Valuing Cut, exhibition at Futurescan 4 conference

Lilia Yip

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


The following abstract formed part of the submission to exhibit work at Futurescan 4, a conference organised by The Association of Fashion and Textile Courses in Fashion and Textiles (FTC).

Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice, provides an international forum for the dissemination of research, creative practice and pedagogy surrounding fashion and textiles. Contributions from established and early career researchers, postgraduates, practitioners, makers and educators were presented under the following topics:

Valuing Artisan Skills, Drawing and Making
Learning from History, Tradition and Industry
Collaborating and Cross-disciplinary Working
Integrating and Connecting Digital Technologies
Designing Responsibly and Working Sustainably
Promoting Diversity, Employability and Community
Investigating Creative Processes and Pedagogy

Pattern cutting is traditionally written about, taught and treated as distinct from fashion design, with
most pattern cutting created in response to a sketch or an idea expressed another way (McQuillan and
Rissanen 2016). In this separation, pattern cutting is rarely seen as a creative activity that generates the
idea, and whilst being acknowledged as a sophisticated skill, it is nevertheless considered subservient to
I propose that in order to integrate pattern cutting within the design process, one must be conscious of
how it activates design. This project investigates the relationship between pattern cutting and culture to
show how the tacit knowledge of a practitioner may interact more fully with fashion design practice and
theory. Specifically, it explores how pattern cutting and its cultural ramifications, which are often part of
a designer’s tacit knowledge, can be made apparent within the design narrative.
The origin of clothing begins with a rectangular piece of cloth. According to anthropologists, in all known
human cultures, the ubiquitous nature of dress seems to point to the fact that dress or body adornment
is one of the means in which bodies are made social and given meaning and identity (Entwistle, 2015).
Culture is so deeply embedded in pattern cutting that one of the basic patterns almost all fashion
students are taught is the “kimono block” (Aldrich, 1996). In Soul of Things, I use the rectangle as the
basis from which to explore the merging of traditional clothing forms with modern sensibilities,
combining flat and form cutting techniques while also constructing spatial and temporal meanings in
relation to body and identity.
This design approach engages the mind, body and material in a creative process that cannot be replicated
simply by sketching, leading to an outcome in which the processes and techniques of pattern cutting
achieve a presence, allowing it to be discussed and appreciated as a integral part of the design process.
Keywords: pattern cutting, fashion design, tacit (or embodied) knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019
EventFuturescan 4 Conference: Valuing Practice - University of Bolton, Bolton, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jan 201924 Jan 2019


  • Fashion & Textiles
  • Creative Pattern Cutting
  • Fashion


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