Friday, 26 May 2017

Me-Made-May 2017 Week Four

Yahoo. The week the weather got it's act together and it felt like summer! As you can see three days of skirts with bare legs and a general sense of not-caring if my pasty white legs may blind somebody as it is too warm to be bothered!

I wore my new BHL Charlotte pencil skirt on Tuesday and loved the fit of it but it is a tighter silhouette than the red Simplicity 2154 I wore on Friday. Overall a really enjoyable week because it felt like summer had arrived.

Day Twenty Two
Top: Grainline Scout Tee in John Lewis Viscose. Made 2014
Trousers: Gap
Necklace: Tatty Devine Brushstroke S/S 2015
Watch: Red G Shock
Shoes: Red Paul Smith Miller Brogues

Day Twenty Three
Skirt: By Hand London Charlotte Pencil Skirt in fabric gifted to me by my friend Sophie. Made 2017
T-Shirt: American Apparel
Necklace: Tatty Devine Watermelon necklace. S/S 2012
Watch: White G Shock
Shoes: Blue suede Paul Smith Miller Brogues

Day Twenty Four
Top: Grainline Scout Tee 100% cotton from Sophie, Hong Kong (underlined with cotton batiste). Made 2016
Trousers: Gap
Jacket: Levi's denim
Watch: White G Shock
Trainers: Blue Nike Air Pegasus

Day Twenty Five
Top: Merchant and Mills Camber Set Top in viscose from John Lewis sale, London. Made 2017. 
Skirt: Liesl & Co Everyday Skirt in viscose from John Lewis sale, London. Made 2016.
Watch: White G Shock
Bird Brooch: Hand-made 
Shoes: Paul Smith black patent loafers

Day Twenty Six
Top: Zara bought from Traid charity shop in Camden for £4!
Skirt: Simplicity 2154 in poly-cotton twill from Samuel Taylors, Leeds. Made 2013.
Brooch: Tatty Devine
Watch: Red G Shock 
Trainers: Nike blue Pegasus

This year's Me-Made-May is drawing to a close and I have enjoyed it as much as I have for the past three years. It is more fun now that I have a wider range of me-made garments to choose from and interesting to which ones get selected to wear again and again. I will be doing a bit of analysis about my most popular and / or comfortable items next week.

In the meantime enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend as it's supposed to be scorchio!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Visit to the London College of Fashion

Last week I had the chance to visit the UAL London College of Fashion Golden Lane. Courses at this site are aimed at footwear and accessories. It is housed in an old primary school and has studios full of industrial sewing machines, jewellery making facilities, IT suites for Computer Aided Design and Manufacture and finally industrial shoe-making equipment. It was a really interesting evening and I was amazed at the amount of processes involved in making shoes.

I was escorted around the site meeting BA and MA footwear students who were prototyping ideas and producing shoes for their final show. They were creating the most amazing shoes and boots complete from design, prototype to final sample size.

Every student has their own leather cutting tools
Industrial sewing machine - note the raised bed to be able to sew all parts of the shoe
Shoe pattern making
A CNC milled heel in wood on the left and a 3D printed version in black on the right
Design sheets
Plastic shoe lasts
A final year BA student with part of his final collection of menswear shoes
Amazing boots inspired by insects!
Industrial machinery in the workshop
A final year BA student with his mens shoes inspired by portraits in the National Gallery. He machine and hand-embroidered the portraits which he said was really enjoyable to do.
 I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the magical world of shoe-making!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

By Hand London Charlotte Skirt

I have had this stylish By Hand London Charlotte pencil skirt cut out for a couple of months and managed to finish it this week just in time for some warm weather. It could be considered quite an old indie pattern by today's standards and there are some fab versions out there. My favourites are:

This red wool Charlotte skirt by Lauren from Lladybird:

Oona Baloona's amazing floral Charlotte skirt:

And finally Elisalex from By Hand London's amazing tropical Charlotte skirt with back split:

The fabric was a gift from my friend Sophie who lives in Hong Kong. She has an amazing eye for fabric and I wouldn't necessarily have picked this colourful printed barkcloth myself, but I am so glad I paired it with the classic shape of the Charlotte pencil skirt.

I have made a few pencil skirts before here and here with the Simplicity 2154 retro pattern. The construction of the BHL Charlotte was pretty similar so it was a pretty speedy sew.

With only one metre of fabric I had to be careful with pattern placement. I had to cut a second waistband as the first one was way too short (not sure if that was my error or not) so I lengthened the waistband slightly so there was more overlap for a press-stud. I also had to take a little in at the hip area but other than that it is a very good fit.

I finished the seams on the inside with bias binding because the barkcloth frayed really easily. I also hand-stitched the waistband and the hem. I added two press-studs to secure the waistband into place.

The only slight niggle I have with the skirt is my not-so-invisible zip insertion. I am borrowing a sewing machine whilst I decide what to do with mine and it doesn't have an invisible zip foot, so it's a little more noticeable than my usual efforts! I can always re-do it when I get my old machine working (or get a new machine.....).

Overall, I am really happy with this skirt and it certainly added a little colour to what has been a pretty grey week so far here in the UK.

Pattern: By Hand London Charlotte Skirt Pattern = £9.00
Fabric: 1 metre of barkcloth from my friend Sophie in Hong Kong = free
Gutterman Thread: White from stash = free
Invisible Zip: White = £1.00
Bias Binding: Assorted coloured bias binding from stash = free
Press-studs: from my Grandma's stash = free

Total: £10.00

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Paolozzi Exhibition Inspires Sketchbook Explorations


In anticipation of the screen printing workshop I attended on Saturday I worked on some ideas and designs for the screen-print design in my sketchbook.

I was inspired by a recent visit to the Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery two weekends ago. It was full of amazing art, prints, collages and sculptures.

Paolozzi Tapestry
Paolozzi Screen Prints
Paolozzi printed dress, 1970's with Wedgewood Plates 

Paolozzi Screen Prints, 1960's
1953 Cocktail Dress in Paolozzi designed fabric
Screen Printed Designs 1950 - 52
1950's Screen Printed Fabric
I love Paolozzi's use of abstract shapes, blocked colours and contrasting lines. Using these ideas as a starting point for my designs I developed a range of ideas in my sketchbook.

Collage and scrap-booking in my sketchbook

Mixed media design using acrylic, marker pens and washi tape
Detail of scrap-book collage
Mixed media piece with watercolours and marker pens

I ended up choosing something completely different from the images above for my screen-print design, but I had a lot of fun creating these art works.

Which is your favourite design?

Screen Printing at Print Club London

I attended a screen printing workshop at Print Club London in Dalston today. It was brilliant! The team (Oli, Beks & Sophia) at the studios are so friendly and experienced. They explain the whole process of screen printing from design to print with a bit of banter thrown in for good measure.

I selected a design that I have etched a couple of years ago because I love the texture and pattern.

There were about 13 people on the course and we split into groups to help each other print our designs as the process is quite labour intensive and required speedy change overs so we all got a chance to print.

Designs laid out on the paper to help aline the screen onto the paper
Gorgeous coloured printing inks!
Preparing the screen with brown tape to seal any exposed silk-screen before printing
My screen ready to print!
Cleaned screens drying outside
To test the screen you use up discarded / rejected prints from the studio. I really love the layering of screen prints so I selected some cool rejects and cut them to size. Here is a selection of my prints.

It has been a long time since I did screen printing at art college and I had forgotten how much fun it is! I would definitely like to get back into screen-printing and would love to return back to the Print Club London again.