A Hoarder's Quilted Collection
-- often referred to as My Ragdoll Collection was conceived under the idea of never buying a single yard of new fabric.
Materials were gathered from others' leftover projects in a variety of colors, prints, and yardages. The project began while Ellie was studying fashion design at
Pratt Institute, and was reimagined in late 2017.
Creating a garment from scratch can create a lot of excess waste from scraps left behind during the cutting process. For this collection, every scrap was quilted back onto the garments -- practicing a zero waste concept before Ellie officially adopted the design philosophy. To avoid waste, every sizable pattern piece had to be cut from the scavenged fabric before committing the rest to quilting scrap.
An exploration in shape, form, and texture, the collection pushes toward impracticality. Exaggerated silhouettes and hidden features create an almost unsettling feel to the garments, while the playful mix of colors and prints keep it youthful. The intent was the personification of a haunted rag doll -- creating something beautiful out of something ragged.
As she started developing her initial concepts for this collection, Ellie's ideas escalated out of her regulation of materials. First, many of the fabrics needed to be dyed to fit the ominous color story of the collection. Any print with a white undertone received at least one Rit dye bath to deepen its shade. (See Swatches here) By taking scraps of different patterns and colors, she quilted and appliquéd her scraps into a richly textured form of pointillism.
Though some may view this material challenge as a limitation, the boundaries have actually further enriched Ellie's design process.
Issue 14 Showcase 6 Cover 2 Pgs 70-79
Not so surprisingly, many of my gathered fabrics were already within the range of my deep color story. Those that did not fit the category received at least one Rit Dye bath. As you can see below, the top row of swatches were too lightly colored to be used as is. The bottom row shows the results of dye process -- staining each white and beige tint into deep reds, greens, grays, and purples.
In tune with color theory, the seventh red swatch was dyed in a blue bath -- causing it to look purple. This is both an optical illusion created through the red and blue shapes in the print -- as well as a reaction in the dye bath. The red dye contained in the fabric was released into the hot bath -- creating an indigo shade over a true blue.