Posts filed under behind the scenes

A shift in inspiration...

This is going to be a text-heavy post! But I feel the need to explain and share :)

I haven't been sticking to my blog schedule for the past two weeks, because I've been feeling unmotivated and uninspired, and haven't been so well. But on Wednesday, even though (or in a way because) I was having a bad day, I got such an unexpected wave of inspiration. At times I get anxious in public places, when I see someone make a weird movement out of the corner of my eye, when a stranger has a strange look on their face, or looks at me a little too often. Or when I'm walking somewhere alone and don't feel safe. That was the kind of day I was having on Wednesday. And for some reason, I listened to a song I haven't listened to in a while, the song that inspired my Maturaarbeit (a paper/project you must complete in Switzerland to graduate from high school), a mini collection of dresses inspired by the ocean (especially the deep sea). The song is called "We Want War" by These New Puritans, and it's quite creepy but comforting to me, because it makes me feel strong.

 a page from my sketchbook for the project

a page from my sketchbook for the project

I designed the dresses for my Maturaarbeit with the image of female sea-creature-warriors in mind, beautiful but deadly women who come out of the ocean to defend it. It's hard to explain the concept in only a few sentences. Two of the dresses had unnecessary fastenings, as I liked the idea of having to be helped into the clothes, the same way warriors and knights have to be helped into their armor, giving them a moment to transform into something else. Because that's what I want clothing to do to me, I want it to change how I feel.

 the four final dresses (I had more that I scrapped...), in order of "wearable-ness". The one on the far right is my favorite, it represents the concept the best. But look at that sad bustier top on the third dress! (steel boning would have helped!) And the fit issues on the first dress! And of course, all of them unlined cause ain't nobody got time (or the skillz) for dat!  (click the image below to see a version of the video I made for the presentation)

the four final dresses (I had more that I scrapped...), in order of "wearable-ness". The one on the far right is my favorite, it represents the concept the best. But look at that sad bustier top on the third dress! (steel boning would have helped!) And the fit issues on the first dress! And of course, all of them unlined cause ain't nobody got time (or the skillz) for dat! (click the image below to see a version of the video I made for the presentation)

After finishing and handing in that project for school in January 2011, I needed some "space" from it after working on it for about 1.5 years, but I knew I wanted to come back to it at some point. I wanted to make pretty, cute, wearable, vintage-inspired things first! And my sewing/drafting skills improved so much during that time! But listening to that song again on Wendnesday I realized that, right now, I want to wear things that make me feel strong and protected.

 photography I did for the presentation

photography I did for the presentation

 a mock "advertisement" I photographed and edited.

a mock "advertisement" I photographed and edited.

And maybe it's because I got into art school and am excited about it and daydreaming about what I'll get to do there, or because I've been watching old project runway seasons, but I feel like trying something a bit more challenging. In the past I've made mostly dresses, but I feel like making a jacket or a coat.

 ideas I've been sketching these past few days

ideas I've been sketching these past few days

Until I have something to show you, I'll keep posting DIY projects, outfits etc. (I have a couple DIY projects in the works, just need to get around to finishing and photographing them!). I'm feeling inspired to get back to my usual blogging schedule :)

Posted on March 31, 2013 and filed under behind the scenes, personal.

The Labels arrived!

A few months ago I shared the clothing labels I was working on. I've changed the design since then (most importantly switched from black on white, to white on black), and finally got them made!

DSC03538edt.jpg
DSC03539edt.jpg
DSC03540edt.jpg

I ordered them via kikikreations.com, and I'm pretty happy with them. It did take a lot of emails back and forth, and the size labels were shipped seperately (hope they didn't get lost...), but the labels are just how I wanted them and very soft against the skin! No poking edges, that's important.

By the way, the Mint Bustier in these pictures is the first piece of the Gossamer collection! It's made from Shantung, to mimic that metallic shimmer of beetles.

DSC03546edt.jpg

I'm excited to have a whole box of these! The details are slowly coming together, it's the patterns that are the hard part right now. Since I've been so frustrated with the skirt pattern for Gossamer, I'm thinking of putting it on hold to rework some of my older patterns like the Mint Dress (maybe use the bodice to make a summer top?) and the Betty Draper Summer Dress.

Posted on March 7, 2013 and filed under behind the scenes.

some days...

Friday evening I headed to the office after finishing work at 6.30. I call it the office, because it's a room I'm allowed to use in my dad's office, but I guess it's more of a studio. I keep all of my sewing stuff there, and it's where I work on Murmur. Well, on friday I sewed up a muslin for a skirt I'm working on, to see if the pattern needs tweaking. It turned out it needs a lot of tweaking, I'm probably better off re-doing it. And after spending the week working on that pattern (a variation of a pattern I've been working on for a lot longer) in between everything else I have to do, and spending the week before that trying to work out the pattern to a dress design that seems to be impossible, it was like a punch in the face. Two weeks, and I haven't gotten any further. And no letter from art school yet. And the pillow DIY I wanted to post today isn't finished yet, because I can't find a big, fabric covered button.

After 2 months of motivation, getting things done and feeling good about the future, I've swung back the other way around. This happens to me alot, sudden mood swings. I want to make things, but I don't know where to start. I feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Even if I do finally get the patterns right, who's going to want the stuff I make? Who is going to want to buy and wear it? Because fabric and notions aren't cheap here. And I don't want to use the cheap stuff! Does anyone still care about stuff like fine quality fabrics?

I think I need to take a break from working on the Gossamer patterns. They are more complicated than what I've done so far, so I'm going to try not to be frustrated with myself.  I'm going to clean my room, and clean out my closet (because the amount of clothes I have is overwhelming, I always wear the same stuff because I haven't put together outfits in so long!), throw away lots of stuff, I'm going to cook full meals for myself instead of living off chai lattes at odd hours, and I'm going to read a book. Because I'm happy to live in a room drowning in clothes and empty plates, and live off starbucks and burger king and wear the same clothes every day, and not have time for reading or friends - but only if I feel it's worth it, that it's getting me closer to what I want.

And when I feel like it, I'll sew something for me.

This song by The Lumineers has helped make me feel better!

Posted on March 4, 2013 and filed under behind the scenes, personal, music.

Drafting and Muslins

DraftingatOffice.jpg

I've been working on the patterns for the collection for a while now. Unfortunately I've been so busy these past few months, so I didn't get too far. But I have finished one skirt pattern, one dress pattern, and I've started on the bustier pattern (that one is taking a while, but a fitted garment like a bustier is a little complicated to get just right, and I want it to be perfect!).

 I was not concentrating when I drafted this, I forgot that I wanted the folds to start at the midriff piece!

I was not concentrating when I drafted this, I forgot that I wanted the folds to start at the midriff piece!

I have an elastic waist skirt, a blouse (that is the same as the bodice of the dress, so I just need to alter it a little), a dress bodice (the skirt is the same as the one I already have), and a redingote left to draft. And if I have time, a pair of shorts, but I'm giving myself time with that one, since I've never done pants before and it might take a while to get it right.

 Here's the second version, where I fixed the folds. Much better!

Here's the second version, where I fixed the folds. Much better!

MuslinsOnMannequin.jpg

After I have all the patterns in the sample size, it'll be time to grade them to different sizes! I'm excited about this, since I've never had to do it and I bought a college script about the process online. I'll finally get to try the stuff I've been studying on my own!
 Parallel to this I'll be sewing samples in fabrics similar to the ones I'll be using for the final pieces,  to make sure they look right (as you can see in the photos, I've already done this for the bodice of the one dress! Making the tulip sleeve made me realize it'll be quite difficult to make them look nice with silk charmeuse, so I'm changing my plans and using silk chiffon for the sleeves instead).

Below is a photo of the fabrics I bought in Paris last November, to use for the final pieces, along with some of the embellishments I'm planning to use for the shoulders. I love the colors! I was looking for very specific colors and types of silk, and I'm so glad I found them (my friend helped me, the fabric shops in Paris are quite crowded, I was glad I had help!).

FabricAndNotions.jpg
Posted on February 13, 2013 and filed under behind the scenes, creating the collection.

Applying to Art School

The reason for the silence on this blog is that I was spending a lot of time working on my portfolio for art school. For my application I got a list with 5 themes I needed to work on. I wanted to share a few of the things I did, because I used embroidery (something I recently got into and shared on the blog in November) for one of the pieces.

 "Selfportrait at the work place"

"Selfportrait at the work place"

FrontPage.jpg
TurkeyPatternPieces1.jpg
TurkeyPatternPieces2.jpg

For the Theme "Preparations for a Party" I made a Thanksgiving "DIY-Kit", with a buildable Turkey and an Apron Pattern with Instructions.

 a paper model of the turkey (I lated had it printed on heavier paper and glued pieces together so that both sides were colored)

a paper model of the turkey (I lated had it printed on heavier paper and glued pieces together so that both sides were colored)

UsualAndUnusual800px.jpg

Finally, Fabric! For the theme "something usual and something unusual" I chose to make two designs on fabric: Mr. Earnest Minkleton and his tea cup collection. I drew teacups, carved them out of lino and printed them onto the fabric using fabric paint. Mr. Minkleton was a little more complicated (or at least, took longer!), as I really wanted to use the embroidery to create dimension (as a contrast to the simpleness of the teacups). This meant I had to make many many little stitches, to show the direction of the fur and create soft shading. I spent about 10 hours on the head alone. I won't even start talking about the clothes! This is the piece that I finished last, I was embroidering up until 1.5 hours before the deadline.

But I'm so happy with it! The fabric got warped a bit but oh well... I finally got to use all those different fancy stitches! I used little beads for the berries and made the pussywillow from velvet that I sewed into tiny little balls. I'm glad this application gave me the chance to try such an ambitous embroidery project, I don't think I would've had the nerve to start this as a "just for me"-project. This will definitely be the "center jewel" of the cat wall (inspiration) I've been planning for years.

Minkleton.jpg
Posted on February 9, 2013 and filed under behind the scenes, personal.