McKenna Linn   
Fiber Art   

Art To Wear: Slash Coat

Slash CoatThis coat won the grand prize in the 1998 "Sewing With Nancy Challenge," sponsored by Oxmoor House. It was truly a labor of love, taking about 6 months to make and using up over 7 spools of thread!

I created the fabric by layering different colors and shapes of light- to medium-weight cottons and rayons, then stitching and slashing on the bias grain. The interplay of color--intensity determined by where a fabric is positioned within the "sandwich"--and texture--stitching/slashiing is done in a random, interconnecting pattern--give this a lush, complex, and playful surface. I used Ultrasuede Light for edges, seams, and "buttonholes."

My technique was inspired by Tim Harding's work. Tim is a fantastically talented fiber artist from St. Paul, Minnesota, who was himself inspired by Renaissance textile-fabrication methods (yes, this is a VERY old technique!). I was privileged to visit Tim in his studio in 1988, as part of my research for an article in "Sewing Update No.2" (c.1989, Singer Sewing Reference Library). One of Tim's beautiful kimono-shaped artworks is pictured on page 50 of that book.

String-And-Button Closure String-And-Button Closure
Closures presented a challenge in this highly-textured fabric. What I ended up doing was to stitch rectangles of Ultrasuede Light to front and back at each side of the front opening, then attach buttons (one on top of the other, for a colorful effect)... and then tied variegated rattail cord around those on one side to make a string-and-button type of closure. This was inspired by Lois Ericson's creative artistry.

If you would like to learn more about making slash-fabric, check out my article "Creating GREAT Slash-Fabrics for Garments, Accessories, and Embellishments!" It's full of tips and techniques to enhance your chance of success with this fun--although very labor-intensive--technique.

My thanks to the wonderful folks at Oxmoor House for the honor of selecting my Slash Coat as their national winner. (Jacket photo courtesy of Oxmoor House, used with permission. John O'Hagen photographer; Linda Wright stylist. Close-up photo courtesy of Dave Restuccia.)

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