I’ve been thinking for a long time about the best way to share what I’ve been working on, as blogging no longer feels like the right fit for me. I’ve decided to give video a go, and I enjoyed making this so I hope you enjoy it too :)
Lately I’ve become obsessed with sewing, and textiles, and patterns, and this obsession has meant I’ve finally got around to trying something I’ve been meaning to have a go at for a long time: designing repeating patterns. I am constantly inspired by colours and textures and over the years many people have suggested my style would lend itself to creating fabric designs. I don’t quite know why it’s taken me so long to have a stab at it, because it’s so much fun!
I used the blackberries I painted last week, and followed Julia Rothman’s exquisitely simple and easy-to-follow tutorial on Design Sponge (though I worked digitally, rather than cutting up my painting with scissors!)
I began by setting up the repeat, then I tried adding an ink wash background (which I’d painted separately). I like the result, but somehow I find it looks…tableclothy? Is that just me?
So I got to wondering about what it might be that makes a print look like something you’d dress your dinner table with rather than yourself, and kept experimenting. I tried altering the colour of the background but it didn’t especially help. I started to see some improvement when I added more layers of brambles below the surface. The addition of depth, I think, must be part of the answer to my question.
Hours later, I’m still siting here twiddling with layers and colours, not to mention imagining one hundred more designs I might try. I’ve heard several designers mention that this process is addictive, and I begin to see what they mean. I definitely want to try more, play more, learn more.
And eventually I will bite the bullet and order a swatch from Spoonflower…
I don’t remember being taught to sew, as I remember being taught to knit so vividly. This is strange, because my Grandma was always more of a seamstress than a knitter (though she only knits these days, because she’s lost much of her sight and can do it by touch). I don’t remember anyone sitting down showing me the ropes on a sewing machine, but clearly I wasn’t born knowing how. I can only think I must have learned by osmosis.
Anyway, the thing about feeling like I’ve always known how to sew is that I can get a tad ambitious in choosing a projects. OK, OK, this isn’t a habit limited only to my sewing (500-page graphic novel, anyone?). But I’ve certainly done it this time.
I’ve never made a dress before. The closest I’ve come to making clothes is a very forgiving pair of loose-fit pyjamas. So I’ll pick a simple A-line skirt, or shift dress for my first project then? No no no no no. Of course not. I’ll pick a two-piece medieval costume gown with a zip, corseted bodice, fancy button loops and everything. Obviously.
Thankfully we live in the age of YouTube, and my sewing knowledge is being helped along infinitely by Professor Pincushion, who has a two-part tutorial on how to make this exact pattern, Simplicity 1773.
And I am having so much fun. Fingers crossed it actually fits!