Wearable Art designed and made by Gloria Justen

I have been making clothing and accessories since I was very young. My mother enjoyed fine garments, and we enjoyed perusing the pictures in fashion magazines, but we did not have the budget to buy designer clothing at a department store. Mom taught my sister and me to sew, and we made our own designer clothes from Vogue Patterns. Later I took a course in flat pattern-making at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.

I am meticulous with my sewing construction techniques and hold myself to very high quality standards with the clothing and accessories I create. However, there will be irregularities in some handmade items because of processes of dyeing or felting that are very difficult to control, and these irregularities should be regarded as part of their handmade charm - features, not flaws.

The wearable art pieces on offer here are made of natural fibers and fabrics, because they feel lovely and luxurious to wear, and they breathe. They are also more eco-conscious, because they come from plants and animals, and at the end of their useful life they can biodegrade in a reasonable amount of time, unlike petroleum-based fabrics (like polyester or acrylic.)

Most of my wearable creations can be hand-washed. It is not necessary to dry clean them.

Some of the techniques I use are:

hand dyeing (natural dyes and other dyes)

hand painting

hand printing (with my own blocks and other shapes)

machine printing of digital designs (mostly done by a printing service)

wet felting (rolling and rubbing the wool fleece with water and gentle soap)

needle felting (stabbing up and down repeatedly through the fleece with felting needles)

nuno felting (wool is merged by hand felting processes into a base fabric)

shibori (ties, stitches, clamps or pleats resist the dye and make shapes)

hand stitching

machine sewing and serging