Tag Archives: Final Major Project

Final Fashion Show 2011….

Wow, I’m so tired. I just got home after the last fashion show; the sixth one in three days! It’s been very stressful, I was a dresser and the model I was looking after had 9 outfit changes. You would never know just how manically busy it is behind the scenes. My collection was the finale and after getting the girls into their outfits I just had enough time to run around to see them come onto the catwalk. I felt so proud, I almost cried at how beautiful all of the girls looked in my dresses. The child models were brilliant, when Lexie lifted her arms at the end of the catwalk she looked like a little angel and the whole audience just went “aaawwwwwww”. Dave came to three of the shows and so I have got plenty of photos, here’s just a couple of my favourites:

This last picture is me and Kayley, (the model I was dressing) after the last show. She’s wearing my friend Emily’s dress. I got lots of compliments for my outfit today, I’d wanted the purple blazer for months and it finally came back into stock last week. The whole outfit is from River Island.

After the last show, I put the dresses into garment bags and took them home. It feels strange that I’ll never go back there again now. Good though!

On the way home on Thursday evening we stopped so that Dave could take my photo in this poppy field. The poppies have been out for a few weeks but Dave has been teaching in Stoke and so I haven’t had a photographer. Luckily the poppies are still in full bloom:

Dress: Kate Moss for Topshop

Waistcoat: Topshop

Daisy Headband: Primark


Just realised I’ve not long featured this outfit…ooops!!


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



So I’m finished! I submitted all my work on Friday, I have a week off and then have to go back and set up my exhibition. I thought it would feel like such a release, freedom! But it feels kind of weird, I got home and chucked away all the rubbish that has been collecting in my room for the past few months but then I didn’t know what to do with myself! I’ve got so used to doing uni work every minute of everyday that I just felt kind of empty. Did anyone else feel like this when finishing their degree?

I’ve never been any good at having nothing to do, I’ve spent my whole day yesterday gardening and brain storming with Dave what project I can start on next!

It was my friend Emily’s 21st birthday on Tuesday but we were all so busy with our FMPs that we had to put off celebrating until Saturday. It was so good to have a night out and actually enjoy myself without worrying about what work I should be doing. Bought this dress about 2 months ago and have been saving it for a suitable occassion. I think it’s pretty fierce, what do you think?

Dress: Topshop

Shoes: New Look


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!!

Evaluating Start Up Planning and Promotion….

Tomorrow is the hand in date for my Start Up Planning and Promotion module. I have everything ready to submit in the morning, a couple of things that I need to print out on A4 but that’s it. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon reading through my journal posts and referencing my research folder; I was amazed at just how much research I’ve carried out and how much I’ve achieved.

I’m particularly proud of my business plan, Lindsay (my tutor for this module) had read through it last week and I had been worrying about what she was going to say. The amount of work that I have put into it is immense! I think if anything, my business plan is more in depth than was expected but as I have always thought about setting up my own business I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to work on this with the guidance of someone who has been there and done it so to speak. I had a one to one tutorial with Lindsay last Monday and was thrilled when she said how detailed my business plan was. I was missing a couple of things: a risk assessment, tax information and although my business plan financials detailed where I planned on getting funding she thought I should add a paragraph on this within the plan. My risk assessment didn’t take long to put together, as the business plan is for a web shop I simply had to assess the risk of manufacturing from home; considering risks such as tripping on wires etc!!! Dave gave me a template that he had used from Staffordshire University which was really useful, it was one that he has to use on his Motorsport course and so maybe it was set up for risks higher than “don’t run with scissors”!!!! But it was a really good template, better than ones I used last year and I would definitely use it again if I need it. I had researched tax already and so just needed to add this as a sub-heading in the plan.

I feel that I have really learnt a lot from this module and have really enjoyed putting together the more visual side, such as ad campaigns. I wish that we had had the opportunity to take this module last year as I’ve really enjoyed it and think it’s the most I’ve actually learnt from a lecturer on this course!

As I said I think I’m ready to submit everything in the morning, I feel quite nervous though! I’ve written so many check lists over the past few days; I’ve been so concerned I would miss something, but I have read through the module handbook and as far as I can tell I’ve covered everything. I’m planning on getting to uni super early in the morning, printing the last few things and then submitting……..eeeeeeek!!!!! I’m quite excited in a way! I just want to get it submitted so that I can focus my attention on finishing work on my FMP, so it will be straight home for me to work on the last few bits of that.

Ad Campaigns, Packaging, Exhibition Planning and a Few Other Things….

A few things that I haven’t talked about….

I developed several possible ad campaigns for this module, I was pleased to get the children’s photoshoots done early as I was able to put the real images into place instead of images of other companies websites:

I can’t really decide which one is my favourite, but I think it was good to have some different sized ones that could be used for different magazines or websites. I love the first one, I like having a long, thin one with a single image as it has a strong impact. However, I also think it works well to have a main image with thumbnails below to give more of an idea of the whole collection.

I’ve also loaded the images onto my exhibition invitation:

In this instance, I think it definitely works better to have a main image and thumbnails as I want to give people a sneak preview of what will be in my exhibition. The dates and venue etc. are all correct so if anybody reading this would like to attend feel free!! The dresses will however be taken off the exhibition early as it clashes with the fashion show, so contact me if you are thinking of visiting.

I hadn’t been too sure of how I wanted my invite to look, I found these examples really useful:

I found loads of examples just by putting Exhibition Invite Ideas into Google, but these ones were my favourites as I liked the simplicity of them. I think this gives them more of an impact than ones that have too much going on!

One of the extra things to design and research for this module was packaging. As my business plan outlines a webshop, I decided that researching packaging would be a useful element to include, as the business is to be a high end luxury brand I wanted the packaging to reflect this. Companies such as Net-a-Porter use their packaging to reinforce their luxury image:

I have tried to achieve a similar effect:

If I was actually doing this for real, I would obviously have to think more carefully about the cost of this. However just to create a prototype, I have used a box from Print House Group, personalised ribbon from Partyrama costing £0.95 per metre and tissue paper from WH Smiths. It has the luxury feel I was aiming for, I think most little girls would be excited to receive a pretty new dress in this lovely packaging!

I designed numerous swing tags several weeks ago but was only able to print them onto card yesterday:

Just printing them onto different colours and qualities of card makes such a difference, I have chosen the bottom right one. I’ve put a ribbon in it so that it could be attached to a garment. However I’ve also used some of my business cards (they arrived on Friday…yay!) as they have a really lovely finish, if I were actually placing an order for swing tags I would like them to have the same satin finish: I think it gives them a more luxurious feel.

Last week I also put together a plan of my exhibition space:

There is a limited number of plinths and mannequins available on campus, I’m hoping I will be able to use these. However, if not I will have to borrow mannequins from my mum’s and ask my uncle (who is a carpenter) to build me a plinth. I’m planning on building the clothes rail myself (well attempting to anyway!!!) but at least I know I can ask Dave for a bit of help if I’m struggling! Let’s face it I’m not very handy with a saw or a hammer!! I have also found several websites where I can buy artificial wild flowers: Just Artificial and Withycombe Fair. I’m really looking to actually putting this together and having my work on display, I think it will feel a huge relief!!