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Material girls

Material girls
Harpreet and Georgia.
Friday 16th January 2009 by C. Freeman
Year 11 girls are just putting the finishing touches to their GCSE practical projects. They had a choice of tasks with some opting to make evening gowns while others have designed beachwear, home accessories and even a dress made from recycled materials.

The students made trial garments or 'toiles' from old sheets and curtains to make sure their designs worked before using more expensive fabrics. The group had a trip to Oxford with tutor Kyria Foster to purchase fabric, beads and trimmings for their projects.

Harpreet Bhelley has made a red silk lined dress with a bolero made from silk which she dyed herself and Georgia Mitchell adapted a short dress pattern to make a longer cream version with net and bead embellishments. She has hand sewn pearl beads around a large diamante brooch is the central focus of the dress.

Georgia said: 'It was originally designed for a Christmas ball with an underdress of satin with net voile over the top. It took about a month's worth of lessons to make.'

Kate Matthews has also been busy with beadwork as she designed and hand sewed an intricate design on her cream dress using a variety of lilac and cream beads and buttons.

Maisie Byrne took up the challenge of designing something to feature on a catwalk in 2010 from recycled materials. Her dress is decorated with Perspex buttons which she made on the laser cutter and features a flouncy underskirt made from blue plastic bubble wrap. She said: 'I roughly improvised the skirt but the top was from a pattern and the material was scrap sheets and shirts. I came up with a couple of designs for the buttons and did them on the laser cutter.'

Lauren James was one of several students who designed beachwear. She made a child's tankini and accessory bag out of vibrant orange fabric with neon ribbon fastenings.

Nikita Hall and Lauren Nichols choose to make housewares. Nikita's project is a large nursery-rhyme inspired roman blind while Lauren has designed and laser cut white appliqué shapes to jazz up her black tablecloth, placemat and coaster set.

Miss Foster said: 'The students have all worked really hard on their projects and the end results are so different and individual. They have all come up against design problems they have had to solve, such as how to sew slippy material for bikinis, or how to adapt patterns to their own designs. The students are putting the theory that they have learned into practice, as well as using technology like the laser cutter and sublimation printer which produces iron on transfer designs.'

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