Fitting the Pattern or being a dressmaker’s daughter: a memoir in pieces - Being Creatively Autobiographical in New Media


Cutting through memories, pinning down facts, stitching up fabrications, unpicking the past - an interactive, animated memoir, created in Flash, exploring aspects of my relationship with my dressmaking mother and her complicated influence on me.

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.

The visual design of the piece is based on the aesthetics of dressmaking patterns, specifically, imagery drawn from online open source sewing patterns ( An affordance of such a design is that dressmaking patterns are instructional by nature so I was able to design an intuitive navigational system that provides signals and guidance to the user without breaking out of the narrative sphere and disrupting a potentially immersive experience.

There are certain parallels between my motherʼs creative craft process and my own in new media. These similarities, as well as our differences, are embedded in the digital media and text, literally drawn out through animation and dramatised 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. Like most of the interactive elements in ʻFitting the Patternʼ, these dressmaking tool symbols have multiple functions - they are navigation bar buttons; they are custom cursors; and they are active narrative elements, like animated characters, literally playing their part in the story whilst simultaneously activating the reading/story experience.

The piece ends with a randomly generated sequence that functions as a metaphor for the intimate perplexity of the mother-daughter relationship and interconnected life patterns.

How to Cite

Wilks, C., (2009) “Fitting the Pattern or being a dressmaker’s daughter: a memoir in pieces - Being Creatively Autobiographical in New Media”, Studies in the Maternal 1(2), 1-22. doi:


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Christine Wilks



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