Engineered textile print for the enhancement, exaggeration, or concealment of form, specific to body shape.

Does my bum look big in this? explores printed textile design engineered in response to body-shape. It demonstrates possibilities for the customisation of print not only to suit the garment pattern, but also the form of the wearer beneath. This work does not seek to define or create the illusion of the ‘ideal’ body; rather it shows that customisation of print can be utilised to alter the perception of body form.

Using my own magnificent bottom as a case study, I developed a series of printed skirts to map, maximise, and then minimise its perceived form. I adapted a standard skirt block pattern to my body shape and applied lines in felt pen to a calico toile at 5cm intervals, horizontally and vertically, to create a “control toile”. I chose to use grid lines as an effective way of mapping contours, informed by longitudinal and latitudinal map lines and cross contour drawing methods as representations of form. Photographing this toile on the body enabled me to map the distortion of line caused by my form beneath. I appraised a photograph of this toile on my body to determine how to distort the grid to create the illusion of greater or lesser volume.

The work was exhibited as a series of three life size photographs depicting the three printed skirts on the body, shown next to annotated working images of the development of the toiles in Shapeshifting, One oh Eight Gallery, Auckland, NZ in 2014.