Creating silhouettes! An introduction.


A toile is a most admirable thing to me – a result of ideas, tailoring technique, process planning and 3D experience evaluation mixed together, where all the ingredients has to be in balance with each other. A quality garment mock-up. A test garment, if you like. A century-old technique loved by many, but also often frown upon by people in a hurry.

What should we use them for? We can computer-render them nowadays! …is the very opinion I’m ever so used to be exposed to. It’s just a waste of time and material! Well, I beg to differ. The truth is that there’s nothing as sense-inspiring as being able to experience something in real life – the movement, the ease, flow, size and shadows. Transparency and layers. And of course, the pleasing look of something put together in the best possible order, to create that image of an un-forced result.

But what about all the “cutting edge” technology then? 3D scanning, robot sewing, laser cutting, 3D printed fashion garments, and computer rendered creative adjustments and/or design? Well… most of it is what I usually call smoke and mirrors. A distraction. But then again, it’s mostly about what you are all about: fast paced novelty, or, comfortable individual clothing.

I’m not saying that technology is bad – I myself is a huge consumer of technical ideas and machines, both new and old ones. I’m just not sure I want to wear it in the state it is mostly at right now. Sure, the fabric I’m using is machine-made, and the glasses I need and the sewing-machine also. I just want to be able to experience that sensibility a hand-finished unique garment can give me, as often as I can. I want something that has been made for me, with my pattern of movement and use in mind.

And hence the toiles mentioned before! Let them enter! Why? Becase since individually made clothes are so time-consuming to make, and therefore often rather expensive indeed, these test garments are that perfect imagery solution, being made in a somewhat simplified “single layered” way in an easier-to-control fabric. They can show you drapes, tucks, seams and fullness in that realistic way since they are… well, realistic. And for me, which I find tremendously important, they can guide you in the way that the (or any) garment has to be put together for not ending up being “painted into a corner” – which usually spells efficiency.

And that’s not all! We have saved the best for last! You can also try them on! See if they pleases your eyes, mood and movement. You can actually mix different shapes together and plan your colors, shades and materials. You can design exactly the look you want – in reality! You can feel the process, and be a true participant in that no-restrains creation of new silhouettes. And that’s not the worst, right?

And that’s also why most designs that are even slightly advanced – still – often starts with a… What was that again? Toile. You should try it too! To make one. Or two. Or… well, you got the picture. Practice!

– Sten Martin / DTTA


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