The Wallpaper Dress is a collaborative project between Melanie, creator of blog makeitdigital and author of Digital Textile Design, and Sarah, creator of blog postcardsfrombattersea and a textiles trend researcher.
The project explores themes of customisation and emotional attachment, where a found pattern is transformed into a treasured and unique garment using local resources and skills. The journey has enabled Sarah to be part of the entire process from the initial discovery of the print, to the reworking and printing, making, and finally styling in a photo shoot that brings the original and modern interpretation together.
The print originated as a sample piece of hand block-printed wallpaper that was found by Sarah at her local vintage fair in Battersea. Melanie scanned the sample and put the design into repeat using Photoshop, which she then digitally printed onto cloth at Chelsea College of Art, where she is a senior lecturer. The original texture of the block print was maintained by using organic linen that gave a slightly faded and textural surface quality.
Sarah and Melanie chose a dress pattern that was in keeping with the character of the print and worked with Lynn, a local dressmaker based in Herne Hill, to create a custom-made dress for Sarah. As a way of merging analogue and digital techniques, Melanie hand-embroidered over some of the motifs to create subtle placement details that explored themes of slow textiles and of a hybrid digital craft.
The entire process took place in an area of 4.5 miles in South London.