Painting, Sewing, Work In Progress

Repeating Myself


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?

Blackberry Repeat


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.

Blackberry-Underlayer-1 Blackberry-Underlayer-2

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…

Crafting, Sewing

I Am Making A Dress!

set-in sleeve

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.

button loops

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.

sleeve facing

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!