Twists and Turns in Gymnastics & Life
Keyla and her mom Jennifer came to me with a huge bag filled with T-Shirts, Sweatshirts and leotards that represented 14 years of her life. Keyla started gymnastics as a 4 year old and now as a freshman in college, she is a coach. A knee injury cut her career as a gymnast short, but she still has many fond memories of the years she spent in the gym and in competitions.
When we first met, I asked Keyla if she had any vision for the duvet, if there was a particular shape or design she had in mind. The gym where she spent most of her career has a logo that incorporates a swirl or tumbling figure. Since the gym was such a big part of her career it seemed fitting to incorporate that into the overall design. I did a very quick sketch to capture the feeling of swirls, twists and turns.
How to begin?
Since all of the materials I was working with were knit, I didn’t have to worry about the fabric raveling, so I could cut them into shapes I wanted without finishing edges. I used a white sheet as a base fabric. All of the Tees, Sweats and Leotards were pinned directly to the sheet. This serves a couple of purposes: first of all, since the sheet is not knit, it won’t stretch and provides a more stable base, also, I can sew the curvy shapes directly to the sheet, not to each other which makes the process much easier. I started with the pieces I knew had the most meaning to Keyla and put them in the most prominent places, then I worked on balancing the color throughout the duvet. I then just started cutting unique curved and twisted shapes from each garment. The leotards were a bit tricky because of their unusual shape, but helped to create some of the most interesting parts of the duvet. It is sort of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together without the benefit of a picture to look at!
Putting it all together
When all of the pieces were pinned on the sheet, I sewed them to the sheet. The trickiest part is getting the entire duvet under the sewing machine and sewn in place. Once that was accomplished, I used a varigated ribbon to cover all of the raw edges. The color of the ribbon helped to pull together all of the colors incorporated in the duvet and also to finish off all of the raw edges.
Memories captured for life
Keyla and Jennifer with the duvet in my studio. Now when Keyla is at college, snuggled under her duvet or resting on her body pillow, she has all of those wonderful gymnastic memories with her as she enters the next chapter of her life.