Saturday, 28 March 2015

Recreate at Ray Stitch

Two weekends ago I attended an afternoon workshop at Ray Stitch in Islington to recreate a garment. You select a favourite piece of clothing (I took two) and the very knowledgable Alice Prier demonstrates how to construct a pattern from it.

I chose to take a dress that I bought from Uniqlo S/S 2013. It is a very predictable LBD and I took it along because it fits perfectly and has pockets. What more does a girl need?
I also took a lovely late 1950's vintage dress that has some unique detailing on the skirt section.
I thought about creating a bit of a mash-up of the perfect fitting bodice (Uniqlo dress) with the interesting details of the 1950's dress!

The tools and equipment you need for this technique are:

Pattern paper / any large paper
French Curve
A2 or larger foam board (the sort you get in an art shop)

Alice advised us to start with the bodice of the garment and find the centre line. So far so good. Luckily my dress was symmetrical - things get a little more complex for asymmetrical garments. Draw a straight line on the pattern paper (with the foam board underneath), fold the dress in half lengthways and pin down the dress with the fold on the straight edge you have drawn on the paper.

You can now draw around the outside edge of the dress. If you have any internal seams use a pin to follow the line of the seam and when you remove the garment, draw a pencil line using the pin-holes as a guide. It is best to use the French curve to create smooth lines if the pin-holes look a bit wonky.

Continue for another few hours. Mark the pattern pieces as you go with cutting instructions and grain line information. Once you have marked out all your pieces you can then add your preferred seam allowance. I used the standard 1.5 cm. Alice advised us to add a little extra on side seams to give you more flexibility on the final fitting.

Overall it was a very informative and fun afternoon. Classes run regularly at Ray Stitch if you want to try it out yourself.
I now just need to find some time to make a new dress with my self-drafted pattern!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Tate Modern Course: Painting, print and memory

Next Monday will be the last week of an art course at Tate Modern I have participating in for the last four weeks. The course has been created to coincide with the fantastic Marlene Dumas Image as Burden exhibition.

The first session was spent viewing the Dumas exhibition with an hour spent drawing her work using a limited range of media. Here are my sketches:

The following week we were asked to bring portraits of iconic people and family / friends. I selected Vivienne Westwood and an image of Jim Henson (who bears a striking resembles to my dad).
We used watercolours, inks and resist techniques to capture the portraits with the added challenge of having to paint the image whilst upside down! It was hard but lots of fun. I managed two portraits in the time.

Watercolour, masking fluid, wax and ink

Watercolour and ink
I have been practising my watercolour techniques since the course started and really enjoying it. Here are a few I have created in my own time. The first is another version of Vivienne Westwood, the second is my interpretation of Natasha Khan and the third Anne Frank. I have limited the colour palette and used a water-spray to add movement and energy to the watercolours. I spent a maximum of about 40 minutes on each painting.

Watercolour, wax crayon and ink
Watercolour and ink 
The next session is on Monday where the course attendees get the chance to display three pieces of work in an exhibition at the Cloire Studio at Tate Modern! Pretty cool. I have some mono-prints to include too but haven't photographed yet.

Which three pieces do you think I should display?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Lucienne Day Dolores Pocket Skirt #3

Recently I have been a bit under the weather and feeling not totally on the planet. I thought a bit of creativity might make me feel a little bit more human.

Enter my third incarnation of the Dolores Pocket Skirt by Ready Ruthie. I volunteered to be a pattern tester last summer and found the pattern fitted me really well. I think the great fit has to do with the shaped waistband. It doesn't seem to be available commercially yet, but when it does I would highly recommend it.

My two previous versions are blogged about here and here. I was going to make another one straight away and cut out a third but never got around to sewing it together so onto my UFO pile it stayed until the weekend.

Onto the lovely blue printed fabric. It is a limited edition re-run of a Lucienne Day print to celebrate 150 years of the John Lewis department store (it also came in a brown / tan colour-way too).

Nothing new to report in terms of the construction, it went together quite quickly in just under three hours (without cutting out the fabric or pattern) and I was very happy with my top-stitching which was very satisfying to do!

Onto the photos:

Top-stitching galore
More top-stitching on the pocket and a fairly reasonable attempt at stitching-in-the-ditch
I used some left-over cotton for the waistband facing and hem-facing 
Happy to be feeling almost back to normal - the magic of sewing as a healing power!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

1960's Coat Completed

Yeah, I've made my first ever coat!
Ok, so it has only taken me since the start of November 2014 to complete this beauty and was beginning to wonder if it wouldn't be ready until November 2015.
To re-capp, this is the 1960's coat from Sew Over It. I attended the workshops at the Clapham store and was taught by the lovely Julie Johnston who breaks down the coat construction into manageable steps. There is quite a bit of homework between classes but it is worth it in the end.

Pattern: Sew Over It 1960's coat
Fabric: Cashmere and wool blend from a shop on Goldhawk Road (£Expensive p/m)

What new things did I learn / do?

  • Fusible facings on wool
  • Clipped collars and shoulders to improve internal structure
  • Internal shoulder pads
  • Fully lined garment

Back to the 1980's - shoulder pad time!
Fushia pink lining