From the designer, Professor Arlene Handschuch:
Awarded 3rd place in the worldwide Queen Sirikit Institute of Sericulture (QSIS) Thai Silk Design Competition sponsored by the government of Thailand and the International Textile and Apparel Association. Awards were presented in Bangkok, Thailand August 2009 and the top 10 finalists designs were exhibited at the Southeast Asia Nations Conference on Sericulture to showcase hand woven and hand dyed Thai silk fabric.
Purpose of the piece
SILK SOFTWEAR is “constructed from Thai silk bearing the Peacock Standard and directed toward the target market of career wear for women of the world” as specified in the Call for Submissions of the QUEEN SIRIKIT INSTITUTE OF SERICULTURE PEACOCK STANDARD OF THAI SILK COMPETITION 2009.
My goal for SILK SOFTWEAR was to create a career wear dress that:
- complements a variety of body shapes
- is appropriately conservative for the work place
- is comfortable to wear yet stylish and feminine
- incorporates a variety of colors and weave patterns to give the garment visual interest and showcase the Peacock standard of Thai silk fabrics
The design began with the colors and weave patterns of the Peacock silk fabrics. I picked my favorite fabrics, and then considered how to use them in a careerwear dress that highlighted the fabrics and met my goals. To complement a variety of body shapes, I created diagonal stylized princess panels with contrasting double piping and an asymmetric front opening, which provide vertical emphasis to elongate and flatter most body shapes. For conservatism, I chose a straight silhouette; stand up collar, and long sleeves. As for comfort, the sheath silhouette itself is comfortable; the slightly ruffled panels at the hem allow for more leg movement for walking and sitting and the ruffled panels at cuffs and hem soften the conservative style lines to provide femininity. Choosing the mix of fabrics and colors was the most enjoyable part of the design process. The overall color palette of black, gray, silver, and gold flatters a wide variety of skin tones and hair coloring. The black taffeta side panels, sleeves, and hem ruffles provide a smooth elegant background for the dark gray diamond pattern jacquard weave used in the center front panel, center back panel, collar, and horizontal bands. The stripe pattern used for the 3/4" wide piping along the princess seams, cuff bands, and hem bands was created by cutting bias strips from the reverse side of the gray diamond jacquard fabric; a gold taffeta is used for the additional row of 1/4" piping along the princess seams, cuff and hem bands, collar, and front opening. The colors and textures of the black, gray and gold allows the wearer her choice of either silver or gold jewelry to accent the fabrics and dress.
Techniques used to create the piece
I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to draw the silhouette, the design lines, and to apply the Peacock Thai silk fabric patterns and colors to the separate areas of the garment. Computer illustration allowed me to experiment with the placement of fabrics and colors to determine the most appealing combination and location. Flat pattern techniques were used to create the 22 pattern pieces which include the asymmetric closure at center front, stylized diagonal princess seams, stand-up collar, slightly gathered horizontal hem and cuff panels, set-in sleeves, horizontal bands above the hem and cuff panels, 1/4" piping, 3/4" piping, facings, and lining. Bias strips cut from the dark gray jacquard weave, which had stripes on the reverse side, were used with the reverse side up to create the diagonal stripe effect on the wide piping along the seams. Each strip of piping was hand basted in place to insure an even width. The garment is fully lined.