Encoded Cloth From the Future – Part 3

My future, like many others, was split into two, one of a dystopian sprawling wasteland and one a pastoral utopia. I made two pieces, each representing one part of the world, and the way the two work together.

The first part is the corset, representing the distopia. I drafted a 1890s underbust corset pattern, and cut it entirely out of a old blazer. The lining is also the blazer lining, and the boning of the corset is from old zip ties which makes it mostly recycled.

The corset is meant to look fast made. I would normally do alot of hand sewing on a project like this, but this is entireliy machine sewed, which leads to to some oddities in construction.

Normaly flaws like the ones above would be mended, but they are honestly quite loveable in the piece. The pop of the neon zip tie that lies within the bleak exterior is quite meaningful.

The corset is meant to represent the understructure, a foundation which the dress on top of it is tied to.

This dress was a CHALLENGE. The fabric did not want to do what I wanted it to do. So It went through quite a few iterations before it finally became this. This dress is suppossed to be nautral and pastoral. So I really tried to lean into this motif. Unlike the corset, it doesn’t pull from any historical period.

By contrast, this dress has alot of hand worked details: the finishing on the neckline is done by hand, the buttonholes are hand worked with a blanket stitch and there are a lot of pleats. The buttons that I had on hand were arranged to they fit a ombre pattern.

The overall irony of the two pieces is that this pastoral farmland haven dress is far more wasteful than they corset (and the dress is honestly more uncomfortable since the neckline is very wide). Its made of six yards of new fabric, much of its details are purely aesthetic, and it is built on the foundation of the corset.

Encoded Cloth from the Future – Jesse Wallace

For this project, I wanted to express the absolute hopelessness that comes along with living in the world today. I brainstormed imagery of nuclear war, climate change, or even another outbreak because I wanted to convey the grim reality of the inevitable destruction that will come in the coming years. However, in brainstorming, I faced the reality that we will all likely be trying to navigate our individual lives during that. There will be new fashion trends and phases and new trendy food to eat and new people in all of our lives. The uncertainty is overwhelming, and that feeling is exactly what I wanted to capture in this piece.

My encoded cloth – capturing the uncertainty of inevitable doom.

I chose to use a jean jacket as a connection to the things in life that won’t change – Jean is such a classic fashion material and I doubt it will ever go “out of style”. I don’t know anything in life for sure, but I’m almost positive 2030 will have jeans.

Wearing my Doom Jacket.

The biggest piece of this textile was the tapestry. I have really enjoyed weaving and chose to connect the weaving theme to the theme of uncertainty. The overall look is of destruction and explosive doom, but there are hints of green and yellow to indicate climate change as well.

Finally, I added a heart that is slowly turning black, to represent the inevitable heart-wrenching challenges we will all have to face in 2030.

One aspect of this project that surprised me- I went for a hopeless, destructive piece, but in putting my energy into weaving I felt as if I created something beautiful from the pain I was expecting to portray. It was honestly really heartwarming, and made me think about my mentality about the world.

Encoded Cloth from the Future – Jasmine Lee

For my encoded cloth, I was inspired by the idea of freedom quilts on the Underground Railroad, and the idea of hiding a secret in plain sight. I chose to use embroidery for this project, and traditional motifs of flowers and greenery that are normally associated with women. My vision of 2030 was pessimistic, and I was frightened by the idea of womens bodily autonomy being even more limited in the future. This handkerchief / neck scarf that I “brought back from the future” is part of a movement by women in their local communities to help spread information and news to women who may need help.

At first glance, the handkerchief is quite plain. I was inspired by the idea of whitework to create it this way. The white threads are actually a map of my neighborhood, with the chain stitches being avenues and the straight stitches being streets.

The lavender flowers symbolize healing, meaning that this handkerchief shows information related to medical help and doctors. The little red flower in one of the corners is a nod to the red arrow on a compass that traditionally points north. It is part of a code meant to help other people part of this community understand the map. Red points east, so the map would be quite hard to understand without prior knowledge.

In addition, there are red beads attached to the underside of the handkerchief. They will be concealed with a second thin layer of fabric and hemmed with an iron-on adhesive. When the handkerchief is dry, all you can see is the white textured lines and the traditional flower motifs. When wet, however, the red beads show through and show relevant locations for women who are looking for help.

This concept, while controversial, was mainly based off of my support for women’s pro-choice and the fear that accessibility would be greatly limited in the future.

Finished Encoded Cloth – Kimberly

For my encoded cloth, I decided to create a dual sided blindfold where one side represented technology and the other illustrated the destruction of the environment.

I started with the blue eyes which face inwards towards the wearer to demonstrate “blindness” after focusing on technology and my original envision of technology in the eyes by 2030. I really enjoyed embroidering the first eye but it was really difficult to try and get the second one extremely symmetrical.

I then moved onto the trees which I struggled to come up with a design for a while. I went with blackish charred tree trunks and branches that had been burned with 1.25 trees still intact and almost being burnt. I didn’t really know how to portray fire well but liked the idea of mending since it does create that hole through the fabric which I also highlighted on the other side to show that you can’t really just cover something up with technology.

I also did some duality between fire and leaves when doing the sides of the tree side. This continued to the ends of the blindfold where the fire side I burned with a lighter and the leaf side I sewed up for a clean edge.

I overall really enjoyed the freedom in this project. I wanted to ensure I had all the supplies to create what I wanted which I why everything was mainly embroidery and a little bit of sewing, both of which I like a lot. If I was to continue working on this project, I would probably add something to the leftover sides after tying the blindfold on – maybe more fire and leaves.

Encoded Cloth Part 3- Marissa

I set out to fabricate a cloak that symbolized the cultural shift or turning point of ideals in my imagined future. In 2030, people are facing the uncomfortable realities of climate change and overconsumption and repairing the damage. As a garment, the cloak is shielding and defensive, but it also has a commanding presence that is attention drawing. I wanted to make something wearable that could communicate a sense of movement and transition. A cloak was perfect for this, and I decided to adorn the inside and outside to symbolize progressive change away from toxic behaviors/beliefs.

Completed cloak front/back view

The outside of the cloak features stacked painted lines. The lines were somewhat difficult to paint due to the netted fibers, but I was able to create the gradient I was looking for. I used the spacing between the lines to symbolize rapid mass consumption. We consume everything at an unsustainably fast pace now, and this will ultimately lead to self-destruction. I also distressed the bottom of the cloak with scissors to show what happens when consumption habits exceed their boundaries.

In-process mending of the inside of the cloak

On the inside of the cloak, I decided to use mending as a way to represent patching old scars and transforming beliefs. I was surprised to see how the visibility of patches changed with my movements, and I liked how I could not quite keep them hidden. Overall, I like the regenerative message the mending sends.

My biggest challenge was adapting to the material throughout the construction process. After making a trial cloak out of muslin, it was an adjustment to work with four layers of thin netted fabric. In order to give the cloak weight and bulk, I cut and sewed four layers together. I was pleasantly surprised that the thread was completely invisible because I was initially planning on doing french seams to combat that problem. It was difficult to find the right hood shape in the excess material, but I was able to construct one with the right dimensions to match the cloak’s neckline (this was something I failed to do with the muslin trial). It was a bit awkward to sew such a large volume of fabric together, but luckily I had enough pins to go around 🙂

I’m still struggling with figuring out a way to tie and secure the cloak for wear. The ribbon I chose is actually pretty uncomfortable, so in order to make this more functional, I’m going to try an eye-and-hook closure.

Encoded Cloth from the Future – Rachel

In 2030, I imagine (or I guess hope) that we will have taken action against climate change. We will be composting and planting more trees and there will be greenery everywhere. We will decrease the amount of waste in the world, and upcycle to turn waste into something more useful and beautiful.

For this piece, I was inspired by the Korean Jogakbo, which is a style of patchwork, traditionally used to create wrapping cloths from scraps of left-over fabrics.

In this case, I chose to use single-use plastic bags. In states like New York, there is already a ban on plastic bags. I imagine in 2030, they would be abolished and rare. So what do we do with them?

In this case, I imagine we use them to make a wrapping cloth of even more value, using its scraps, and something so disposable right now, to make something more beautiful.

I used plastic bags I found around the house, as well as a reusable bag from a commercial store, and a chipotle napkin I had. I appliqued the smiley face normally found on plastic bags, as well as a black bag cut as clouds, signifying how the commercial stores would find everything okay with polluting the world. “Have a Nice Day.” I had to hand-stitch the pieces together because the plastic was too fragile for the sewing machine. There are two sides, one with darker pieces, and one with lighter. The outer frame is made from an old pair of sweatpants I no longer wore.

A play on the quilting method, I chose to hold the pieces together with a small flower in the center of each square, and branches of trees and plants around the center piece.

Bottom Text says “Recycle Today for a Better Tomorrow”

I imagine this to be a quilt of hope, showing that we can eventually break out of the cycle, and there will be greenery and plants that overgrow the plastic pollution. Utilitarian-wise, it could be used to wrap gifts for friends, or clothes.

Encoded Cloth from the Future

By Remi Adeoti

I had a pessimistic view of our future. With everything that has happened this year I feel as if this is the beginning of a movement that will lead to a civil war. Tensions have been high and it doesn’t seem like they will lessen or change will occur. What I tried and am still working to depict is the ending our country by our history. The phrase that I got from this was “Hung by your past”, which is similar to the phrase “come back to bite you”

The first thing I created was a 2 colored doll, with a rope wrapped around its neck and body. With this I wanted to allude to lynchings that occurred in the 1860’s till around the late 1960’s. To do this I drew of the wrong side of the fabric and then sewed the two pieces together, leaving a space open so that I could flip it inside out. I then suffer the head and limbs with rice so that they had a nice hang un filled the rest of the body with stuffing. The difficulty with this figure was that the fabric I used was delicate, and came apart very easily.

This is an up-close image of the roots of the tree that I drew with the sewing machine. I enjoyed the texture that this gave the tree and felt as if it did look like roots which was what I was going for.

I then sewed the rope around one of the branches I created to give the effect that the top was tied around the tree. I wanted this to show Black people being hung by roots, because roots are usually tied to history. So this is meant to show what has happened in the past.

I also sewed the top of the tree which represent the present/future. This piece was tedious and took a large time because of the lazy Daisys and separating the different embroidery flosses so that I could have different mixture of greens. It also took time because I stuffed each other branches and had to cut multiple holes to get this raised effect.

Finally I created a character depiction of a KKK member. To do this I first created the figure and stuffed it, after I used red embroidery thread to sew this on the silver fabric. The most difficult part of this piece was the rope, I found that it mattered how fast this was running under the sewing machine and it made a difference in how spaced out or close together the sticking was. I also struggle with keeping the stick in line, because the position of the needle was sometime misleading.

I plan to keep working on this and make it a story quilt with more patches of symbols of our present and future that connect now.

Encoded Cloth from the Future p3 – Maddie

For my project, I imagined the future pretty unrealistically from a fantastical point of view. I imagined that we may reach a point where people can live underwater and we as humans start an underwater civilization. Living underwater created endless possibilities of marine life. For my encoded cloth, I decided to create a coral like plush.

This is the finished product! I picture this as a toy / plush that a young child may have because it has many small limbs that are good for grabbing/holding. Even though some may look like spikes, everything is very soft 🙂 My intention was to create three different types of “coral” using three different techniques, but towards the end I decided to make a fourth coral to make the whole project bigger. I wanted to experiment with using different fabric textures and patterns to make the coral feel more lively and playful, as a stuffed animal would.

This was the first coral that I made using the technique of sewing and stuffing many small parts and then hand stitching them all together. I found that this create the most solid, coral like structure because it was easiest to make the limbs protruding in multiple directions. However, this was the most time consuming because I had to hand sew each stuffing hole closed and then attach the pieces together.

This was the second coral piece, I made it by sewing two pieces of fabric wrong sides together. Then I distressed the edges by shredding with the point of the seam ripper to create a fluffy fringe texture. I also attempted to make small holes and pull out some pieces of stuffing to create little wispy pieces that added to the fluffy texture but I found that to be too difficult to put all over the piece. This piece didn’t exactly simulate the coral shape as well as the previous piece but the texture adds to the overall varying texture of the entire piece.

This was the third piece that I made. I made this by taking small arc piece and sewing two lines of basting stitches without locking them. Then I gathered the fabric by pulling the threads so that I got ruffled pieces of fabric which I then sewed together to form one big ruffled mass. I had a little bit of trouble sewing everything together because the ruffles made it hard to find where the edges were and keep track of where I was sewing. I ended up missing a few spots and having to go over them again to ensure that all the ends were incorporated into the mass. This simulated more of an anemone shape which is an essential part of marine life and coral reefs.

This was the last piece that I added on using the same technique as the yellow coral. It is the largest of the four pieces and I feel like when I sized up the pieces, they weren’t proportioned exactly correctly. This resulted in the piece looking more cactus like, but once I put all the pieces together I think it still gave off the coral feel. Since this was a larger piece for the central tube, I closed the ends with circle pieces so that it stood more structured instead of tapering into a straight closed end. This was a little challenging as well since the circle was fairly small and difficult to sew together. I also experimented a little bit with darts for some of the larger protruding pieces so that they bent up instead of just sticking straight up.

Overall, I am very happy with how it turned out and the many textures that were created. The way it all comes together makes it feel very coral like and it reminds me of childhood stuffies 🙂

Encoded Cloth from the Future 3 – Annie

When thinking about the future, I felt pretty hopeless about both the state of America and the world. Between the decaying ecosystem, decreasing air quality, and the bloom of technology in our lives, I wanted to create a piece that could express all of those at once. I decided upon making a face mask that had integrated lights, using flower language to convey my thoughts of the future.

I had intended to make the flower pop out of the darkness, similar to hope out of darkness. The red and yellow colors of the flowers can also signify a warning or cautionary tale. I wanted to further play with the theme of hope and despair with the choices of flowers – the red mums signifying joy in some places of the world while being a flower of lamentation, adversity, and death for other places. Meanwhile, the yellow wormwood signifying absence. I think despite not knowing the flowers or the meanings behind them, the mask still conveys a sense of that, which I would consider a success.

I found it difficult to integrate the lights into the flowers – the light needed to dissipate through a light colored fabric, and I tried to use the palest yellow to achieve that effect. I also wanted the lights to react to the environment in a way, and had a hard time thinking how I could do so. I ended up adding a photoresistor (light sensor) to the mask and made the upper lights shine faster in darker environments, while making the flowers shine brighter in darker environments, adding to the “finding hope in darkness” theme. It turned out to be pretty ominous in the dark, which was an unintended surprise but pretty cool.

I also found it challenging to camouflage the microcontroller and battery on the side of the mask. If I had more time, I would’ve made a better pouch for the battery to hide it better and make it more secure.

Here are a few more photos of the mask on Rowlett:

Per ardua ad astra – from adversity to the stars

Encoded Cloth From the Future Final – Erica Fu

After spending a lot more time than expected on this project, I grew a new appreciation for any type of textile work. I understood how much time and patience was required for such projects, but the planning and vast understanding of different techniques required to make something neat and as intended is amazing.

I intended to essentially recreate the sketch above with textiles. Since I did not have yellow cloth, I stitched together many smaller pieces cut from around patterns of a blanket and some pieces of turmeric-dyed cloth. Furthermore, I had to do the same for the red cloth even though most of it is covered up now. For the smoke, I incorporated new textures by loosely stitching some thinner fabric to create more dimension. The fire and houses are embroidered on to provide more details and add a different type of movement.

If I were to do this project again, I would be more careful with not wrinkling the fabric at each step. The end result is not as neat as I hoped because I used too much tension when embroidering. Furthermore, I would have cut up the houses individually and stitched them together instead if I planned out the project better. I had a lot of fun making this piece and definitely grew to understand the appreciate the sewing machine more.