Basics Fashion Design: Knitwear | Juliana Sissons

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Basics Fashion Design: Knitwear
by Juliana Sissons
Basics Fashion Design: Knitwear

Approach to knit 8
Reinventing traditional knitting 10
Yarns and fibres 16
Construction of knit 26
Developments in design and technology 36
Creative development 38
The brief 40
Research 42
Design development 46
Colour 50
Sculptural form 54
Presentation and evaluation 60
Construction through pattern and texture 64
The tension swatch 66
Basic techniques 70
Lace 76
Surface texture 80
Patterned knits 92
Construction through shape 100
Partial knitting: three-dimensional effects 102
Creating flared shapes 106
Increasing and decreasing 110
Draping and shaping 114
Creating a knitting pattern 120
Details and trims 130
Collars and neckbands 132
Hems and edges 136
Buttonholes and fastenings 140
Hand-finishing techniques 144
Embellishment 148
In the industry 154
Conclusion 160
Glossary 162
Useful resources 166
Shops and suppliers 170
Bibliography 172
Index 174
Acknowledgements and picture credits 176
Working with ethics 177

The machine knitting industry dates back to the early 16th century, but it could not be more exciting and alive than it is today. Knitting provides endless creative outcomes, enabling an independent and experimental approach to design. Modern developments in technology and manufacturing, coupled with contemporary treatments and spinning technology, have revived the knitwear industry. Knitwear can be found at all levels of the fashion market, from the industrial mass production of hosiery, underwear and sports wear to the use of its sculptural qualities in high fashion and accessories, such as bags, shoes and jewellery. The medium also provides an astounding range of possibilities for art, interior design and architecture.

Basics Fashion Design: Knitwear begins with a brief history of knitting and knitwear design and an introduction to yarns, fibres, machinery and tools. The book then leads you through the essential stages of creative design development, with a number of project briefs and practical skills: how to knit a tension swatch; basic techniques on domestic machines and how to create knitting patterns. It looks at the differences between two- and three-dimensional design, exploring the textural and sculptural qualities of knit. The final chapter examines details and trims, from embellishment to fastenings.

In addition, Basics Fashion Design: Knitwear is richly illustrated with the very best of contemporary knitwear design. I hope that it will provide you with the fundamental skills, knowledge and inspiration to design and create your own innovative knitted textiles.

Approach to knit
In order to take a fresh look at knitting, and at ideas that are normally taken for granted, we should first understand historically how these techniques came about and consider the classic, timeless designs as significant and creative starting points for further design development. Hand knitting skills and patterns have long been passed from generation to generation, allowing a greater understanding and acknowledgement of knitting as an intellectual, artistic tradition. A growing number of new and exciting designers are graduating each year from fashion and textile courses and, by comparing their designs with the work from the early knitters, a story starts to emerge.

This chapter offers an introduction to knit and knitwear design, comparing traditional knitting techniques with their modern reinventions. It looks at the characteristics and behaviour of different yarns and fibres, from the traditional to the contemporary, such as metallic, steel and plastic. It offers an overview of knitting machines and tools, and the different aspects of work that can be produced. Finally, it looks at how developments in design and technology are radically reinventing this traditional craft.

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