Category Archives: Inspirations


All of my hard work has paid off, I got a distinction for my foundation degree! It’s the equivalent of a first and I’m so so happy and so relieved. I always think that the thing about creative degrees is that your work is so subjective you never quite know how it will be judged. It puts me in a good position for my top-up year to get my honours degree.

So I’ve been a bad blogger lately, I’ve been working long shifts at River Island most days and just haven’t had much time. I’ve also been in a bit of a creative rut since finishing uni and as such my blog has lost a bit of momentum; I just realised I’ve spent way too much time recently looking at the Topshop, River Island etc. websites when I could be designing. My latest issue of Elle magazine had arrived when I got home today with the runway edit, I’m planning on sitting down with a coffee and using it for some inspiration. I needed to just switch my brain off for a while but feel like it’s time to get back to it now.

I haven’t got an outfit post today but look at my new shoes:

I’ve been hunting for a  pair of boat shoes for months and when a girl came into River Island the other day wearing this pair I just had to ask her where they were from. They were from Next and were a complete bargain, I would never have thought of looking in there it’s just not a shop I ever go in usually. Promise I will be blogging more again and being more creative over the next few weeks 🙂


Keeping Busy…

I’ve spent the past couple of days doing all sorts of things that I haven’t been able to do for the past few months as I have been locked indoors doing uni work! We spent a few hours in the park yesterday after I finished work, I wore another new dress that I bought in London. Dave set up his slack line for the first time in a few years, the photo makes it look like I’m a lot better at it than I actually am! My sister, Hannah, just managed to take the photo before I fell off:

Dave was much better:

We generally just had fun messing around in the sun, until it started to rain…

Dress: Yuki for Topshop

Today I’ve been some what of a domestic goddess; I made Dave his favourite chocolate butter cake with cookies and cream filling (from one of my favourite books The Whimsical Bakehouse, then I did some gardening until I got rained off. That was the morning, then in the afternoon I made Rhubarb and Ginger Chutney and roast beef with all the trimmings.

Back to my sewing tomorrow, I’m meeting my friend Emily for a coffee in the morning to pick up my sewing machine (I lent it to her so that she could get her uni work finished) and then I’ll be coming home to make myself  a sleeveless blouse for the weekend. Or I might make a corset, I haven’t drafted a pattern yet so will decide tomorrow. I have two conversational print cottons that would be perfect for the rockabilly theme; one is pale blue with cowboys and indians, the other is pale pinky colour with multi coloured mushrooms. Very excited to be making something for myself, it seems ages since I did.

I’ll Just Tell You About Today….

Oh my goodness, I’ve just sat down and I’m absolutely pooped!! The past few days I’ve been crazy busy doing uni work, going to work and all sorts of other things! I don’t really know where to start telling you about it all. Today’s been no different and I’ve spent my time doing sketchbook work and getting some paperwork in order, including these photoshoot boards:

We found a good location for the shoot today too; a place called Tyrley Locks where the canal is surrounded by high banks covered in wild flowers. There was an old aquaduct across the canal and there were dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, it felt like the perfect place for the photoshoot, I need to scout out a few places around Stafford too though, it would be easier for children’s photoshoot as that’s where the models are from and I don’t want to put people out by asking them to travel too far.

Much of my time recently has been spent sewing, although it has been pintucking and ruffle making so nothing finished to show you. It’s looking good, feel like things are progressing well and my pleated fabric should arrive by courier tomorrow which will hopefully mean I can get a couple of dresses all but finished this weekend. I need to get things like zips and buttons before I go back over to my mum’s. When she read my recent post concerning how see-through my silk chiffon was she advised that the best way to overcome this would be to cut the lining on the bias so I will need to draft bias-cut lining patterns too. There’s a lot of work to do in the next 4 and a half weeks,  I’ll get there I’ll just have to keep working my little socks off!!

It was ever so gloomy this morning that I put on black opaque tights with this outfit:

Top and Skirt: River Island

After spending the morning shut in my room (which barely seems to get any natural sunlight) I went into the kitchen to make my lunch to happily find that the sun had appeared and me and Bracken sat out in the garden to eat my salad. I did some more work and then went to pick Dave up from work before heading to Tyrley Locks. Once we got home I ended up spending a few hours in the kitchen making Dave and Iced Berry Mousse Cake and homemade meatballs for his tea. The recipe for the meatballs said to grate the onion, I swear I am never doing this again my eyes were streaming sooooo badly! I had heavy black eye make up on and couldn’t touch my face as my hands were covered in onion juice, the results were the worst panda eyes you’ve ever seen in your entire life! I love cooking, it’s like my little de-stress time. I am pretty knackered now though!!

Off to uni tomorrow to use the print room, hoping to get a trial run of my print designs done.

Wearing a Giant Hat of Cleverness!

I got home from London to find that my Dad had sent me a card to say well done for getting onto my course:

Isn’t it brilliant?! I’ve set it as my wallpaper on my laptop and am going to put it in a frame on my wall.

I worked from home yesterday so no outfit post but I did get the toile of one of the womenswear dresses finished, it’s toiled in calico so it doesn’t fall so well as it will in the proper fabric:

There is another pleated layer which will join into the seam of the waistband and skirt but the main point was to get the idea of how the pintucks would look and how the dress would fit as I’ve had to mess around with the darts quite a lot. Over all I’m really pleased with this, I think the pintucks look really effective. I still had to ease the bodice into the top of the waistband a lot though, I think the front waistband could do with another 1cm (0.5cm on each side) really. I think I’m going to take about 15cm off the length too.

Finally Finished with Initial Designs….

Woohoo, I think I’ve finished with Initial Designs; I had about 30 in the end!! It took me a lot longer to get them scanned in, polished up on Photoshop and annotated. In fact it took me ALL DAY!!!!! But it’s done now and I’ve emailed them to my mentors for some feedback, which means that I’m on hold with the design process for the moment so I can focus on my business plan for a few days and some sketchbook work too. I’m popping over to Birmingham tomorrow to get some fabric samples which is always exciting, although I’m not looking forward to working out the costings; I’m planning on using silk and so it’s going to be expensive. But I know it will be worth it, I get really excited looking at the designs and picturing them going down the catwalk.

I only left my desk to take Bracken for a walk in the wood today; it was beautiful because it felt like everything was trying to grow. Spring is on its way 🙂 As I’ve basically been a recluse there is no outfit post today, I don’t think anyone needs to see me with my hair scraped back, in leggings and my trusty NYPD hoody! So I thought I’d show you some well dressed ladies, a few of my favourite collections from New York Fashion Week Fall 2011

Marchesa can do no wrong in my eyes, I love them more every season!! Plus I just read on that Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are English. Now I can feel proud of them too!

Their garments are always so beautifully cut, oh how I wish I was rich.

Rodarte are another design duo who I’ve been admiring for a couple of years, since they designed the costumes for Black Swan their coverage seems to have sky-rocketed. Everyone is talking about them this Fashion Week, it’s definitely well deserved. This Little House on the Prairie style collection is beautiful, I particularly like the wheat field printed dresses:

Vera Wang’s collection was simply stunning, I could have posted every single outfit! It’s all pleated too (my final collection features pleating heavily) so I think a lot of these images will be going into my research file:

I also need to create a pleating theme board so will use the images on that too. I put all these collages together on Photoshop using the Polygonal Selector Tool; I know it’s a technique a lot of bloggers use to display collections they like but this is the first time I’ve done it. I really like the effect so may use it to make my theme board and may well use it to create my theme board rather that printing the images out and cutting and sticking them!

Dave’s gone out tonight and so I’m going to continue with today’s work ethic and spending the evening putting together a start-up costing sheet for Start Up Planning and Promotion.

Reflections from Paris…..

Ok, there is so much to write about my Paris trip but I think it’s most important to write about the research I’ve obtained and the things that inspired me before general Paris stuff.   

There were a couple of things I’d looked into before we went, one of which was the Fashion and Textiles Museum (Les Arts Décoratifs – Mode et textile), I wanted to visit the exhibition “Les années 1990-2000. Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine vol. II” (Years 1990-2000. Ideal history of contemporary fashion). Just look at the list of designers that they had on display:

I was ridiculously excited to visit this exhibition and it didn’t dissapoint. Although they did only have one Alexander McQueen dress on display. I had never heard of E2 before but thought that this dress was cool:
It’s strips of fabric sewn in diagonal lines, I think it looks really effective and wondered whether it would be possible to produce a similar effect with pleating or tucks.
This Helmut Lang dress was equally inspiring to me:
It looked almost like fringing and really tight little gathers. It reminded me of shells and sea urchins.
I was really hoping that there would be a book/magazine on the exhibition but there wasn’t 😦
Next up was Premier Vision, this was primarily why me and Emily had decided to go to Paris. We got loads of information on the Spring Summer 2012 colours and trends which is fantastic primary research for my FMP sketchbook and to inform my designs. All the colours that I want to use for my collection: natural creams and bright floral colours were predicted to be popular for SS12 along with lots of prints: ideal for me as I wanted to incorporate my own print design. It was interesting to visit and see all the business that was being done, I wonder if I will be back there in the future looking for fabrics and trimmings for my own label? Or working for a design house?
The last trip I made in Paris was to the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. The main inspiration for my FMP collection was the Natural History Museum in London so I thought it was essential to visit Paris’ equivalent.  It is a fantastic museum, they have several different buildings and outdoor gardens; the weather on that day was beautiful. If we had the time I would loved to have sat there all day drawing the plants and animals. I did do some sketches of plants, dragonflies and shells to go in my sketchbook. You are allowed to use cameras in the museum too, so I also got Dave to take lots of photos for me.
As I mentioned in my last post I was surprised at just how much bigger the market for children’s fashion is in France, there were countless little boutiques featuring brands such as Il Pinco Pallino, TroizEnfants etc as well as smaller, more independent brands; I found myself daydreaming of having my own little shop in Paris!!
One last little thing, I have to say I’m pleased with my Photoshop skills; the last two images on this post are created on Photoshop from scanned images. I know it’s still pretty basic but I’m teaching myself and am pleased with the results I’ve been getting so far.

Back from Paris…

Sorry there’s been no posts all week, I’ve been in Paris!! What a beautiful, inspirational city (especially once you get away from the main touristy bits). It’s been a really useful trip for me, I was amazed at just how much bigger children’s fashion is in France. I could write pages and pages about all that we saw and did but I think it will be better if I break it down into smaller more readable posts. Dave spent most of his time taking candids so there aren’t a great deal of photographs of me to show you, plus the fact it was extremely cold and so I spent most of my time wrapped up in my fur coat so you can’t see much of my outfits underneath anyway!! I need to seriously get back into work mode and draw up more designs properly (I’ve jotted down loads of ideas this week) so it may take a while to fill you in on Paris properly but will get photos and musings up asap. In the mean time here’s me at  Sacré-Coeur in Montmatre (the highest point in Paris), the weather was a bit grotty but the view was still pretty epic. Around the immediate area of Sacré-Coeur you have about a million tacky tourist shops but the further we went into the back streets the more we saw of the real Paris and lots of vintage shops too which always makes me happy (it was even better because it didn’t seem to have taken hold so much as in London). I got an amazing pair of corduroy culouttes and Dave got an army jacket.

Plan for the morning is to catch up on my emails, some yoga, draw up some more designs and put some more research into my sketchbook. But before I do any of that I’ve promised to go and make Dave a sausage sandwich!!

Just to give you a brief rundown of all the things I have to tell you about:

  1. Notre-Dame
  2. Premier Vision
  3. La Louvre
  4. Père La Chaise
  5. Sacre-Couer
  6. Eiffel Tower
  7. Les Invalides
  8. Muséum national d’Histoire
  9. Petit Palais
  10. Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Musée de la Mode et du Textile