Exploring the power of music on soldiers during wartime, was the inspiration of Isabelle’s project ‘Intermezzo in Battle’. The musical performers who entertained the troops wore elaborate costumes. These costumes, together with the colours and materials from army uniforms, inspired Isabelle to create a collection of decorative woven and knitted textiles. Her final garment represents the hope and joy brought to troops during desperate times.
Using recycled leather scraps, cords, chains and beads, Isabelle began creating material samples to inspire her collection of fabrics. By weaving together her collected materials, Isabelle was able to test out compositions, colours and textures and thus examine their benefits. Traditional macrame knots and weaving techniques enabled Isabelle to create exciting 3dimensional textures and ultimately inspire her whole project.
Collaging with Isabelle’s research images and primary photography was a playful method used to create shapes and patterns. Inspired by this, Isabelle translated the forms into fabric on the knitting machine. Using beads to embellish her knitted samples really brought the fabric to life and added more interest and detail to her work.
Pinning samples onto a mannequin enabled Isabelle to visualise her samples on the body more clearly and thus experiment with them to create her final garment. Sketching out ideas also aided this process of experimentation and design development.
Isabelle found creating wrappings exceedingly helpful for generating colour compositions and different arrangements. Simply weaving the yarn over and under in different directions created interesting samples and ultimately a collection in their own right. Isabelle utilised a collection of different yarns including viscose tape, cotton tube, wool and lurex chain.
For Isabelle’s final garment, she enjoyed combining crochet, woven and knitted techniques together with leather. Mixing different materials and processes is something that Isabelle continually tries to experiment with and explore further in all her projects. The leather, inspired by army uniforms, was used as the main construction piece and then the garment itself was machine knitted. Cords and handmade braiding elements were woven individually into the different stitches to add detail. Additionally, the inclusion of chain links added onto lace holes in the knitting, provided an extra dimension of texture and interest.