Thursday, 26 January 2012

Batik & Dye

I've been mixing up procion dyes, to the correct colours in my colour palette, today. I think I've managed to get the yellow, pink and red pretty spot on but I am really struggling with the cobalt blue. It looks ok when it's still wet, but when it dries it is always to pale, I can't get it intense enough. The samples below were dyed cold, I tried using them on the heat too, but the results weren't that different.

Last tuesday we had a go at using batik with Charlie. It's something I haven't done since primary school, and to be honest I hadn't magically got much better than primary school standard!

These are the samples I ended up with. As you can see clearly with the pink sample, there was quite a lot of accidental dripping involved, so much in fact that I ended up trying to incorporate spots into the design! On the red sample, I tried to recreate a check design, inspired by the blankets worn by the Maasai tribe. I quite like the way it turned out, so I tried out again today on a larger scale.

image from here

I was a lot neater this time, I used a brush instead of the traditional Tjanting, and I used a piece of card as a guide for the lines, and to protect the fabric from drips.

I like the imperfect effect that the wax resist gives. I know I'll have to work into a bit more though, maybe I can use a reverse appliqué technique - cutting out the squares in between the checks and putting some cobalt blue fabric behind and stitching into it?

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Etro inspiration

On the hunt for designer inspiration, I came across Etro's Fall 11/12 collection.

I really like the texture of these fringed waistcoats, and would like to try and recreate this in my samples.

image from here

Metal coin-like embellishment is some thing I have seen nomadic tribes use quite a bit, and I would like to incorporate this element into my work.

I like the way the the large and small scale prints used in this dress work together, and the wrapping of the fabric reminds me of the way the tibetan nomad women dress

image from here

There was also a few of these apron-like pieces. I think the design of this one looks similar to a persian carpet.

Etro images from

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pattern cutting part deux

More Pattern cutting today with Claudette!

This was last weeks effort, manipulating darts, moving a bust dart into the armhole.

After that I managed to cut out a winged seam with a princess line, and then we ran out of time.

So today we made up half a bodice with the pieces I cut out last week. Next up was the collars...

This was my Peter pan collar, so sweet! We had to overstitch on the underside of the collar to create a crisp edge, which was a bit tricky when you come to the rounded lapel bits, but I really pleased with my first attempt.

Last up was a cute little stand collar, like you might use on a cheongsam style dress. I have to say that I didn't think I'd enjoy pattern cutting as much as I did. I really love the neatness of it all and how with the use of a block you can change a design, but it magically fits the mannequin when you are done.

One thing I really wanted to make before I started this course, was this collar (from the film Bright Star). I don't think it would quite 'fit' in this project, but it is an idea I would like to use in the future. After finding this image on the internet I have also noticed just how amazing the cardigan looks. Is it tiny crocheted squares stitched corner to corner? Just beautiful! In fact, this whole film is just visual perfection, if you haven't seen it, you must.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


After collating visual research and information about different nomadic cultures I have noticed some common themes that seem to re-occur across the different tribes, even though they live on different continents. These are:

· Use of vivid colours (particularly vibrant red and an intense cobalt blue)

· Layering of clothing

· Ornamentation/Adornment (beading, metal trinkets and tattooing)

· Use of natural materials (wool, cotton, fur, leather and wood)

· Weaving and rug making

I have discovered that textiles & jewellery are very important to nomadic tribes.

Jewellery is not only decorative but is an easy way to carry their wealth with them at all times. Textiles are functional, decorative and easy to carry, not only are they used to keep them warm but also help to decorate their home and make it feel like ‘home’ as they move from place to place.

I will be drawing inspiration from a selection of nomadic tribes The Mongolian and Tibetan nomads found in Asia, and the Berbers, Bedouins and Maasai of Africa.

I want to keep my colour palette quite bright, in keeping with the tribes I have focused my research on, and have given my colours names that I think are in keeping with their cultures. My chosen colours are:

· Blood Red

· Bone

· Saffron Yellow

· Cobalt Blue

· Bare Earth

· Cerise Pink

I also want to use a metallic silver or gold to embellish, which I haven’t decided on yet.

I will be using natural fabrics and yarn like wool and cotton, as they are easy to dye, would be available to nomadic tribes and are matt in texture. I may use leather if I can find anything suitable. I also want to use fur in my designs, but this will probably have to be synthetic, due to availability of real fur. I will try to re-use second hand fabrics, which I have been gathering, as this would be in keeping with what some nomadic tribes do.

I am interested in researching some processes that nomadic tribes may or could use when creating their textiles. These will include rag rugging (Berber tribe), finger knitting, felting with wool and creating natural dyes. I would also like to incorporate some making of tassels and pom-poms with yarn.

I will be focusing on designing samples for use in fashion, but will try to incorporate one or two pieces of garment construction in my final outcome.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Intro into pattern cutting

Yesterday we had an introduction into pattern cutting with Claudette.
It was the first time I had used a block before, or done any proper pattern cutting (I've only drawn round other clothes to make simple patterns). We used the block to move, close and open new darts around a front and back block several times and then we chose a front and back to cut out and machine together.

I never new pattern cutting was so mathematical with all the angles!

I forgot to bring my camera, so will have to remember it for next thursday when we will be having part two.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dynamic Nomadic

Our new project this term is called 'Dynamic Nomadic' we will be drawing inspiration from nomadic tribes across the world.
During this module we will be revisiting the processes we learnt in our first module (dying, screen-printing, machine knit & machine embroidery) and learning new skills in basic garment construction.

So far I have collected a lot of visual research that can be viewed here on my Pinterest and have researched some information about a few nomadic tribes. I have a particular interest in Mongolian and Tibetan nomads found in Asia, and the Berbers, Bedouins and Maasai of Africa. Last week I went and scouted my local charity shops for garments that I might be able to use in this project. I was on the look out for woollen jumpers to felt, checked tablecloths similar to the Maasai blankets that I can over-dye and beads and jewellery that I can use for embellishment.

In the studio today I made a mood board and finalised my colour palette, this is an important stage as I will have to stick to my colour palette throughout this project. I took inspiration from the images I have collected and have chosen to use vivid red, cobalt blue, bone, cerise pink, minky-brown, buttercup yellow and either gold or silver for embellishment. Whilst researching nomads I have discovered that there are common themes that keep cropping up across the different tribes I have looked at. These are:
  • vivid colours (particularly vibrant red and a intense cobalt blue)
  • layering of clothing
  • adornment (beading, metal trinkets and tattooing)
  • natural materials (wool, cotton, fur, wood)
  • weaving and rug making
My next steps will be drawing and mark making in my sketch book, researching processes I could use that are similar to what nomads might use, and writing a 250 word statement that I can refer to throughout the project to keep me focused on my intended path.