Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tutorial and finalising garment and boards

The last two weeks before hand in the studios are being packed away in preparation for the degree show. So I will be working from home for the next couple of weeks, but yesterday I popped in for a tutorial with Charlie, to finalise the layout for my sample and illustration boards, and to discuss any last decisions with regards to my final outcome.

We selected some vintage buttons from my collection that were in my colour palette and pinned them to the straps to decide on the layout. We also decided to use a Woman's Land Army logo that I cleaned up on photoshop on the ends of the straps. I made these 'badges' using dylon image transfer paste onto calico.

But when I came to sew the buttons on each strap at home, I felt that five on each strap and the WLA logos would look to crowded, so I opted for three buttons on each strap with space for the logo instead.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Painting with dyes

Today I finally got round to painting my sample screen prints with my procion dyes.

I'm really pleased with how the colours have turned out so I'm definitely going to use the same process on my final garment. I will just have to be very careful not to drip any dye by accident whilst I am painting the real thing!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Machine embroidery

Originally, as well as using free machine embroidery for my seedlings, I was going to go over some of the print with machine embroidery as I had done in my first samples.

But when I tried this on the screen printed samples, because I had reduced the size of the embroidery transfers to make the print, I found it difficult to use the machine embroidery on such a small motif. Therefore I have decided to keep the free machine embroidery limited to the seedlings and a small butterfly on the back of the left hand shoulder.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Patchwork appliqué and hand embroidery

Today I started work on the patchwork style appliqué that I envisaged here.

I used a selection of patchwork and recycled cotton fabrics in range of greens to emulate the ariel photos of the allotments. I tore these fabrics into squares roughly the same size, as I wanted to give the patchwork a rough layered effect rather than a traditional neat and prim patchwork. Once I had laid and pinned the squares in a way I was happy with, I used free machine embroidery in a dark brown thread to sew them down.

I then began playing about with the dress net and my knitted 'net' to break up the squares and distort the printed cottons beneath. before sewing them down in the same way.

I am really pleased with the result, I think that the layering of the nets over the patchwork squares help to break up the prints and add more texture and interest like the netting I found on the allotments.

As you can see from this close up, I have also started to hand embroider parts of the prints with the thicker lines. I am using satin stitch, back stitch, star stitch and lazy daisy, shown below on the lilac.

The hand embroidery is a very long process, which makes me appreciate the time, effort and love that must have gone into stitching all those vintage embroidered linens I own even more, but I think it helps to add definition the the thicker print, and I think the extra detail makes my garment look more impressive.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dealing with disaster

So this morning was spent working out how to conceal my printing mistake that happened on tuesday. I found some curtain tape in a box of scraps that I thought I could use in place of some cotton tape.

Fiona and I spent some time fiddling about with it to see how we could conceal it, whilst turning it into a feature.

There was this option of turning it into a tie in some way, but I wasn't keen on the shapes it made, and I thought it would restrict movement which I thought would be impractical.

I had the idea of creating loops in the tape so that tools could be hung from it like I shown above. But in the end I went with Will's suggestion that I turn the mistake into a feature, as it looked a bit like soil, and turn it into a 'soil' border that frames the print around the top and bottom edge.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Screen printing

When I came in today my screen was ready to print with - Yay!

I was pretty nervous about printing though, as I will be printing straight onto my finished garment, so there is no going back if I made a mistake. So I printed on a few separate pieces of calico before I took the plunge, these will also give me an opportunity to practise painting with my procion dyes onto the screen printed areas.

This is the result of the screen print, which I'm really happy with. I then went onto to bite the bullet and print directly onto the print. This was quite tricky, as the pleats in the fabric at the top of the skirt made it difficult to keep the screen close to the fabric. This resulted in two of the prints coming out with thicker lines and some smudges. To solve this problem I have decided to hand embroider these two prints to give them better definition.

I also had a bit of a print disaster on the print to the middle of the skirt. I forgot to retape up the edges of screen after cleaning it in between prints and so I am left with a splodge at the top. I'm thinking of a way I can cover it or conceal it. maybe with a another pocket or some sort of cotton tape or ribbon?

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Creating a print design with photoshop

I spent the last couple of days coming up with a design for my screen print which will feature around the skirt of the apron dress.

I had already selected the embroidery transfers that I want to use, based on the fact that they needed to be wildflowers that are in bloom during the months of April, May and June.

My first task was to trace the original transfers in black fine line pen onto white paper and scan them onto my laptop. This makes it easier for me to cleanup and work with the motifs on photoshop. I then removed the white backgrounds from each of the motifs and began to manipulate them into a design that I was relative happy with. This took a long time as I want to make the blooms look they were creeping up the dress, but I also needed to take into consideration the colour that each bloom will be painted in so even spread of the colours over the print.

As you can see from the picture above I put the designs into a repeat to see how the print will join up when printed side by side. Here are four slightly different designs. I was playing about with the placement of the bee and butterflies to see which would work best with the repeat.

This was the final design that I decided on with the help of some of my class mates and Fiona. Luckily I finished it and printed out onto A3 before the end of my day in the studio today so that I could get it exposed onto a screen ready for my next day in the studio next tuesday.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Knitting netting

My primary research at my allotments unearthed a lot of netting, fencing and chicken wire. So I wanted to incorporate this into my garment.
As well as sourcing some dress net from my local fabric shop I decided to try and replicate a the fruit netting that I found being used around the plots. I used a fine dark green and khaki coloured yarn on the lowest tension on a chunky knit machine to create this knit sample. I think that I will add these nettings to the patchwork style appliqué I will be creating on the hem of the apron dress.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fashion illustrations

I always find doing fashion illustrations for my designs daunting. As I've said before, I'm not very confident in my drawing capabilities and although I can visualise in my head what I want my design to look like in reality, I find it difficult to communicate on paper.

image found via

Charlie suggested that if I drew a layout of my dress, a bit like a flat similar to image above, then I could experiment with different print and embroidery designs and how they would be placed on the actual dress. It would also mean that I could use these designs as my fashion illustrations that I need to submit with my garment.

I originally drew the design as a4 size which I then photocopied and blew up to a3 to make drawing the designs easier. I used a collage technique that we have been working on with Lucy in our drawing module to illustrate the patchwork style appliqué I intend to use for my final outcome. I will be using the last design shown above as my final design as I think it brings together all the different elements I wanted to include when I wrote my statement. I always had a image in my head of the plants growing up from the hem of the dress and I think this illustrates what was in my head best.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

1940s print inspiration

I have been looking at some original floral printed fabrics from the 1940s which are sold by Donna Flower to help me design my screen print using my great grandmothers embroidery transfers.

I think that this type of layout would work well for my design as the flowers look like they are growing in one direction, rather than just scattered about.

I like the use of wildflowers and wheat in this design.

Although in this design the flowers look quite stylised which is not what I am trying to achieve, I like the use of the grid as a background, as grids and nets were something that featured heavily on my allotments.

I like the use of outline in this print.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Finishing garment construction

Yesterday, with the help of Fiona, I managed to finish the construction of my final outcome, my apron dress. Originally I had planned to make a toile from calico first, to give me the opportunity to experiment with placement of my print and embroidery, and then make up my final outcome after I had made those decisions. But due to time constraints and the fact that I have chosen to make my final outcome out of undyed calico anyway, we made the decision to make the toile the final garment. Luckily I had been very neat with my cutting and sewing anyway so it was just a case of overlocking the raw edges before I finished sewing it all together.

I forgot to take a photo of it on the mannequin, but this was me laying out on the table so I could get a better idea of how to draw it as a flat so I could decide of the design placement of my print and embroidery.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


I began sampling with fabric today. I started by experimenting with how I could use the embroidery transfers in way that would be different from their original intended use.
First I ironed on a transfer, and then painted the image with procion dyes.

Then I did the same, but machine embroidered the outline of the image in dark brown before painting with the dyes.

I also experimented with how it would look like if the dyes bled through the outline. I achieved this by dampening the areas to be painted first with water.

I like how both effects have turned out. They reminded me of a vintage souvenir scarf that I have. My mum told me that both my samples and the scarf look like a technique used to decorate ceramics called 'clobbering'. This is when a transfer is fired on to ceramics and then children hand painted the design, which is why the colours go outside the line.

The sample below was inspired by a variety of visual inspiration that I had collected for my Pinterest board.

The collage below was taken from a similar picture of seedlings in pots from my visual research and I decided to use the seedling motif in a similar way to the textile artist Viv of Hens Teeth who I have mentioned in a previous post.

The above print and ariel shot of allotments below immediately suggested a patchwork design to me. I want to evoke the mismatch rows of plots whilst still keeping a certain colour harmony with the varying shades of green. Unlike a traditional patchwork the plots are a bit higgledy piggly and rough around the edges, so to suggest this I will try to create a patchwork effect by using a appliqué technique.