Hey Baby!

Welcome to the world, Elke! Here's my new niece, wrapped up like a tiki, with her brother Finn.  Just as soon as I have a few spare minutes, I'll be making her some of these great softie birds.  They make a lovely gift - free pattern and  instructions are here on Spool's website.



College by Night...

Student designs made up in tissue paperMinji looking pensive...Long time no update blog!  But I have an excuse.  We've been trampling sacred sites at Carnarvon Gorge(-ous) over the holidays.


But it's back to the salt mine at college.  (Here's some piccies taken on Banallee's new camera.)  Have been whining about a few late night classes this term.  On Wednesday night, was still wandering the halls at 6.30 pm. Peeked in on some classrooms - people making  patterns, sewing garments, designing hats.  In the hallways, racks of lovely garments all ready for the big (fashion) parade.  And I thought to myself - there are worse places you could be!


To dye for...

Natural food dyes can  produce the prettiest colours! These samples show the results of frozen blueberries and raspberries on silk.  Even the mordants (stuff you add to enhance colours or make them more permanent) can be kitchen items like vinegar, salt and bicarb.

Basically this berry dyeing involved boiling up a pack of  frozen raspberries or blueberries in a couple of litres of water and stewing your fabric for half an hour.

My experiences with using chemical dyes (Drimalene K) are not so much fun.  My whole laundry looked like a battlefield, with red stained door, sink and almost a red and black Border Collie (sorry Monty!)  Just the tiniest dusting of chemical goes everywhere. I think I lowered  the water level on our local dam just from rinsing colour out of the cloth.

piccie from http://blueberrydyeworkshop.blogspot.com/Natural dyes are not so concentrated and of course, way less toxic. Try Google for dye recipes - even spices like turmeric and paprika can be cooked up to  turn out some pretty colours.



Learn to Draw a Croquis

Find templates like this in fashion drawing books or onlineColoured with markers and watercolour pencils, background is photocopied fabrics"Croquis" (rhymes with okie-dokie!) -  is a fancy French word for sketch.  They're great for expressing your ideas - sketching is a basic skill that can be learned, just like reading and writing.  A little practice goes a long way!

My college project (above right) was drawn using a template on a light box.  No light box?  Tape your template to a window in daylight hours, tape to the TV at night!  Pencil in the basic shape and add your clothing design.  Use a fine line pen (I like 0.1!) to define your sketch.  Erase original pencil lines and colour.

When I was in sixth grade our teacher made us stand up in front of the class to show our best drawing.  I had to borrow a picture from a friend!  Couldn't draw to save my life and avoided art at high school in favour of maths and physics (unbelievable!).  But at age 27 I decided I wanted to learn to draw - it's never too late to start.

The life-changing book I read was Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  For a totally left-brained person, it helped me learn a skill I thought was only for the chosen few!


In the mood...board

To make a mood board, take an A3 size piece of mount board and fill it with images that inspire you. Don't stop at 2D -  use foamcore or mounting tape to raise images you particularly like.  A hot glue gun will attach small props. 

At college, our inspiration boards are usually themed and include a title, samples of fabrics and a colour palette.  They work in tandem with a visual diary, and are a handy way to see all your influences in one hit.

My pictured board is inspired by (you guessed it) desserts!  From here I'll draw up clothing designs focussing on a berry coloured palette.  We've been doing some natural fabric dyeing using blueberries and raspberries, creating some yummy colours.  Have also been experimenting with ruffles and pleating to suggest layers of creamy icing on a cake.