This particular dress, which I made for an exhibition during Galway Design Week last November, is growing on me more each day.
Initially it was my intention to have the pieces primarily as exhibition pieces, looking at the context of materials versus purpose whilst also exploring subtraction pattern cutting in a variety of fabrics, just to see how the garments formed.
Old Irish wool blankets used to be the main stay of Irish bed attire; long before the continental styled duvet and cover we have today. Eventually they became redundant, folded up and stored away; memories of scratchy material on skin far away and mostly forgotten.
So when I happened to find one on my weekly charity shop rumage, I was suddenly struck by how one of these blankets would work perfectly as a coat, a retro version of an on trend blanket coat.
Then I got slightly addicted to sourcing and collecting wool blankets, actually it got a bit ridiculous. I was filling our hot press with the scratchy wool blankets from my childhood memories.
Never in my dreams would I think of wearing one as a dress!!! Well never say never, I do actually wear this dress, teamed with a long sleeved cotton top, wool tights and boots, it is the snuggest cosiest item I have in my wardrobe. But to be honest it is not that cold in Ireland, so I will only get a limited window to cosy up.
Actually I can’t wait to experiment with the variety of garments I can make from my wool blanket collection.
The dress was created using the subtraction pattern technique, linked here. I decided early in the project I was going to dye this dress, so I used white organic cotton thread to sew the dress together, this was because it would also take the dye and not leave me with a visible sewing line.
Around the same time I was also teaching myself to knit a few Aran stitches using old Irish wool. The first piece I created was a honeycomb panel using the cable needle. It wasn’t until I saw the finished dress that I felt something was missing. Fortuitously I happened to finish the knitted panel at the same time and they just matched. Finally I added a kilt pin and the shape of the dress appeared.