Capturing loft : adding value to New Zealand wool bedding products through textile design innovation : an exegesis in partial fulfilment towards a Master of Design, Massey University.

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Massey University
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This design-led research project was developed in collaboration with the Christchurch-based bedding manufacturing firm FibreTech New Zealand Limited. It explored the potential of an innovative wool-fill product developed by FibreTech. This new wool-fill maximises loft and bulk, both key factors for warmth and comfort in bedding. Loft is an active, three-dimensional feature of bedding, controlled through processes of compression and release. Retaining and managing loft was vital. The designer provided a holistic approach, using a textile design perspective to explore functionality and aesthetics in relation to the structure of the fill and outer membrane layers of bedding products. Through material sampling the project assessed how FibreTech’s new wool product could be layered and bonded with other textiles. The technical processes of needle punching, fusing and stitch bonding were used to explore the loft and compression relationship within the textiles. It was found that ratios of loft and compression could be altered to improve the efficiency of manufacturing; while at the same time optimising functionality and aesthetics. Textile design, wool knops, knoppy web, New Zealand wool, loft, overbody bedding, underbody bedding, sampling, research and development, digital quilting, computer-aided design Key words: Using the existing manufacturing process of digital quilting, stitch paths were redesigned to create an innovative range of bedding products for use over and under the body. The resulting textiles revealed a departure from classic bedding construction, with a new focus on controlling the stitch line through computer-aided design (CAD) technology. This hard-edged stitch line was a digital imposition that contrasted with the organic nature of soft, lofted materials. This visual and haptic tension was identified as key design interplay for both overbody and underbody approaches. Strategies were created towards lightweight overbody bedding and engineered shaping of underbody bedding. These new digital quilting strategies captured loft in distinctly different, yet functional ways. This project provides evidence that a textile designer can be a key contributor in the manufacturing industry, along with other disciplines such as science and engineering to add value to research and development in the New Zealand wool textile manufacturing industry. The design research progressed as a Callaghan Innovation Postgraduate Fellowship project and represents the development of a new aesthetic for wool bedding products.
Outer fabric samples contained in hard copy held at the Library
Bedding, Coverlets, Design and construction, Wool, Wool fill, Textile design, Wool knops, Knobby web, New Zealand wool, Loft, Overbody bedding, Underbody bedding, Sampling, Research and development, Digital quilting, Computer-aided design