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. 🙂


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


Accidental Scaling in Adobe Illustrator, and How to Fix it.

Today I toiled my dress block, the one I drafted on illustrator. According to the program, the measurements are correct. What made me check is that the dress came out too big.

What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator

What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator

What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator

What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator

In case you came to this post by google and don’t know about sewing, this dress is supposed to be close-fitting, not a semi-fitting sheath dress. It also ended up too long in the bodice so the bust darts are about 3cm too low! The armscyes are also too low so raising my arms lifts the whole dress.

What caused all this you may ask. Well, I printed “borderless”. On the little print preview, I couldn’t see a difference. Just to check, I printed out two test squares. Each measured 10cm x 10cm on Illustrator. These are the results:

What happens when you print "with border" in Illustrator
What happens when you print “with border” in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
What happens when you print “borderless” in Illustrator

As you can see, it adds 2.5mm onto 10cm. That’s an automatic scale of 102.5%! Over the length of a dress this can make a big difference, going up by about half a dress size. When you’re sewing close-fitting clothes, this is a paramount difference. I’ve learned my difference: do NOT print “borderless” in Adobe Illustrator.

I thought I’d better post about this for the benefit of everyone who has this trouble, not just sewers and pattern makers. I hope it has helped you as much as it will me. 🙂