Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Lace Panel Skater Dress

This has been my first design & sewing project for a while.

I was approached by a friend of mine from university & asked if I could make her a dress for her birthday. I've been a bit apprehensive the past few months about taking commissions, it's not that I doubt my abilities, but more that I find it hard to get a good balance between a customer's budget and the price I need to charge them so I'm not under-pricing myself. This becomes especially hard when you think about what you can buy on our great British high street! As a freelancing design/pattern cutter/seamstress it's incredibly hard to compete! But I digress, that is a whole different discussion topic in itself!

So, back to my original topic...

After discussing what my friend was looking for I set about sketching a few ideas. 
I decided to sketch out my ideas in a flat 'working drawing' format, as this was how my previous workplace presented designs. It's not the prettiest or most creative way to design, but it's a simple way to see the shape of a garment as well as thinking out construction details. 

So here was the final design.

* Sleeveless Bodice
*Plunging Lace Panel at CF
* Bust Darts
* Bodice Lined at Front Only
* Full Skater Skirt
* Keyhole at CB
* Invisible Zip LHSAW
* Inside Bind Armholes & Neckline
* Outside Bind Keyhole
* Pinstitch Hem

I decided on a lightweight tailoring crepe as it would drape nicely as well as being heavy enough to leave the skirt unlined. The pattern cutting process went quite smoothly. I wanted to fit the toile to get a better idea of fit on my friend's body, but unfortunately long distance & clashing work hours meant a fit session wasn't possible. So I had to work 'blind' using measurements and my mannequin.

A fabric sourcing trip to London proved very successful. Goldhawk Road is honestly the best place to go for a huge variety of affordable (and expensive!) fabrics. I came away with a beautiful rich purple colour crepe and a circle design matching lace. You couldn't have asked for a better colour match!

So, on with the actual dress!
Please excuse the inconsistent photo quality below. My photography is not great at the best of times, and only having my phone camera to use 90% of the time makes it a bit harder to get good quality photos!

Lay Plans for Cutting

Inserting CF Lace Panel & Lining the Bodice Front

Binding The Neckline & Armholes
I ended up doing all of the binding by hand, as my fancy new binding foot proved too tricky to use for this. More practice definitely needed with that so I can perfect it for future projects!

Internal Bodice Construction


Ta Dahhhh!!

I actually want one of these for myself!
I love the colour & the bold lace design.

Although this wasn't a particularly hard garment to make, the whole process was made a lot harder due to the fact my overlocker decided it had had enough, and broke halfway through, and who can blame it after thankless years of hard work! It's now at sewing machine hospital, so fingers crossed it pulls through! Thanks to Lisa for loaning me hers (lifesaver!).

I'm particularly pleased with how the binding came out, I think I've got a good technique down now!

Although there are certain things I would change, I am so happy with how this came out. 
(So maybe I'm just being picky!)

Hopefully Jemma loves it as much as I do.

Em x

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

BuzzFeed & Derek Ridgers - 70s/80s London Punk Scene

This link jumped up at me yesterday via my Facebook feed.

This BuzzFeed page shows 17 vintage photos by British photgrapher Derek Ridgers of the London punk scene during the 1970s & 80s.

This link comes at the perfect time as I've actually been listening to the greatest hits of 'The Clash' for the past few weeks! Apart from the obvious classics ("London Calling" & "Rock the Kazbah") I had never listened to much of The Clash & I actually quite like them!

My other half told me he had heard somewhere that "...the Sex Pistols make you want to bang your head against a wall... The Clash will give you a reason too!". 

For me, the word 'punk' epitomises an angry, rebellious nature, but I can remember hearing punk music for the first time a being surprised how the sound wasn't as loud and angry as I had expected, unlike other genres of music - rap or metal/screamo (obviously there are variations in sound from band to band etc), but the lyrics expressed that feeling instead.

I would love to have been around to see the emergence of the British punk scene, but I'm not sure I would have been outlandish enough to be part of it! I think my tastes would have lied firmly in the mod look, which was also another massive subculture that fused music & fashion.

There's a brilliant series on BBC at the moment called "Oh! You Pretty Things!", that looks into the influence music and fashion have always held over each other, and have so far mentioned touched on mod & punk. I seem to be watching them in the wrong order on catchup but they are definitely worth checking out!

If you're interested you can buy 'The Clash Hits Back' here:

Or see more of Derek Ridgers work at his website below

Em x

Monday, 6 October 2014

"The trench coat's forgotten WW1 roots"

Great little article on the BBC website by Simon Armstrong, detailing the trench coat's origins in WWI and it's life as a Hollywood 'icon' & must have fashion item of today

It's crazy to think how many fashion items today have their origin in the military, and how far the clothing industry has come in that time, something I never get tired of reading about!

Em x