Textiles Cover

This blog references an ongoing project where I am working towards creating a holistic sensory solution for newborn babies. This solution aims to overcome the sensory difference between cot and womb. Below is a discussion surrounding one of the five elements; the fitted sheet.

Now at the stage of modelmaking and prototyping the fitted bed sheet; an understanding is needed of the techniques and materials required to make a well-fitted fabric bedsheet. Having a background in textiles and a general understanding of fabric construction, I feel confident to approach this.

However, as you can see from the image above a single piece of fabric will not be adequate to cover the intricate curves and shapes within this foam mattress. This will require many pieces and a greater understanding of fabric construction that I am confident with.

I, therefore, felt it was necessary to contact a fabric contouring expert.  I spoke to Katie who was able to give me invaluable advice regarding both the fabric choice and direction around how to approach the construction of such a complex structure.

We first talked about the fabric itself, Katie highlighted the fabric I had used was a non-stretch, rigid material and this was not the most forgiving material for trying to wrap curves. “you will end up having 5000 pleats across that top edge leaving your model looking messy and unprofessional”. Katie suggested using a two-way stretch fabric "when you have the fabric in your hands it’ll stretch both, from left to right and from top to bottom". Using a two-way stretch fabric is much more forgiving and will look a lot better across the corners and soft edges.

Katie also mentioned using a 'matt' fabric, this would help to eliminate any unseen mistakes that would otherwise be highlighted with the use of fabrics with a sheen - "drawing the eye to any slight raises or bobbles across the surface."

Katie also recommend considering the weight of the fabric, she felt this product would need a 175gsm - 200gsm, “if the label does not tell you the weight of the fabric then place your first under the fabric push it through, as the fabric stretches, if you can see the colour of your skin through the fabric it is too thin/light weight”.
Using this same technique will also indicate whether the fabric has a good recovery Katie explained, as you remove your first from the fabric if a ‘boat’ shape is left rather than springing straight back, then this material does not have a good enough recovery. 

Having spoken to Katie about her suggestions for fabric selection and further construction recommendations the conversation moved onto the manufacturing, Katie informed me of a company called ‘International moulders’ this company based out of Hong Kong can create fabric covers that are 'seem free'. this adds to the comfort of the product alongside the overall visual atheistic. Using a company like 'international moulder' is not possible at this stage of prototyping, due to the resources cost and time I have available to me.  Looking to the future, if I was to enter mass batch production, a conversation with international moulders would be relevant.