Week 11./ Thermoplastics

“A thermoplastic fiber has the property of softening or fusing when heated and of hardering again when cooled. With the application of heat and pressure, it can be molded and remolded.”

Process photos

 

Challenges, learning points and application

Thermoplastic, although time consuming, is another interesting technique that produce a very beautiful result. With the application of heat and pressure, it can be moulded and remoulded. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. lt is advantageous because in fabrics made of thermoplastic fibers, certain features like pleats can be made permanent through heat-setting. However, because of their sensitivity to heat plenty of care must be taken in drying und ironing fabrics made of thermoplastic fibers.

Week 9./ Fiber etching and Bleaching

Fiber etching
Removing fibers from fabric

“Devore is the removal of fibers from the surface of a fabric using a chemical called sodium bisulfate. This chemical eats away the cellulose fibers in that fabric, leaving the synthetic and protein fibers untouched”

Fiber etch

Material needed:
– Blended fabric
– Dust Mask
– Fiber etch
– Brushes or Silkscreen printing set
– Iron

Steps:
– Secure fabric to workspace
– Apply Fiber etch to fabric using silkscreen or brush
– Allow fiber etch to dry thoroughly
– When dried, sandwich the fabric between 2 baking paper before Ironing ( Fiber Etch can stick to the iron and ruin the iron surface)

Sample

Process photos

Challenges, learning points and application

I feel that Fiber etching is the more difficult to control technique out of all, most of my fiber etching sample end result either have holes because I put in too much fiber etch at some part or some parts the fiber doesn’t even come off. I guess Fiber etching is not a technique that I’ll explore further as I have the least interest in it.

Bleaching
Removing colors from fabric

Process photos

 

Week 7./ Knitting and Crochet

Knitting
Manipulating yarn to create a textile or fabric

“Knitting creates multiple loops of yarn, called stitches, in a line or tube. Knitting has multiple active stitches on the needle at one time. Knitted fabric consists of a number of consecutive rows of interlocking loops. As each row progresses, a newly created loop is pulled through one or more loops from the prior row, placed on the gaining needle, and the loops from the prior row are then pulled off the other needle.”

The first tutorial video I watched to learn how to knit! 

Process photos

Thinner yarn

Crocheting Metal

Challenges, learning points and application

One learning point from knitting and crocheting is patience. I feel that knitting and crocheting is quite a therapeutic activities. I would definitely do them during my free time and make pretty things to keep! One interesting thing that I want to master at is crocheting metal. Hopefully, with more practices in the future, the result will look nicer!

Week 6. /Smocking and Shirring

Smocking
Securing finely pleated or folded fabric with a decorative stitch

“Smocking was prominent in the 18th and 19th centuries because of its ability to stretch. Prior to the advent of elastic, this was the only way to secure large amounts of fabric while still allowing for movement for the body.”

Direct Smocking

Material needed:
– Smocking pattern paper
– Fabric
– Needles
– Scissors
– Thread

Steps:
– Select a grid pattern
– Mark the dotted pattern on the back side of the fabric (Try not to use permanent ink pen)
– Following the stitching path shown in the pattern, draw the needle and thread through.
– Stitch the points together and secure them with a small stitch.
– Cut the thread and continue until the pattern is complete

Reference: http://kaliwan.tistory.com/entry/How-to-do-Canadian-Smocking 

Process photos

Challenges, learning points and application

 In modern days, smocking has become a decorative statement rather than a functional one. Indeed, I also find smocking a technique which produces very stunningly beautiful result if you do it well. One challenge for me is to sew at the right spot, as I sew more and more and the fabric becomes more crumpled, it is quite difficult for me to determine where to sew and often I end up with a messy pattern. I guess with more practices, I should become more meticulous and precise in sewing in order not to end up with disastrous work.

Final outcome

 

Shirring
Creating fabric that is contracted into a smaller size when gathered along multiple rows of stitching 

“Shirring was first developed to gather large pieces of fabric to fit snuggly against the body. It is especially useful around necklines and cuffs because it stretched over the body and then fits snuggly against it with sliding or pulling.” 

Basic/Elastic Shirring

Materials needed:
– Fabric 
– Elastic Thread
– Sewing Machine
– Elastic Bands

Steps:
– Determine how long you want the final piece to be and add seam allowances to all edges if possible.
– Plan a pattern of lines (or you can skip this step)
– Stitch along the lines with the sewing machine and elastic thread, straight stitches or zigzag stitch
– When done, hold the threads on one end of the fabric, using the other hand, draw the fabric towards the secure threads.
(For elastic shirring, insert the elastic band between 2 pieces of fabric before stitching)

Process photos


Challenges, learning points and application

Shirring is one of the easiest and least time-consuming technique so far. Just like smocking, shirring also produces beautiful results. If there has to be one thing hard about this technique, I would say that is to determine the amount of fabric needed in the first place such that when the fabric is shirred, it does not become too small in size.

Final outcome

Week 5. /Applique

Applique
Attaching another fabric or patch to the surface of another fabric.

“Appliques have been used in various ways in many different cultures – all of which achieve distinct effects.The chosen patterns depended on the purpose of the garments and the natural resources available.

Applique

Material needed:
– Fabric
– Scissors
– Thread
– Sewing machine

Steps:
– Create a design and cut out the pattern pieces from a piece of fabric
– Place the small fabric on a base fabric on a sewing machine.
– Begin at one corner of the design and stitch around, making sure that edges of the patch are completely covered with the thread.
Tip: The edge of the fabric should be in the center of the presser foot.

Process photos


Challenges, learning points and application

I feel that applique is one of the hardest technique to master, other than knitting. In order to make an applique looks nice, it requires a lot of skills, imagination and also control over the sewing machine. The biggest challenge I face while doing applique is to make sure that the thread aligns with the edge of the fabric. However, I find it interesting if I could use patchwork technique to make a quilt to present the processes. 


Final outcome

 

 

Week 5. /Felting

Felting
Relying on wool’s ability to mat and tangle to create a stable fabric.

“Felt is one of the oldest known textiles because it is the least reliant on technology: moisture, heat, friction and wool fibers are the only materials required to create it.”

Dimensional Felting

Material needed:
– Felting needles
– Foam Pad
– Wool Fabric / Wool Yarns

Steps:
Layer the wool pieces on your palm and wet them with warm water
– Start in the center of the project and work towards the edges, rub the wool gently with hand soap and must sure it is thoroughly saturated
– Squeeze the wool dry and place them on a foam board
– Using a felting needle, poke through the felt and repeat
– Continue poking, adding more wool to fill in the gaps along the way.
– Stop when you are satisfied with the result.

Class photos

Process 

THE BIRTH OF MISS TEDDY

It took me 5 hours to make this. For a few times, I felt guilty for poking such a cute teddy with needle. I felt like I was slowing killing it. Ironically speaking, I was actually creating it and making it stronger~
” What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger~”

THE COMPANIONS OF MISS TEDDY

Challenges

I feel that dimensional felting is one of the most time-consuming and patience testing techniques I’ve learned. The continuous motion of poking the felt, this painstakingly slow process is one of the challenges I think everyone faces when felting. Nevertheless, I really love this felting technique and the beautiful result it gives. Excited to try out more different felting techniques!

Final outcome

Other felting techniques I have yet to try
– Nuno felting
– Wet felting
(Excited to try and upload more~ Stay tuned!)

Learning points and application

Felt’s durability makes it ideal for almost any application, its ability to blend with other natural fabrics makes it versatile and light. Felt ranges from pieces of commercially manufactured felt that are made from manmade fibers, to handmade felt that uses the finest animal fibers. I would say that felting, although is a painstakingly slow process, it is a therapeutic activity. It might also be life-saving as well. I mean if I ever get stranded on an island, I can apply this technique to make clothes and keep myself warm. 😀

 

 

Week 4. /Creating Unconventional Fabrics

Creating Unconventional Fabrics
Fusing threads and plastic to create fabric

Fusing threads

Material needed:
– Water soluble stabilizer
– Threads, yarns, fabric strips, trimmings
– Sewing machine

Steps:
– Place the threads in any order you would like on half side of a water-soluble stabilizer
– Fold the water-soluble stabilizer and sandwich the threads in between
– Secure the threads with pearl pins
– Stitch the threads together on a sewing machine
– Wash it with warm water

Placing the threads in random or organized order

Unable to decide what my final theme for my final project would be, I tried using different coloured and types of cloth, yarns and threads. Hopefully, as time passes and I get to learn more new techniques, the color of my work would be more consistent and linked to my final project theme.

Securing the fabric and stitching them together

Mistakes and Challenges

On my first attempt exploring the sewing machine, I find it hard to remember the numerous steps to connect the threads, what to switch on or turn before starting.  I screwed up plenty of times either forgetting to push down the pressure foot or getting the threads tangled and jamming the machine. With more practices, I became more and more used to the consistent movement of pushing down the pressure foot, connecting the threads and turning the needle down whenever I want to rotate the piece. What I find the hardest about the sewing machine is controlling the speed and direction. However, I’m sure with more practices comes improvement and eventually perfection.

Revealing the final outcome

Here comes the most satisfying part of this technique~ Can’t wait to see the results!

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Learning points and application

All in all, I feel that the fusing thread technique gives really amazing and surprising results and could be applied to make many beautiful things such as wallets, pencil cases, dress, lamp shade cover and this list continues. I quite like this technique, but I would say that this would not be my favorite technique because I prefer to have control and be able to visualize what the end result would turn out to be.

 

 Fusing plastics

Material needed:
– Iron
– Plastic Bags
– Scissors
– Baking Paper

Steps:
– Cut and place the plastic in any order you would like on a piece of baking paper
– Place another piece of baking paper above
– Iron over the paper and constantly check to avoid overheating. 

First design

Miscellaneous

Final outcome

Learning points and application

I feel that this technique, similar to the fusing thread technique, could give a very web-ish or lacy kind of look at the end. It also depends on how much layers of threads or plastic you put. I personally like the web-ish kind of look more because they cast beautiful shadows. If I were to use this technique, I would probably make a lamp shade cover. However, like I mentioned earlier on, I prefer being able to control and visualize what the end result would be. I feel that this technique, compared to the fusing plastic technique is even more uncontrollable and unpredictable. 

As always, looking forward to learn new techniques~ Thanks for reading~

Week 3. /Museum Reflection

About the gallery:

The Modern Colony gallery we went to on Chinese New year’s eve explores the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore as the British crown colony from the 1920s to the 1930s, through the review of the wealthy life of Peranakan Chinese and Chinese immigrants. The progression of Singapore during that period was most evidently shown through the improvement of a female social status and identity. The exhibition looks into how household women express their modern identities and the challenges they face while they play their respective roles in an increasingly globalized Singapore. 

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In the gallery, I was particularly fascinated by the amount of detail of the cloth’s surface design and the meticulous effort put into making it. The cloths are mostly embroidered with elaborate floral motifs and lace patterns. The material and amount of details embroidered on a shoe can distinguish the social status of a woman in the society in that period. Wealthy women wore shoes with intricate designs and patterns while poor laborers wore just plain black flatshoes. 

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Moving on to the main dish, these cheongsams features a variety of styles, colours and materials. Most of the cheongsam however, have slender cuttings. A slit was added to the left side of the dress while the right side was secured with chinese knotted buttons. This feature makes the ladies’ curve more prominent – a style that was in trend in the 1930s in Singapore.  These cheongsams are the type of dresses that a wealthy 1930s Singaporean woman would be wearing. On the other hand, poor laborers were wearing plain white clothing with loose cutting.

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My favorite piece in the gallery was the Patchwork baby carrier. Women (Amahs) employed to take care of the babies would often use such carrier to piggyback the baby. As many Amahs were excellent seamstresses,  they made carriers like this for babies under their charge. I once had a patchworked or quilt blanket passed down from my grandma when I was young. Although many people might have used it before, I still love the blanket as it was super comfortable and it was filled with a mother’s warmth.  Now the blanket belongs to my baby nephew. 

All in all, I learnt from this trip to the museum that the design of a surface of a product, the material or color choice all play a part in conveying the concept of the product. Every product has a personality and every decision a product designer makes for his or her product should echo with the ultimate personality of the product.

Week 2. /My (Failed) Heat Printing Experiment

Here’s my story of me trying to use the heat printing machine~

It all started with the idea of printing a new shirt for my baby nephew for Chinese New year. It was a day filled with lots of mistakes made and I would like to document it down so that I hopefully will not make the same mistakes ever again. 

The design (Shirt front and back):

royce-page-001P.S. The design itself might be a mistake which I will talk about later…

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Mistake no. 1:
Firstly, I printed the design on a ttc 3.1 transfer paper using an inkjet printer instead of a lazer printer. (I think I somehow mixed up and thought we were supposed to use inkjet printer instead) It resulted in smudged ink and a sheet of wasted ttc 3.1 transfer paper…

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Result of the inkjet printer printed design

There goes my $1 paper…

img-20170130-wa0031In the end, I went to North spine to print a new sheet of design wishing that everything else will go on smoothly afterward. However, things happened…

 

Mistake no. 2:

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To be honest, I’m not quite sure what mistake I made though. I followed exactly what the instruction said on the paper…

Digital print TTC 3.1 on T-shirt fabric 
400 Fahrenheit @30 Secs Hot peel

However, the result wasn’t satisfactory as the ink was not transferred fully at all. I went to reflect awhile and came up with 3 things that may have went wrong.

1. I mentioned from the start that the design itself may be a mistake. Maybe the font was not solid enough, or the color of the words was not dark enough, resulting in insufficient ink on the transfer paper. 

2. Another possibility is that maybe I did not peel fast enough after lifting up the heat printing machine. I tried many times though, leaving a longer timer each time and working faster on peeling the paper, it still failed in the end. 

3. The last possibility I could think of is the material of the baby shirt. I am not exactly sure what material it is though, (probably cotton), however the ink came off once the shirt was washed.

All in all, I have learnt a very important lesson. Which is to never assume that your first try will be perfect and to always have a backup plan. Never leave things to the last minute to do and always start early just in case things does not go how you expected it to. Looking forward to learning new things and starting on the final project. Hopefully, I would be able to find some time to practice using the heat printer again.