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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dragonfly Wearable Art Costume

I will be participating in a wearable art group in Comox at the end of July. The group agreed to all make the same vintage Vogue caftan pattern.

I was able to purchase this vintage pattern online. It was unused, and in a smaller size range, which was important as the pattern fits very large. I had been warned about this ahead of time. As I normally wear a size 8 or 10, this was important.

I made a prototype, a muslin as it were, of the pattern, and published a selfie photo here http://whenyouloveblue.blogspot.ca/2014/05/sort-of-selfie-of-my-vogue-caftan-trial.html .

As a result of the prototype, I realized that although I had sewn a size 8, and taken a tuck of 1 1/4 inches at both the centre front and centre back, the fit was still sloppy. For my finished project, I cut both the front and back 1 1/2 inches smaller from top to bottom, that is I reduced the width by 3 inches. That said, I sewed the side seams at about 3/8 inch so that I did not need to trim the underarms. The other important adjustment was that I removed 1 inch along the centre of the sleeves, which raised the front and back necklines and made the armscye smaller. This vastly improved the fit so that I no longer look like I am swimming in an oversize nightgown. And ii fits much more like the image shown on the front of the pattern, where the neckline is quite high, although mine is much narrower than the neckline shown on the model, who must be a football linebacker to have such wide shoulders.

I love the dragonfly fabric that I created by screen printing and stamping with gold acrylic paint on Meadlowlark muslin. I used this fabric for the two front side panels.

The main fabric is a lovely semi-sheer oatmeal coloured linen that I bought I know not where. I bought gold coloured silk fabric from Fabricland that I washed so it was very pliable, and I used that for the piping, the neck facings, the sleeve cuffs and the hem binding.
I sewed

I constructed the garment using Aurifil thread and topstitched with Guttermann metallic thread with which I used a Schmetz metallic thread 80/12 and had no problems as I stitched in the ditch along all the piping.

I made paper foundation pieced dragonflies from the gold silk and muslin, using a modified pattern from the book  "Paper Piece a Flower Garden" by Jodie Davis. Then I backed my pieces with batting and muslin and free motion quilted with the gold metallic thread. I used my mini quilts as outside facings on the front and back of the neckline. Once the garment was finished, I added beading to the front dragonfly motif.

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