Assignment 5: Reflective Commentary

 

Studying for Part 5 has been a different experience from the other parts of the course: even if for several years now I have been dealing with fabrics and fibres in multiple ways – from stitching and manipulating them in experimental samples with multi-media techniques to learning rigorous pattern making, cutting and sewing – this has been the first time that I have approached textiles as materials/media having specific qualities that make them suitable for use in a high number of functional, design or art contexts.

In this regard and considering the very wide scope of the subject I have found very useful and stimulating the organization of Part 5 in four main viewpoints centred around the course themes of time and place. This has greatly helped me to connect the study of textiles to the other 4 parts of the course – contemporary art, creative reading, visual communications and photography: if at the beginning these disciplines seemed to me rather vaguely linked, they appear now all neatly and satisfyingly ‘stitched together’ – if I may use a textile metaphor. And having seen how the themes of time and place have been successfully ‘weaved’ through all parts of the course, I have now an idea of how I could decline and explore a theme in different disciplines, contexts and media.

The section on the life cycle of textiles and sustainability (Project 1) has opened up new perspectives for me. Like many, I am already used to collect old garments and fabrics for recycling or upcycling in new projects but I had never thought of doing so in the wider frame of well-defined practices to adopt during all the design/making stages as proposed by the Textiles Environment Design (TED) on their website. And this is certainly something that I shall try to implement in all crafts – textiles – but also jewellery and ceramics, two activities that I practice and that present many sustainability issues, from potentially toxic chemicals to waste of energy resources.

In Project 2 (revival of craft and the hand-made) I find particularly inspiring the distinction made between the workmanship of risk centred on the individual and the workmanship of certainty centred on the industrial design/production. I think that this type of approach can really offer a useful conceptual tool to designers, makers and artists in their experiences and dealings with materials and methods, especially if combined with the development of a personal narrative as further mentioned by Project 2.

Another very helpful instrument is the set of qualities outlined in Project 3 to analyse the various contexts in which textiles are employed in the environment. The same qualities can also be profitably considered during designing and making so as to work with enhanced focus and awareness in one’s own practice.

Finally Project 4 shifts attention from the use of textiles in the environment to the intimate relation that textiles have with the human body and while it concentrates research and exercises mainly on fashion, the function of ‘enveloping the body’ could also be explored in art by taking advantage of the visual/tactile characteristics of textiles and of their draping/handling/protective qualities.

(509 words)

 

 

Advertisements

Assignment 5: A sense of place, a sense of time: ‘Caught by the Tide’ (2014) by textile artist Debbie Lyddon

 

 

(All images are from Debbie Lyddon’s website and blog)

I discovered the work of British textile artist Debbie Lyddon two years ago and started following its evolution closely but it was only in the last months that I gradually understood how her slowly developed reflective pieces are in many ways deeply connected with the fundamental themes of this course – place and time. This is why for my last Assignment I choose to study a body of work by her, ‘Caught by the Tide’ (2014), that has directly grown from her special, intimate, prolonged relation with the coastal environment of North Norfolk, and specifically of Wells-by-the-Sea, and the processes of change brought to it by the daily tides.

The pieces of this series – a variety of Cloths, Pots and Pipes – were created over an extended period and finally exhibited as a cohesive whole in 2014 at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery in London. Even if, judging from the images of the exhibition, it seems that also in the artificial and space-limited setting of a gallery they still resonated strongly with the landscape from which they were born, the act of exhibiting them in a gallery somehow interrupted and froze the flow of their organic evolution and set them apart as objects. This ‘objectification’ is a step that the artist deemed necessary to get a perspective on her work but of course it also implied creating a distance from it, a separation that took away ‘the closeness of being with it’ as Debbie Lyddon noted in her blog.

That said, I think that reading the posts of her compelling, at times poetic blog and learning how her pieces organically evolved in time, how they grew from her thoughts and her walks and experiences in the environment is really important to understand her creative practice, develop a fuller appreciation of her work and usefully integrate the exhibition. Her emphasis on the processes of creation and on the action of natural elements on the materials she gathers and transforms makes us look at her actual pieces with increased attention, ‘through’ their story, and they become ‘charged’ with the place they are physically imbued with. These are aspects of her work that remind me of another textile and paper artist, Cas Holmes, who creates evocative mixed media pieces from salvaged materials found in the urban and natural landscape.

From reading Debbie Lyddon’s blog we get to know that the canvas she uses is that found on the beach in the form of tarpaulins, boat covers and sails and still bears strong associations with its primary functions of protection in a marine environment and for sailing by people who live by the sea. We learn among other things that to create some of her pieces, the ‘Tarpaulin Cloths’, she repeatedly dipped them into saltwater – ‘I like to use the sea as a resource – it is another material available to me – so I put this cloth into the sea and then left it outside in the salty, coastal environment’. And in describing the process the artist uses what I think is a very beautiful, powerful expression – ‘taking the cloth to the water’ – like for a personal, repetitive ritual that goes well beyond enriching the cloth with salt and let the sewn-in metal rings gradually rust.

An aspect that appears as fundamental in this artist’s work is the act of repetition, in the form of repetitive, contemplative gestures, recurring shapes and stitches. On the one hand, repetition connects her work to her former practice as a flautist and so to her story, to her personal narrative: ‘I think this way of working recalls my former life as a musician and the hours of repetitive flute practice required to learn a new piece of music’ (debbielyddon.wordpress, 2016).

On the other, the repetition of certain elements like holes helps to draw attention and direct vision. Holes are for her ‘an immaterial emptiness’ which ‘allows us to see a nothing – to make visible the invisible’ (Art that Inspires, 2016), and so encourage a meditative, intellectual exploration of her pieces. And in this regard Debbie Lyddon reflects on the holes in the works by Barbara Hepworth, an artist that she admires and quotes often, and sees an analogy  between matter and empty space in sculpture and sounds and silences in music, again reconnecting her work to her previous musical studies (debbielyddon.wordpress, 2016).

In this sense her pieces can be considered a form of conceptual, process-led form of art, but they are also very physical, materially intense objects having a strong visual, tactile and textural presence which can be perceived in the gallery space. The traces left on them by the salt and the sea demand an intimate, close-up appraisal. These are definitely immersive pieces that want not only to be looked, but also touched and felt – and in some cases even heard, like the ‘Aeolian Pipes’, which in their original environment resonate at the passage of wind (Aeolian Pipes, 2014).

Her previous experience as a musician was certainly crucial for the creation of these Pipes – whose shape and holes remind me of flutes – but the use of wind as material seems also connected to the rhythmic movement of breath which is ‘fundamental to life and being’, as she notes quoting Being Alive’ by Tim Ingold.

And I think that the idea of rhythm, which englobes also the idea of repetition, lies ultimately at the core of Debbie Lyddon’s work: rhythmic is the movement of the tides of the coastal landscape from which her pieces are born – ‘dominated by the twice daily tides, it is land for half a day and then sea for the rest’ (www.debbielyddon.co.uk) – and rhythmic is her constant movement as an artist from the inside to the outside, from the inside of her thoughts, readings, memories to the outside made of long enjoyable walks in the landscape or happy sailings on the sea. Her inspiration constantly moves between these two poles – in and out – and is nourished by both.

Rythmic and cyclical is finally also the sense of time in her pieces, that reflect the cyclical changes of the environment and absorb the energy of the place as it evolves. This is a vital, necessary connection with their origins that the artist underlines in her blog: ‘The energy of the place is within the energy of the piece … The introduction of the work to the place brings together two halves of a whole’ (debbielyddon.wordpress, 2016). I perceive in her vision an implied acceptance of change in life and nature which does not contemplate regret for the decay of things or the passage of time, and so her way of dealing with time is fundamentally different from the drama of the vanitas paintings. The word drama does not seem to belong to her art, harmony instead, and a close, calm and passionate attention to all the small variations of her landscape of choice with which she subtly interacts, in receptive correspondence and uninterrupted exchange.

(1149 words)

 

Bibliography

Barnes, C.J. (2012) Exploring Dimension in Quilt Art, London: Batsford

http://www.casholmes.textilearts.net/page3.html (Accessed 12/08/2017)

http://debbielyddon.co.uk/ (Accessed 12/08/2017)

https://debbielyddon.wordpress.com (Accessed 12/08/2017)

Fox, A. (2015) Natural Processes in Textile Art: From Rust Dyeing to Found Objects, Batsford

Lyddon, D. (2013) ‘Responding to Environment’, In: http://www.textileartist.org [online] At: www.textileartist.org (Accessed 12/08/2017)

Lyddon, D. (2014) Aeolian Pipes and Air-songs [online booklet] At: debbielyddon.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/aeolian-pipes-and-air-songs-booklet.pdf (Accessed 12/08/2017)

Lyddon, D. (2016) Textiles: A Response to Landscape, In: TextileArtist.org [e-book online] At:  https://resources.textileartist.org/products/textiles-a-response-to-landscape (Accessed 12/08/2017)

Lyddon, D. (2016) ‘Art that Inspires’,  In: TextileArtist.org [article online] At: www.textileartist.org (Accessed 12/08/2017)

Meech S. (2012) Connecting Design to Stitch, London: Batsford

Thittichai, K. (2009) Experimental Textiles, London: Batsford

Triston, J. (2014) Contemporary Applique, London: Batsford

 

 

 

Assignment 4: Reflections on feedback

As my tutor Dr. Belshaw said in his email accompanying feedback on Assignment 4 there is a bit of a challenge in his response: he correctly perceived in my essay some doubts about David Hockney’s account on the limitations of photography as an autonomous medium and actually as I was writing the essay I thought that somehow this consummate painter missed the special point of photography – its unique capability of capturing a slide of reality in an instant of time – or else that he deliberately chose to ignore it because he is interested in making a point about painting, not photography. And on noticing my hesitation I think that Dr. Belshaw rightly encouraged me to muster up some courage and pursue my ideas a bit further thus adding critical thinking to my essay.

This was the first time that my tutor raised the question of critical thinking as such and it certainly rang a bell with me. It made me realize that I have always used my critical thinking intuitively, I would say without too much speculation, and that now, almost at the end of my first course with OCA, the moment has come to examine this issue in a more structured, intentional, less casual way. So I am taking his notes as a short lesson in critical thinking.

‘This means taking issue with something in the material you gathered for the assignment. The easy way to overcome this is to consider what the artist says with some scepticism’: it is a first general suggestion from my tutor about how to tackle the task and this is what I shall try to do on critically rereading my essay before assessment.

Then Dr. Belshaw goes into details and offers some critical perspectives among others that might be raised in the specific case of Hockney’s photocollages or photographic drawings. These are not meant to be as prescriptive, but by way of examples. Other questions could be asked, the point being here how to learn to recognise possible issues and hint at rational speculative directions. And he continues suggesting two possible questions: What does it mean to say some kinds of pictures are truer to experience than others? Or else: What do we mean by a “way of seeing”?

I must also especially thank my tutor for suggesting me Neill and Ridley, Arguing About Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates, which is a really useful read and an eye-opener in connection with the topic of critical thinking. It just arrived in the mail and I am reading the chapters about photography debates as a start.

(429 words)

Research Point: Designers using pattern and print

Can you think of any designer brands characterised by their use of print and pattern?

I shall limit myself here to mention some Italian designer brands that make a distinctive use of print and pattern.

The very first name that comes to mind for inventiveness and boldness is certainly Prada, both with the brand main line and with the second younger line Miu Miu

 

Two looks from the first line:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And two looks from Miu Miu Autumn-Winter 2017 collection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another obvious name as a brand readily identifiable with its patterns is Missoni:

Two images from the first line Autumn-Winter 2017 collection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there are many others, such as Marni, Antonio Marras, Dolce § Gabbana, Emilio Pucci just to mention the first iconic names of Italian fashion style that come to my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All these brands have strong identities and certainly their use of surface decoration in the form of very individual prints and patterns contributes in essential ways to make them highly recognisable as brands at the point that when we name Missoni or Pucci we immediately associate them with their characteristic – and much imitated – prints and patterns. If they all started with clothing, today most brands have developed successful accessory lines – shoes, bags, eye-glasses – that borrow some elements from the luxury garments, sharing their prestige, and so contribute significantly to raise profits at lower production costs. I have not checked the economic data but I suppose that in several cases profits derive mainly from accessories.

 

Mary Katranzou

On her graduation show at Central Saint Martins (London) in 2008 Mary Katrantzou presented trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery on jersey-bonded dresses and had immediate success, instantly becoming the ‘queen of prints’. As she explains on her website, prints have as strong an impact as a cut or a drape and have a definite subversive quality. The digital print technology she uses gives a freedom to experiment not possible with other methods and allows the designer to create hyperrealistic or surrealistic effects on garments that are bold, fresh and very innovative but also very enjoyable.

For her first solo show of Spring 2011 she had the idea to work in three dimensions with prints and started to lay photographs from old Architectural Digest and World of Interiors magazines directly over her dresses obtaining what she called ‘an almost hallucinatory depth to the images’. It dawned on her that the interiors could be as important as the models and so the concept of ‘the room on the woman’ was born.

I think that the effect is absolutely extraordinary: the placement of the symmetric images on models creates a sort of (con)fusion between their bodies and the interiors/exteriors and the volumes of both coincide and exchange themselves in mesmerizing ways. Body parts become pieces of landscape or room elements and vice versa. A curtain is transformed in a skirt panel or a short sleeve, roses in a vase follow the high line of the thighs or a balustrade becomes the hem of a dress. The woman is turned into a room and a room is turned into the woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the following season, Autumn 2011, she worked with the same idea but reversed the concept: the ‘room on the woman’ became ‘the woman in the room’. It is as if a woman were exploring a room crammed with exquisite objects, Fabergé eggs, Meissen porcelains, Chinese vases, and surrounded her own body with them, literally: through her eyes these objects become what the woman is wearing, again in a wonderful, dream-like confusion. The silhouettes are different, more rounded and layered, and borrow elements like petticoats or full gowns belonging to the historical periods of the objects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then, season after season, Mary Katrantzou has produced more and more magical collections following her evolving inspiration.

Some images from her last Fall-Winter 2017 show:

 

 

 

On her website Mary Katrantzou writes that for this collection she took her inspiration from the world of Walt Disney’s Fantasia of 1940 and also from the femmes fatales of 1940’s film noir, with their big shoulders and furs. The effect I think is delicately dreaming and very elegant, also easier to wear and somehow more classic. Many looks seem to be geared towards formal evening wear, with their exquisite surface decoration and embroidery. The colours are rich and sumptuous but also more restrained. Overall the collection is less exuberant and weird, less girlish and more womanly and seem to indicate a new direction in Katrantzou’s creative evolution.

 

 

 

Colour in textiles

 

Expanding on notes from Creative Arts Today, page 216

Colour is the first quality remarked by most people in garments.

Decisions on colour can be dealt with in very different ways depending on the designer’s personal choice, themes and inspiration, design trends, fashion trends.

In fashion colour palettes are used to organize colours across a collection.

Some designers use colour as a strong focus for their collections, others prefer neutrals or monochromatic solutions to stress other textile qualities such as volume, drape etcetera.

Some examples:

Zandra Rhodes uses both colour and pattern to create her designs.

Zandra Rhodes’ 1978 Mexican Mountain gown from her lauded archive exclusively for matchesfashion.com. From: http://www.matchesfashion.com/intl/products/Zandra-Rhodes-Archive-II-The-1978-Mexican-Mountain-gown-1157756 (Accessed 24/08/2017)

 

Gareth Pugh opts for monochrome sculptural garments, making only a limited use of colours:

Gareth Pugh’s look from his ready-to-wear Autumn collection 2017. From: http://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2017-ready-to-wear/gareth-pugh/slideshow/collection#18 (Accessed 24/08/2017)

 

As an example of a fashion colour palette here is the Pantone report on the ten top colours used by fashion designers in their collections at New York Fashion Week:

 

https://www.pantone.com/fashion-color-report-fall-2017 (Accessed 24/08/2017)

 

PANTONE Fashion Color Report Fall 2017, New York

Pantone’s Top 10 Colors for New York

 

As mentioned by Creative Arts Today, there are specialist trend prediction companies which can foresee years in advance which colours shall be sold in shops. I have made a brief survey and here are some names of trend forecasting companies that work mainly worldwide:

https://www.trendstop.com/

https://www.wgsn.com/en/

http://www.fashionsnoops.com/

For a general article about fashion forecasting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_forecasting (Accessed 24/08/2017)

 

 

Research Point: A focus on texture – Chanel and Miyake

Chanel

As explained on Wikipedia, tweed is a rough, woolen fabric with a soft and open texture which is generally produced by weaving. The result is a fabric that is moisture-resistant and made to withstand harsh climate conditions. Various colour and textural effects can be obtained by using different threads and yarns.

Karl Lagerfeld, who is among other roles the creative director of Chanel, invents every year new imaginative ways to use this material in never ending artful variations in his ready-to-wear and couture collections, both for day and evening wear, with rustic or elegant effects. The idea to use tweed in women fashion goes back to the founder Coco Chanel who adopted it from menswear as early as 1924 when she charged a Scottish factory with the manufacturing of her fabrics, as retold in http://www.elle.com/fashion/news/a15402/the-story-of-chanels-tweed/.

But already in the Thirties Coco Chanel began combining into the traditional tweeds other fibres like silks, cottons and even cellophane to make experimental, adventurous textiles that became absolutely iconic. Today still tweed remains at the core of Chanel’s production and is manufactured by the House of Lesage, in Paris, as reimagined and reinvigorated year after year by Lagerfeld.

A short video shows how tweed is manually woven on wooden looms at Lesage for Chanel’s haute couture collections:

 

 

This is a good image of a Chanel jacket from the Sixties but its allure is without time:

Chanel jacket of 60s from Vintage Voyage collection. From:  http://vinvoy.com/blog/tvidovyi-kostum-chanel-1/

 

I have watched several trunkshows online from Vogue and I have selected two images from the Autumn-Winter 2017 haute couture collection for a closer scrutiny:

 

http://images.vogue.it/imgs/sfilate/alta-moda-autunno-inverno-2017-18/chanel/collezione/HQ/_CHA0075_20170704131748.jpg

 

http://images.vogue.it/imgs/sfilate/alta-moda-autunno-inverno-2017-18/chanel/collezione/HQ/_CHA0119_20170704131800.jpg

and two others from the Spring-Summer pre-collection 2018:


http://images.vogue.it/imgs/sfilate/pe-18-pre-collezioni/chanel/collezione/HQ/_CHA0095_20170503164807.jpg

 

 

http://images.vogue.it/imgs/sfilate/pe-18-precollezioni/chanel/collezione/HQ/_CHA0384_20170503165055.jpg

Even from these few images it’s clear how Chanel tweeds are totally identifiable with the brand, how they drape beautifully, in smooth folds and naturally whatever the fibres used are. They look full and rich, soft and light, exuberant and sumptuous but always with an easy, casual feel. They want to be touched and felt. Chanel tweeds are a wonderful example of how a classic and traditional fabric can be rethought and interpreted in infinite ways and variations: the weave structure of tweed naturally lends itself to innovation through the addition of fibres that can be chosen because of their special qualities and so influence the properties of the finished fabric. The result is every time different and can be adapted to suit all seasons and every occasion, from daily wear to evening and formal wear.

Other information on Chanel’s tweeds can be obtained from:

http://www.grazia.it/moda/tendenze-moda/tweed-sfilate-curiosita (Italian)

 

Pleats Please by Issey Miyake

With his line Pleats Please the fashion designer, but it would be more suitable to call him the textile sculptor, Issey Miyake develops texture in a totally different way. As the Miyake Design Studio states on its website, the collections are based on the philosophy of clothing made from ‘a Piece of Cloth’, a concept which explores not only the relationship between the body and clothing, but also the space that is born between them. Issey Miyake has been experimenting his pleating technique since 1988: the pleats are formed by heat setting after the fabric – a 100% lightweight polyester knitted fabric – is cut and sewn, a practice that is the opposite of the traditional process. (From: http://mds.isseymiyake.com/mds/en/collection/)

Here is an original video from the his Spring/Summer 1989 collection using this new revolutionary method:

From: www.dailymotion.com/video/x25orha

The technique of pleating by heat setting was first discovered and experimented by Mariano Fortuny, a designer, sculptor and artist of the beginning of the 20th century. It consisted in the creation of a very fine pleating of silk in long sheath dresses which were reminiscent of the ancient Greek garments and were accordingly named ‘Delphos’.

The use of pleating gave his fabrics an elastic quality which so embraced the body without the use of darting (From: http://www.thecuttingclass.com/mccanrtney-miyake-fortuny/)

image

A Delphos Dress, by Mariano Fortuny, c.a. 1920. Examples of Fortuny’s work from the V&A» and the Metropolitan Museum of Art». From: http://www.thecuttingclass.com/mccanrtney-miyake-fortuny/

The main difference in technique between Fortuny and Miyake is the type of fabric used, in the case of Miyake polyester, in that of Fortuny silk. The choice is not just a question of preference: synthetic fibres have thermoplastic qualities and can so be moulded by heat and pressure and retain their shape also after washing, while natural fibres lose their shape when put in the water.

 

image

Pleats Please collection images from the Pleats Please Webstore. From: http://www.thecuttingclass.com/mccanrtney-miyake-fortuny/

 

In the hands of Issey Miyake, this technique lends itself to the creation of architectural volumes on the body which are best shown in motion like in this short video of the Autumn-Winter 2016 campaign:

 

ISSEY MIYAKE Autumn Winter 2016 CAMPAIGN From ZINE MAG. From: http://www.madmoizelle.com/issey-miyake-un-createur-en-5-minutes-150857

or in this photographic shoot of the earlier Spring-Summer 2013 campaign:

 

Pleats Please Spring-Summer 2013 campaign. From: http://www.madmoizelle.com/issey-miyake-un-createur-en-5-minutes-150857

 

All images and videos have been accessed on the 21-22/08/2017

 

 

 

 

 

Texture: visual and tactile surface quality of garments

Texture is a very large subject. Passionate as I am about textile manipulation I have done many samples just to explore some of the possibilities, but just skimmed the surface.

In this context I’m limiting myself to a dictionary search of some types of textured fabric mentioned by Creative Arts Today (page 215): 

TWEED: Tweed is a rough, woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun.

Tweeds are an icon of traditional Irish and British country clothing, being desirable for informal outerwear, due to the material being moisture-resistant and durable. Tweeds are made to withstand harsh climate and are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. “Lovat” is the name given to the green used in traditional Scottish tweed. In Ireland, tweed manufacturing is most associated with County Donegal. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweed_(cloth)

HONEYCOMB: soft cotton f. with a geometric, relief surface, created by means of a loose honeycomb weavewith convex, deepened places with good suction capacity. Used in hand towels and bath towels, and also for some types of ladies’ fashionwear dresses. The name is given by the honeycomb weave used in its production. (From: http://en.texsite.info/Honeycomb_fabric)

MATELASSE’: Matelassé (French: [matlase]) is a weaving or stitching technique yielding a pattern that appears quilted or padded.[1] Matelassé may be achieved by hand, on a jacquard loom, or a quilting machine. It is meant to mimic the style of hand-stitched quilts made in Marseilles, France. It is a heavy, thick textile that appears to be padded, but actually has no padding within the fabric. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matelassé)

CORD: Corduroy is a textile with a distinct pattern, a “cord” or wale. Modern corduroy is most commonly composed of tufted cords, sometimes exhibiting a channel (bare to the base fabric) between the tufts. Corduroy is, in essence, a ridged form of velvet.

The fabric looks as if it is made from multiple cords laid parallel to each other and then stitched together. The word corduroy is from cord and duroy, a coarse woollen cloth made in England in the 18th century. The interpretation of the word as corde du roi (from French, the cord of the King) is a folk etymology. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corduroy)

VELVET: Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel. By extension, the word velvety means “smooth like velvet.” Velvet can be made from either synthetic or natural fibers.

Velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses of the material at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart to create the pile effect, and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls. This complicated process meant that velvet was expensive to make before industrial power looms became available, and well-made velvet remains a fairly costly fabric. Velvet is difficult to clean because of its pile, but modern dry cleaning methods make cleaning more feasible. Velvet pile is created by warp or vertical yarns and velveteen pile is created by weft or fill yarns. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet)

SEERSUCKER: Seersucker is a thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or chequered, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Persian, and originates from the words sheer and shakar, literally meaning “milk and sugar”, probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth texture of milk and the bumpy texture of sugar.[1] Seersucker is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. This feature causes the fabric to be mostly held away from the skin when worn, facilitating heat dissipation and air circulation. It also means that pressing is not necessary. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seersucker)

A useful little glossary of textile terms is to be found online at:
http://vantageapparel.com/Pdf/Apparel_Glossary08.pdf

A more complete Historical Fashion and Textile Encyclopaedia is to be found at:

http://thedreamstress.com/research/the-great-historical-fashion-and-textile-glossary/

Texture in fabrics can be created in different ways:

  • by the fibres used
  • by the design of the yarns in the fabric
  • by the techniques used to create the textile
  • by the finishes applied to the surface that can change the surface and tactile qualities of a textile and also influence its drape

Some finishes (Creative Arts Today, page 215):

For a general online article on finishing: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finishing_(textiles)

BRUSHING: Some fabrics like velvet have a naturally raised (fuzzy) surface and this is referred to as the nap. The term nap is also used to describe other surfaces that look like the surface of a napped cloth. In the finishing process of manufacturing textiles, after the cloth is woven, it goes through processes such as washing, fulling, raising, and trimming the nap. There are several ways to ‘raise the nap’, most of which involve wire brushes such as raising cards and involved special brushing machines to get the best finish. During raising, the fabric surface is treated with sharp teeth to lift the surface fibres, thereby imparting hairiness, softness and warmth. Flannelette is a well-known example of this type of material. Gateway finishers are specialists in this process. (From: http://www.gatewayfinishers.co.uk/textile-finishingservices/brushing-surface-raising/)

LAMINATING: Laminated textiles consist of one or more layers of textile and component. The Textile Institute defines a laminated or combined fabric as: ‘a material composed of two or more layers, at least one of which is a textile fabric, bonded closely together by means of an added adhesive, or by the adhesive properties of one or more of the component layers’ (From: http://www.tikp.co.uk/knowledge/technology/coating-and-laminating/laminating)

FOILING: Foil stamping, (also known as foil application) typically a commercial printing process, is the application of metallic or pigmented foil on to a solid surface by application of a heated die onto foil, making it permanently adhere to the surface below leaving the design of the dye. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foil_stamping)
PRESSING: Pressing is the final opportunity to change the finish of a fabric. It is greatly influence by both the fabric fibre content, structure and end requirement. Some fabrics will require a clean, lustrous finish, but that same fabric can be manipulated to look fussy, soft and warm.

Processes include:

• Brushing is used to make a fabric’s handle softer. The fabric is run through a series of wire bristles that lift individual fibres from the fabric, making a soft nap.
• Calendering: the fabric passes through a set of rollers which can add lustre or an embossed effect.  

• Singeing: Heat is used to singe away any loose fibres on the fabric surface. It is a dry process, which can be used prior to washing.

Raising is a physical finish where fibres are lifted to produce a warm-feeling and soft fabric, such as flannelette.

• During emerising, a fabric is passed over a rotating emery-covered roller (or over multiple rollers) to give a suede-like or peach-like finish. It produces a very short pile (protruding fibres) that softens the handle of the fabric. (http://www.tikp.co.uk/knowledge/technology/finishing/textile-finishing/)

FELTING: Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool, or from synthetic fibers such as petroleum-based acrylic or acrylonitrile or wood pulp-based rayon. Blended fibers are also common. (From: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felt)

All websites accessed on 19/08/2017