Studies on Form using Handwoven Textiles

Despite my busy schedule I managed to squeeze in this little project commissioned to me by Director Celia Elumba of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI). I was asked to create seven miniature dresses on miniature dress forms that will be given as tokens to the guest speakers of TELA Nation Conference. When I learned that I will be using handwoven cloth I agreed to take on the project without second thoughts.

Finally, I get to work with some of PTRI’s collection of handwoven fabrics. These are all experimental textiles, if I am not mistaken. And they are fabulous!

I worked with natural fibers and some blends. Cotton, silk, banana, pineapple and abaca where just some of the fibers used. I particularly loved the openweaves and double weaves that created layers of unusual textures. Looking at them up close and touching them gave me so much inspiration.

PTRI _Mini0
Experimental fabrics from PTRI.

I decided to approach this project as a way of furthering my understanding of how handwoven natural fibers can be manipulated to create new forms.

And they turned out pretty nice. Not bad for a few days work. What do you think?



I made seven different designs using various fabrics and weaves on miniature dress forms. I made use of some classic silhouettes and some sculptural drapings depending on the handle of the fabric. I also applied some fabric design techniques such as handpainting to better showcase the qualities of the fabrics. All dresses were handstitched and permanently attached to the form.

Before the event: Miniature forms being put together with the plaque. Photo courtesy of MJ Lesaca


The miniature designs and the plaque.


These miniature models were given together with a plaque of appreciation to the guest speakers of the event.

Director Celia Elumba with DOST Secretary Mario Montejo
Director Elumba with Assistant Secretary Ceferino Rodolfo
Director Elumba with Engr. Nora Mangalindan
Director Elumba with Designer Jean Goulbourn

Seeing the recipients get their token was a delightful sight. I saw that they were curious to see the little dresses on miniature forms. The PTRI staff were equally delighted. Once you learn to appreciate and love a material for what it is the possibilities of design is endless.

My special thanks to Engr. May, Angel and Donna of PTRI for coordinating with me during this project. And of course to Director Elumba. I look forward to our next project together.

Awarding photos courtesy of PTRI’s Official Facebook Page.

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