The Making of Gloria

“Once” AKA Gloria is my garment in the Common Threads Wearable Art Awards. A wonderful choreographed event showcasing the finalists was held last Sunday at the Manudrah Performing Arts Centre. Here is the story of the process involved in making her…

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I had previously made a “Tea Bag Bag” for a WAFTA challenge and I liked that it often takes viewers a while to notice it is made from tea bags. I also had a collection of blue surgical cloths waiting for a project. The theme of “Drift” along with an “Eco Wear” section made these materials seem right.Febmar2014 001I used LOTS of tea bags. Thank you to Liz for drinking lots of cups of tea and supplying many of them.  Emptying the contents and preparing them takes a lot longer than you would think. I spent several evenings on this step alone! Working directly on a dress model is a process I really enjoy. I could audition a variety of design options quickly without the need to stitch.The blue cloths were hand stitched to create gathers giving flow and direction. Each piece was sewn separately and then attached to the skirt. I have used this technique previously in my garment for the ECU Draping Course, although that fabric was stretchy and quite different to manipulate.

Febmar2014 002 I decided I wanted some movement in the piece and I thought a “Bubble style skirt” would give me the wobble I desired. Thanks again to Liz for her technical suggestions. (I used Rigilene a plastic boning for corsets). The central piece of yellow plastic (my Dad found for me) had a previous life pulling electrical cables through the cavities in double brick walls.

Febmar2014 009I made the “bubble” shape from plastic and Rigilene first, then covered it in fabric to make the petticoat. The next step was to trial ways of wrapping the blue cloths.Febmar2014 005

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After I had the design I wanted the REAL challenge is of course that a person has to wear this…and be able to get in and out of it.. Febmar2014 018


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Can’t really expect a live model to have pins stuck into them…

Febmar2014 023The tea bags were stitched to an old tea dyed petticoat. A side lacing allows the model to slip in and out of the top. The skirt is elasticated with a drawstring tie.

Once by Louise Wells Back  (2)

My gorgeous daughter Olivia modelling

Once by Louise Wells Front

Photographs by Josh Wells.


At the VIP Cocktail party after the showcase with the lovely Tayla modeling.

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