Wild Card Prize - Vulnerability expressed beautifully through design and texture.

Comforting Textures

Content Warning: References to Self Harm



Lilian Walsh

(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

The inspiration for my entry came from the main character in the novel "Sharp Objects" by Gillian Flynn. I found it difficult to read this novel because of its disturbing subject matter. Camille Preaker identifies herself as a cutter as she has a long history of carving words into her skin. Words like "petticoat" or "vanish". There are some insightful passages in the novel. For instance, on the first night back in her mother's house after several years, she has unsettling dreams. In one of those dreams, she is getting ready for a summer holiday and realizes she's laid out all the wrong clothes including thick winter sweaters. She also spends time in a hospital that specializes in the particular kind of affliction of cutting. Everything is smooth edges and the goodness of touch is encouraged. My entry is a sweater composed of pieces of several of my old, soft sweaters in complimenting, heathery colors. I put all the seams and the stitching on the outside because I wanted to symbolize scarring, but focus on healing. The sweater is intended to be very soft in texture, as well as warm and protective. I wanted it to be something that would focus the kind of energy that might go into self harm and channel it towards creating a symbol of safety, comfort, and self love. When I put on the sweater, I feel this goal is accomplished in that it is the most comfortable thing I've ever worn.

Outline the construction…

For my entry I used several old sweaters that are all a soft, nubbly wool blend. Firstly, I did make a general pattern on Christmas tissue paper after examining some cardigan-like sweaters that I tend to wear. I altered the pattern to fit me better in my shoulders. It was difficult, because I never made a pattern before and I had to do a lot of estimating. I made a mock-up with some polyester material from an old skirt, but then I had to put it aside once I felt I had a general idea of what I wanted to do. I was terrified that the sweaters would unravel once I cut them into pieces. Thankfully, they didn't. I cut them as neatly as possible into as big pieces as possible to get the most out of them. I hand sewed all the pieces together with a running backstitch twice with a double threaded needle. I thought the seams would be stronger if I did that and also I don't know how to use my sewing machine yet. After I got the sweater put together, I made several long darts around the middle and back to shape the sweater. I did this by pinching the sweater and basting until they were as even as I could get them. Then I hand sewed around all the edges and dart seams and some of the sleeve seams with a polyester teal green thread. I am still sewing seams.




  1. Avatar Avery on March 11, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I love the colors! The melding shapes and pieces representing scarring and healing is brilliant and touching, thank you so much for this.

    • Avatar Lili on March 12, 2021 at 12:45 am

      Thank you for this comment. I was really hesitant about submitting because of the subject matter and how to find a way to deal with it that isn’t a trigger for me or anyone else. I still worry and feel shame about this. However, with all the hand sewing, I got over my fear of using a needle and scissors. I understand it, and I know it is necessary; but I feel sorry my project has to have a warning.

      • Avatar Ari on March 13, 2021 at 2:46 am

        I think you handled the subject matter well, and that this piece does a good job representing what you were trying to represent!

        Also, love that you used upcycling for your project, and I think the patchwork is gorgeous and has a really nice aesthetic.

      • Avatar Lili on March 15, 2021 at 2:12 am

        I just want to revise slightly what I said before about being sorry that my entry needed a warning. As someone who has also overcome this issue, I was thinking of my project from the point of view of someone on the lighter end of a long dark tunnel. There should be an alert as there are so many who should be protected. I forgot, and was being selfish to take it personally. This is about a fictional character and not me. Things do get better. Creativity always promotes growth. We have to take care of each other. Joy doesn’t come naturally to everyone and takes a lot of practice to be good at, like anything else.

  2. Avatar Lorraine Lysen on March 11, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    This is a truly inspired piece, I am so impressed. It looks amazing, and the thought behind it is powerful. Wonderful!

  3. Avatar Catherine Murray on March 11, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    I love this. The colours are harmonious and a palette that I am drawn too. Your creative spirit shines through.

  4. Avatar Missy on March 12, 2021 at 12:43 am

    This is such a beautiful coat, and evocative of the story. I especially love the alternating patche colours in the collar area and the way the darts shape it, and the overall drape. Also I just really want to touch it!

    • Avatar Lili on March 12, 2021 at 12:48 am

      It’s super cozy.

    • Avatar Rowan on March 12, 2021 at 4:41 am

      It is good to see such a subject represented in such a loving way. I absolutely see the imagery of the scars in the outward seams – and especially the tucks in the back.

  5. Avatar Jocelyn Lofstrom on March 12, 2021 at 1:35 am

    Very cool. Without knowing the inspiration I would have thought this was a Japanese avant garde runway look.

  6. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:16 am

    This is not only a very hard story to portray, but you did it so flawlessly and I just love how your brain have translated this into your garment – beautiful work! Thank you so much for sharing

    • Avatar Lili Walsh on March 13, 2021 at 8:17 pm

      I’m so glad you commented, Kitty. I found your article on upcycling very inspiring. As I’m new I’m still trying to remember who wrote or did what. But your article helped encourage out of the box thinking for me since I had to use what already had. Thank you so much!

  7. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 9:45 am

    What a moving inspiration and beautiful fished object!

  8. Avatar Stanislava Pilkova on March 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

    You did a great job and you are very brave for not being constricted by social taboos

  9. Avatar Tarese Klemens on March 12, 2021 at 11:31 am

    I love this and the story behind it. As someone who has struggled with and overcome self-harm in the past, I can relate on some level. I also love how you have constructed and put together this garment. Its really lovely!

    • Avatar Lili on March 14, 2021 at 9:32 pm

      Thank you for your comment and being brave enough to talk about your struggle and overcoming it. I tried to handle this delicate subject in a positive kind of way.

  10. Avatar Anaïs on March 12, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    So many thoughts went into the garment and it’s what make great customing in my opinion. Clothes can tell a story and I think many people would love such a soft coat to protect and soften

  11. Avatar Lili on March 12, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you for the lovely comments.

    • Avatar Murrianna on March 14, 2021 at 3:22 am

      Gorgeous! Beautiful colors and so comfy looking.

  12. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 1:14 am

    I’m just gobsmacked by your design thought process, and how well it carries through in your beautiful and distinctive final garment. The tactile lushness of it shines out of every photo.

    • Avatar Lili on March 16, 2021 at 8:15 pm

      Thank you so much! I really felt like the photos didn’t come out as well as I wanted.

  13. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 15, 2021 at 2:48 am

    Wow. You did a beautiful job! May you be inspired to do more. 🙂

  14. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 15, 2021 at 3:06 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey & vulnerability with us. I’m glad you found comfort, physically and emotionally, in creating beauty in this way.

  15. Avatar Lili on March 15, 2021 at 3:13 am

    Thank you so much, Maeri!

  16. Avatar BurstAngel 75 on March 16, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    This is so impressive!

  17. Avatar Carol Hughey on March 17, 2021 at 5:04 pm

    This is a beautiful garment. The process and inspiration of your creation make it even more profound. Thank you for sharing..

  18. Avatar Xenofon on March 18, 2021 at 9:57 am

    This is so nice. Love the whole journey. I really like the exposed seams/ mending. I think it shows all the vulnerability you described.

  19. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 4:18 am

    Inspiring work. You carved a well thought out garment. Carved is my word, I know you mean to represent scarring. Love this piece! Thank you!

  20. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 22, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    This is phenomenal work just to look at before I even read the story. So impressed. And I really like that you are still sewing the seams as for me I feel that healing is an ongoing story, never completely finished and so the fact that this isn’t quite finished is actually quite perfect.

  21. Avatar Suzanne Egan on March 23, 2021 at 5:56 am

    What a thought provoking piece. This is an amazing translation of the book. Well done!

  22. Avatar Lavinia Fantini on March 24, 2021 at 10:12 am

    I really like how you decided to channel your inspiration, and the end result is very unique! The preview definitely caught my attention!
    I lobe the collar, when I was in my teens I had an oversize cardigan with a very similar one and it was the best thing ever 🙂

  23. Avatar Benigna on March 25, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    I love the colours! It´s so vibrant and looks co comfy.
    I also really like that you put the seems on the outside, to me it seems like you really put a lot of thought into it.

  24. Avatar Carol Phillips on March 27, 2021 at 1:57 am

    Good girl! Yes you are a very good girl. Your sweater jacket is pretty and the back stories are inspired for growth and overcoming challenges.

  25. Avatar Mary on March 29, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    This is an awesome project. You chose a very difficult material to start with but executed it very nicely. I have sewed for many years and knitted for about 15 years, and deciding to use knitted sweaters as your fabric is very brave. Cutting and sewing by hand those seams is amazing. I’ve had to modify sweaters by sewing and doing it on a machine would have been easier but doing it by hand lets you have more control with a “fiddly” fabric. Very well done you! It seems it let you really enjoy the creative process.

  26. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    I love this entry <3 It's well executed, and it's a great interpretation of the theme. I've only seen the TV adaptation of the book, but I can absolutely get behind your thought process. Well done 👏

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