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A trip to the museum

As machine embroiderers, I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zones to see new interpretations of the everyday.  That’s why I took a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art recently.  A fashion exhibit featuring the work of Iris van Herpen was on display and it was well worth the trip!

If you’re unfamiliar, she’s a fashion designer that boldly and unapologetically mixes media to make her collections.  Ever imagine using 3-D printing to make garments?  She has and she’s done it.  She mixes everything from tulle (we’d expect that) to resins, chain and magnets.

My friend and I commented on whether or not a model could sit in any of the garments.  We concluded most were not meant for sitting!  But they certainly were fascinating and inspiring.

Take a look.


This dress, called Refinery Smoke, is at the entrance to the exhibit.  I think it’s among my favorites in the collection.  The description of the dress, as featured at the museum, follows.

What a unique gift to see beauty where most of us don’t.

The next dress is my top favorite.  It has a vintage look about it – which I love.

Here’s a closer view of the detail.  Would you have ever imagined to use ball chain on a garment?  Somehow it works!  As a machine embroiderer, I can imagine a touch of Urban Threads’ embroidery designs embellished somewhere on the dress.  You’ll make a splash when you enter the room in this garment!

You might be thinking delicate feathers.  No.  Laser cut 3-D polyester film lace and micro fiber.

At a loss for words? Me too.  Among the components are silicone laser-cut feathers, gull skulls and pearls.  Of course!

Close-up view of the garment.

Can you guess the metal components in the dress below?  Umbrella tines!


While you and I may not aspire to create over-the-top pieces like these – we do have permission to be inspired.  Push yourself to see fabric and embroidery designs with a new perspective.  Iris van Herpen certainly “broke” all sorts of “rules” when it comes to creating garments – and you can too – whether it’s embroidered garments, quilts or home decor.

Look for ideas in the upcoming Volume 106 Sept/Oct issue with Katherine Artines and Volume 107 Nov/Dec featuring a variety of 3-D ornaments.




  • Carolyn H

    They all look weird to me!

    • Denise Holguin

      Yes. That’s what makes the exhibit fun to me. Also, it’s amazing craftsmanship. It takes talent to put unusual materials together so flawlessly. I can barely put normal fabrics together flawlessly – imagine the skill needed to use plastic!

      Thank for reading the blog and commenting!


  • Hazel Tunbridge

    I agree Carolyn but museums are awesome places to be inspired.I try to visit as often as I can especially those in London

    • Denise Holguin

      Yes, that’s a great idea to visit regularly. I need to do the same. Paintings, sculptures and artifacts can inspire. All we need is a little spark of an idea!


  • BAK

    I saw this exhibit in Atlanta. Her creativity blew my mind!

    • Denise Holguin

      Seeing the exhibit made me want to experiment with unusual materials to make a garment. (and I don’t even sew garments!).


  • Linda Robbins

    Her designs make me wonder what her mind works like on a non-working day. I love the creativity these designs express. I wonder what I can do with ball chain?

  • Karin Callander

    Gull skulls? Really? All the rest was pretty imaginative and creative, but really now, gull skulls?? I’m not sure I can even unsee that!