Fitting the Pattern

Fitting the Pattern

As part of a long-term tradition of exploring the imbrications between text and textile, Fitting the Pattern literalizes the idea that an act of writing is also an act of weaving. Here stitches are links, cloth fragments also textual fragments, and the reader is the tailor who must bring it all together to complete the pattern and make the narrative cohere. Fitting the Pattern articulates familial and specifically maternal relations as and through domestic labor, implicitly tracing a line from dressmaking as women's work to a gendered writing practice.


Author description: Cutting through memories, pinning down facts, stitching fabrications, unpicking the past - an interactive, animated memoir, created in Flash, exploring aspects of my relationship with my dressmaking mother. Life's mysteries are rarely uncovered by a logical, linear process of deduction. You arrive at answers, ideas, suspicions, intuitions, haphazardly in fragments. Over time you build the picture, piece by piece, shuffling and rearranging, until you start to see a pattern emerging. The structure of Fitting the Pattern attempts to replicate this experience; hence it is a memoir in pieces that the reader can explore, to some extent, in a non-linear fashion. There are certain parallels between my mother's creative craft process and my own in new media; therefore the visual design of the piece is based on the aesthetics of sewing patterns. These similarities, as well as our differences, are embedded in the digital media and text, literally drawn out through animation and dramatized through interactivity. Custom cursors designed as digital dressmaking tools fuse the interactive process into the narrative world, so the reader becomes actively involved in constructing and/or unpicking the narrative.

Instructions: Use the dressmaking tool custom cursors to navigate. You will have read all the fragments of the memoir when all the pattern pieces are dark in the pattern layout diagram (see bottom right corner). When the pattern pieces jiggle, click again to view the final, randomly-generated sequence. To quit, close the browser window.

Previous publication: Fitting the Pattern was published on Christine Wilks website in 2008.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

The Electronic Literature Lab could not preserve this Flash work with Ruffle in February 2021. We do plan to preserve it with Conifer at a later date.