Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nuno Felt Dress

 Last week I needed to find something to wear to the opening night of ArtCraft. I was imagining finding something cottony and simple at the local thrift shop that I would felt into. Then I saw an image of a lovely felt dress made by Linda Borkamo, and knew this was just what I wanted to make. 
  It was so nice just to make something for the pure pleasure of making it, after a few weeks of making items for the show. That was all still a pleasure but different. It felt so decadent to take a whole day, just to make myself a dress! I did all my math, creating a template to allow for shrinkage, and laid out my silk habotai and merino wool...all in natural to be dyed after felting. 
This was made as a seamless construction, all in one piece, no sewing...except the stitching I did with wool yarn over the surface at the prefelt stage, in keeping with my storytelling line of felts....I used some of the stitching to created some shaping at the neckline, by gathering the stitches and knotting them off. And there's a little silk ruffle left without wool at the front of the neckline.
 It was wonderful how the advance planning and attention to detail paid of in the fitting of the garment. The sizing was perfect once completely fulled, with the exception on the armhole fronts, which I then worked on, in isolation (the felt, not me, although it is entirely likely that I had lost any companions that might have joined me in my felting shed by this stage of the process!), a little
more vigorously to pull in the shape as I needed, and also therefore strengthening the sleeve openings. I would so love to make some more couture styled pieces, fit so perfectly to the shape of the new owner.  
Dress felted- day 1...then I had to decide what colour I wanted to wear the next day!
The blues and greens just happened...Turquoise seems to be surfacing as my colour of the moment... and I love it! I rolled the dress up from side to side and then folded it in half and immersion dyed it in a light yellow green. Then I unrolled it, and re-rolled from the other side, and dyed in turquoise. This dye method is the same as I am using to overdye my storytelling scarves. I really like the organic blending of the two colours as they flow through the textile into the middle, leaving the ends in each single colour.
  Dyeing complete- lunch time day 2, and I have a new party dress...woolly and shimmery all at the same time......mmmmmm.....
I see lots more felt clothing in my future.....
Oh! And the opening was amazing- full house- dynamic and engaging....and I've already sold 4 pieces- yay! 
  It does all feel a little Cinderella like, only my sweeping up cinders is making more felt bags, wraps, and lights, and writing articles....and I can hardly complain about fact, I can't wait to get started!
So back to work for me..maybe I'll hang my shimmery dress in my shed, just to keep me thinking....for the next moment I get some felting playtime...
Warm wishes,


  1. you are nothing short of amazing. we DO get to see the dress on you, right? ;)

  2. Oh my gosh...Thanks Rae! I do love it! Now I'm back to work making felted pieces for the show...So happy things are selling well...There may be a taadaa moment of me in my dress...I don't know yet...these things do require the exact alignment of circumstances in my world- the thought, the action, the camera, the cord to up load pictures and the moment to post, without 6 questions in between from (no longer quite so) little people...which always leads my best intentions astray! If it happens, it happens! Thanks so much for your kind comment!