Tag Archives: Inspire

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.


Making Good Progress……

I had a brilliant day yesterday, Dave and his mum had gone to watch Stoke play at Wembley. Whilst I obviously missed him, it was a great opportunity to turn the dining room into a sewing room and I was so pleased with everything I got done. I’ve completely finished toiling the last ladies dress and also completed the toile of the second ladies dress (the one with the ruffled skirt). I’m so so happy with how they both look, I think they’re going to be breath taking when made in the real fabrics. I’m going over to my mum’s tomorrow after work so will be able to photograph them both on the stand and assess the fit of them properly. I’ve tried them both on and although they are obviously far too big, there doesn’t seem to be anything majorly wrong.  I do need to extend the back bodice on dress 2 by 6cm and the whole bodice on dress 3; I used my bodice block rather than my dress block and didn’t check the length.

I have packed my fabric and sent it to be pleated today too, it’s really exciting and also a relief to feel like I’m actually making some progress with things now. My plan for Tuesday and Wednesday is to get as much cut out and overlocked at my mum’s as I can and  then I can always continue sewing at home if I’ve got all the edges overlocked.  I also want to get my sketchbook as near to being finished as I can, there’s lots of drawings I’ve done and haven’t stuck in and a lot of annotation to do. At the moment I don’t feel that it clearly tells the story of my collection and I think that’s really important. My research has been one of my weaker areas before and so I don’t want this to bring my marks down.

I haven’t really got any uni work done today as I was modelling for a photoshoot in an upcoming magazine Prototype, the magazine is being launched by my friend Laura. Today’s outfit post is a sneak peak from the shoot, photography by the very talented Dave:

Dress: Topshop

Boots: ASOS

Tights: Topshop

Necklace: Accessorize

Denim Jacket: H&M

Red Laces……

Ok, I know this is getting stupid now; I’ve bought another new pair of boots. However, I had to. I first saw these boots in Topshop on Oxford Street in October, they were so beautiful; the softest navy blue leather, red laces and fluffy inside (the whole of the boot not just the top bit). A sales assistant brought the box to me and I took them to the till, on the walk to the till though I talked myself out of it; telling myself I couldn’t afford the £70 price tag when I had Christmas presents to buy. Fast forward to the end of March and the tiny Topshop by my uni campus and there they were, one pair on the last chance to buy shelf and reduced to £30.

Excuse Bracken’s tail in the shot!!

Cardigan: Topshop

Dress: F+F Tesco

Boots: Topshop

The toile of the second dress is progressing well, I’ve begun drafting the pattern for the skirt which is shorter at the front (just above the knee) graduating down to full length at the centre back. I made up a full length skirt with added flare and then cut it to shape that I wanted whilst it was on the stand, then transferring the alterations onto my paper pattern. I felt that this was a better way to do to it, rather than trying to guess at the shape on paper. I did also decide to lengthen the centre back by 17cm, blending it into the side seams as I want it to have more of a puddle effect.

My next step is to add in the ruffles to the paper pattern to make it look like my sample, I’m essentially using the same method I use to insert pintucks but inserting 10cm sections instead of 0.5cm!!

I’ve been looking at other ruffled dresses to compare the construction methods used, all the ones that I’ve found seem to be gathered strips sewn onto the dress . Like this Monique Lhullier dress:

These look beautiful, but I do like the way that the ruffles on mine will actually be a part of the skirt rather than sewn on afterwards.


Reflecting on my sketchbook so far…..

I went back through my sketchbook yesterday evening, just going over the pencil annotations in pen. It’s funny to look back at the first few pages already though, the idea and colour scheme is so much more developed now (as you would expect!!) but at the beginning I was thinking more about prints and flashes of bright colours:

However when I’ve started designing, I’ve focused much more on the cut of the garment (with pleating being a major feature). There is research on this in my sketchbook, I’ve been doing a lot of studies into things in nature that are a contrast of strong lines and fragility:

 But I think I need to go back to it now and work on it a bit more to show where the pleating has developed from (my main basis for using pleating on soft, light fabrics was that I wanted to play on the contrast of structured lines and fragility in nature). I just want to emphasise this a bit more in my sketchbook and the choice of the final colour palette. I can use this research to create a colour board and a pleating theme board.

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 Style.com 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