Using a Skirt as my Canvas and Silk Chiffon as my Paint
My first obsession is designing women’s dresses, with a close second being painting and sketching. I try to combine my appreciation for art, culture and fashion design in the pieces I create, taking inspiration from modern and historic artists. Working in Manhattan during the summertime is intense and beautiful, making this combination easy to flow. The city is buzzing with people from all over the world, the parks are in full bloom and the vibrant energy is either going to drain you or fill you with the same pulsing energy..
The Colorful Painterly Skirt was designed with an attempt to capture the pulsing energy of the city and the exhilaration that comes from feeling alive and free. The desire was to create a piece of pure joy- a skirt that you would wear on one of your best days. A day when you want to be noticed, a day when you feel like you’re on your way to conquer the world, spinning like a ballerina on your way there…
The process of making the skirt started with creating a skirt pattern, then cutting a silk chiffon base and paper skirt map. Using colorful magenta, fuchsia, lipstick red, petal pink, wine and black silk chiffon 1.5 inch bias strips as a reference, I created the design, mapping it out with pencil on the paper map once I finalized the design and color placement.
Once the skirt map was completed, the edges of the silk skirt pieces were sewn onto the map to secure the silk, then the silk was painstakingly basted down to keep the silk from slipping around. Once the silk base was secure, I proceeded to sew the bias strips onto the base following the map. Sewing the bias strips was the most time consuming part of the process, since there were hundreds of strips that went into filling in the skirt. After the bias strips were sewn onto the base, the paper map needed to be gently pulled away from the silk. The resulting skirt base was then completed with a belt, zipper, lining and a hand finished hem.
The skirt took over a hundred hours to make, but it was a rewarding process that I was able to work on late at night once my mind was too numb to think about more demanding projects. Design for me is about expressing emotion and creating something new and original. We all express ourselves differently, some with words, actions, or creativity. Expressing myself through artistic means has always made the most sense, and I will never tire of the freedom to do so. XOXO, Kate Stoltz