Tag Archives: Reflections

Wish I had a Pensieve….

Yes I know that’s not how you spell pensive but I do really mean a Pensieve!!

We had a refresher session on reflective learning on Friday and the “pensieve” in Harry Potter was used as an example:

Dumbledore: “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.Harry: “You mean… that stuff’s your thoughts?Dumbledore: “Certainly.

Wouldn’t that be a fantastic thing to have?! I quite often feel like I have too many thoughts in my head, it would be fantastic to siphon them off and examine them one by one! This is basically the purpose of keeping a reflective learning journal, but I think visualising it in this way will help my reflective practice in the future.

This was what I wore to said lecture on Friday. I was buying a pair of shoes off the Topshop website, but when I saw this playsuit I couldn’t resist adding it to my basket. The colour is simply exquisite and the cut is really lovely too:

Playsuit: Topshop

Glasses: River Island

Boots: H&M

Oh and my friend Laura did a little doodle of me in my geeky glasses. Cute yes?


Sixties Vibe…..

I left my job at River Island about 2 months ago now, when I left some of the girls that I worked with had bought me this dress as a leaving present. Isn’t it lovely? I love the little cuffs, they fasten with black buttons. It’s from the Gigi collection, I think it’s my favourite River Island collection; it’s very sixties. Missing my 30% staff discount a little…..sigh.

I wore this outfit to work yesterday and my boss told me I reminded him of Sandie Shaw. Must admit I wasn’t exactly sure who she was. I just looked it up and she was apparantly the original Brit “IT” girl, she looks very cool so I’m rather pleased.

Uni is going ok, had a bit of a moment of clarity on Monday with Multi-Disciplinary Design. Unfortunately one of our group members, Lydia,  had gone home ill. But after talking with the course leader we were much clearer on what we have to do, I think everyone was as overwhelmed as we were. Anyway as I said, we are much happier now; we did some brainstorming and have come up with loads of ideas. Lots of research to get done before we next meet, really looking forward to it though.

The lecture I had to accompany this on Monday afternoon was on Creativity in Business. We spent a lot of time discussing what Creativity is and what drives and what restricts creativity. The general view seemed to be that rules, deadlines and organisation in general restrict creativity. But I disagree to a certain extent, I find it really useful to make lists and things to organise myself and scheduling helps me to get the most out of my time. I think that you have to have some time management and organisational skills to make the most of creativity. What do you think?



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.

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.

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.