Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Experimenting with Draping

I bought 2 meters of soiled chiffon sometime ago, purely just to have a mess about with, well for 2 euros I couldn't pass upon it.... this is the result of that messing...  

I split the fabric into three rectangles and just pinned it to the mannequin, creating pleats until I was happy.

 To keep the pleats in place I basted them by hand whilst it was still on the mannequin. Once removed I gave it a quick press using the steam setting with the iron.

The skirt/bottom half I didn't drape on the mannequin. I stitched the sides together, to act as a side seam, from there I figured out roughly where the center front and center back should go and stitched the top (bra pieces?) to the skirt part.

 As I wanted a gathered look I used narrow elastic around 5mm wide. Cut this to length by loosly tieing  it around the waist. Then pinned it to the skirt piece in a few sections before sewing it in place, stretching as I went....

With the elastic in place, I turned it over on it's self and stitched around it again.

I even stitched the shoulders to help the pleats stay mostly where they should. 

I chucked it on for good measure to see how it looked.
All in all it wasn't bad experiment, some of the things I can take away from in are

  • pleats do need to be hand tacked in place to stop them moving around or use a crisp fabric like organza steamed with in an inch of its life, to hold.
  • underpinnings would provide a solid foundation for a formal garment 
  • skirt fabric needs to be double the width if not triple to give a better gathered effect which would also benefit from being partially gathered by hand before elastic is added
  • elastic needs to be of good quality with strong stretch.

Do you enjoy experimenting and playing with ideas to aid your learning process?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Runway inspiration: S/S 15


                             Gareth Pugh


                             Phillip Plein


                            Bottega veneta

Autumn's barely started and I'm already looking forward to next summer, Story of my life!
It doesn't help that I've still got a pair of shorts waiting to be made sitting on my sewing table.
That aside, I'm being drawn to simple shapes, sporty looks and soft tailoring from the S/S15 runway so far.
I'm also in love with the Bottega Veneta bow adorned hoodie,(see last image, above) so much so I've been sketching out my own version, complete with leggings to go with it......

Any looks taking your fancy?

All images from

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

In my sketch book: Vol 2

The paper in my sketchbook isn't of very good quality (it's the one I carry round with me) so I usually avoid using marker pen/inks/watercolour types of media as they go straight through the paper. I'm not a huge fan of colouring pencils either but my boyfriend dug out his old but massive set of colouring pencils so I've been using these to add a splash of colour here and there.....

This last sketch was done much earlier in the year at the time I had a huge urge to use beads in my sewing and really wanted to create a boucle dress with faux collar and pockets sewn on in pearls. I'm not quite in that frame of mind right now but who knows the urge may take me once again at some point but I really should get through the mountain of sewing that has piled up first. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

British couture: Ralph & Russo

The brilliantly talented duo behind Ralph&Russo (Tamara Ralph & Micheal Russo) are both Australian. Their fashion house however, 'Ralph & Russo' is based in London, and thus are the first and only house in Britain to be selected by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show on the official Paris Haute Couture week - Ooooo get them!!!

I think it would be rather exciting to work at their altiear in London, it also makes me feel quite proud as a seamstress to know that we have an official couture house based here in the u.k!!

Admittedly I have to say that I've only recently become aware of the Ralph & Russo brand, but I can quickly see why they are a popular choice with celebrities and international Royalty! 

I'm certain  a successful future lies ahead for this talented duo.

Images from

To see more of their work visit Ralph&Russo

Monday, 25 August 2014

Shirt Patterns For Men...

I've come to the conclusion there is a gap in the market for vertically challenged men (i.e my Boyfriend). Trousers are rarely the problem (they usually come in short lentghs) it's the other things like shirts, jumpers and jackets that are too long in the arms/body.
With women's wear you come across petite sections, as for men I don't think they exist, or am I just missing something. There are plenty of short guys out there, so I reckon places like Burton, Topshop, H&M, Asos all need to stand up, take note and do somthing about it!!! Oi Oi, c'mon pull your socks up. (sorry, rant over!!)

In  the mean time I guess I should be selfless and make my man something?!
We've discussed this and well, truth be told he's nagged me to make him a suit for the last five years!! But That, Is, Not, Going, To, Happen! So we've settled on a shirt!
He always looks the most awkward in shirts as in the formal variety; sleeves too long, body too long and collar never looks proportionate although this could be a flaw on his part, maybe he just has a short neck. so the idea is to buy a pattern and proportionate to him.

Here's the short list of patterns I've chosen ( he's not got any fashion sense) .........

 Click on images for source

Point proven when showing him theses patterns, "they're all ok, any of them will do"
So any advise or tips on sewing men's shirts? Or any other shirt patterns you would recommend for him?
He's got a little while longer before I make him chooses one.

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