Verlan Dress by Francis Bitonti
and New Skins Workshop students

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New York designer Francis Bitonti worked with students to 3D-print this dress using commercially available MakerBot machines (+ movie).

Francis Bitonti created the dress while leading a three-week digital fashion workshop over the summer, which aimed to introduce students to computer software and additive manufacturing equipment.

"The project wasn't to design a garment, the project was to design a method of making form on the computer that could be deployed across the body," said Bitonti.

Verlan Dress by Francis Bitonti

During the New Skins Workshop, students experimented with form-building software and created samples of their designs using the 3D printers.

"The MakerBot provided the students a direct link with the material world," said Bitonti. "While they're working on all these complex computer simulations they were able to get tactile, physical results through the MakerBot."

Interim reviews of the groups' work took place with guest critics, including designer Vito Acconci, who chose their favourite 3D-printed dress designs to develop.

Intricate patterning from one group and the silhouette from another were combined to create the final design, which was then printed in sections using a new flexible filament created by MakerBot.

"The idea was to create a landscape of geometric effects, things that would have different material behaviours in different parts of the body," Bitonti said.

The result was a garment that referenced muscle fibres, veins and arteries to look like an inside-out body. It was named Verlan Dress after the French slang word for the reversal of syllables.

The workshop took place at the Digital Arts and Humanities Research Centre of the Pratt Institute in New York.

Bitonti previously worked with designer Michael Schmidt to create a dress for burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese using selective laser sintering. We've also featured 3D-printed clothing by Iris van Herpen and Catherine Wales.

Last month Microsoft began selling MakerBots in its US stores, while Makerbot unveiled a prototype of a desktop scanner earlier in the year. Read more about 3D printing in our one-off magazine Print Shift.

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