Category Archives: Final Major Project

Final Collection Exhibition….

My exhibition opened on Friday evening and will be open until Wednesday. Most of the other exhibitions will be up until Thursday but all Fashion exhibits are taken down early for the fashion shows which begin on Thursday. I tried to take a photo of my exhibition space to show you, the picture isn’t great sorry but it gives you an idea:

My Dad came to the private view, it was the first time he’d seen all my work in real life. I think he was pretty proud! There was a lot of people there, it felt a bit strange knowing they were looking at my work and judging it completely at face value. Not knowing the extent of the work that went into it. The response seemed very positive, I hovered around for a while eavesdropping on what people were saying! I had to be there again this afternoon as we have to take it in turns to watch the room but now I won’t have to go in again until the dress rehearsal for the fashion show on Thursday.

I’ve been feeling poorly since I got home so no outfit post but here’s what I wore yesterday. This is currently my favourite outfit, not sure how it’s managed to escape being posted before. Probably because I was to busy with deadlines the past few times I wore it. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I am in love with my pineapple print cropped jeans:

Shirt: Topshop (from years ago)

Cropped print jeans: River Island

 


Today seems a good day for reflection……

As I reach the end of this course, it seems appropriate to reflect on my entire learning experience over the past two years. So I’m sitting here this morning surrounded by my old learning journals; it feels really strange to go back and read the very first ones. It’s clear that to begin with I had no idea what a reflective learning journal was or how I could use it as a tool for my personal progression!

Looking at my journal dated 22nd February 2010 to 28th May 2010 it’s clear this was a turning point for me. During my first semester the journal seems very immature and naive; an “I did this and then I did that” document. It doesn’t discuss how anything I did could benefit my work in the future, how it made me feel and barely contains any imagery.  I don’t remember what it was that made the purpose of the journal click for me but now I don’t know why I ever found the concept so difficult to understand! I look at the second journal and I’m instantly transported back to that time; all the things I tried and how they worked or didn’t work. The designers and artists that were influencing my work at the time.

At the beginning of year 2 I set up this blog and I feel that this has enabled me to take my reflective learning to the next level, some people questioned how effective keeping my journal in this way would be from a creative point of view. I don’t feel that keeping my journal in this way has made it any less reflective! If anything I’ve found it much easier to put in photos of techniques that I’ve sampled, other designers works I’m looking at etc. I remember spending hours and hours at the end of the first year printing out what felt like millions of photos and photocopies to cut out and stick into gaps in my journal. Now I just upload the photos straight away and they’re there; no glue or scissors required!

I’ve also really enjoyed the feedback I get from people reading my blog; people seem fascinated to read about my learning experience as a fashion student. I think this is testament in itself that my learning journal/blog is an effective tool to give an incite into my thoughts and feelings about what I’m doing. I feel that the blog has been a fantastic tool for reflection and I plan to continue using it for this purpose even after graduation from this course.

I wish that I had begun my journal in this form a lot earlier, I didn’t keep it up over the summer break last year and I feel this was a mistake. It was during the summer months that I undertook two fantastic work placements; the first at Anna Scholz Ltd in London and the second at Damselfly Boutique in Shropshire. Perhaps keeping a journal of my time at these businesses in such a publicly visible format would not have been appropriate but I wish that I had kept it for my own record. The reflective learning journal is something that I feel will be with me for life in one way or another now! I just wish that the idea of it had been more clearly explained to me from day 1 but then I think that if it had been to prescribed then I wouldn’t have developed it into what it is today; something that I find truly useful.

I look at the work I am submitting for this Final Major Project and am filled with pride. Particularly because I don’t feel that any of my learning experience has been spoon fed  to me, there are odd occasions where I have felt the lack of support has been inappropriate even for a degree level course. But on the whole, any problems that I’ve encountered I have investigated and resolved on my own and feel that my learning experience and understanding of fashion design and manufacture is stronger than ever and continues to grow.


One down, One to go…..

All work for start-up planning and promotion is now submittted!!! I wish that meant that I could rest as I am completely shattered, but instead I’ve come home and made a to do list of things left to do for my FMP! Before I get started on the list, I thought I should take the time to write an overall reflection and evaluation of my womenswear final garments.

Dress one, pintucks and pleats:

I adore this dress, the pleats and the pintucks work so well together. It has caused me so much heartache and tears, but I think the above photo shows that it’s been worth it. I’ve talked about the problems I had constructing this dress before: joining the skirt panels whilst still keeping the pleats hanging correctly, it just isn’t possible to join all the panels with french seams as I had wanted to do because of the width of the panels, I could have joined one side of a pleated panel with a french seam but not the other. To even join one side I would have needed double the amount of the blue chiffon, which would have made the costs of this dress sky rocket. I am also unable press these skirt panel seams open as it would destroy the pleats; I hope that I don’t get marked down for this or the fact that the seams are not all the same. I shouldn’t do because it isn’t as though I’ve just joined it together any old way, I’ve had to do it this way to make sure that it looks right. I have finished the bottom edge of the dress using fray stop, even a tiny little rolled hem spoils the line of the pleats.

Dress 2, the ruffle and pintucked dress:

This is the dress that I started first and finished last!!! Mainly due to the fact that I had to fray stop every raw edge on the skirt, and as you can see there is a lot! It’s my own fault, I could have used a fabric that didn’t fray so easily as chiffon or cut the edges with pinking shears but I don’t think that anything else would have been as effective as this. I didn’t want pinked edges, they don’t look as fragile and natural as the raw cut edges do and that was the whole point of it: fragility and nature. Fastening this and the first dress with clear plastic press studs was definitely the best option: they are so light you can’t even tell they’re there once the dresses are fastened. The only problem is that they aren’t very strong and on this dress one or two did pop open, not what you want to happen on the catwalk!!! So I will  need to add a couple more to try to reduce this risk.

Dress 3, Dragonfly print and pintucked dress:

I’ve talked about the construction of this dress in quite a lot of detail previously but hadn’t photographed it on a mannequin. I am pleased with the construction and I love the colour. I used the same method from Fashion Incubator to join the lining to the dress as I used on the child’s dragonfly dress. This website is an excellent resource, it’s enabled me to give the dress a much more professional finish around the neck and armholes than catching it in by hand around the armholes would have done. Because of the pintucked sections on this dress, I had to manipulate the basic block to remove the darts. It has worked well, although it isn’t as close fitting as I would like; it’s just not possible to contour it to the body perfectly without darts. But it still looks beautiful.

Now to crack on with my list!!


Womenswear Photoshoots….

We did the womenswear photoshoots yesterday, I couldn’t be happier with how it went:

A couple of the models were only available in the morning and as I was at work I had to make sure the photographer (Dave from TimeToShoot) and the models knew exactly what shots I was looking for. I’m really happy to have used professional models, I really want it to look like a student collection. I had already created a photoshoot inspiration board to submit as part of this module and so emailed it to them all:

I also sent them this photo I had found, I thought this would be perfect to recreate in the shoot and as you can see from the contact sheet I was right!

I asked them all to keep hair and make up very simple and natural as I wanted the main focus to be on the dresses and the lighting. Thankfully we were extremely lucky with the weather once again, we finished up at 4pm and just as we were loading everything into the car it started to rain!

It was a good experience, I enjoyed being there to direct the models in the afternoon. It was also useful to not be at the shoots in the morning though, it meant I had to create a really clear brief for the models and the photographer to ensure the end result was exactly as I wanted.


Childrenswear Photoshoots….

On Thursday and Friday, we did the photoshoots for the childrenswear and I’m so pleased with the results. Here are a few just to give you an idea:

Planning a photoshoot outdoors is always a bit risky, you can plan everything down to the last detail but then if it starts to rain all that planning goes out the window!! It looked like that was going to happen yesterday, it kept trying to rain all afternoon but as we pulled up to the nature reserve where we did the first shoot the sun broke through. Working with children can be very risky too, particularly very little ones but they were all very well behaved. In fact, they performed impeccably  As I said, I’m so incredibly happy with the results of all 3 shoots, the images and the garments look exactly as I had imagined!! A very big thank you to Dave from TimeToShoot, he’s a truly talented photographer.

I would love to hear what you think.


Final Garments…

What?!! Two posts in one day?! That’s right, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. No outfit post, will try and do one later but need to write a journal entry on the construction of my final garments, which apart from sewing some press studs into the ruffle skirted women’s dress are finished!!! I feel like such a huge weight has been lifted, I still have things to do such as putting together a book of all my samples but I feel like I should get everything done  in the time I have left (7 days eeeeeeekks!!)

So there are images of the children’s dresses in my previous posts but I wanted to show some close up shots so that I could talk about the construction in a bit more detail:

The wing sleeved dress:

I’ve written a lot about the construction of this dress already but just a few overall reflections; this dress has been the most expensive to produce, even more than any of the womenswear. This is primarily because of my fabric choices; the main dress is sand-washed silk, the sleeves and collar silk georgette and the lining is silk twill. The sleeves have also been a major expense, when the fabric is pleated you have to allow 3 times as much as you would normally require; this meant that for the sleeves on a dress for 7 year old I required 3metres of fabric! The pleated fabric has also been quite difficult to work with, I think that if you were to use it on a more commercial scale then it would be for simpler garments such as a skirt or for finishing touches such as the collar. Hemming this fabric also proved problematic, I decided that the best way was to keep the edges raw and seal them with fray stop; this has kept the fragile and delicate feel that I was aiming for. The sand-washed silk I’ve used for the main dress is beautiful, it’s very tactile and has enough weight to it that it hangs really beautifully without being too heavy. It creases very easily though and the creases are difficult to press out, especially as I don’t want to risk getting steam any where near the pleated fabric.

The Dragonfly Box-Pleated Dress:

This dress is made in age 2 and looks so cute! I’m really pleased with this, I fitted the toile to the model and then spent about 5 hours on Saturday hand painting the dragonfly wing pattern onto the dress. I then stitched the box pleats into place and the way they break up the print design is more effective than I had ever imagined. I really love this one, which is funny because it was originally the one that was my least favourite! I’m actually looking into the possibility of putting this into production at the moment, obviously this would mean getting the wing design made into a screen. I have put a facing in this dress that finishes just under the arms, I was finding it particularly difficult around the armholes as I wanted the finish to be as professional as possible. This tutorial I found on Fashion Incubator was really useful though and I’m very proud of the end result. Here’s a close up of the pleated and printed fabric, you can see how the lines of the print are broken up by the pleating:

 I didn’t want to machine stitch the hem as I didn’t want a line of  stitching interfering with the bottom of the box pleats, for this reason I pressed the hem under and then caught it to the dress with a slip-stitch.

The Dandelion Pin-tucked Dress:

I don’t think I actually had any problems putting this dress together! The pintucks look beautiful and match up perfectly on the front and back at the shoulder seams:

I had originally intended just to have the dandelion painted in gold but it just didn’t stand out enough and so I’ve added some fine detail with the brown I used on the dragonfly dresses. I also drew the design on with a disappearing fabric pen so that I didn’t risk messing the design up. Again, I am really pleased with the end result of this dress and would consider putting this into production: perhaps with fewer pintucks though as there is 36 altogether on the front and back!!

I will write a post about the womenswear dresses tomorrow once I have taken some photos of them on a mannequin.


Pastel Pop….

Dress: Vintage

Shoes: Irregular Choice

Nails: Numerous shades of Barry M

The past week I think I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before. Hence the lack of blog posts. I’m pretty much surviving on coffee at the moment but I finally feel like it’s paying off, things are really starting to come together. As I haven’t done a post for a whole week I have a huge amount to write about, so make yourself a coffee and settle in for a while…..

Firstly here’s a picture of the pintucked and pleated women’s dress that I recently blogged about, I’ve made the bias-cut slip to go underneath it and it really finishes it off. I used a silk twill for the lining, it’s a bit thicker than the ponge I was going to use and so I don’t feel concerned that the dress would still be too sheer. It was quite strange putting it together, as it is a 1920s pattern the seam allowance on it was 1/2″. I’m used to sewing 1cm seam allowances and to sew such a wide one seemed more difficult!! It also didn’t look as neat once I’d pressed it open to have such a wide seam so I have overlocked the extra off to make it look neater on the inside.

This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but I am really pleased with it. The only thing left to do is to sew in the press studs and finish the hem. I’ve decided that the best way to do this is to just use fray stop on the edge, I think that anything else I do to the pleated edge will spoil the line of it and look to bulky.

This is the pintucked bodice for the second ladies dress:

Again, I am immensely proud of the construction of this. The silk chiffon I have used for both these dresses has been very challenging to work with as it is so slippy and stretchy. I’ve french seamed the armholes, neckline and all side seams. It looks perfect and I feel that it is made to professional standard. I’ve tried to take a photograph of one of the french seams but I’m not sure if you can really tell what it is:

This bodice is ready to be sewn onto the ruffle skirt, I have been fray stopping the raw edges every evening for the past week! I’m almost there, if I were to make this again I would probably have used something that wouldn’t fray so badly so that I wouldn’t have had this extra labourious task. But then on the other hand I don’t think anything else would have the same effect, it falls so beautifully and feels so light and delicate. Here’s a little close up to give you an idea:

This week I’ve also been working on the final ladies dress, I thought this one was going to be really straight forward but as per usual it was harder and took longer than I expected!!! It was the pintucked panels that caused me the problems…again! I had thought that as the silk linen is much crisper they would be easier to keep even, but I stitched the first three and they just didn’t look quite right. They weren’t perfectly straight or the perfect distance apart even though I had notched and pressed the tucks first. The only way I could overcome this was to unpick them and draw on the lines with a vanishing pen. This kept them the right distance apart and lovely and straight:

I’ve also hand painted the wing design onto the other panels:

This technique has been really effective, the wing is obviously very stylized. If I had done it exactly it would have taken me even longer, each little section would also have been much larger and I just don’t think that it would have had the same impact. I think that it has as much of an impact as printing the image would have done and the lines still look beautifully crisp. On the bottom panel I did have to extend the wing a little further across than I had originally planned, just as I was putting everything away I got a spot of the fabric paint about 8cm away from where I had finished the wing. I wanted to cry, but I have managed to extend it so that it doesn’t just look like I’ve stuck a bit extra on. On my original drawing I had planned to put a small painted section on the bottom left hand corner of the skirt too, but after I had done all the right hand side I have decided that any more on it would be a bit overwhelming and take away from the impact that it has. So this dress is all ready to be joined together too. That means the womenswear designs are almost complete.

Today I’ve also fitted the last two of the childrenswear toiles to the models.  I need to shorten the sleeve length on the dandelion pintucked dress by about 7cm as I want it to be just below the elbow but other than that it fits her perfectly. The child’s dragonfly dress also fitted well although the little girl is small for her age and I have had to shorten the dress length by approximately 5cm. I’ve got these cut out and overlocked now and so am planning on get the hand painting done on them tomorrow and then fully constructed on Sunday. I’m hoping to photograph the dragonfly dress on Monday afternoon and the Dandelion one next Friday. I’ve found a location just down the road from uni so I’m hoping it won’t be too much hassle for the children’s parents to get them there:

I have also completely finished the pleated wing sleeved child’s dress so this is ready to be photographed too. However, I need to speak to my lecturer Lindsay (it’s her daughter modelling this dress) to see whether she might be available for a photoshoot next Friday too. I haven’t taken a photo of it but it looks really beautiful, simple yet striking. The pleated fabric did actually make it rather more difficult to put together than I had expected though!! As with the ladies dress with the pleated panels, I had cut the wings out whilst still between its special layers of paper and then stitched across the top edge to hold the pleats in place before carefully tearing the paper out. I don’t know if it was because they were much larger pieces and not just a straight edge but the paper was much, much more difficult to remove from inside the pleats. In fact it was a total nightmare and although I was ridiculously careful when removing the little remnant of paper it did pull the pleats out of line ever so slightly. Even with the line of stitching holding them in place, it was really difficult to keep them perfect when putting them into the side seams of the dress. I was worried about this, particularly because the pleated fabric is silk georgette that frays even more so than the chiffon of the ladies dresses and so I really didn’t want to risk having to unpick it. The only way I could eliminate this risk was to tack them in by hand and notch where the sleeve should end on the side seam, ensuring they were level. Another time consuming task! I will write more about this dress tomorrow once I’ve taken some photos of it, the light in here is too bad to get decent pictures of it.