Knitwear is a fast-growing fashion category. The research and creative work Jackie Kilmartin, Fashion Design faculty and director of the SHIMA SEIKI Fashion Knitting Lab, is focused on includes textile forming technologies, specifically weft knit fabrication and weft knitwear design. Professor Kilmartin teaches coursework in materials exploration, knit textile and garment programming, and knitwear design. Prior to joining Drexel, Professor Kilmartin was a biomedical textile engineer for the medical industry, where she developed woven, braided, warp knit and weft knit textiles, using novelty and conventional raw materials. Since 2018 she has been focusing her research and creative work on fabric and program library development within the SHIMA SEIKI Fashion Knitting Lab at Drexel University. She has received three university grants focused on creating shared textile content for university-wide collaboration. While the library includes a wide range of stitch content, Professor Kilmartin's creative interests lie in jacquard fabrication. She is currently working on projects including textile development with novel materials, dimensional jacquard garment design, and knitwear reproduction work.
Students in the knitwear classes learn to create quality fabrics by experimenting with combinations of yarn type and size within knit construction, using both traditional methods and cutting edge technology, including SHIMA SEIKI, the computerized flatbed knitting machine and computer graphic design systems manufacturer from Japan. SHIMA SEIKI is a pioneer of 3D knitting technology with the mission to provide the best possible means of support to help revitalize and convert the knitting industry to become a more sustainable one; and is continually striving to contribute to revolutionize various manufacturing industries. Students become proficient in using this system, operating SDS ONE APEX 3 Design Program for virtual fabric sampling, understanding the principles of a wide variety of weft knit structures and acquiring the ability to produce these structures upon a flatbed knitting machine.
Elective courses in research methodology from Drexel's Master's program in Design Research instructs the
students on how to investigate the elements of sustainable and ethical sourcing and production
and apply this thinking to their thesis collections. Research and reading, market survey and
analysis in writing, design, drawing, patternmaking, draping, fitting and presentation are
integrated with costing and specifications writing for a thorough understanding of the
Shi Hui Chang
Professor Kilmartin also owns textile-driven fashion brand, Lillian Jackson Textiles (LJT).
Inspired by the reduction of floral forms, LJT designs are modern and feminine, incorporating
soft pleats, fléchage shaping, eyelets and cable details, onto a mostly neutral color palette.
Natural fiber choices are based on the hand and drape quality of a chosen yarn/fiber and how this
quality will balance with the physical design of the piece. Each knit good is hand-loomed, with
built-in shaping, and finished on the knitting machine. Each woven good is hand-dyed using
low impact dyes and processes. Many designs are one-of-a-kind or small series. LJT work can be
viewed at lillianjacksontextiles.com.