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


Christine Wilks

About Christine
Christine Wilks is a digital writer and artist who creates rich-media works for the web at and engages in collaborative remixing at She also designs and creates e-learning experiences with She was a featured author at Writing Bodies/Reading Bodies in Contemporary Women's Writing 2009 (Oxford, UK) and has presented her works of e-literature and collaborative projects at other festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad, including e-Poetry 2009 (Barcelona, Spain), Electronic Literature in Europe 2008 (Bergen, Norway), Digital Resources for Humanities and the Arts 2008 (Cambridge, UK), Interactive Futures 2007 (Victoria, BC, Canada). She graduated from the online MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University in 2008. Before becoming engrossed in the web, she made short films, videos, installations and wrote screenplays.
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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), pp.1–22. DOI:
Published on 01 Jul 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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