Saturday, 25 July 2015

Design Journal: First Outfit & Development


So as of last week I finally finished my first garment. I think now that I've finished one, hopefully I things will begin to speed up - as even though I have an extension due to being ill, I am very aware of how quickly time is running out. The dress ended up being extremely straight forward to make - I patterned cut it and toiled it in about two days - because as soon as I make an actual decision I can make things pretty quickly without any problems. It then needed to be fitted, and I luckily found the most perfect model in the shape of the lovely Mary, who is literally my ideal customer. Not only is she the right size, but also has the perfect aesthetic for my collection, as well as having modelling experience and I feel she will do my clothes incredible justice. It was lovely meeting her, and I ended up having two quick fittings to alter the pattern to fit her - which meant taking some out the front and adding some to the back - which is mainly due to the fact that I draped the whole thing on my plus size mannequin but 'real women' (I hate that term but I will allow it in this case seeing as I'm talking about an actual dress mannequin) have completely different proportioned weight compared to mannequins. I've never really done alterations before, and they were apparently quite difficult ones, but I managed to re-pattern cut and toile is really quickly, which meant refitting quickly again and my tutor said she was impressed with how well I handled it. So apparently I am good at alterations, which I personally think is a testament to how much my pattern cutting has improved over this year.

I was told to pass the dress onto a technician, but making is something I enjoy the most so I decided to make most of it myself and then pass it over to a technician for the finishing. I think from now on I'm just going to have to get everything made instead so I can concentrate on pattern cutting - but passing things on just doesn't come naturally to me as I want to be making. I was very unsure how I felt about this dress for a while but it is slowly growing on me. I think once it's paired with the coat I'm working on now, the two will work well together and hopefully the mix of vintage/modern will make me like it more - especially because at the moment it's just half an outfit. Some of the feedback that I got in the presentation this week, which was marked by two people who haven't seen my project before (as my tutor is ill), the only thing they said they could fault with it was to make sure it wasn't too vintage - which I do agree with. However, of course it's going to look vintage as that is market and all of my research, but at the same time it is 'vintage clothing for the modern woman' - which is what my customer wants, and really I need to keep my aesthetic but make it contemporary too.

Bearing that in mind, I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to create a coat that I can really be proud of. It's something I've been designing for a long while now - something I've probably spent too long on, but I've been conscious of incorporating everything I'm interested in as well as making it look contemporary. 2D and designing has been something I've struggle with the most because I'm someone that works better 3D and seeing the shape come together on the mannequin, and I am aware that I really need to push my sketchbook work. So I've been told for ages now that I should try collage, and again it was something that just wasn't working out and I found infuriating but I decided to keep pursuing it and I think I've finally cracked it? (You may recognise some of the bloggers I've used in my collages) I've had positive feedback from tutors about my collaging so I just need to keep pushing it, and I really feel in these coming weeks my sketchbook needs a lot of concentration and improvement as at the moment I feel mine is quite rigid and it's something that needs improving so it becomes easier when I start putting my portfolio together. 

So for the past few weeks I've been experimenting with pleating to try avoid any darts. I really hate darts as I feel they ruin garments and look really ugly - if only we could live in a dartless world. Pleating can also be tricky to get right, particularly when dealing with such a large bust.

I think I almost have a shape that I'm happy with, I just need to have a fitting really soon so that I able to make sure everthing looks okay before making any changes. I'm aiming to have the coat done by the end of next week, fingers crossed. I'm really happy with the back and I think the front need a little more work but is close to be resolved. I think the sleeves might need to be a more tapered, and some fabric maybe taken out of the front so it doesn't look too oversized. At the moment I worry that the front and back look like two separate coats so I just need to make them flow better, but it's coming along.

As you can probably tell from the some of my coat toiling pictures, there is a slight change in background due to the fact that last night the MA studio was opened for people to come around and look at our work. The open studio exhibition is open until July 30th (you can find out more here), so if you're in the Nottingham area next week be sure to come have a look! I was pretty much dreading the exhibition as the rest of my classmates have finished their work and of course I'm still on my extension, but I thankfully had one dress to show and it's nice that I was able to be included in something as I unfortunately missed out on New Designers last month. I had so much help with putting my stand together, particularly from my friend Lubna, and I am so grateful as I was stressed with getting other work done whilst we still have access to the sewing studio's. I think it has come together really well, and captures my aesthetic - and also kind of reminds me of my bedroom back in London. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am happy with it.

Something that I have been thinking a lot about over this week, due to my coursemates finishing and the fact I also will be reaching the end of my course soon, is what am I going to do once the MA is over, and where do I fit in the industry? I think for a while now I have been unsure if I am a 'designer' or not, and if I would be better in production. Like I said earlier, I work better 3D rather than 2D, and I don't know if I necessarily see myself designing by a desk all day. I personally want to be pattern cutting and making, and working with clients, and concentrating on fit, and obviously I would love to have my own business, but I am thinking of back-up ideas in the mean time. Whether I should look at technologist jobs, or find a position within a small business, or maybe start looking at more bespoke jobs? One of my coursemates always tells me I'm underselling myself and should be looking at atelier/bespoke and not the highstreet, maybe he is right. I'm really unsure at the moment, but it's something I've going to be thinking a lot about over the Summer.

Until next time,



  1. Nice work! That's such a good feeling to make something that you're (finally) content with.

  2. Nice work! That's such a good feeling to make something that you're (finally) content with.

  3. charlotte this is really good how the patches get transformed into actually clothing is phenomenal I am really impressed by your work keep up the good job