Monday, August 31, 2009

The collaboration

Right, so I promised some pictures of my friend Chrissy's art that made me think her style would suit being printed onto fabric. I found these pics online and didn't think she'd mind a bit of cross-promoting.

I think that her use of clean lines and bold colours lends itself really nicely to translation into surface design. I really love the little alien figures too - they're quirky but cute.

Man I can't wait to do this - it's so exciting!

Rumour has it that she may be illustrating a children's book in the near future. Pretty talented huh?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Love Hate and Amy Butler

I have a love/hate relationship with Amy Butler.

I love her because she makes awesome fabric designs that I could only dream of coming up with. There's barely been anything she's done that I haven't instantly liked. Kudos, Amy.

The problem is, well - I really like her...... but so do about a zillion other people. The market is absolutely and completely saturated with people using Amy Butler fabrics. To the point that despite loving her work, I absolutely refuse to use any of her designs in any work I do. Point blank refuse.

This problem is not solely with Amy Butler either. I remember loving Joel Dewberry's 'Sparrows' fabric instantly when I first saw it...... and then I saw it everywhere, and now I'm completely turned off it. Maybe I'm a bit pig-headed about being a tiny bit original, but as soon as I see other people using a fabric I really like I instantly find myself all ho-hum about it.

And so I scour the internet for stuff I haven't seen before. God, I spend hours trawling for stuff that I both like and haven't seen anyone else use. Of course I haven't found too many of these fabrics because I'm quite stringent with what I'll let into my fabric stash. Even the ones I previously liked can fall out of favour with me. Not so good when I've got a couple of metres of the stuff sitting in my box.

So, in order to get some original fabric that I like - what better way than to get some of my own made?

I've suggested a collaboration with my artist friend Chrissy. She does some really funky modern stuff that I love and would really lend itself well to textiles or wrapping paper. I'll have to see if she'll let me put a picture of one of her works up on here so you can see what I mean. Anyway I mentioned a collaboration the other day and she seemed really keen! So, with our powers combined - her artistic talent and my sketchy knowledge of creating repeating patterns in Illustrator, I'm hoping we can come up with something cool and get it printed on Spoonflower. How awesome would that be?

...and the steam train rolls on

Well I've been a busy girl this weekend, but I now have something pretty to show for it. This one is a (late) birthday present for my friend Sandy.

It's basically the same as the last one I did (with obvious differences in colours). The only difference is that I've improved the internal pockets. On the last bag, the pockets were a bit shallow and flimsy, which made it a bit of a struggle trying to put things in the main compartment because the pockets were gaping all over the place and catching whenever I went to put my wallet in (I gave it a test-drive on the weekend).

I gave the lining a layer of heavy woven iron-on interfacing to give it a bit more structure. I also made the pockets a bit deeper and gave them some interfacing also, and I also ran another line of stitching to secure the pockets a bit more at the sides. It seems to have done the trick, although I'll have to get some feedback from Sandy when she's used it a bit more. I'm still thinking of pulling the lining out of the first bag and re-doing it. Depends on how annoying I keep finding it.

I'm also going to have to get much faster at making these things. I managed to take almost a full 12 hours to make the bag (there were a few net-surfing breaks though..). I've found that all the extra interfacing means it takes a lot longer to make, particularly trimming all the interfacing from the seam allowance. I've realised that I really really have to grow my nails (at least on both my thumbs) as being a habitual nail-biter, my nails are always short and stubby which makes it really difficult trying to peel the interfacing off the material. If anyone has any great tips on how to speed this process up I'd love to hear from you as it's really slowing me down. I'm thinking of shaving a few millimetres off the interfacing before I attach it to the fabric so it at least makes it easy to start peeling it back.

I'm also loving these antique brass oblong rings and accompanying slide-adjusters from Nicole Mallalieu Design. I think they're a bit more understated (in a good way) than the shiny-shiny silver ones.

I also need to come up with a name for the bag... I was thinking the 'Excursion' bag since I designed it as a travel handbag, but I'm not sure. My pattern has 'shoulder bag' written on it, but that's a bit bland. What kind of bag does it look like to you?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mission complete

.....Presenting Baggie Bagaloo!

....Ok that's just its pet name (and a very silly one at that). I'm thinking I might call it something a bit more sensible like the 'Excursion bag' or something seeing as I designed it specifically as a travel handbag.

I have to say that I'm really quite pleased with myself. I designed the bag, drafted the pattern and made it (with only minimal unpicking) all by myself, and it all fitted together beautifully! I'm really quite chuffed with my first Ambette bag. I think I might just go admire it again for a while......

Ok, I'm back.

The rest of these photos aren't really necessary, but sometimes I just like to play with the macro function on my camera and see all the little close-up details. I like how the macro function gives nice crisp clear photos. Perhaps it appeals to the scientist in me - kind of looking at something under the microscope...

...*runs off to admire bag again*

There really is something quite satisfying about creating something of your own, isn't there?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Work in progress

When it comes to me and creativity, I'm a bit like a steam train: slow to get started, but once I pick up speed I'm hard to stop. This definitely rings true for starting new projects. I spend ages in the planning phase and it seems to take forever to actually sit down and start doing things. This has been particularly true of late - between working full-time, playing hockey, planning the big South America trip, and still trying to have some sort of social life, it's easy to just sit on the couch and veg with a glass of wine.

So I have my friend Adelia to thank for giving me the kick up the bum I needed. She's just gotten into sewing/bag making, and she was telling me on the weekend about all the sewing she's been doing and I realised I was getting behind the 8-ball a bit. Not to be outdone, I decided to get started on a bag that I might use for the impending trip.

I spent a bit of time tonight drafting the pattern. Basically the criteria was that it had to be an across-the-shoulder adjustable strap bag, which had a flap (good pickpocket deterrent), and wasn't too big and cumbersome, but also big enough to carry a few things like camera, wallet etc.

I cut all the pieces out and interfaced them with heavy fusible woven interfacing and wadding, and got as far as making the body and the flap. I also decided on two magnetic catches on the flap rather than one so it would sit a bit more nicely. I think I'll also use the antique brass oblong rings (pictured on top of the bag) for the straps and slide-adjusters.

I also need to have a bit more of a think about what kind of pockets will be handy on the inside - any suggestions are welcome as you may think of something I've overlooked.

Anyway, now that I've started the project I can't wait to get it finished. I'm also hoping to give the design a good road-test while I'm overseas so I can tweak the pattern when I get back and hopefully make a few more, either for Christmas presents or to finally put up for sale in my very empty Etsy store.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Time for some photos

Well, thanks to some prompting from Sandra of Pepperberry & Co, I finally decided to take some photos of some recent purchases and things I've made lately.

These earrings are the ones I got a couple of weeks ago from the Rose St Artists Market. Aren't they awesome! This is also my first attempt at photographing products a bit more professionally. The 'lightbox' is pretty amateur though as you'll see a bit further down.

This one is me, wearing the scarf from the Rose St market. Apparently some of the proceeds go to helping educate women in Cambodia, so not only do you get a nice scarf, you're helping people out as well. Nice! I also have a soft spot for Cambodia, having been there back in 2006. Believe me, they need all the money they can get when it comes to education.

...And just in case you were wondering what that artwork was behind my head, here it is in full. This one's my pride and joy. It's a signed limited edition print by Josh Agle (otherwise known as Shag). It's called 'welcome to your beautiful new lifestyle' and was given to me for my birthday by my awesome boyfriend.

Here's another one (also given to my by my boyfriend) called 'Alligator'. I got this for my birthday a couple of years ago and I love it!

These are some pics of a couple of bags I've made recent(ish)ly. The one on the left is a Nicole Mallalieu 'Baguette', and the one on the right is just a laptop sleeve I made for my laptop, which ended up being the wrong dimensions and is now just a 'whatever sleeve'.

This is my extremely amateurish and makeshift 'lightbox'. I'm going to make a proper on one day, but this was all I had on hand today.

Basting the edges together on the baguette, prior to sewing in the gusset.

This is the Elna press I bought on ebay

....and finally, my creative space!