Saturday, 6 June 2015

Design Journal: Stripes, Stripes and More Stripes


So this week I have gone stripe crazy to the point that I feel like I'm going mad and I don't want to look at stripes anymore. I've been working so hard to try and get my striped dress done in time for new designers, but I've ended up toiling is so many different ways and I'm still not happy. I was originally happy with my toile that I had made, but my tutor feels its too flat and too close to the original block - however I never used a block for it, and I did it all from draping and following the stripe and it took a lot of experimentation to get to that point. I understood where she was coming from, so I spent this week trying out various different pleating methods.

So first of all I turned my panel into a pleat, and I also tried it at a lower position so that the line went right into the centre of the dress. I didn't mind this too much as I like what it's doing at the shoulder, but I think the pleat doesn't necessarily look that great going over the bust. I also kept thinking it looks kinda 'sailory' - which isn't a bad thing, it's just not what I'm going for. It probably doesn't help that I toile with a blue and white stripe either.
Then I took out all darts/seams etc. and let it hang loose so that I could play around with it. Personally, I feel this would be nice on a plain fabric but not a stripe - I just feel it's too much. And again, in my head I'm really not going for a soft/drapey look.

When I first put this little tuck into calico, I thought I had found my answer. Then when I transferred it to stripe and reflected it, I just wasn't as happy. I think it creates a 'heart' shape around the bust, and I think what's happening to the stripes is just really widening. I would have to trim down the sleeves so they were more like cap sleeves so that the shoulders wouldn't look so wide, but I think what I don't like is the continuous stripe - which is why I prefer my original idea so much. I like how my seam that I have running through the bust breaks up the body and distorts the stripe in a cool way, whereas I don't like the distortion of stripe with pleats.
I also thought perhaps I needed to put a slimmer panel in instead of the stripe through the bust. I think what I liked about my original design is that continuation of stripe running over the shoulder, so I need to aim to keep that. But if you have that stripe, I feel the one below needs to be contrasting, otherwise there's no point in having a panel. I thought perhaps vertical and then I could pleat it, but again I just wasn't happy with it. I was also set to just go back to my original idea because nothing I had done had the same effect for me. I then spoke to a pattern cutting tutor who said he agreed with me and that perhaps the skirt just needed more volume - and that was something I had been thinking all week. However, when speaking to my tutor she still felt that my original idea wasn't soft enough and too conventional so we ended up throwing ideas back and forth a lot. To be honest, I still really prefer my original idea even though I fully understand what she is saying. She did suggest moving pleats to the shoulder so that the centre front is undisturbed, which may be a compromise that could work. I'm going to play around with shoulder pleats a bit more on Monday but if nothing good comes out of it, what do I do? I feel it's difficult listening to so many different versions of opinions, and I don't always trust my own opinion, and I'm here to learn so therefore need to take on what tutors say. But at the same time, I do not want to produce something that doesn't make me happy or represent my work, and I'm starting to feel really fed up and I wanted to move onto something else a long time ago. There are literally not enough hours in a week.

I also this week finally began designing a stripe. I've been putting it off for a while because I'm not a print designer and even something as easy as a stripe is difficult because their are infinite ways to design a stripe. I started off simple and looked at some of my research for starting points. I think colour combinations were also a concern. My colour palette at the moment is quite strong, so I wanted something more pastel-y to balance everything out. Even though my print out and stripe came out way too big, I really loved the colour combinations of two shades of yellow and pink.
I've created some small moodboards to help with imagery and inspiration of what sort of stripe and aesthetic I am going for. I then went down to the digital print room, bombarded the woman with lots of questions, as well as asking one of my coursemates who does a lot of digital printing. I decided I wanted to use cotton sateen, as that's what my other floral fabric is, plus it's quite nice for dresses. My coursemate suggested putting a few prints on top of each other and then leaving lots of space at the bottom to do swatches because the colours on screen aren't really the same as what comes out the machine. It also depends what fabric you're using. I found that with cotton sateen the colours don't actually vary that much, and I was expecting bad results from what I had heard. So hopefully it's not going to take me that long to figure out colours, I've just got to figure out the print. 
I particularly love the really simple four coloured stripe - I think it's simple yet effective. My tutor prefers the more complicated stripe, as well as the black stripe running through. But what we both decided would be nice is a graduating stripe that starts off big around the neckline and gets smaller around the waist, and to slowly begin adding in the black - basically mixing all my stripe prints together to create a new one. And then the print would go from small to big on the skirt too. I actually really like that idea, and I want to some how incorporate my favourite stripe with hers so that there is a good compromise. So I'm going to be working on that this weekend so that I'm able to put another sample in with the digital print room on Monday morning. (the only problem with digital printing is the price - it was over £7 for a 30cm sample, and my actual final dress uses a lot of fabric due to being on the bias and because it's plus size, so could end up being around £200 to make, but I feel it's worth it due to not being able to find any already existing stripes that suits what I'm looking for) My tutor also really likes the yellow and pink together, as I was concerned it was a little too young and girly - however that does really suit my customer and my project is meant to be young, bright and bold. I did say that yellow and pink really reminds me of Barbie, but also 'Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polkadot Bikini', so I will leave you with some music inspired by the colour combination.

I did managed to get a bit of draping done of my small mannequin, as well as some designing, but I was really hoping to have a rough lineup idea by this weekend but I've been really focussing on getting this dress done in time for New Designers.

If you have any suggestions regarding dress shape or stripe patterns, please feel free to let me know!


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