For our main project I went back and forth on what to make. It is truly the hardest decision in this class…
I really wanted to make something for my van, since I am working on building it out. Some of the ideas included making a custom roof rack with a deck and slide out beam to support hammocks. This was a cool idea as I would have to learn to weld, which is a skill I intend to acquire this semester. The aesthetic would have been “van-life.”
Figure 1. Van-life
The other two ideas I had involved electronics. One was a car horn with custom sounds for my van. The other one was a led car window display that would be programmable to say things like, “oops, I’m sorry,” or “get off my tail!”
Figure 2. LED display
But after thinking really hard about what I wanted this project to be, and discussing it with my wife, I went a completely different direction. I decided make something for one of the things I am most passionate about, cycling. The reason for this decision was not only because I love cycling (and I also coach for a local bike team), but because I have hopes to work in the bike industry after graduation. So I wanted this project to put me out of my comfort zone and do something I haven’t really done before, yet it is related to cycling. So I landed on making some sort of clothing article for cycling. What I have in mind is a very light weight and packable wind/rain jacket. And sure, there are plenty of companies that do this and have great products, but I want to go through the whole process of making this on my own, and expanding my skills set. Below are some images of the inspiration for this product I chose to pursue.
Figure 3. Packable in size.
Figure 4. Ride in all weather conditions.
Figure 5. Recognizing fabric patterns.
I spent all my initial time of the project thinking about the fabric patterns and how to stick them together. When it came to my aesthetic for the project, I was stuck. I initially thought of doing the “roadie” aesthetic, as you can observe below.
Figure 6. “Roadie” aesthetic
But I’m really more of a mountain biker, so I thought of doing the “mtb” aesthetic, since after all, I’d be the one wearing it. Here are a couple of images that show the mtb aesthetic with flannels, fox t-shirts and knobby tires.
Figure 7. Downhill MTB.
Figure 8. Flannels for trail riding.
And while searching for an alternative aesthetic, I ran into this.
Figure 9. 80’s vibe!
Wow, talk about an eye catcher. I thought this would be a really fun aesthetic to implement into my project, the 80’s, man!
But even still, I wasn’t convinced. It even dawned on me to switch project entirely, but through some guidance from professor Hertzberg, I search for a unique aesthetic to make this project my own.
I explored many aesthetic movements and found the two that I will focus my project on. My chosen aesthetics will be “Action Painting” and “symbolism.” Symbolism is the art or practice of using symbols to express something invisible or intangible such as feelings or meaning. You can see an example below. Action painting, which is sometimes called “gestural abstraction,” is the style of painting in which the artist uses dynamic movements to splash or dribble paint onto the painting surface. An example of this is shown below.
Figure 10. Symbolism: “The War on Peace.”
Figure 11. Action Painting
Okay, so now that I had determined to go forward and knew the aesthetic I wanted to pursue, I began looking at what fabrics I would use. I learned that for a rain/wind jacket, I needed some type of synthetic fabric that blocked water and wind, such as nylon. I looked at what the high performance fabrics for sleeping bags and camping tents were made out of and found out it was some sort of Pertex fabric (which is a nylon blend). Below is an image of this Pertex fabric and some facts about it.
Figure 12. Pertex Quantum Air fabric.
This fabric is expensive but well worth it. There are some competing fabrics in the market which are comparable in performance and cheaper in price that I might look into.
After figuring out what fabric I would use, I circled back to my aesthetics of symbolism and action painting. I realized that this fabric I would have to use to achieve the wind/rain resistant and packability might not take fabric paint very well, which is what I was going to use to paint the designs.
Since my aesthetics are a very important factor to this project for the class, I think I will have to move away from the wind/rain jacket design (for the class project) and do more of a mountain biking jersey/shirt to ride in, that will incorporate my aesthetics. This rain/wind jacket is something I really want to make, so I will continue to work on it on the side. Below is a picture of the design for the jersey, front and back, and the fabric patterns I will sew together.
Figure 13. My mountain bike jersey design patterns
To get started, I began by practicing with some cheaper fabric and making a shirt for my dog. Here are some images of how the first prototype turned out.
Figures 14 – 20. Sequence of making a shirt/vest for my dog.
Here is the video of my Zoom presentation:
For my next post I will discuss the logistics and timeline of my project.
Thank you for reading.
Figure 1. https://www.instagram.com/p/B2WNXNEhOU2/
Figure 2. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/842736149005853357/?lp=true
Figure 3. https://www.thegeekycyclist.com/best-things/waterproof-cycling-jackets/
Figure 4. https://www.mbr.co.uk/buyers_guide/best-waterproof-mountain-bike-jackets-337470
Figure 5. https://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/pearl-izumi-pro-barrier-lite-jacket-review.html
Figure 6. cucinaonhay.com.au
Figure 7. https://www.redbull.com/int-en/mtb-slang-dictionary-guide
Figure 8. https://everydaymtb.com/handup-adds-no-nonsense-riding-flannels-and-pants/
Figure 9. https://www.shinesty.com/products/the-fresh-prince-onesie-v2-mens-80s-print-ski-suit
Figure 10: https://apictureofpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/war-vs-peace/
Figure 11: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/429812358171002367/?lp=true
Figure 12. https://www.pertex.com/quantum-air/
Figures 13 – 20. All taken by me (Ben Robles)