These 3D Printed Dress Ornaments Tell the Story of Life
by Fabian | July 28, 2015
Over the years we have seen quite a number of 3D printed dresses and observed how 3D printing is becoming more and more popular among fashion designers. But now Irish textile design student Sarah O’Neill has managed to create a 3D printed dress with a new approach: a dress that tells a story and that can be updated by changing the attached 3D printed modules. We talked to her about this innovative piece of art and fashion.
Hello Sarah, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Tell us a bit about the dress design you printed with us. What are the 3D printed ‘modular embellishments’?
These 3D prints are ornaments for a fashion dress which sit within the specific fabric of the garment I have designed. The 3D prints connect with laser cut pieces which slot securely into the fabric of the garment through structures I have created. The structure is designed for the specific garment design. There is no need for glue or stitches.
The reason that they are modular and do not connect with the traditional stitching or glue is that I was reading an article criticizing young designers who create embellishments that are impossible to clean. My embellishments can be detached so that the garment can be washed.
Each of the eleven 3D printed embellishments is based on an imaginary narrative of a family. They aim to tell a story about the wearer.
How did you get the idea for starting this project?
I wanted to create clothing that provided some sort of information about the wearer’s life/personality. This dress tells the story about its three main characters. The modules explain their background: where they come from, their hobbies, their relationships, their work, etc.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
I was inspired by the semiotics and the interpretation of images placed on the body as clothing and embellishments. However, now I am more inspired by creating modern 3D printed embellishments that can be mass produced.
How did you then get started with this project? Could you describe your workflow a little?
I began sketching the types of planets and figurines I wanted to use for the planets embellishments. However, my designs were really determined by what the software and the 3D printer would allow me to do.
Which 3D modeling software did you use?
I used Blender software to create the 3D prints. It is a free software and I found it very useful as a beginner in 3D printing. There is a 3D print toolbox which I used to ensure I kept within the boundaries of the minimum wall thickness and kept everything manifold. It was a steep learning curve mostly based on trial and error. I would recommend watching some Blender for 3D printing video tutorials (e.g. the one by i.materialise here).
Which material do you use and why?
At the starting point of the project I wanted to make tactile 3D prints for the main planet shapes. I used Polyamide with the velvet finish in petrol blue for the main planet part of the embellishments. The reason I chose this material and finish was that I wanted to give the 3D prints a tactile finish. As I am a textile designer I wanted the 3D prints to somehow connect back to the fabric of the garment: velvet achieved this aim perfectly.
In what way does 3D printing help you in creating these objects?
It would be very difficult for me to make these embellishments and manufacture them in multiples if they weren’t 3D printed.
3D printing gave me the opportunity to explore new concepts and designs that would have been very expensive for me to produce otherwise. I am hoping to expand on the idea of 3D printed embellishments for fashion next year for my ‘degree show’ and I hopefully will be able to find a sponsor.
This shouldn’t be a problem for you! Where can we find out more about you and your designs?
Are you interested in other 3D printed fashion items? Eric Meijer recently 3D printed shoes with us. We also looked back at Anouk Wipprecht’s top 5 3D printed dresses. Or do you want to give it a try yourself? Learn how to get started with 3D modeling here or upload your 3D file to get it printed here.