By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics


The mathematics of modular textiles allows you to take many small pieces of slotted fabric and interconnect them into a do-it-yourself garment. There is no sewing as the textile and the garment are created simultaneously. The parts can later be rearranged if perhaps you want to make a color accent, remove a stain, or just show a little more skin. Designers in the fashion world have taken this idea in various directions, using various underlying tessellations.

This dress design by Fioen van Balgooi and Berber Soepboer is based on squares with tabs in two opposite corners and slots in the other two corners. Notice how each square is rotated 90 degrees relative to its four neighbors. (Model: Marjolein Heij; photography:; make-up: Annelies van Oosterum)

Galya Rosenfeld makes outfits based on more complex modules that can be divided into small squares. (Model: Cory Hillman; photography: Yael Dahan)

And Eunsuk Hur has created designs based on circles with an underlying triangular connection grid. Pieces with tabs alternate with pieces with slots. (photography: SeungMo Hong; makeup: Kanako Yoshida)

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • Engineer Zero

    By the way, today is International Pi Day (3.14). I’m having Marionberry.

  • Jassica William

    Nice designing. I love these.

  • Anonymous

    The modular concept actually started as an exercise in anti-fashion, or at least anti-high fashion. When you see women milling around the counters selling multiple and simple, a dress and jump suit line made ​​by the same company, you might even think about it all seems a bit odd.

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  • Anonymous

    Clothes of all Types-Clothes are very important part of our personality as it gives our first impression to others and tells lot

    about us like about our taste, lifestyle and status.