Sunday, 15 July 2018

Stripy Dixie DIY Bonnell Dress

In September 2017 I discussed a host of works in progress projects and the Dixie DIY Bonnel Dress was one of them. 10 months later and just in time for the wonderful heat of this surprisingly hot UK summer I have spent the last two weeks sewing this little beauty together in half hour and hour slots. This is my third version of the pattern; the first is here and my second here.

The soft and lightweight cotton stripy print was gifted by my friend Sophie who lives in Hong Kong. It was not quite opaque enough to go unlined so I underlined it with a soft white cotton batiste I purchased from MacCulloch and Wallis a few years ago.

I did make a few changes to the original pattern as follows:

  • I omitted the cut-out sections at the sides of the bodice
  • Removed the V back
  • I didn't use the in-seam pockets
  • French seam construction
  • Added patch pockets on the front as I had just enough fabric left-over to make some generous large squared pockets that were also lined with the white cotton batiste
  • I completed my first ever exposed zip, mostly because I didn't have any concealed zips in my stash but when I discovered the pretty jade green zip in my 'zip box' (everybody has a 'zip-box' right?) I hatched a plan to make it a feature
  • Hand-stitched a waistband on the inside to keep the insides neat

Enjoy some close-up shots of the construction.

In other news, I enjoyed the fantastic Orla Kiely, A Life in Pattern exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey. It's definitely worth a visit to see the rich collection of gorgeous colours, patterns, bags and fab fashion! Here are a few photos from the exhibition which is on until 23rd September so there is plenty of time for you to go.

Have you seen any lovely exhibitions recently?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Life Drawing at Pearl and Groove #3

I love life drawing! It is great to practice your skills, challenge yourself and unwind in a creative and relaxing environment. I joined Bella Franks, artist and life drawing tutor at the delicious Notting Hill bakery, Pearl and Groove for an evening class. I have been to a number of Bella's classes in 2016 (#1 and #2)

Bella always makes you feel at ease, curates a fab playlist to draw along to and has a gorgeous array of life model contacts. Last night's model (Sangfrid? I think) was amazing and posed with such grace and beauty. She really pushed our drawing skills further with some very unique and interesting poses.

We started with a warm-up of a 5-minute sketch then moved onto more sustained 20-minute drawings. I began the evening in monotone with willow charcoal and moved towards more expressive colours in Promarkers, pencil crayons and chalk pastels towards the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the added bonus of a Pearl and Groove gluten-free Blueberry cake at halftime was very yummy!

5-minute sketch with willow charcoal
10-minute sketch with compressed charcoal
20-minute sketch with willow charcoal with red and yellow chalk pastels

20-minute sketch with Promarker pen, blue, red, yellow chalk pastel and blue pencil crayons
10-minute sketch with blue, red and yellow pencil crayons and blue and yellow chalk pastels
5-minute sketch with blue pencil crayon and blue chalk pastel

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Fashion Life Drawing Class at Cass Art Islington

Last Wednesday I took an evening class at Cass Art in Islington. I spent a delightful 2-hours drawing a life model who was wearing a beautiful selection of clothing designed by Suzi G Lee.

The cost (£15) includes all materials and paper and the advice of an Italian life drawing tutor and fashion illustrator Francesco La Ianoco. I had a really great time and produced a decent amount of work in the short time frame. Francesco started the class with 5 and 10-minute sketches leading up to 15 and 25 minutes later in the session.

The garments by Suzie Lee (a recent London Fashion graduate) were very striking and fun to draw. I didn't get a chance to take a photograph so you will have to rely on my fluid and quick interpretations of her work. Stripes, pleats, neoprene, scuba and bold colours were a re-occurring feature in the clothes which I hope you will enjoy seeing in my sketches.

 Outfit One: Neoprene bodice with large stripy pleated skirt

10-minute sketch in Promarker pen and Windsor and Newton watercolours
15 minute sketch in Promarker pen and Windsor and Newton watercolours
25-minute sketch in Promarker pens, Windsor and Newton watercolours and oil pastels
10-minute sketch in pencil crayon
10-minute sketch in Promarker pens and oil pastels
Outfit Two: High waisted trousers with raglan sleeve boxy top, over-sized jacket and bag

25-minute sketch in Promarker pens, Windsor and Newton watercolours and oil pastels
10-minute continuous line sketch in Promarker pens and Windsor and Newton watercolours
15-minute sketch in Promarker pens, Windsor and Newton watercolours and oil pastels
25-minute sketch in Promarker pens, Windsor and Newton watercolours and oil pastels
10-minute sketch in Promarker pens, Windsor and Newton watercolours and oil pastels
 I had such a relaxing time looking at the fabulous clothes and spending some time practising my drawing techniques and skills and would highly recommend this class to others.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Back to Basics Camber Set Top

It is true to say that a couple of years ago I had full on fan-girl LOVE for the Grainline Scout Tee as a basic top to make and wear. I built up an impressive collection of Scouts as you can see below in 2016 wearing a week's worth of them for the One Week One Pattern challenge.

In May 2016 I made my first Merchant and Mills Camber Set Top and I love it so much it's now my go-to simple tee shirt pattern.

Why do I like the Camber Set so much compared to the Grainline Scout tee?
The fit at the shoulders and bust is so much better for me than the Scout tee which is due to the slight shaping with the deep French darts. I think the yoke detail at the back elevates the tee into something a little more sophisticated too. My Camber Set collection can be seen below with three top versions and two dresses (so far).

My latest Camber Set is made with one metre of black rayon I bought from the remnant pile at Sew Over It Islington last week for £4.50. After reflecting on Me-Made-May 2018 I have plans to make a range of garments in classic, basic colours and fabrics to build a more cohesive wardrobe.

Nothing new to say about the construction. I made exactly the same size as all my other Camber tees and have really enjoyed wearing the latest addition to my wardrobe today in the June sunshine.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Liberty Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Top

I first hacked the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress into a top earlier in the year when I realised the dress I had made in 2016 just sat in my wardrobe. I really like the hacked top with its cropped style and grown-on sleeves and I delved into my stash for a metre of navy Liberty Tana Lawn Jonathan print (I bought it at Shaukat in Kensington for £8.00 about four years ago).

The construction was very quick, perhaps three hours in total including hand stitching the sleeve cuffs. This speedy make was thanks to my past-self who had cut the whole thing out and popped it in a bag along with matching thread and the Bettine instructions ready for a sewing splurge to bring it to life!

Here it is in its fully french-seamed and hacked glory.

Have you hacked any patterns recently?

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Embroidery Workshop with Lora Avedian

Last weekend I attended an embroidery workshop as part of the Belgravia in Bloom program of events at #fridasparlour. It was run by textile artist Lora Avedian who specialises in hand embroidery, in particular, couching. We began the workshop with a few quick sketches of flowers as a starting point and then we got onto the hand-couching on calico.

Here are a few photos of the workshop including the lush garden outside the building.

Gorgeous threads to choose from

Lora's beautiful hand-couching samples for inspiration
Lora's hand-dyed couching
Lora's hand-applique and hand-couching work using linen and silk
Flowers at the workshop that we used for drawing and embroidery inspiration

This is where I got to after an hour hand-stitching the red wool and bronze silk fabric strip. Hand embroidery is truly a mindful and calming activity and the workshop seemed to fly by!

I will continue this rose embroidery when I need some peaceful creative time to myself.