Monthly Archives: July 2012

Falling in love…all over again.

Standard

I’ve finally found an awesome source of inspiration for my clothing creations….I’ve refound my love of pre Raphelite portraits particularly that of the amazing painter Waterhouse.  I love the women, the clothing, the colours….the drama, the faeries….I love it all.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

I love the fluted sleeves, the wide necks, the layers of petticoats and colours, the length of the dresses….the embroidery.  I love it all…..

Dye Experiments part 2

Standard

So the Beet dying session ended up a bit of a shambles, and all the fabric finished off a very very very weak shade of pink.  I HATE pink, so for the last couple of days Ive been playing around redying the material and some beautiful little doilies and bits of cotton lace i picked up, this time using chemical dyes.   Ive been playing around with 2 colours from the RIT dye range, ‘Wine’ and ‘Chestnut Brown’.  I intend to go back to playing around with natural plant dyes in the next few weeks, my mother is posting me out a parcel with a great book on natural dyes so I can see where I went wrong.

Here are a few images of the dye batches that I have been working on:

Image

This image above was my first attempt, using the ‘Wine’ colour way.  Some of the material took the dye well and came to quite a good shade but there were a few peices that were far too pink for my taste so today I set about creating another dye bath, this time in Chestnut Brown.  I want to have a lot of different shades so I kept the best peices of the Wine dye bath, then quick dipped a few peices in the brown and long dipped some others.  The results are great and im really happy with the mix of the 2 colours.

Image

The chemical dye range that I used for these tests was RIT dyes, which you can by in most fabric shops in Australia.  They are super strong and Id really recommend doing the dye baths in a really well ventilated area and thoroughly washing the material before wearing it.  Something that I really liked about these dyes is that they are SUPER cheap (half the price of Dylon, $6.99 instead of $13) and that they suggest you add a cup of salt and a tbsp of laundry detergent to the dye bath.  I’d never heard of adding these things to the dye before and it really did the trick, the colour is pretty stayfast and very vivid especially on white material.  I also really love the RIT website for this amazing colour ways chart (http://www.ritdye.com/colorit_color_formula_guide) which shows you the quantity and mix of colours needed to create different shades.  This is obviously not exact as every fabric is different, but is a great place to start to get an idea of mixing dyes.

So final outcome is looking really good.  I’ve suprised myself by being super organised and taking dye samples and writing down all the details of the dye processes Ive done.  Here is a little snap shot of my new textiles sketchbook!

Image

Ive been coming up upon a bit of a textiles ‘dilemma’ at the mo, one that I have experienced in the past as well: where is the line between taking inspiration from other people’s work/creations and just down right copying their styles.  Ive seen this happen countless times, most obviously in the Goa clothing scene in India but really all over the world and through out the entire fashion scene…i mean really thats how the industry works.  But when it comes to small time designers creating small amounts of hand made peices that does seem to need to be a line that one doesnt cross.  I find that hard sometimes, as I constantly trawl through the internet and facebook looking for inspiration and see things that I just love and want to recreate, and thats usually how I create…copying a favourite dress, trying to recreate something ive seen on someone else…. But there comes a point where I am starting to wonder whats MY style?? What do I make that is really unique?

Its a tough lot of questions and ones that i dont have an answer to just yet.  So for now I will post some amazing images I am getting a lot of inpiration from at the moment, and may be what inspires my use of the materials Ive been dying.  I particularly love this first image by Oona (http://www.etsy.com/shop/Moonalia).

Image

ImageImageImageImageImage

I really love the natural tones of the materials that Oona dyes,and also her use of remnant fibres for applique.  The shapes are also really flattering and love the asymmetrical hems on a lot of her peices.

So thats it for now.  As of tomorrow I am working solely on Holly’s wedding dress until it is complete and ready to ship THEN ill get to play around with all my new dyed fabric!

Bex

Natural Dye’s Experiment…and a wintery knit dress in between!

Standard

So this evening after a hard days work I found myself boiling fabric with beetrooty water in a huge vatt on the stove.  Endless fun, and still ongoing now.  Ive documented the process so far with more photos of the finished fabric tomorrow!

Image

First I boiled the fabric I wanted to dye (100% Cotton) in a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water for one hour. Then I rinsed out the fabric with cold water and squeezed out all the excess water.

Image

Next, I removed the skin and diced 6 beetroot and stewed them in a large vatt of water for an hour.  Then I removed all of the beets from the water (use to make suuuper tastey beetroot soup!) and put in all my fabric.

Image

And there we are, sooooooo far! Ive let the fabric boil away in the dye for a few hours and now Ive turned it off and am letting it sit in the dye overnight.  Looking forward to seeing the end product in the morning! ❤

 

Other then that I have managed to fit in making a sweet little knit fabric dress out of some really cheap brown stretchy material I bought on the way home from work today.  Im pretty happy with how it has worked out, though it has puckered a little on the seams (my overlocker is boxed up in the UK still)…but im hoping that the seams will relax a little and sort themselves out when worn. The dress is inspires by a beautiful dress by Oona Elena at Moonalia (pictured below)

Image

And here is my super rush job attempt at a similar style.  I added darts into the dress at the front and back, as I am a completely different shape to Oona and definately CANNOT get away with a straight up and down knit dress.

ImageImage

So yeh! More photos to follow of the finished material =) until then, Ciao!

Inspiration-athon <3

Standard

I came across this poem today, it made me cry, and my heart fill with love and inspiration.  Its called ‘Stolen Child’ by William Butler Yeats and its my new favourite poem of all time.  Yum.

Image

I was filled with images of the colours and scenery described in the poetry, of cherry reds and the rushing greeny blues of the water.  I want those colours in my life, now.  My aim is to experiment with natural dyes and materials…I really want to try dying different linens and muslins and play with more distressed looks and textures.  I did a lot of this during my A Level Textiles final projects and its something that Ive had on my mind for a while to get back to. 

I found this amazing woman ‘Pearl’ who runs ‘Magnolia Pearl’, an interior designs company and clothing label. Im about to bombard you with some serious photos.  Im in love, seriously. Nomnomnom!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Amazingly beautiful stuff, loving the neutral colours and textures.  Reminds me of this dress i made yeeeears and years ago

Image

Mmmm plans plans plans! Very exciting.  Its so frustrating, ive got SO much material and lace that i have collected over the years, all over the other side of the world at my mums farm in England.  Just sitting there, taunting me =P.

So yeh thats all for now! I think I will do another post on more inspiring brands and people,  particularly Noa Noa and Moonalia, 2 amazing clothing brands I am madly in love with.

Until then, Bex xx

Catch- up.

Standard

Hello beautiful ones!

Im writing this post listening to ‘Bird Song’ by The Wailin Jennys.  So beautiful, such a beautiful theme to my chilly tuesday evening cosied up with my laptop and PJs on the sofa.  Ive spent the evening looking through some AMAZING inspirational websites and photos, Im going to make a blog entry after this one just documenting what i have found and the things that particularly inspire me.

But First!  What Ive been up to in this last month.  I completed a beautiful teal woolen cropped jacket pictured below for a wonderful lady called Grace, an exact copy of the one I made for myself (she saw me in it and commissioned me to make her one exactly the same).

Image

Image

I managed to snap a quick photo of the process, but was in a super hurry to get it finished for her quickly and didnt get the chance to document it properly.  Im so proud of this jacket pattern, its a real gem.  At some point Id love to make it into a woolen coat….im thinking chestnut brown with embroidered details, mmmm.

My BIG project at the moment is a summer wedding dress for the wonderful stunner Holly Foresyth.  Its a bit of a scary project not only because its ‘THE’ dress….but also because im in Australia and Holly is in England….so no fittings and only working with my mannaquin and her measurements which i never really completely trust.  The nice thing is though that the dress we have designed together is backless and quite floaty so should have room for a little error in sizing.  We’ll see anyway (breath, breath!).  Very exciting though and such a compliment that she thought of me and trusts me with this!

So we have been emailing with inspiration photos and colour/fabric swatches and ideas, and have come up with a design that is just so divine.  The dress is going to be based on this dress shown below…Holly’s ‘Dream Dress’ as we’ve been calling it =)

Image

The materials that we’ve picked out are these below….really hard to get the correct colour on the photos, and the main material is actually quite a bit darker in real life, a kind of Minky cream colour, with a creamy soft see-through material to layer over and lighten the look. 

Image

And for the lacey capped sleeves Ive collected some beautiful vintage Doillies from Savers on the Sydney Rd in Brunswick.

Image

So yeh, the fabric is bought and waiting to be made 3D 😉 Im giving myself 2 solid weeks to work on the dress so am actually quitting my work 2 weeks ahead of planned (Tom and I are moving to the coutry to work at a rural learning centre for 3 months).  Ive started planning the pattern, and am part way through the creation of the bust and waistband, though still need to work on how it will sit at the back.  Here is where I am at so far, a test run of the bust section:

Image

So yeh! Thats the progress so far on the dress, lots more to come on this front and ill make sure to take photos of the progress through out the process!

Hope you guys are all happy and enjoying your summer, and all you Melbournians hopefully are all wrapped up warm and snuggly.

Bex xx