Quick update after Uni

So, I’ve finished uni now (I get my grades next week). I’ve also moved to another house share. I still work at Levi’s and will do for the foreseeable. But now I need a new goal. And I have one: my own home.

Now, I want to be free, so it will hopefully by either a Tiny House (if I can sort out the land and plumbing situation) or a houseboat. And the first hurdle to overcome is money. I need to earn more and/or spend less. Spending less is virtually impossible, but I’m looking into ways of doing it.

Spending less is one long-term benefit of my latest obsession: being (nearly) zero-waste. I want to grow my own food too. I’ve started making my own underwear (after about 10 years, the old stuff finally wore through). But I’ll go into my new “Elven” ways (rather than “hippy” ways) in more detail in future posts.

This blog can no longer be a Student blog, so I’m rebranding it with the interest of Sustainability and Ethical Living, and Hygge and all that good stuff. I don’t know what it will look like yet, but it will unfold 🙂 Fear not, sewing WILL be involved. I think sustainability will be such a part of me that it will have to channel through my career, however that pans out. I feel like the picture is just becoming clearer and in more colour now. I can’t see it properly yet, but it’s slowly getting there 🙂

Jeans

There are three jeans-type garments in #TheShire: The Golden jeans, the “skinnies,” and the shorts.

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That’s quite a bit of embroidery. 🙂 These jeans have a button fly, which I had to relearn because it’s such a long time since I’d done one.

The waist somehow ended up rather larger than I expected, even after toiling, so now it’s a paperbag waist. Well, they are inspired by Levi’s 501S anyway, which have a square-cut hip. 🙂

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This fabric is quite thin and stretchy (though still not stretchy enough to be proper skinnies), so embroidery wouldn’t be advisable. Apart from that I was running out of time. So used lace overlays on the pockets instead.

You may have noticed the pockets: they’re shaped like shields, which I thought fitted because it’s heraldic. 🙂

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The lace bits at the hem are not symmetrical. They were cut the same, but I should have used more notches. One of the back pockets is floral embossed leather, and the other has gold and silver embroidery in the style of Tolkein’s illustrated trees.

These and the skinnies have a zip fly, which still took a bit of reworking out. I still have to perfect the specs to make it look exactly like RTW.

 

The Viking Dress

Some years ago now, I came across an article in Threads Magazine about Zero-Waste patterns. There was a Viking dress in there, and it kind of stuck with me. As Tolkien was largely inspired by Scandinavian culture/myths and legends, and would likely have been a proponent of sustainability, I thought I’d have a go at using this concept.

The initial design is very different to the final one.

Initial Design

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It looks wildly different on different sizes. This is actually a couple of sizes too big for me. It looks miles better with a belt. 🙂 The sleeves were too narrow for anyone bigger.

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Trying it on the right size mannequin. With potential embellishment. I like it better on me. Moving on…

The Final Dress

Completely different silhouette. And I love it! 😀 Note the dart in the back hem that just curves the silhouette. 🙂

I tried it on one of my taller friends and we established that for a model to wear it, it would have to be longer. So I added a few inches. Also enlarged the neckline.

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It’s a versatile pattern because you can remove the sleeves and wear it as a pinafore or a sleeveless, so it’s a good transitional piece, or you can switch up the sleeve and pleat fabric. I’d like to make it in a lighter colour. I have some grey jersey, but that might be a bit sweatshirtish, in a bad way. :/

Also, pockets are essential. 🙂

Weskit Pinafore

This dress is somewhat less modern than the other pieces, and slightly ’70s. I wanted to show that I can actually cut garments to fit the figure, not just drape over it.

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The first go was a funny fit. Somehow I lost about 4cm on the chest and it only just closed. I also needed to enlarge the armholes.

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Take 2 was much better. I also flared the skirt and embroidered on of the waist panels. Note the mis-matched buttons. I kept that. 🙂

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The embroidery looks somewhat Scandinavian, which is good because Scandinavia was part of the inspiration for #TheShire. It’s not perfectly symmetrical, but Tolkein’s illustrations were very clearly hand-done, which is part of their charm. 🙂

The dress is made from stretch-needlecord and has a bagged lining done entirely by machine! I’m so pleased with myself for figuring out how to do it! 😀

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I can pass this off as not being too big on me, partly because it’s a fitted style, and partly because the fabric is stiff so kind of holds itself up.

 

Leather Dungaree Dress

You can’t have missed the dungaree trend lately. Well, I’m not fond of having to get undressed every time nature calls, so I’ve done a dungaree dress. In leather.

I wanted to have leather in #TheShire from the beginning. I’m sure a lot of hobbits’ things would have been leather, and more likely pigskin because cows are bigger than pigs. This dress is pigskin, and the hides are from GH Leathers so it’s from the meat industry.

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I had to reverse engineer the dungaree button flies at work. And please forgive my imperfect stitching. It was nearing hand-in day and I was NOT going to go full-on perfectionist. Plus, this is real leather, so you can’t unpick.

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The parts of the dress are in slightly different colours, which happens, evidently, when you use a few hides.

 

The Three Tees

By coincidence there are three tees in #TheShire (like three rings). There are two circle tops too, but I’ll cover them separately because they’re so different.

The first one has a kimono sleeve at the front, but Dolman sleeve at the back (so that I could get the lace to look as I wanted). I blogged about the toile of this top here, so check that out for details!

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The second tee is a bit more normal. The key things here are the embroidery and the lace sections. The embroidery (free-motion) says “The Shire” in Dwarven runes. 🙂 The jersey is sort of like a Broiderie Anglaise kind of jersey. It’s covered in tiny flower-shaped hole patterns.

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The third tee is intentionally devoid of embellishment because it was always intended to go under a dress. But I wanted to give it the versatility to be worn over jeans too, so I gave it the lace asymmetric hem section. It’s a bit big on me, but only by a size or two.

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And yes, I will be wearing any of my collection that I can when I get them back. 🙂

Circles

For the same reasons that the Hoodie is round, these tops are too. That doesn’t meant they all look the same. Every single circle garment I’ve made looks totally different to the others, even though the draft is pretty much the same shape. Fabric and size make a huge difference. Viz.

Toiles

I made a calico toile first. Not the best choice given the final garments are in jersey, but at least we knew it fitted on a person, and looked pretty cool too, if I do say so myself.

This is a page from my first Shire sketchbook. I drew over the others too, I think.

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Trying it with and without sleeves, with different armholes, with possible style lines.

One thing I like about a lot of the garments in The Shire is that they’re unusual, but simple enough to offer a lot of design variations that are really wearable.

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I forgot the dimensions of the first toile when I was cutting the second one, so I guesstimated and missed about 4″ off the radius, which is fine because now it’s a proper top-length.

When I was doing this I leaned how to band jersey. It’s so quick and easy to make t-shirts! So satisfying to just whip something up!

Final Garments

There are two circle tops. One turned out a bit big, so it can be worn as a remarkably comfy dress too.

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Yes, the hem is dipped. 🙂

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Looks better tucked in. 🙂

Also: lesson learned: test ribbing ratios on EVERY INDIVIDUAL jersey you use. Even if they look similar, they probably aren’t. -_-

The Hoodie

This is the key piece of the collection #TheShire. It is, in essence, a huge circle with sleeves and a hood.

Inspiration

The One Ring, “There and Back Again”, “A perfectly round door, like a porthole,”… Tolkein’s works, and especially The Hobbit and LOTR are absolutely stuffed with circularity. It’s only fitting that a huge part of #TheShire is circles.

The draft for this hoodie was pretty simple (except for the hood, which has 5 pieces plus lining and facing). It’s just a huge circle with sleeves (flat-cut so no bother with easing), a whole for your legs, and a hood. Well, apart from the piecing. It’s a Celtic Knot (I’m part Irish so I wanted to put some of that in).

This is a page from my second sketchbook. The toile had “a few” changes to be made.

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(Also, I got a Wacom Intuos Art and I’ve started illustrating on Photoshop).

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Getting a model to fit the clothes was a huge bother, so I modelled some myself and got a mannequin to for the ones that are too big for me. 🙂

The fabrics are a paisley embossed scuba, a gold velvet, and a golden-khaki lining fabric. The zip pull is The One Ring on a piece of leather!

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So that is the Hoodie 🙂

Final Collection: The Shire

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything here. I handed in on the 28th April, and we’ve had the photoshoots and finished our lookbooks, so now there’s graduation in September!

The Concept

I’ve realised I’ve told you practically nothing about the concept. The geekier among you (hello! :D) may have suspected correctly that it is inspired by The Hobbit and LOTR. More The Hobbit because I’m still reading LOTR.

Originally I was going to advance the concept from my previous FMP at Bishop Burton College: Cut21, and include more natural inspiration. That developed visually towards woodlands and fantasy, which naturally falls towards The Hobbit and LOTR.

Design Development

In the beginning, the initial designs were fairly literal and somewhat costumey and I had to make them more ‘fashiony’ (we use a lot of non-standard English in our class).

I experimented with so many techniques that could have made such beautiful garments. If I’d had time I could have made a hundred different things and I’ve have loved every one of them!

You can see more on this Pinterest Board.

Learning Goals

Following a piece of advice I received from a friend and mentor (ask “What can I do well, in the time I have?”) I kept my number of garments to a minimum. We had do to 6 outfits, so I made 12 garments. I wanted to include some jeans and jeans-type garments to tailor my portfolio towards Levi’s (where I work as stylist and tailor), so I made a few different cuts.

Another of my learning goals was to learn how to work with stretch fabrics. So I bought an overlocker (used) and learned to use it, and the other industrial equipment at college. Domestic overlockers do not compare to industrials, but they do the job and I can take mine with me when I move.

Another was to use the Assyst-Bullmer system, but technical issues prevented it when I needed it. I have been told I can go back and have a go with it though.  (The tutors at York College are awesome.)

I wanted to work with leather too, so I made a dress out of it. 🙂

Lookbook

So that’s my final collection in a nutshell. I’ll post in more detail about individual garments in the coming weeks. 🙂

Skinny Jeans Toile 1

Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂

I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).

These are the pages from my sketchbook:

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These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).