In September 2013, I won a Spoonflower giveaway: a Wiksten pattern for a top and 3 yards of Spoonflower fabric printed in the design of my choice. Exciting! At that point, I hadn’t had much experience with Spoonflower or putting designs into repeat but I knew I wanted to use my own design on the fabric so it took me a while to take advantage of my win and actually order the fabric. I wanted to get it right so before I ordered the actual yardage I got a few swatches made.
The swatches are printed on silky faille which is a 100% polyester fabric and is really drapy and prints the colours very faithfully to the image. I finally decided which designs I wanted to order so I got a yard of the fabric below:
and two yards of this one, which was the one I originally thought I would use for the top:
I received the fabrics last May and since then have been looking at them, stroking them and being afraid to cut into them!! I finally came to the conclusion that Watercolour Kaleidoscope would be a better design for large drapes or cushions and that I would make the top out of Fairy Garden. It was a bit of a tight squeeze to fit the pattern pieces on to one yard of fabric but I think it was the right decision.
Here it is hanging over my printing table.
I experimented with which binding to use – the fabric is quite slippery and needed quite a bit of care to stitch properly. I rejected silk or polyester fabric for the binding and in the end used this red lawn fabric which is made of very fine cotton – this was a lot easier to control than the polyester. I ended up putting it round the hem as well as the necklines and armholes because it was easier than trying to fold over the curved fabric twice – and it meant that I could make the top that much longer.
It fits really well and I’m pleased with how it looks. Well worth the wait! By the way, if you fancy buying some of either of these fabrics, they (and others) are available in my Spoonflower shop. And now I have started filling it, I intend to continue adding to it!
This blog has been a bit quiet over the summer so far – my youngest son did his A levels then as soon as they were finished we had a few days in London, followed by a blissful fortnight at Limone on Lake Garda in Italy (if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the ginormous ice creams we consumed in Sirmione at the south side of the lake, plus various picturesque photos of lakes and mountains).
To get my pattern-creating mojo going again, I signed up for the Make it in Design Summer School. This is a free course which consists of three assignments at two-week intervals. It has three tracks: beginner, intermediate and advanced and we could sign up for as many tracks as we wanted to, so being a sucker for punishment I signed up for all three. It has been great fun! There is a really chatty and supportive Facebook group where we have all been sharing our struggles and emerging designs where people’s skill levels range from complete beginner to seasoned professional! Even though I’ve been using Photoshop and Illustrator for over a year now, there are still aspects which I struggle with (lots!) and this group has been great for solving some of the questions and problems – especially making mockups of patterns on product images to see how they might look when manufactured.
The beginners’ brief was a Tropical theme. In true contrariness, I actually found the advanced brief the easiest and did that first. Last weekend I had a nasty fluey type lurgy and really didn’t think I’d get any of them done but in the end they seemed to come together. Before I got ill I got the paints out and had a lot of fun splashing round making water marks and generally playing. This tropical pattern actually started with the background. I did it a couple of months ago when I had some paint to use up – I had drawn a couple of circles to start me off and I sort of doodled the paint around. I then added the other elements which I’d already scanned into Photoshop – the texture started off as a tiny homemade stamp carved out of an eraser.
The Intermediate brief was for a geometric, retro style pattern that could go on a swimsuit. I’m not sure if this really qualifies as geometric but it was a sort of painted mark making exercise with a flat brush, much more my style than graphic geometrics produced in Illustrator.
The theme of the advanced track was water and for this one I used some of the painted marks that I had had so much fun with, combined with some bubble prints that I did about a year ago.
We were given suggested colour swatches for the three patterns and as mine match fairly well across the levels, I’ve made it into a Tropical collection:
Time to revive this blog, I think! I got fed up with the sound of my own voice so had a break….
My new website design is in process of getting thrashed out and I have a new blog theme with lots of options for customization to incorporate it, so you’ll probably see quite a few changes over the coming weeks. My life is a bit like that at the moment too – by the autumn we should be empty nesters as my youngest son has been busy visiting universities and if all goes well he should be starting physics with astrophysics at some academic institution or other. Last week we went to a Birmingham uni applicants day, – as it was half term we stayed overnight and while he went shopping the second morning, I visited the archives based in the new library building. It is pretty spectacular and has some great views over the city. Here are a couple of pics:
To give myself a bit of an incentive to keep writing, I have joined a bloghop where I can rant about my love of paper and the stuff I do with it, so look out for lots of papery pics next Monday!
I’m looking forward to next Monday – Module 2 of the pattern course, The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, is starting! I really enjoyed Module 1 and it got me designing again, drawing little sketches and playing with Photoshop (and cursing Illustrator!) and because I knew that the next module was coming it kept up the momentum over the summer. I could easily have been diverted and distracted by the presence of all three of my sons (or just been idle and got up at noon every day!). This next module is about branding – Creating your professional identity. So no doubt you will see lots of tweaks and changes here! You’ll notice, unless you are reading this from a blog reader, that I have changed the WordPress theme of the blog – please let me know if anything isn’t working for you. I’ve also installed a plugin to give you the choice of reading the blog in a more pared-down, mobile-friendly format on smartphones or tablets – it is supposed to be quicker to load (and, more importantly, uses less data if you’re on a mobile contract) but there is a button at the bottom to switch to the traditional browser layout if you don’t like it.
If you would like to see some of the patterns I’ve been creating, I have a profile page on the new Moyo Directory: here is a quick screenshot of part of it:
I would love it if you could click the ‘like’ button on the page when you visit!
Also at the end of October some of my textile work is going to be in an exhibition in Cwmbran (near where I live) as part of the Diverse Manners Arts Group annual exhibition – if you would like to be notified when it is happening, click on the link and ‘like’ our Facebook page which I helped set up earlier this year. The theme is Chiaroscuro which is an Italian art term for light and dark and I am exhibiting Birth of a City and also four smaller screenprints which I printed a while ago using a paper stencil (once I’ve stitched and mounted them!).
The exhibition is being held in a church and there is a nice tree-lined graveyard next to it with lots of space for bunting so in a mad moment last week I decided to make some and stencil the words ‘ART EXHIBITION’ on them. Here they are drying on the clothes horse:
Of course I couldn’t let all that spare paint go to waste, so I printed it randomly on this piece of dyed fabric!
And here is the rest of the bunting all piled up ready to be stitched together – so far I think I’ve got enough to wrap round the house several times and I’ve run out of bias binding so need to cut some more!
And finally, I couldn’t resist putting in this photo of a gorgeous lily growing in our garden – aren’t the colours yummy?
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