In My Time of Dying

Today I spend the day testing fabric dying times and the strengths of the dyes. I was looking to make a grey to dye my fabric, and using the dye that I experimented with when I made my last dye samples, I set out trying to gauge the different shades available to me. However, I have no idea why, the dye decided to be blue today, instead of grey. I was hoping that they would dry greyer, they didn’t, but I now have a better idea of how much dye and for how long I need to soak the fabric for.

Tomorrow I plan to start mixing in other dyes in order to neutralise the blue and get to a more black/grey.


Greatest American Ribbon

The idea I had for my ribbon was pretty solid. It cam from a lot of experimental printing the happened at the beginning of this project, and came from a specific sample that actually printed wrong.  I took this design and scanned it in, so that I could re-created the mistake I’d made. Not that I didn’t know how to, I had accidentally printed onto the wrong side (or maybe the right side given the results) of photo paper, so that the foil I was transferring in the heat press, stuck not only to my pattern but also to the plastic of the photo paper in a random, but beautiful pattern.

This is the design I chose to have on my ribbon; a structured grid pattern that had suddenly turned into a unpredictable mess. I loved it.

I also knew that I wanted my ribbon to be white, with orange foil, just like that original samples because, lets face it, I am obsessed with that happy accident.

There was a problem though, all the foils had been used up in a second year workshop and it was going to take while before more could be ordered in. So about two weeks later, I was still waiting on my foil, but it was ok, because my ribbon was going to look boss in the end.

With only three weeks until I/G came back for another visit I was getting a bit insane in the membrane. I wanted my ribbon done so I could check that off the list of things I needed to complete, and low and behold! The new foils arrived on Friday (or was it Thursday?). I was so excited, I rushed into the office to ask Steve for some of that beautiful orange foil, only there wasn’t any. None what so ever. To say I was crushed wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I was actually gutted, still am. I adored that orange, I’d even tried to order some from two different places while waiting for Steve’s order to come in, and neither of those came anywhere near to this colour.


I had no choice. There wasn’t enough time for me to order any more foil and have it here in time for my presentation. I had to choose another colour. One from my colour scheme. I’d used the yellow in my card, the pink on my bag, the purple on my wrap and bow, and the blue on my tag. There was only one option for me, to use the same aqua blue as I’d used on my tag, for my ribbon. Thankfully it wouldn’t look too similar, because while it’ll still be the same foil, the fabric I was printing it onto was a different colour, and I was also using a different design.

It looks good, don’t get me wrong, its a lovely looking ribbon which I finished off with white and blue overlocking, but I just isn’t the ribbon I wanted. It isn’t that beautiful deep orange that I loved so much. It does however fit in well with my collection, and ties the tag and the ribbon together in a way that the roll wrap and bow tie have been connected. It works well, but its just not that orange.

December, 1963

Oh what a week.

Can you hear that noise? That little pounding in your ear? It’s the sound of the creative beat. It’s been playing all throughout my week, helping me to draw, paint and to develop patterns.

I started the week by completed more paintings for the team in Sacha Pierre, motifs for their upcoming collection and for a side project therein. I was free to drawn, paint and manipulate. And when I couldn’t think of how to do more within the side project, I returned my attention to the upcoming collection and the myriad of drawings and research that we had gathered for that.

The pattern that I has been making last week wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t getting a Sacha Pierre vibe from it, I wasn’t feeling it. So taking two different motifs, I started to work on a collection of designs similar to one that had already been created by Sacha Pierre, but different enough so that it was completely separate. I suppose a sort of ‘moving on’ collection that still keeps to the same framework as the last.

When I showed the team my initial design they really liked it, which thrilled me. I was really chuffed (and still am) at having these two established designers liking my pattern. From here, and taking my chuffed buzz with me, I started to make cushion designs that would complement my first pattern, then from there, I was lead on to creating a further design using just one motif. I was really inspired this week, as you can tell from my designs snowballing from the one before and so on.

I took this inspiration home with me, to my own ‘Mineral Spirit’ collection. I drew minerals, painted them and scanned them into my computer before manipulating and turning into a repeating pattern. I used information that I got of Fannie about all the different possible layouts for repeating patterns and tried them all before finding one I really liked. From here I plan to change this design so that it is four different colourways, exciting huh?

Throughout the week I was set a few tasks by the Sacha Pierre team, which was a pleasant side path along with the designing, the first was of course to create my motifs, but the second was really interesting and a bit frightening at the same time. Isie asked me to look over all the little blurbs that had been written about the company so far, and to condense it into one or two paragraphs so as to go onto their new catalogue design. I’m not naive enough to think that what I wrote was perfect and that Isie would keep it exactly the same, but I was again so thrilled to be this involved in their collection, that I really don’t mind.

One thing that I touched upon last year was creating a CAD visual, which I created a few really rudimentary version of; but today I was able to create more, again chuffed, thrilled, over the moon; you name it, I was it. Using a CAD visual that Fannie had already used before, I was able to change a few of the layers so that they featured my designs instead and ‘hey presto’ there were my designs, on bedding, on a bed, looking ridiculously exciting. (it’s been a really exciting week for me). I plan to take this re-established knowledge home with me so that I can use the designs of my collection with CAD visuals.

Pattern Design Examples

After our group meeting today I came away feeling really impassioned about pattern making. Each member of my group had looked at different patterns from many cultural background and this was really inspiring me to look into pattern designing. I left the meeting think about the different ways I could make these patterns, embroidery, fabric dying, printing? all these ideas were swirling around my head just waiting to be used. I stared to look at images of middle eastern patterns again and most of their fabric are either woven or printed, and even though I am learning how to weave, for this task I decided to go with the other traditional method of printing.

I had two ideas, either I could make a stencil or I could make a lino cut. because I wanted to, I decided that I was going to at least try to do both. i started, however, with lino cut. Using soft-cut linoleum I found a pattern that i found really interesting and drew it out onto the lino and started to cut away. I decided on using a few different coloured fabric to print, brown, red and a plain calico on as well as printing onto paper. The closest thing I had to printing ink was acrylic paint, so that is what I used. I found the results to be really good and not what I expected at all, in a very good way. The colours went really well together and I really liked the overall look of the samples.

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20150306_152719514_iOS20150306_153511922_iOS20150306_161252409_iOSNext I’m going to look into stencil patterns as well as hand embroidery, and then some machine embroidery.

Stitch Speed Dating Workshop – 17th February

With the same principal as last week, this week’s speed dating session showed us even more different sewing techniques that could made on a sewing machine using different feet.

This week I started on the needle punch machine; this machine knits different fibres together creating very expressive pieces of work. I really liked that with this machine, almost any fibres/fabrics and threads can be used to make wonderfully textured and tactile creations.
I then moved on to the 3-way cording foot. Like the cording foot last week’s cording foot, I was able to layer different threads and materials together; this time I could have the choice of using three threads at a time or equally I could use one, again I really loved the results produced by this foot. In also experimented by using the 3-way cording foot on the fibres I had created from the needle punch machine.
The tripe needle was the next foot I experimented with, I really liked the very delicate quality these stitches produced, they’re very decorative and I really liked using this machine, I experimenting with a few different stitches before then using the machine on the layers of fabric I had created onto the cording machine. I liked mixing the different styles of stitches that can be produced with the different feet.
The last two machines that I had to experiment with was the Fringing foot and the Pintuck foot. Both of these machines produced very decorative outcomes; the fringing foot stitches could either be left as they were or cut to produce little tufts of thread on the fabric. The piping foot, creates little paths on top of the fabric, which are again very decorative, I liked the pintuck foot and its outcomes, they’re quite noticeable raised lines on the fabric, without being over bearing or distracting, think they’re a really nice addition.
Having finished experimenting with the machines with enough time I went back to the triple needle foot and started to experiment on one of the prints that I had made during our printing workshops in the previous weeks.
Again I really enjoyed this workshop, I liked all the machine I experimented with and again I wish I had more time to experiment further.

Sticth Workshop Speed Dating- 10th February

During our first stitch session we stitch speed dating. Set up within the stitch room where six different kinds of feet, or sewing machines that we had to experiment on.

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Firstly I started on a sewing machine with a piping foot. I quite liked this technique, but uses in a more decorative way that for practicality. The next machine I visited was one with a border guide foot, this had a flat plastic addition to the foot, which had lines on it so that it could guiding your stitching and make sure your stitching straight.  I then moved onto the Ruffler machine, I found this quite difficult to use, but I managed to make a small about of ruffled fabric in the end, with quite good result.

With only three more different machine to go I moved onto the Wing edge needle, used on light weight fabric, this needle has blades running down the side so as to make larger holes in the fabric while sewing. This needle could be used with or with thread to make very delicate and lacelike cuts in the fabric. I really liked the delicate nature of the fabric and the stitch combined.

I then moved onto one of the electric sewing machine, and started to experiment with all the different types of decorative stiches, again using the border guide foot to make sure the stitches were evened out. It was then time to use the only machine that I hadn’t already, the one with the cording foot. I loved this foot, I was able to layer threads and cords and fabric on top of each other to create a very tactile, busy and layered sample. I probably stayed don this machine longer than I should have but I couldn’t help myself, I loved the results that I was getting from this foot.


With some spare time left over I went back to the piping machine and started playing around with using piping in a much more decorative manner, I experimented with using it with different fabrics and combining fabrics together.

I really enjoyed this workshop. Even though I liked some techniques more than other and wished I had more time to play around with them I really liked learning all of them and having a changed to experiment and learn how to use each one.