You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

It all came together over the last week or so… Here is my organza top complete with three chains of fabric roses:

top with 3 fabric rose necklaces 

The fabric roses are made of a fair bit of fabric and so have a good weight. This means that I did not have to attach them to the top itself and was able to create three separate necklaces that could then be styled in different ways. For example, with a single strand…

top with single rose fabric necklace

With a long and a short necklace:

top with long and short necklace

And with two longer necklaces:

top with 2 fabric rose necklaces

I made each necklace with a tie closure so that the length could be adjusted as required. Each end of the rouleau loop was then finished with a cover button – tying in with the details on the harem trousers (see below…).

ties for fabric rose necklaces

The top itself is light weight and attached with a tie at the back of the neck – inspired by the scarves worn with Salwar Khamis style suits.

top back

The finished trousers are certainly eye catching and not for the faint hearted:

finished harem trousers

I am really pleased with how the buttons up the calf and outside leg worked out. The printed facing on the outside links in with the printing used for the roses themselves, and works well with the cover buttons and rouleau loops.

button and rouleau loop detail

We have a fashion show next week in town so hopefully I will get some pics of the full outfit on a living breathing model!

I finished my head piece this week. This involved sewing my sinamay strips of different widths into twists and then attaching them firmly to the covered headband using a glue gun.

finished head piece

From the left:

head piece left

And from the right:

head piece right

I also spent a while in the dye room this week printing up my fabric using silver and bronze printing inks combined with metal foiling. I then started making up my fabric roses for the top:

printed fabric roses

Here is a close up including the gold stamen:

printed roses

Welcome to the newest member of the family. The Hermes Baby…

hermes baby

A quick search on line revealed that when she hit the market she was the Mini Cooper of typewriters, becoming the world’s lightest portable typewriter perfect for students and people on the road – the MacBook Air of her day in fact… According to the Classic Typewriter Store the “totally appealing Hermes Baby gained instance success since its introduction and garnered a loyal following among stylish writers of the day.”

I first laid eyes on her on a Sunday afternoon walking past my local Shelter charity shop in Morningside. On testing all her keys she was mine for £20. Who could resist the large keys…

typewriter keys

The vintage, 1940’s compact, slimline casing…

hermes typewriter

And who says you can only type on paper? Thick calico seems to offer no challenge and offers all sorts of possibilities for creating unique cloth…

calico and typewriter

Writing with her is a pleasure. The weight of the whole machine, the physicality of punching the keys and of course the fabulous noise. So fantastic in fact that someone has even dedicated a short film to the pleasure:

No wonder perhaps that the Hermes Baby was also reputed to be the prefered typewriter of Ernest Hemingway (reference). She forces me to slow down while typing compared to my computer keyboard. I am also forced to have far greater acceptance of my mistakes, embracing them as part of the process. As I plan to manipulate the resulting text I feel no pressure to type perfectly (which is kind of fortunate)…

Surprisingly (?), but also gratefully, I had no problem sourcing a new typewriter ribbon on ebay – what did we ever do before the web…

Screen printing tests on Thursday, starting off with a test of the whole screen (white fabric paint on red satin):

white on red screenprint test

Then experimenting with metallic and pearl inks:

silver on brown screenprint

And then lots more fun screenprinting with glue and then foiling:

foiling and screenprinting

The photos don’t really do the samples justice (summer seems to have forgotten about Edinburgh and the cloud and rain has descended with a vengence…) however the foiling worked really well. Next week I am going to experiment with some copper and bronze foil.

I also finished off my designs in my sketchbook. Here is a selection starting with some rose embellishment:

design set 1

Something a bit more sexy and slim line:

design 2

Getting a bit more flamboyant:

design3

Harem princess with rose detailing:

design4

Pretty in blue and gold:

design5

Cluster of smaller roses v. one large rose:

design6

Harem trousers were on my mind this week in a big way. The pattern is looking pretty mad:

harem-trouser-patterns

The original pattern was created from a basic trouser block, and then purposely made too large so that I could play around with the shaping. I started by making a toile in jersey to see how it would hang, and then did a fitting pinning up the sides to get the shape I was after.

harem-trouser-toile-1

I then made a toile from the adapted pattern a second time using a non-stretchy fabric which is a closer match to my final cloth. The waist band and pleating at the top worked well however the bottoms of the trousers were just too tight. Bear in mind also that the trousers are intended for someone lots taller than me and wearing high heels….

harem-trouser-toile-2

So I adapted the pattern and toiled half a leg to check that they would fit.

harem-trouser-toile-3

So it looks like I am now well on my way. The next stage is finalising the finishing details including the zip at the back and buttons and button loops down the side of the calf and bottom of the trousers.