Armor Sweater and Polster Skirt
I finished these back in February, but was busy doing a musical since then (I'll share the costumes I made for it at some point!), so here they are, a little late:
Once again, my dear friend Vicki agreed to be my model :) (I'm so grateful I have friends who will let me put make-up on them and smear their faces with vaseline to make them look like creepy mermaids, then make them climb over / lie on cold rocks in weird positions in the chilly swiss february air IN HEELS! Without getting my precious clothing dirty! - tough girls fo sho!) we used the same location as I did for the Armor Jacket shoot, the shore of lake lucerne near my parents house.
These two pieces are a little more casual than the Armor Jacket, the fabrics are less structured, and the silhouettes are quite common ones: a pencil skirt and a raglan sleeve sweatshirt. It's more about the details with these two.
as the photos are quite dark to set the mood of the collection, you can't see those details too well. In the sketch above you can see that I altered the classic raglan seams at the shoulder to mimic the look of medieval armor. The inspiration for this came from a painting I saw at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich last fall:
I was also inspired by the design of the armor's elbow joint: the sleeve is in two parts (upper- and lower sleeve), connected by leather appliquées that extend over the elbow and fasten to eachother with 2 heavy duty metal snaps - creating a sort of "hinge".
The skirt features thigh- and hip-padding! ("polster" is padding in german, I've just gotten so used to referring to the skirt in my notes this way that I'll just keep the anglo-germanic mix-up of a name :))
Lovers of vintage clothing might not find this weird as hip pads were used in New Look suits (and some dresses I believe) to exaggerate the silhouette into wasp-like curves. But to many today it might sound weird to want to accentuate a womans thighs (from the expression "thunder thighs" to the thigh gap fetish).
But I was wearing a knit dress with a sweater over it one day, and the way the fabric clung to my legs and the length of the sweater somehow made my thighs look bigger than they usually looked to me. And I was surprised to notice that it made me feel good. I mean, like most people women I have body-image/acceptance/beauty/whatever issues sometimes, but in that dress my thighs looked big and I felt good about them, they looked beautiful and strong and it made me feel strong.
And that's exactly what this collection is about, that's the kind of everyday Armor I want to make. Of course it's not going to protect you if somebody randomly stabs you in the leg on the street, but it makes you feel strong and good about your body. (/end_rant)
So I guess the "armorous" nature of the skirt is its mix of protection and mimicry.
I created the padding by cutting out poly-batting in the right shape (each pad has two pieces, front and back to fit the line of the skirt), attaching it to the seam allowance of the side seam, then top stitching around the perimeter and finally sewing the rows of quilting. I like how the quilting on the pads reacts to the movement of the legs, forming little rolls when the wearer sits down.
The quilting did take a while, but other than that the skirt was quite easy - no zippers! - and the fabric is from an old thrifted sweatshirt. I reused the hem of the sweatshirt for the waistline and hemmed the skirt by hand.