Textiles and Design

Alana Ethell




The Major Textiles Project fits into the Apparel focus area as it has the capability to be readily worn and is functional. The focus area of apparel is the suitable choice for the dress as apparel includes all types of clothing that have a function, are wearable and can be laundered relatively easily by dry cleaning.

The dress is intended to be worn at a party.

Recycled denim

The main design inspiration for the dress is recycled denim which is a popular and iconic fabric. I have been inspired to create the dress using recycled denim jeans which I have collected over time rather than throwing them away.

The desire for fast fashion has led to a massive increase in irresponsible production of many textile items. This is particularly true of denim where an excessive amount of the denim clothing is being thrown away, ending up in landfills.

Inspiration has been taken from designers such as Viktor & Rolf, who recycle all types of materials to create textile apparel masterpieces, as well as a company called Jeanbag, who use recycled denim to produce beanbags.

Inspiration has also come from the iconic denim brand Levi’s who have recently commenced eco-friendly practices of using sustainable materials and recycling their unused and unwanted denim to revolt against fast fashion and irresponsible production.


Another major inspiration for my dress is patchwork, where I was able to use small pieces of recycled denim to form a larger design using diamond and hexagon shapes. Drawing inspiration from the attention to detail of intricate patterns and pieces used in patchwork observed while attending several quilting exhibitions.

My inspiration mainly comes from my mum and the many patchwork quilts, wall hangings, jackets, skirts and bags that I have watched her make. I love that I now have a common interest with my mum which we will be able to share for the rest of our lives.

Free Motion Machine Embroidery using Solvy-dissolvable fabric

This technique also inspired the Major Textiles Project, as it allows for the dress to be unique and interesting. Creating a non-woven web fabric made from thread, ribbon, wool and solvy, enabled me to create a completely unique fabric.

The machine-embroidered material using solvy increases the aesthetics of the design by providing focal points through texture, shape, colour and line. The project is influenced by the freedom that free-motion machine embroidery gives, rather than the set techniques required in most forms of sewing.

The extensive array of colours, threads, ribbons and wools that have been used to make these creations, have been an enjoyment to create.

Geometric Shape

Many fashion designers take inspiration from using geometric shapes to create interesting and unique fashion. The dress has been inspired by these designers through the use of diamonds and hexagons to form the dress.

The inspiration for this dress was also gained after viewing the complexity of geometry in the Spring/Summer 2020 print trends and the amazing shapes that transformed the designs into masterpieces. Viktor and Rolf have used geometric shape to create unique garments which stand out from other pieces.

This has inspired the dress as the hexagons are bright and colourful, creating focal points making it stand out from other garments especially at parties.

These inspirations of recycled denim, geometric shape, patchwork and free motion machine embroidery have come together to create a unique and eye-catching apparel item. The dress fits into the apparel focus area because it can be worn to occasions like parties but also laundered relatively easily by dry cleaning.