So I kind of made a straightjacket. Out of oilskin. But don't worry! It was for a uni project so I promise I'm sane and everything
For a little monologue on anxiety and the project concept, continue reading. For pictures and garment details only, feel free to skip the next block of text.
The project, which I titled 'Underlying', is a commentary on anxiety and coping mechanisms. More specifically, my own. Anxiety can be so overwhelming and soul crushing to deal with. I consider myself to have only suffered from it mildly, but there have still been times where it has rendered me unable to function as a proper human being. I would describe the feeling as having no grit. Completely benign tasks become impossible without complete meltdowns and knowing that there is no reason to be struggling with whatever the task might be makes you feel all the worse. Its a horrible place to be and I massively respect people who deal with this kind of thing more permanently and severely.
So my coping mechanism is avoidance. I will physically and mentally hide from whatever has triggered my anxiety (By hide I mean, like, not leaving my room. Not crawling under my bed or anything. Just so you're not imagining me shutting myself in a cupboard). So yeah. I wrap myself up in a safe little world.
I wanted to address the idea that my coping mechanism, while making me feel better, isn't necessarily a healthy or positive way to deal with what I'm feeling. And also to question whether that mattered as long as it allowed me to cope.
The garment itself represents a physical manifestation of my anxiety. The lining is embellished with clay 'worry thorns'. I made these using air-dry clay and as I formed them, I tucked a little rolled up pice of paper in each one. On the little rolls of paper, I wrote something I was worried about or a repetitive negative thought. The outer of the garment is made from oilskin, which I chose to use because the feeling and smell of it made me squirm (although I'm now in love with it after working with it )!
The straightjacket form suited the idea that I was wrapped up in my own anxiety-led world and that it stopped me from performing everyday tasks - hence the super, super long sleeves.
I was a little worried about using the oilskin as I'd never sewn with it before (see earlier opinion on oilskin) but it went really smoothly! I loaded my machine with a denim needle and it was a dream! The heavy fabric was happy to sit on top of itself with no pins and no shifting on straight seams. Yummy!
Curved seams were a little more work - I pinned within the seam allowance as they left marks in the oilskin and used a thimble and determination to baste the seams. Definitely worth the trouble!
I altered the Merchant and Mills Top 64 pattern for the jacket and lined it with linen.