A friend has commissioned me to adapt one of my short stories into a textile book as a gift for a close family friend of hers who also happens to be one of New Zealand's most celebrated fashion designers. The story  'C for Clothes' is from an alphabet collection that I've been chipping away at this year, and it begins with an account of the many dresses my mother used to sew for me when I was little.

I have to confess that I'm both excited and daunted by the prospect of transforming the text into a textile book, so although the piece doesn't need to be ready until Christmas, I thought I'd make a start gathering ideas and inspiration, and trying out a few prototypes until I hit upon the right design.

Here are some of the kinds of things that might feed into the cloth book project:

  Patterns for dolls clothes from the book Toys For Your Delight (Mills & Boon, 1957)

This beatiful article published in The World of Interiors (June 2002) about a  needlework sampler book produced by a young girl named Dorothy Tyrrell in the 19th Century. Elizabeth Gibbons discusses the centuries-old tradition of girls as young as seven producing such books of specimen needlework as a compulsory requirement of their education.

These elegant paper clothes designed by Benjamin Kempton to showcase a variety of new wallpapers are another inspiration. They also come  from The World of Interiors (October 2005).

Quilted pockets designed by Maud Hewlings and sewing kits designed by Miranda Sinclair for The World of Interiors swatch section (June 2010 and June 2009 respectively).

 Fabric collages designed by Maxine Sutton for an article on mending clothes in Selvedge magazine (Mar/Apr 2009).
Costume, collage and weaving by Sophie Tauber-Arp. Images from the book Movement and Balance: Sophie Tauber-Arp (1889-1943). (Kerber Art Books & Kirchner Museum, 2009).
Textile designs by Sonia Delauney (1885-1979). From the book Colour Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delauney (Smithsonian and Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, 2011).
Textile works by Louise Bourgeois, of course. Last year I wrote a post about the artist's remarkable cloth books. You can read it here. These images come from the book Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works by Germano Celant (Skira 2010).
 As you can see I''m definitely not short of inspiration for my cloth book project. Now, I just need to get started!

Have a great week!


Fashion buyers are the people that decide what consumers will ultimately buy, by negotiating with clothing suppliers and stocking stores with the latest trends. However, performing well at this fashion industry dream career takes more than just a fashion college degree.

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