Tuesday, 11 March 2014
I have always loved drawing, painting and making things in general! Growing up I loved making jewellery using glass seed beads then realized that these looked good sewn onto fabric. I shortly discovered a love for hand embroidery although never imagined that I could make a career out of it, someone suggested I have a look at Karen Nicol’s work, I fell in love with her playful style and was amazed at the possibility of turning something I loved so much into a career. Originally studying fashion design, pattern cutting did not come naturally and my tutors suggested textiles, a week into my course at Cardonald College I knew I was on the right track.
What inspires you when you are working on a new piece?
Inspiration can come from anything from a simple walk to a trip to an exhibition. I am just back from Paris were I visited Premier Vision [the world's premier fabric show] and Tex World [an international textile trade fair]. It was amazing to see so many different companies and styles in the one place. I don’t get to travel enough, although I do love it! I tend to make the most of what I have around me and always carry my camera, taking shots of anything that catches my eye. Last year I worked on a Moroccan inspired project so I was constantly on the look out for tiled ceramics, I found beautiful patterns on the floors of Anthropologie and in Darcy’s (restaurant in Glasgow’s Princes Square). I was lucky enough to attend a talk at Trend Union’s [company that creates twice yearly trend books] head office during a study trip to Paris. I loved hearing about 2015/16’s trends and relating to the influences. I love looking at previous decades too, I am very much inspired by the 60’s and 70’s, I just love colour!
What other designers do you admire?
I have always loved Karen Nicol, I have admired her work for around 10 years now and was lucky enough to meet her and see her portfolio last year. Her work is even more beautiful to handle and she has years of experience working with the world’s top designers. Liberty of London will always have a place in my heart, I love the colours and playfulness. When looking through the shows I always love Anna Sui, Christopher Kane, Miu Miu and Emilio Pucci, although I definitely see myself in interiors I will always look at fashion, art and architecture for inspiration. I tend to fall in love with anyone who does decorative work. Luck and timing have been in my favour when applying for placements, I have had the chance to complete internships with some of my favourite companies.
Tell me about the work experience you have undertaken while studying.
My first internship was with Timorous Beasties [Glasgow based company specialising in fabrics & wallpaper] and I loved it so much that I went back the following year. I have always loved their work and they are all such lovely people, it really was a fantastic experience. I have also completed work experience with Bluebellgray, Niki Jones, Centre for Advanced Textiles and have done embroidery work for Glasgow based jeweller Euan McWhriter. I have been really lucky to have enjoyed all of my placements, they have given me clarity of where I see myself after university and helped me gain the skills, experience and confidence to get there.
What is your dream job when you leave university?
The dream job for me in definitely within interiors, I would love to work for one of the companies I interned with, I had the best time at them all, lots of good memories. My style is very eclectic so I can fit my designs in with a variety of different companies. Liberty of London has always been a dream too! I love lifestyle brands such as Anthropologie, Joules, Cath Kidston, Oliver Bonas - as long as I am in a design based role I will be happy. My embroidery is something I will always have as a hobby, I will no doubt always have my own work on the side too, I love it too much to let it go. If I can find a role that combines print and embroidery even better.
What would you tell someone who was hoping to get into Textile Design?
Go for it! It’s a fun, competitive industry that you must remember to not take too seriously! Textiles is a craft that you will always have and can be carried through to loads of different areas. There are loads of different opportunities within textiles, it’s a exciting industry were you never quite know what’s around the corner.
Thanks to Joanna for agreeing to feature here as my first interviewee! Have a look at Joanna's website and her blog here.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
When I read about the Hillarys Blinds Country Craft Competition on the Live It. Love It. Make It. blog I was so excited - I knew I had to enter! The competition is being judged by the Hilary's Design team alongside Sammy & H from the Live It. Love It. Make It. blog; Hilary from Craft Blog UK; Rosie & Hannah from The New Craft Society; and Caroline from Burkatron.
I went for the Calluna fabric - the colours and abstract nature of the print really appealed to me, and I am now considering making curtains from it for my lounge! I decided to make a girly sweetheart style apron - I am a messy cook and I think this would be the perfect addition to a dinner party outfit! It could also make a cute housewarming gift or a mother's day present if your mum loves to cook!
1 piece of fabric around 1m x 60cm
brown paper, pattern paper, grease proof paper or even printer paper taped together (to make the pattern)
Scissors / Pinking Sheers
Clear nail polish
1. First of all, prepare your pattern - measure 69cm down one side of your piece of paper - this is your first line - at the bottom of this line draw a perpendicular line 30cm long. Then draw a line perpendicular to the end of this 49cm long. At the top of the paper, measure 16cm across and mark. You want to now join this mark to the end of the 49cm vertical line - I would do this depending on your sewing level - if you are fairly confident, do a bit of a curve. If you're no so confident, just do a straight diagonal line. I have a not very fancy hand drawn diagram above so use this as a bit of a guide. For the sweetheart curve, measure 5cm from the end inside line vertically & horizontally then draw a loveheart-esque curve. Cut it out - here is your pattern!
2. Fold your fabric in half & pin the pattern to the fabric on the fold. Cut it out using pinking sheers. At this stage, also cut out 3 rectangles which are 6cm wide and 60cm long, and a large loveheart shape (to form a pocket) with your pinking sheers. Now you have all of your pieces.
3. I used some clear nail polish to seal the edges of my pinked heart as I wanted it to have a pinked, crafty edge. Then I got to work on finishing my rectangles - these will form the straps and neck loop. I folded & pressed the edges in to hide the raw edge, then folded & pressed in half then sewed along the edge on my sewing machine using straight stitch. Repeat this on each triangle! Then it was time to hem the apron itself - I folded in the raw edges and pressed and pinned, then sewed this on my sewing machine with a straight stitch.
4. I attached the straps just below the corner where the curve / diagonal line meet the straight edge on the inside of apron. I sewed this forward, then backward then forward again to make sure that the join was strong. I did this with the neck strap too on either side.
5. Finally, I attached the love heart pocket to the front of the apron using zig zag stitch - this gives it a nice homemade feel.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
So, our last challenge with the Shoreditch Sisters Sewing Bee was to sew a bag. Quite a broad brief - there are so many different types of bags out there to suit different levels of sewing ability and different purposes.I decided to make a messenger bag from my scrap box! I had some gorgeous pieces of bike fabric and plaid that my mum gave me - she had used the bulk of the fabric to make some cushions for my sister's room.
I have to confess that when I started this project, I didn't have a pattern to follow or a real plan. I knew what I wanted to make, but wasn't sure how to get there - I decided to wing it... I admit this probably wasn't my best idea - I spent some time agonizing over how to attach one bit to another etc, but it worked out OK in the end!
At one point, I managed to break the needle on my machine, and I also didn't have enough of either the bike of the plaid fabric to make a handle! However, I improvised and got there in the end! Because I improvised this from start to finish, I haven't got a tutorial of how I did it or a pattern, but here it is anyway!
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
It was a horribly wet Saturday morning when I set off to meet the ladies from the Shoreditch Sisters WI Sewing Bee group for our Goldhawk Road Fabric Adventure. I was a bit worried that the soggy weather might dampen our spirits, but of course not! When I finally arrived after some transport issues (thanks, TFL!), the group had gathered and the lovely Tree of Stitchless TV was giving us some advice. She told me that she had been coming to the market since she was 10 years old, and was so kind to draw us up the little guide below. She shared her knowledge on the area before popping off to let us enjoy browsing the shops and get on with her busy day.
Then, the serious shopping began - I was so consumed by the shops packed with gorgeous fabrics I didn't get my camera out once! What we did was turn right as you come out of Goldhawk Road tube station (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines) and work our way along that side of the road before stopping at Liz cafe for some lunch. It is a lovely little place (pictured below) with really friendly staff and reasonably priced and delicious food. We even popped back for tea and cake at the end!
Now onto the serious business: what I bought!
Sky blue cotton with white birds & polka dots - £6 per metre - Toni Textiles - bought 3 metres
Navy floral cotton - £3.50 A meter - Fabric House - bought 2 meters
Teal fabric with black birds - £2.50 a meter - Fabric House - bought 2 meters
White cotton with swimmers - £1.50 a meter - Classic Textiles - bought 3 meters
Blue fabric with pink flowers - £4.50 a meter - A1 Fabrics (I think!) - bought 2 meters