuate them further leading to my main.

After dipicting and analysing my exsisting samples I knew going forward this sampling would be looking at the techniques that worked well, having a combination of my notes and also a breakdown of the samples on the pages below really highlighted what I wanted to move forward.

I first started off by creating fabric collages, I placed samples over each other and recorded how they looked, this was a really similar process from my starting stage, its finding what materials flow and work well together. From previous exploration I found out that what made the samples pop was the tight manipulation next to a world of contrasting materials. Combining this with the manipulated print would enhance the calm vs chaotic feel that I needed.

I found this process worked extremely well, it got all of my thoughts out and allowed me to visually see how well all the fabric qualities worked before actually sewing the fabric together. It also allowed me to identify weaknesses like an inbalance of materials, looking at one material overpowering the rest in either colour, shape or form. Whilst keeping in mind the bold, irregular shapes to give that shock value for individualist fashion.

Taking this forward I decided to manipulate the large sublimation prints, looking at the fabric collages it was clear that the piece would flow if the print was manipulated. I decided to look at how I manipulated the alternative materials using machine stitch and ruffling. I wanted to recreate the aura of chaotic vs calm and the best way to do that was through manipulating but keeping the manipulation spaced apart almost giving the fabric a change to breathe and flow. The way the fabric seems to effortlessly manipulate using repetitive overlapping ruffles I feel really highlights the fun expressive nature of the prints and does effectively capture the aura of calm vs chaotic creating a beautiful world of manipulated playfulness.



After researching trends print had to be included as “Joyful expression” is up and coming.

I first got to grips with my own print style, looking at how I worked and how this fit into the coming trend. I found an article on joyful expression focusing around really bold and fun marks, arratically all over the body. This trend was just me. I work in an extremely expressive way, looking at mark-making with multi media. i created this print book based around this, looking at emotional mark-making in corrolation to how i was feeling, this would prove as a base for my print development.

Print techniques 

Actually bringing these expressive marks to life I decided to focus around two techniques, disperse dyes and sublimation printing.

disperse dyes– Using this technique allows me to maintain the painterly feel. using my book I could easily recreate the marks using the dye and easily transfer this onto fabric maintaining the quirky and painterly feel.

When creating the designs I used a range of mark-making tools, to get the painterly feel I used a ruler to drag out the marks, this created a really unique shape with the dye. i also used a dry paintbrush, this gave me almost broken marks. I also introducted a new technique as i picked up heat transfer crayons, this was amazing. he heat transfer crayons allowed me to mimic the wax crayons marks perfectly without compromising this texture. The crayon was what the piece needed to really add the expressive fun feel.

Sublimation printing- sublimation printing is a form of digital printing. Its also extremely enviromentally friendly which is a key aspect to this project! for sublimation printing I decided to go with a recycled fabric as it best suited my project. I used photoshop to create mock prints and experimenting with different placements whilst bearing in mind the calm vs chaotic aura that has been a running theme. By doing this i found it really helped my development for this project and allowed me to experiement with a new technique.

These two prints have been modified on photoshop as a repeat. the expressive and quirky marks really do amplify the auras of this print, as this is mixed media i also want to manipulate the prints. the manipulation of the print i feel also magnifies the calm vs chaotic energy and really brings these prints to life creating a sense of drama.


Whats worked? an overview of exsisting samples!

I started the sampling process off by analysing my exsisting samples, seeing which ones work well and why? questions like, whats the aura of the sample? what do the marks do? why was this sample so effective? in what way did the techniques benefit this sample? these questions provide a thought process which starts the sampling process. by assesing it gives you time to identify and bring forward key aspects of the samples.

personally I chose three of my favourite samples from project one that i felt confident about taking forward. i liked the energy of the embroidery sample, the fight between the calmness of the plastic bag to small detailed areas of the chaotic embroidery clusters. I also choose two weaves, the weaves have an array of techniques that work in a really interesting way together. the conversation between the calm manipulated lighter materials to the arratic clunky manipulated tape measures and chunky knotts is something I want to further explore.

I made a viewfinder out of paper and started to isolate specific interesting areas. having the view finder really magnified techniques, fabric qualities, colour ways and allowed me to question this in a thought provoking way answering the question why did these samples work?

I started to annotate them, isolating key descriptive words which I could use to sample further. this really is an essential part of the design process and it forces you to analyse your work. Taking this into sampling I can look at the most effective techniques like colour ways, material exploration, manipulation techniques e.c.t. This then gives me a basis to start off whist still leaving a lot of room for experimentation.


Sustainability not only being a massive trend but it becoming essential within the sampling process of textile and fashion design industry. Not to mention the fact were in a global pandemic!!

Having never been in a pandemic the worlds upside down. A positive to taken from this however is a rise in alternative material textiles! which I love. The pandemic has brung an uprise for locally sourced materials e.c.t. this is important as my first project was focused on alternative materials which were sustainably sourced and also locally sourced. This is important to recognise as it gives me a focus to start on, using only locally sourced materials also brings an aspect of personality to the project.

Theres a consumer issue on the rise within fashion, the “need is more” concept and how this is affected by the pandemic. the idea of a de-growth has been a discussion for most fast fashion brands for a while but being in the midst of a pandemic this has esculated, making sustainable thinking become a trend. brands are now thinking more sustainabily, adding in re-designed products with an element of sustainability. this is something which is essential when sampling.


The Bradford textile society project!!!

after looking at my recent projects I had established that i work well with alternative materials. I love print so i knew this had to be involved within this project. When looking back at my samples I saw that the first project really stood out, it was innovative and different and as this was embroidery and fabric manipulation I also wanted to use this skillset further. I choose to enter the mixed media catagory as i feel i can create something really unique and individual and use this to my advantage!

I started to look on the WYGSN website at current trends. from the self evaluation i was able to identify that my strength definetly lay in project 1, thew mixture of fabric manipulation, embroidery, print and alternative materials worked in my favour. So regarding this brief I started to look at alternative material trends. I found a really interesting article about the use of materials and how this is essential through the pandemic as materials have become sparse, meaning we need to be more resourceful.

what caught my eye was the use of cord and laces, in project one I used shoe laces to create a fun tactile feel to the weaves so seeing this become a trend was amazing! the concept to this trend is really interesting from the WYGSN they speak about “survival mode” and its extra fitting due to being in the midst of a pandemic.


whilst using alternative materials is important for this project so too is adding in print. Looking at the current trends print and pattern is trending on the runway.

I then looked into print types, to see which catagory I fit into. I found “painterly handwork” and it was just me! expressive mark-making, super fun and irregular. This printing style was really in, it was a coming trend which really benefitted me. I also feel adding in an expressive fun print also relates to the pandemic, by adding in a fun element to your life not allowing yourself to be trapped in a covid bubble.

i also stumbled onto a really useful article on the  joyful expressive trend, it really got me excited to start sampling as it was exactly how I felt and something i was dying to explore!!

The indiviualists

The individualists is a trend that really speaks to me. For my S/S 21 I will be designing a garment that is fun, youthful and maximalist. The individualist push fashion to the limits with their innovative and fun approach, they create their own trend with their exaggerated shapes, quirky pattern and fun outlook on fashion. Avant Guarde fashion plays a big part as everything is over the top for that shock factor on the runway. This year I want to create bold, fun textiles with a sustainability element, reusing and repurposing alternative materials just with a quirky and maximalist approach for the quirky youths.

Attachment styles with fabric!

I wanted to research other methods and ways to attach different fabric types. As I was using an array of fabrics wit different properties i.e pleather- thick, tulle- thin dainty, I wanted to look at the best way to attach these without just coating and trapping them in fabric, as maintaining the delicate feeling was essential.

I looked at this really interesting blog. Something I was interested in was bondaweb/ fusible web, this is something I have used before in previous projects, the webbing acts like a glue and sticks the fabric onto another using heat. This is something i’m exploring as it fits the brief “fuse” perfectly. Fabric glue is also something i’ve never used before so its something i want to explore and experiment with. The article also looks at hot glue however for this project I don’t feel it would work as well.  

I thought about using stitch however because its for a burn, using stitch would leave tiny spaces for bacterial to pass through and get into the stitch marks- there also a risk that the stitching comes undone.

I decided to use fabric glue to fuse together. The pleather didn’t work with the bondaweb. I also really liked that the fabric glue didn’t disturb the fabric, it stuck all the shapes on perfectly without puncturing the fabric.


Material experiment- Fusing!

“Fusing” the idea of joining two things together.

Looking at smart materials we looked into non-traditional ways of textile design i.e innovative fabrics. Using materials that favour function over aesthetic.

We were given a list of materials and this is what I used to start of the concept of fusing.I started off with fusing flat contrasting materials like the cotton and the spaced mesh, fused using an iron and melting between the plastic. This has a lot of positive attributes like it now being waterproof and easily cleaned.

I then wondered what it would be like with something chunky like a knit. would it trap? how would the plastic melt with the knit? how could this benefit the arm? I choose a thin base and layered this under the cut out pleather. The idea of this overlapping came from the cells under the microscope, the chaotic energy clashing with the more open circular structure and I’ve tried to keep this element throughout all the sampling, then having the crazy loopy knit on top again adds to the really small overlapping cells taking charge of the larger structures. Encased within the plastic did work however it didn’t stick to the knit as much as id hoped leaving just a large lump in the middle of the sample, this meant it wouldn’t benefit the wound or body but instead apply pressure.


I then played around with melting and heat transfer. I choose to cut out circular heat transfers to mimic the cells under the scope, I used the iron to apply heat and i feel it worked well, as I love print it was essential to have at least one printed element within a sample. I also used heat to melt little circular fabric pieces, as they were meltable i was able to melt them into circles, this was perfect as it embodied the cells irregular structure and membrane wall. I layered these on top snd was able to tramp within a sheet of fabric combining all the techniques into one fabric.


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