One of the most satisfying projects from craft weekend was my black subtraction tunic- a highly experimental sewing exercise, with the very last of my black stretch knit stash. So inspiring and satisfying I thought I'd share a bit more about it here.
The basic design process is Julian Roberts' Subtraction Cutting technique- you used to be able to get a free mini-book on his techniques from his website, but sadly no more-you can see a few images there, but you have to invest in his book, or a personal masterclass to find out much more. Or have a friend who printed it in the past (lucky me!). Julian presents the idea that a garment is essentially a flexible tube for passing your body though, and so long as you maintain a tube large enough (and long enough) for your body to pass through, you can fold and cut and twist and sculpt that tube (or tubes) in a myriad of ways- ways that truly bend your mind until you've actually done the exercise- cut and twisted and seamed and slipped into (and perhaps even for a little while after).
As this was a total experiment I used some cheap and stretchy (ie forgiving) black (also forgiving) fabric. I had about 1.5m left on the roll, some of which had holes and flaws I needed to work around. I cut out the shoulders and neckline as per my personalised cap sleeve T pattern (with slightly longer arms) and sewed some slightly free-form side seams to create a wearable tube.
Then I assessed the holes and flaws, and cut two new larger holes- big enough for my body to pass through- where some of the flaws were. They were sort of squished blobs to conserve length, instead of the circles Julian shows in his patterns.
Then I folded the fabric to bring the new holes together, and sewed them together, to pull up the fabric and create some new options for how my body could pass through from top to bottom.
I also had a minor freakout that this was somehow going to not work, but I got over that and tried it on. And then tried it on a different way, and then another way (at times like this is it very helpful to be surrounded by a gaggle of creative clothes making buddies), until we found a way that worked- passing only part one arm and my head through the new holes, so I had an extra new shoulder strap which pulled the fabric up with some lovely draping.
I then proceeded to hack at the hemline to make it a suitable length for pulling on over trousers to wear to work, and finished all the hem edges on the overlocker.
A highly satisfying, fun, liberating and quick, experiment!