Slashes, Cuts, and Chalk Lines- CLUTCH Vol. 6 Workshop Day 6

Photos and words by Alexandra 'Lexy' Baluyot, Edited by Bea Palanca

It's not every day that you hear echos of ripping, groaning, and an almost horrifying machine gun-sounding rumble. Coming from a dark basement in Kensington Market, I'd probably sneak a peak to see if cops are needed on site. At the bottom of the stairs, a look behind the curtain revealed something else altogether.

Although dimly-lit, five tables were sprinkled with an assortment of supplies and materials that would make any artist's world feel brighter. Toronto-based fashion designer Tala Kamea brought forth these goodies and led this week's CLUTCH workshop.  With captivating photos and physical examples, she introduced the concept of design detail.

Wide eyes took in the vibrant and intricate works on her digital inspiration board as she began explaining the three categories of design:

  • Elements [line, colour, texture, volume/space, shape/mass, light/value]
  • Principles [proportion, emphasis, scale, balance, repetition/rhythm, variety/unity]
  • Techniques [slashing, quilting, pleats, smocking, shirring, paneling, etc.]

This basic knowledge of how these ideas can "play together" opened a consciousness to the endless possibilities and combinations in making our own clothing. I was excited and ready to start cutting things. After the crash course in design, Tala went on to the hands-on portion of our lesson.

Pattern-making caused all sorts of joy and havoc. At first, the idea was that we make a simple tunic. Our guru showed us the importance of grain lines, seam allowance and smooth curves. Cutting the material and sewing in certain calculated areas ensures the fabric will hug the human figure as needed.

While the participants were rummaging through the bags of fabric, most of us decided that a tank top would better suit our summer wardrobes. Tala happily aided in our quest to bear arms.

Though rewarding when finished, the others will attest: the initial step of cutting out the chalk line traced on fabric can prove to be quite difficult. There were smiles on panicked faces, grunts and rolling cadences.  Ominous noises crept up the staircase, but if you followed them down, you would find the origin to be a tribe of womyn determined to create beautiful articles of clothing.

Thank you to Tala Berkes for conducting this workshop for us!