Over the last few weeks I have been solidly focussing on designing and making, and trying to come up with some sort of line-up. I think I'm close to finalising a line-up but it's taken longer than I thought and I've been struggling to make a decision. I've been mainly researching and designing around the idea of a capsule Summer wardrobe with interweaving pieces that can either be worn as seperates, or be worn together to look like a dress etc. And the idea is that the whole collection could be taken away on holiday and all the pieces could be moved around and be suitable for any holiday activity. It takes me back to some of my early research on Claire McCardell who claims to be the inventor of 'capsule dressing' and would create 4 or 5 pieces that could be worn together or separately, ideal for taking away on holiday or in a small handbag for lighter travel and convenience.
I've also been doing some research on 1950's travelling, mainly for styling idea's but also to understand how my modern customer, who likes to live a vintage lifestyle, would choose to go on holiday in 2015. I think, assuming my customer is British they would either stay in Britain and have a typical seaside holiday, or they would maybe go to luxurious places in Europe such as the south of France. They typically wouldn't go for clubbing/drinking, it would be more leisure, exploring and museums, and would probably stay in a luxury hotel. I've been watching a lot of Agatha Christie Poirot's and Miss Marple's recently, and a lot of the places they visit within the episodes remind me of where I could see my customer staying whilst on holiday.
This week I began toiling the first dress, one which I thought I was pretty set on and could make pretty quickly. I began by draping the bodice shape on the mannequin, and then transferring to paper, which by now is my preferred method. I'm trying to use as little 'conventional' darts as possible so have been interested in pleating. I had very little problems making the dress and I ended up toiling is really quickly.
All week I've been unsure about how I feel about this dress - it's difficult when seeing it in calico but I can't help feeling it's a little dull. As me and my tutor have been discussing this week, I have a strong interest in pattern cutting, however producing clothes for my customer that are suitable is all down to clean, simple silhouettes. My market level, and where I would preferably like to work is on the high-street, where pattern cutting will be fairly simple, so in a way it's fine. I also have to remind myself that I am no longer on the pattern cutting PGCert, but now on a fashion MA, so the pattern cutting isn't so much the main focus. I've realised I have a conflict of interests, as I enjoy exploring pattern cutting methods and I would love to push myself more, so I think that's why I have felt a little unsatisfied. I do sometimes wonder if I am more suited to being a pattern cutter than a designer, as I enjoy the production part the most and I'm constantly wanting to learn more, whereas design is something I have always struggled with. However, I don't think I would want to work as solely a pattern cutter, unless it was for myself.
Anyway, my tutor was really happy with the dress, and I have had various compliments. I think it will look much better once I have made it in final fabric, which is going to be in my floral print, and maybe a black bow/belt. I also think it will look great when paired with a matching cropped jacket, or the yellow coat I am planning to make. I also think the styling will help me to like it more.
The next thing to do is to get my toiles fitted on a model to see how they look before I can start making them in final fabric. I have been lucky enough to find one or two suitable model candidates in the Nottingham/midlands area, so I'm hoping I can get some fittings done soon. In the meantime, I am focussing on getting a second dress, and a coat fully toiled too. I am much more excited to be working on the second dress, but very worried about getting a stripe print designed and printed out in time before the whole uni shuts down for the Summer. I think that is my main focus to have done by the end of this week, and hopefully a toile of my coat too, and then I think I'm on a good pace. I think once I start seeing things finished and in final fabric I will start to feel a bit more happy and confident. My aim is to have two, possibly three garments made in time for the open studio event in a few weeks time. Fingers crossed.
In other news, a few months ago I was approached by the lovely Rachelle who at the time was putting together a zine of plus size women, and she asked if I would like to get involved - which I of course said yes to! But so many people have got involved with it that it's now being made into a book instead, which is amazing. I think the book is planning to be out this Summer, and I am on the cover amongst amazing plus size women. She is currently looking for submissions for her next project called 'Dear Fatty: Letters to My Younger Self' - which I also think sounds amazing - and if you want to get involved you have to submit by the end of July and you can find out more on her blog.
Until next time,