Sunday, 3 May 2015

Design Journal: Development


This week I decided to transfer some of my research images onto acetate and project them onto my mannequin for shape idea's. I've seen a lot of my course mates do it in the past but I've never used an overhead projector before, so thought it would be a good idea to experiment. Most of my silhouette inspiration is coming from the 1950's, particularly the sort of housewife, utility, workwear yet feminine clothing but I want to find a way to still make it look modern.

The images I used were a mix of Matisse, Wesselmann, Sonya Delauney, and the Saguaro Hotel. I'm not sure how useful these projector images will be within my work, because I'm mainly looking to those images for print and colour inspiration, but I thought it wouldn't do any harm to try. Speaking of colour palette, I feel I'm almost there - when I look at my wall at uni I can see a definite colour palette forming with a strong yellow and blue. I know it will end up being quite pastel-ly, however I'm conscious of not making it that typical sickly sweet pastel colour palette. Looking at people like Henri Matisse and Sonya Delauney, it has that pastel element but it much more bold and they use colours that aren't quite primary, which I love. 

I tried cutting colours out of magazines that I thought related to my research so I could begin forming a colour palette. I've said before that yellow and blue seem to be the prominent colours in my mind, and I'm particularly interested in a very strong, vintage, golden yellow, and I'm just trying to find an equally as strong blue to go with it. But as I was chopping up, the pieces reminded me of a lot of Matisse's work, so I might end up displaying my colour palette like this (this is not the final palette - obviously), or just sticking it into my sketchbook and using it for shape inspiration. It reminds me a lot of Roksanda's S/S 15, and Resort 15 collections, which I've been looking at a lot for inspiration.

Roksanda S/S 15

I just love the boldness of the colours, as well as the lines within the pattern cutting - this is something I'm hoping to bring into my own work but in a much more subtle, wearable, vintage-inspired way.

In terms of fabric, I have spent the last month or so trying to seek out already existing prints on fabrics that will suit my collection. It has been very tricky trying to find prints that I felt fitted in with my work, especially as I wanted them to work within vintage but also be something much more vibrant and contemporary. 

I luckily found these two prints online, from two different fabric shops, which I felt worked together. I'm yet to get any feedback from a tutor on my fabric, but from classmates and friends people really like the prints, particularly the top one. I also prefer the top print, which is on a cotton sateen which I thought would be perfect for a dress - and in my mind I'm also thinking maybe a matching cropped jacket. The 2nd fabric it's a much smaller print than it appears in the image, and it's on a viscose which I would like to turn into a simple top or blouse to be worn with possibly a bold skirt. I was particularly looking for a print that was bold but not just typical flowers - early on in my sketchbook I was interested in paint splashes and Jackson Pollock, and I just love how the colours pop but they're sort of softer.. if that makes sense. I must admit, the top print is VERY bright, and I was a little worried when I saw it even though I love it - but I must remember not to be scared because my whole project is based around the strength of the plus size community, and the fact that we want to be seen. My customer is not afraid of colour, or afraid to be noticed. I think it's important next that I find a yellow and a blue that fit in with both prints, but particularly the top one. I also need to focus on designing a stripe that not only incorporates some of the colours from my prints, but also reflects on the watercolour element, as a solid stripe is just not going to work next to those prints. I'm thinking of experimenting with ink and watercolour and then probably getting it digitally printed.

I have spent a lot of time toiling this week too, particularly trying to figure out how to have no armhole sleeve within a dress. I guess the technical term would be a 'kimono sleeve', however when I picture a kimono it's not really what I have in mind but I guess that's just a stereotype of what a 'kimono' is. Back in the 1950's, from doing my research, a lot of dresses and coats didn't have armhole seams, which I really love. I've never really been a fan of the typical armhole seam and usually opt for a raglan as there's something much flattering to the human body if it doesn't just suddenly cut off at the shoulder bone. (I mean in general - all sizes included)



I was mainly focussing on my stripe dress idea that I'm set on making. I used the tape method on top of my striped toile, mainly so I could see where the stripe was going and making sure my panels would be following the stripe. I then transferred my design onto a new pattern and re-toiled it. There is a few fit problems that I'm hoping to discuss with a tutor this week, particularly because it's on the bias but also because I'm a little unsure with the fitting of my kimono sleeve that may be causing pulling. But overall I feel it's turned out much better than what I achieved the other week, especially now that I have gotten rid of the horrible, pointy dart. I wanted to avoid a princess seam but I'm actually pleased with the direction of the seam and the effect it has on the stripes. The only thing is I need to make sure to alternate my stripes along the bust seam because I've ended up with two white stripes next to each other. I also didn't want the front panel to just end at the shoulder, I'm really interested in things wrapping around, and the 1950's walkaway dress etc. I love how all the stripes run into each other at the shoulder, but not sure how I feel about the back. I would like to try out the front and back panel laying on top of each other at the shoulder instead of being sewn into a seam.

I had a lovely talk with one of my coursemates this week who is really encouraging and she regularly motivates me. I've been letting my worry and stress take over me recently, as well as comparing myself to everyone in my class which I admit is one of my downfalls. I got to see everyone elses presentations this week as it was the module 2 hand-in, but I've got my 4 week extension due to illness - and seeing some presentations relaxed me, and others made me very worried about my work. But speaking to my coursemate this week was really reassuring. She was saying how I'm not there to reinvent the wheel (like some designers), I'm there to create wearable garments for my customer/market. Therefore, understanding your market is very important - which is something I feel I understand the most out of all my work. And because I do understand my market, I need to have more confidence when talking about my work.

I've gotten these really bad habits from my old university (where I did my undergrad), where they put these doubts into my head that my designs weren't original enough, and that all aspiring designers should be aiming for catwalk level, but that's never been me. At my new university I keep waiting to be told off, that my work is wrong or not unique enough, and unfortunately I'm holding myself back. Self doubt and confidence has always been something I've struggled with and it's not something you can just turn on, otherwise I would've turned it on 24 years ago. But I'm going to try really hard to put self-doubt out of my head and try to focus on my own work and not worry about what other people are doing. Everyone's MA is really different, and we're on individual paths, and my University are actually really understanding of that - which I'm not used to. I think I also need to trust my own instincts and learn to make decisions on my own more - which I've have sort-of being doing as my tutor has been ill the last few weeks so I've not had much feedback since getting back from Easter. I must say, this worries me A LOT, as looking around at what other people have handed in I don't feel I'm at the same level (there goes me comparing again), and I feel I need to hear from my tutor as to what I should do to catch up in the following weeks - but time is running out.

I'm also trying to learn to ask for help. I feel there's a lot that I missed out on because I joined the MA in module 2 and therefore missed all the tasters/inductions they did. If I asked I could do inductions now, probably, however I feel I don't have time to just seek out random induction in embroidery, for example, unless I was super adamant in using it in my work. And sometimes you don't know what options there are (to use in your work), unless you are shown. I know theres a lot of different techniques and departments at my uni but I don't have a clue about any of them. But that is why this week I made the conscious effort to push myself to try out projecting images onto my mannequin. (I didn't even know where the computer room was in our building, or how to print onto acetate) And one of my coursemates is hopefully going to show me the print room next week and help me to get a bit more arty. The arty/creative side is something that I also struggle with because I haven't done art since college, and in fashion we mainly do illustrations - which I really can't do. So I usually draw on top of an image of my mannequin - but I find this hard and frustrating too. I just can not translate my designs onto paper, which is why I prefer draping and designing whilst pattern cutting - but this is a much longer process than designing on paper. I think I also have this fear of ruining my sketchbook with my ugly drawing. Basically, I worry too much!

I'm not sure if I am on target for my Module 2 hand-in, I know I seriously need to get more designs done and stop worrying about my lack of drawing skills. I also need to do a lot more toiling. Fabric is definitely a big priority, but I am planning to go home to London next week so I will be hopefully buying some fabric then. I also need to get some print samples done of the stripe I have in mind. I also need to finalise my colour palette. I'm hoping they take into consideration that I spent most of this module researching, as well as trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my MA. I felt I spent most of this module playing catch up to the rest of my course and having gallstones certainly hasn't helped because it's hard to feel energised when I'm experiencing a lot of pain, particularly this week. I know speaking to my course mate she was telling me not to worry so much, and just set myself a clear plan for the following weeks. I'm obviously still going to worry as there's a lot of work to do, but at the end of the day I can only work hard and try my best! And actually, reflecting on what I did this past week has made me realise I did more than I thought, so I am being hard on myself.

Until next time,


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