Above: Kelly, my talented classmate and lovely model, and me. Dress: wax paper, crayons, candle wax as primary materials. Also used: brads and hole punch protectors for closure, markers for coloring the hole punch protectors, duct tape to reinforce shoulders and armholes, and packaging tape to reinforce inside placket.
Top-stitching on placket. I forgot to get a picture of the closure– I used brads (the type of closure you see on manila envelopes) on the under placket, which fold over holes that I punched with a hole punch in the over placket.
Hem detail. Edges dipped in candle wax.
(I had all these purple tea candles lit in the studio, and everyone was joking about the romantic ambiance it created. It was amplified when Miki took the rose petals she was working with and sprinkled them around, haha. )
Neckline details. Some of my favorite parts happened on accident- like how the tier in front sticks up, and how a few pieces continue from the neckline down the arm.
Thoughts/Ideas: I do not know if I would have come up with this if it were not for my Experimental Textiles class. Our first project for that class (before delving into the technical world of paper-making) was to make fabric-like yardage using any kind of paper. I rolled up Kleenex in Mod-podge and stuck it onto tracing paper in a web-like fashion. (I’ll post pictures of it once I take some, it is hard to imagine) Donna, who is a very talented artist and pleasant and helpful person to be around, made this great piece out of wax paper. She sewed strips of wax paper onto a larger sheet of wax paper and cut all of those strips to form fringe. It was very fabric -like and had a compelling surface. So, when it came time to think of unconventional materials for my apparel class, my mind went to my project for experimental textiles. I thought of all the ways those lines of Kleenex could wrap around the body and thought that I could use wax paper instead of tracing paper, since it would be more durable and it worked for Donna. So wax paper was on my mind when this vague childhood memory of melting crayon shavings between wax paper popped into my mind. After making some samples, rifling through my massive inspiration binders, making some more samples, and sketching out some ideas, I got to work on the dress.
L: Inspiration images pulled from my binders. When Trace and I went to the Modern Wing at the Art Institute over summer we saw some paintings by Cy Twombly. I picked up this postcard at the gift shop, hung it in my room for a long time, filed it away, and re-discovered it when I was working on this project. The color palette and general drippy-ness were constant references for this garment. The edges of the garment were inspired by the tiered neckline on the shirt on the right. R: Original sketch.
Construction: I took my slopers from last semester to form a really basic dartless tent-like dress. (I did not want to attempt anything fitted with wax paper and I wanted to keep the focus on the colors and blobs the melted crayons formed) I made three dresses of wax paper. I sewed the dresses together first, because I figured it would be harder to sew together with all the crayons in it.Then I ironed everything together at once: two dresses (instead of one for stability), crayon shavings, dress. The thing about wax paper is that once you iron it once, most of its waxy-ness is used up, so you have to iron everything at the same time. Also, I recommend WaxTex wax paper. I bought some generic Walgreens wax paper and its waxy-ness was not up to par. The armhole/shoulder region was hard to iron together and it totally ripped apart, so I reinforced it with purple duct tape. Then it was all a matter of making the placket, doing some top-stitching, and ripping and dipping the edge pieces and sewing them onto the dress. Sewing the on the dress when it was all crayon-ed up was definitely a challenge- it became really brittle and I was terrified I was going to rip it to pieces by accident. Most of the time I had to hold it awkwardly above my head with one arm while guiding it into the sewing machine with the other. I’m sure it was a funny sight.
Making this dress was quite an experience. While the dress is very delicate and impractical, I like to look at it and I think I will suspend from the ceiling in my room once I get it back.