Name that Fabric… Hound’s Tooth!

Thursday, 15 December 2011, 8:00 | Author : Kricket
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I make it a point to study fabric in anime.  It is the job of the texture artist to recreate the appearance and movement of specific textiles to smoothly integrate with the character design.  By studying and identifying animated fabric we can strive to create highly accurate cosplay costumes.  “Name that Fabric” will be a recurring subject to build your knowledge of fabric identification and aid you in making design decisions during construction.

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I’ve seen a lot of different styles for Japanese school uniforms, but they have always used solid-color or plaid fabrics.  For the first time in my cosplay career, I noticed a very specific patterned fabric incorporated into a uniform – Houndstooth.  I wouldn’t have even noticed if Ludovico hadn’t been showing me his top recommendations for the season.  It could be easily overlooked for two reasons: 1) It’s located on the collar and thus is not the main fabric, and 2) in faraway shots where detail is less important, the artists substitute a black and white diamond pattern.  While narrowing down the type of fabric worn on a collar might be trivial to some cosplayers, I think it is important to know that this fabric is actually quite easily accessible in fabric stores in various sizes.  (Just remember, some employees may recognize the fabric by it’s appearance, while even less will know it’s true name, so bring reference materials! )

Houndstooth is most commonly found in a checkered pattern of black and white and is so named because of the symmetrical “fangs” worked into the print.  The Independent adds, “Sometimes houndstooth is called dogtooth and, when it’s smaller… puppytooth. Scottish in origin, it is named after the jagged effect that might arise from the bite of a not-so-friendly canine… The Gallic translation of houndstooth is pied-de-poule – ‘chicken foot’.”  Yet, it was in Scotland that Houndstooth first appeared in the woven wool tartan cloth of the Scottish Lowlands (Charles Tyrwhitt).  This pattern has carried into modern textiles because of it’s distinctive and complex geometic design and I have yet to come across any other textile with similar qualities.

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