Saturday, 6 December 2014

My Internship


On the morning of Saturday the 29th Novmember 2014, I lugged my heavy suitcase downstairs, and with my backpack and handbag on as well, I set off for Hull Interchange to board my train to London. I had been planning it for weeks. I had my accommodation set up, my Oyster card with £10 on it, and my train tickets in my handbag. I was going to London to do my work placement with Libby London. My suitcase was so heavy that my hands were going red where the handle touched them (and it's on wheels). I was in such an obvious struggle with it that throughout the day three kind gentlemen helped me by carrying it downstairs for me. Obviously, some Londoners have manners even in stations. :) So far so good, until I arrived in London, ended up at the correct tube station and then went in the wrong direction at the corner near Goldhawk Rd. I spent the next hour or so going in every direction but the correct one. Eventually I noticed the map on the wall at Stamfood Brook (on my third visit that hour), photographed it, and used that to find my way. I found the correct house and met my landlady. She helped my carry my case upstairs and showed me my room, w/c and bathroom. I gave her the cheque and she gave me the keys and a map of useful things on Chiswick High Street. After unpacking I went to the shops (Tesco's Express and Sainsbury's Local) to get some essentials like food and milk. After dinner (which was a single serving Chicken pie and chips), there wasn't much to do so I got ready for bed. When snugly inside my featherbed (never had one before -- they are heavy!) I watched Dad's Army on iPlayer and FaceBooked my friends who had asked me to keep them up to date. I also booked a Brompton Bike and emailed Mum. :)

THE WEEKEND (memory is sketchy)

On Saturday, I got up early as I wanted to get my bike and explore. In a way that happened, but mainly because having got my bike and figured out how to fold/unfold it, I got off at the wrong stop on the overground and got lost. I eventually found my way back by following a bus (traffic is so slow that even I could do that) and then street signs when another bus blocked my view. In the afternoon I set off again on the Brompton to try to find where I now work. I took the scenic route and got lost again. I went to places in so many different directions that I don't really know where they are, except that they are somewhere near the Thames (there are so many bridges!). london 1On Sunday, while trying to find Ingate Place, I did happen upon a MacDonald's and had a Happy Meal (don't laugh -- they're good value for money) and gave the toy to a child who was there with her Mum. The MacDonald's food is so much better in London! You can get a plain burger without all that sauce and the gherkin, and it's hot! Actually hot! Not just warmish! But I digress. On Sunday I was so lost that I ended up near Harrod's. I had to ask a policeman for directions. He asked his colleague, who consulted his smartphone. Even Londoners get lost in London. It's not so bad that I did then, is it? Anyway, they gave me rough directions (with help from a cabbie who was picking up a fare) and I went towards the large Tesco's. Eventually I gave up walking my Brompton (I was tired and it's geared very hard) and took the train back when I found a station. I got "home" quite late, had a bath, and got ready for the next day, exhausted.


I set off on the bike again. Not knowing the way and with new, but no more helpful directions, I got lost again. To add salt to the wound the Brompton decided to keep dropping its chain off. Three times I put it on! I gave up and walked. I phoned my boss and explained that I would be late because the chain kept falling off my bike, and she told me not to rush because she would be late too (the flu). (She is such a great boss!) By 11am I gave up trying to find my way and went into the nearest Premiere Inn to ask them to book me a cab, which they very kindly did (and gained Brownie points with me). I got in the cab and called Libby (my boss) to get her postcode for the taxi driver and we got there by 20 past eleven. Amazingly, London cabs don't take banking cards! I had to go right through my coin purse. It was £16 from Putney Bridge. When I found the right room (which is quite small) in the maze that is the industrial area where the studio is located in SW London, I met Libby. She is a very nice person to work for. She showed me what we were to do today: pack some parcels neatly. I also sewed up a dropped hem and a size label that wasn't attached to a dress. In the afternoon she had to go to a meeting, the post office, and to a warehouse. She would have taken me to the warehouse, but as it was on one trip and she couldn't take me to the meeting, she went on her own.
She had given me some things to do though. I was to source some buttons for samples, take messages on the phone, take some deliveries that she had arranged, and make a flared skirt pattern to match a photograph she had. I did all this, and was just finishing the skirt's lining pattern when she got back several hours later.
By then it was about time to go home. She kindly found me the way on her smartphone (I have since bought a Vodafone Smart Turbo with 4G), and I took the tube and train. Libby also clarified for me that the number that flashes on the oyster card scanner is the balance on your card, not the cost of the trip (that's a relief).
The bike is no good as the chain won't stay on the front sprocket. I will return it to a dock on Saturday and complain to Brompton. I want to see if I can get my membership fee back. I'm so glad I didn't buy a Brompton folding bike! I'm going to take public transport. I can't be spending 3 hours getting more and more lost when I could spend 40 minutes on the train and tube (without having to carry a Brompton with me) and getting to work on time! And I have so many bruises on my legs from how I have to carry the "lightweight" bike that I look like I'm part giraffe!
When I got back to Chiswick I bought some frozen pizzas and honey at Tesco Express. I wanted to get pizza because a place I passed repeatedly this morning had the aroma wafting out of it. It wasn't even a pizza place! All in all, not a bad day!


I arrived nearly on time. Today we did stock-taking and organising. This meant that when we knew what we had, I would fold up the garments that we didn't need out and put them in individual bags on the shelf. We also posted some orders, and I got logged into the company's online accounts.
The PR lady, called Emily, was in today. She is electrically enthusiastic! She is working with various magazines (like GRAZIA and BRIDES) to increase the awareness of our brand. I think she's also working with the Guardian. We want to get into the business section so that we can connect with our target audience: intelligent business women who want to look nice as well as professional.


Today we measured the sample garments to check their resemblance to the patterns. This showed that some of the garments had stretched, some had shrunk, and some were correct. We had to drop one design because the fabric was a nightmare for the factory to sew.
IMG_20141204_151400We also finalised a dress design for SS15, which meant that I held the pin cushion and agreed while Libby draped some fabric to resemble the design she had and decide which fabric should go where, and which side out (double-faced fabric).
After that we went to two factories. At the first one we arranged for samples to be made, and at the other we collected some garments and buttons. The first factory also makes for Christopher Kane. :) The bosses were quite convivial -- one gave me a hug! I was to say the least surprised by their informality.


Libby seemed stressed this morning so I made us a cup of tea each to cheer her up.
Today I sketched some designs for the SS15 collection (I know it's late, but the company has been making changes and we're thus behind). When the designer comes we will discuss them.
In the afternoon we went for a fitting at No.1 London Bridge for some uniforms for the lobby girls at Howard Kennedy. The dresses were too big on top so we checked the measurements when we got back. It fits the fit model correctly, and the mannequin. We think the problem was probably with us those three girls, though it is a coincidence. They are cowl neck dresses and they seemed to start hanging off the shoulders. We're sending the dresses to the factory to be altered.
On the way to the fitting I dropped off a parcel. We listened to music in the car (Libby has quite varied tastes and I was glad to see that she listens to Magic too).
When we got back we had another cup of tea and some biscuits before I went "home". On the way home I got on the wrong Waterloo train and ended up in Westminster, where I caught the train/tube back to Stamford Brook. My smartphone's data isn't working yet; I can't register my account at Vodafone because they're having technical difficulties. I can't be the only one with trouble either because on Friday the 5th December I rang the customer services number and was on hold for so long that I gave up. It cost me nearly £5!


I arrived 10 minutes early (celebration smile!).
Today I made some boxes for sending orders in and folded the tissue paper neatly for them. I also improved a dress that someone has ordered, so that the v-shaped darts look nice instead of like a deflated bust. It took me most of the day to get it just right, but it's important to have high quality work.
Libby went to pick up some jackets for a uniforms order, and we had to use the loading bay lift to get them upstairs. Once we had put the labels with the girls' names on onto the jackets, she went to a fitting. They will need a few alterations, but she thinks that we can do those without sending them to the factory.
While she was out a dress came back from Woman & Home magazine because the lady had selected the wrong size. We will send her the right size.
Libby's mum went to collect some dresses from our factory and had navigational problems, but got there in the end.
I lost my umbrella so I had to buy a new one when I got home. I was going to buy one at Victoria Station but to give you some idea of the price hike in stations a packet of chocolate digestives was £2.60 at their WHSmiths, while at Tesco Express (which is a convenience store and may be still overpriced) they are £1. I'm not paying that sort of inflation rate!


Stayed in bed for an extra hour this morning (first time in a fortnight!). Took Brompton bike back to dock at Ealing Broadway. I'm actually glad to be rid of it. For all they're meant to be convenient, I found it a burden. They are heavy (to me), geared hard (so no fun to ride), the wheels are too small for my liking (you can feel the difference), and you have to fold them up and take them into every shop you go to. I much prefer to lock a bike up outside hand instead of having to push, pull or carry it around with me. It's almost like having a huge metal baby with no pushchair. I'll be glad to get back on my own dear bike at home.
Anyway, while I was in Ealing I went round the shops. You would be amazed how difficult it is to find tights in London! I did find some (on sale!) at Boots so I bought three packs. They should have been about £8 for 3 pairs, but today it was £6, and buy-2-get-third-free. So I have saved £12!
I wandered into a shopping centre where they have -- you'll never guess -- Santa's taxi! I've never seen one before. When I was a child it was Santa's Grotto. Don't they have those any more?
I had a Happy Meal for lunch (it was so nice and hot!) and went "home".
Since coming to London I have spent £78.60 on food, drink (counting MacDonald's), and other essentials like bathroom things. I suppose for London that's not bad for one person, especially considering I've been eating more (working has increased my appetite, and yet I've lost weight!).
Of course I've spent quite a lot on transport, owing somewhat to my apparent tendency to get lost. On transport (counting train fare back to Hull) I've spent:£117.05 (including what I still have on my Oyster card).
On "other" (my smartphone, top-up, phone case, and umbrella): £91.50.
My rent, including a £1000 deposit which I get back when I leave, is £2450.
There were other expenses for coming to do my work placement in London too, like my fares to get here (£38.75 + £2.05 bus fare), the purchase of a suitcase (£45 on sale -- which I'll need for Paris anyway), and the Brompton Bike Hire (��) at £20, but they credited £20 to my Brompton account when I complained. I had it a week, so that's £17.50. Total for this paragraph: £103.50.
Total expenses so far: £2840.45, less deposit, =£1840.45. Bear in mind that that will not be my weekly expenditure. The rent is for the full four weeks at £350 pw. So my weekly expenses will be about £545.65 -- gosh! How do people afford to live in London (answer: they have jobs and cheaper accommodation).
I will update you next week. :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Progress on the Vortex Dress Toile

Today (after cycling to the shop to buy some things I need for London) I worked nearly non-stop on the toile. I noticed yesterday that the pattern had some issues, the chief of which I hope that I have now cleared up. The main issue was with the vortex, whose circles did not match where they ought to have done. If you would like to see what my pattern looks like, here is a screenshot (I do most of my pattern work on Illustrator now):
I will notch things when I've printed them - it's easier that way.
I will notch things when I've printed them - it's easier that way.
You may notice that I have not used much labelling. Well, it's just for me to use, and I can work out what everything is, so I didn't waste my short time on something unimportant. I have, however, colour coded the vortex patterns: pink for front, and blue for back. I'd have used a colour beginning with "f" for the front, but all that came to mind was "fuchsia" and this is close enough for my purposes.
This is the dress so far:
Vortex Dress Toile Front
Vortex Dress Toile SideVortex Dress Toile 3/4 viewVortex Dress Toile BackYes, they are supermarket carrier bags bursting out of the back of the dress. I would have used bags from a clothes shop, but one of the consequences of not buying clothes is that you don't get bags from such shops. Why are there bags bursting out, you ask? The dress is about the wastefulness of consumerism (yes, this is coming from a fashion student), so good things go in at the front, and rubbish comes out at the back.
Now I only have to make the real dress (and it's fabric), finish my boards, design book and sketchbook before Friday. And pack for London. No stress. ��
Until next time,

The Vortex Dress

I have one week left on Module 9: Critical Studies. I have (hopefully, pending referencing) finished my essay, and have the rest of the week to concentrate on the practical side of the module: the dress.
Here is what I have so far:
Vortex Dress Front
Yes, that is a pin cushion on top of my mannequin. She is a pinhead and if you have an "adjustable" dress form, you will agree that they are rather stupid because they simply don't live up the idea. :s
Vortex Dress side frontIt will look different on the college mannequin (mine is the wrong size and shape) and this is only the toile. I want to make my own fabric from discarded clothes (like the my brother's trousers that have shrunk), but depending on time, I may have to use the fabric that is in my spare pannier basket (you can see it in the top photo).
As you can see, I am using Pattern Magic 2 for the vortex and wormhole. I hope that it will all stand up better when I finish it and use stiffer fabric. I think I'll also have to reduce the curves on some of the seams (as pinned above) because they look pointy and not curved as they are currently sewn.
I'll show you more when it's done.
Next Saturday I'm going to London to do my work placement with Libby London, concentrating on the pattern cutting aspects, as well as, I think, general day-to-day fashion business operations. I will blog about it, insofar as I am permitted. I also have to update my tutor every week.
To get to and from work I'll be hiring a Brompton folding bike. I'm going to be lodging with a lady in Hammersmith (incidentally, if you need to find a room, I recommend placing and ad on Yes, it is expensive to go to do work placement in London, but without work placements my degree will be worth nothing because everyone is getting degrees nowadays. It is, in a way, a big thing for me to do all this because I've never lived away from home before. I'm not scared though.
Oh! And after Christmas (only 4 weeks to go) I'll be doing some events with the Hull University Bike Hub at Hull College Park Street and Queen's Garden.
Speaking of the Bike Hub, apparently I had been riding around on a death trap. My handlebar stem was loose (just slightly) and missing the screw that was supposed to tighten it. But because I am a volunteer at the Bike Hub (in the Design department and not mechanics), they fixed it for me and I left safe, but with still a few issues to look into.
Well, must set the table for dinner now.
Until next time,
Sabrina :)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Module 8: Completed

There seems to be a recurring theme in our assignments. Let's call it the Cinderella principle. Essentially it means that you will definitely still be awake at midnight, and you'll still be run off your feet. On the night of Thursday 23rd October (actually, the morning of Friday 24th) I and the girls from my class were panicking on Facebook while frantically getting our work done. I got my sketchbook printed at home (thanks to my A3 printer) but still had to do my boards at college the next day. The others were worried about their essays (2000 words). And to top it off, class was to end at 3.45pm, one and a quarter hours earlier than last year. That's a fashion degree for you.
But, we got it done (albeit by 4pm-ish). My boards printed out double-sided at college and several images mysteriously disappeared from my mood board in the process, but at least they printed, and all in colour too! I personally think the boards are my best yet, and I even did an extra individual one for each outfit and one for the coat. Oh, wait! I haven't showed you them yet! Well, to save data on Blogger, I'll give you the link to my ArtsThread portfolio, and just show one here:
Mood board
I bought the fabric at Abakhan in Manchester when we went on a class trip to a jobs fair. I got it in the pay-by-weight section (the ground floor). It was for samples, but I will make myself some clothes from it. I have a wardrobe that makes some minimalists look extravagant -- I only have two tops!
I will get my grades within 3 weeks. I don't want to get my hopes up because level 5 is harder than level 4 so the grading will be tougher.
I'm still endeavouring to secure a work placement for December. I'll keep it all under my hat until it's confirmed because I don't want to temp fate! I feel a mix of excitement and worry at the moment. I need a work placement to pass that module.
In other news, I've volunteered to work at the Bike Hub in Hull University, and I start on Wednesday. I'll be able to tell you more about it afterwards, because I don't know exactly what we're doing yet. I start at 9am and we should be finished by 3pm, so I have to get up early that day as well as tomorrow (college).
As I have been too busy to cycle lately, I had a little crash into a garden wall on Saturday after a mini-roundabout. I only bruised my knee, and some kind people came to help and put my chain back on for me. (The world is a nice place after all!) It shook my confidence a bit, so I've been cycling a lot since then to get my confidence back. I did the mini-roundabout again today when I went to the bank for Mum. The lesson here: cycle every day you can!
So that has been my weekend. Thankfully, Beth (tutor) did not give us our study guides for the next module on Friday, so we've been able to wind down from the stress of the last couple of weeks -- a rest we really needed! One of the girls in my class got ill from staying up too late every night working. One of the others plans to be insanely organised when she's doing her final major project. I think I'll have to be as well!
How has your month been so far?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Module 8 Begins: 1920s Cycling Inspiration for 2010s Style

Yesterday module 8 officially began. I had already downloaded the Study Guide of i-learn and received my brief. The module is called Context and Environment and my title is Bright Young Things, as in the 1920s flappers. However, flapper-girl style is banned from our projects (it's overdone) so after a bit of visual research, and reading The Girls' Bicycle Handbook I have decided to "go down the cycle route" as it were and base my mini-collection on women's cycling in the 1920s.
Cycling played a huge part in the emancipation of women (find out more about it in the afore-mentioned book) and it's practical clothes fit in nicely with the loose-but-stylish clothes of the 1920s.
I have written my client profile (can't do a thing until I've done that!) and printed off my visual research images. I'm going to make a rough sketchbook to plan my pages.
My research images for Module 8. Now I have to arrange them into sketchbook pages.
My research images for Module 8. Now I have to arrange them into sketchbook pages.
This is only a month's module, so I won't actually be making anything for it (though I do have lofty visions of a high-vis orange gabardine raincoat for my cycling) but jersey will naturally feature as it was such a popular fabric in the '20s, partly thanks to Chanel. I'd like to use Merino wool because it's breathable and wicking (so it draws moisture away from the body and helps you maintain a comfortable temperature).
I'm not going with the boyish style, but will focus on the more feminine look of the '20s and alter it for modern style. Whenever women have been further liberated, clothes have become more practical (and usually smaller, but we won't go there). Therefore, my five-outfit collection is going to be a capsule wardrobe of clothes you can cycle in comfortably without looking as though you were going cycling. They have to be suitable for a modern, independent woman to live in. I want to include accessories like pannier bags, helmet accessories and things that make it safer to cycle.
I now have an A3 printer because all our work at college is A3 and it'll save a lot of bother and expense when I print at home. It's print quality isn't as good as the college printers, but it's better than my A4 printer (now in Mum's office/the dining room) and it's about a third of the price (at a guess) of the college printers.
As for the Cornucopia festival, I got a few more things made, but there isn't really time to do any more. It starts on Friday and everything has to be set up. Here are the few more things I made:
Cornucopia Festival Clothes 3
Cornucopia Festival Clothes 3
The contrast cuff facings are hand-stitched on with the felling stitch, and I hand-stitched the buttonhole on the second one with a continental buttonhole stitch. I thought it was called a French Buttonhole Stitch, but I saw an Italian-trained tailor use it on Youtube so now I call it the Continental Buttonhole Stitch.
The two projects above that took the longest to do were the skirt and the shorts. The satin-stitching on the skirt's godets meant that it took me two days to sew them all on. That, and I accidentally snipped the godets and had to darn them. :) The shorts took ages because I had to manually fray them with a quick-unpick. I was doing it with a pin, but then I got a Snippets email from Colette that suggested using a quick-unpick. (Don't you just love sewing-syncronicity.)
I'm still learning to ride my bike confidently and I went to Rusty Riders Cycle Training in Hull last Saturday. The bike I used there was more upright than mine so it was easier to signal without wobbling. Once I had got the hang of that, we went on the street and tried turning, stopping, and a junction. I've since practiced signalling at home on my bike and found out that it's harder because my bike is not as extremely upright. I've moved the saddle forward so it's more comfortable, and I'm getting the hang of signalling. When I can do that, it will be safer for me to go on the road. But I'm going back to Rusty Riders because I need more practice with traffic.
Well, that's it for today. I'll update you when I've news. Oh, by the way, if you'd like to go to the Cornucopia Festival, you can find out more about it here.
Until next time,

Monday, 8 September 2014

Cornucopia Clothes Part 1

To sum it up:
I've been learning to ride a bike (I love it!) and was in a mild road accident (I'm not going on the roads along for a while).
My brother's identity was stolen and someone was using his bank account on a dirty dating website (all sorted now that he's changed banks and we've rebooted his Macbook Pro).
I've made more things for the Cornucopia festival. I've made 14 things so far, and I want to make more. I'm aiming for 30. I'm not the only one making for it, but I'm doing a lot of it.
Also, some lovely seamstresses/bloggers reviewed the Secret Garden Tea Dress.
Here are the things I've made (and photographed) so far for the festival. I made 1.5 things yesterday, but I've yet to take photographs. :)
Cornucopia Tops
Cornucopia Bottoms
So I've made 15.5 things so far, and I'm aiming for 30. Even at charity shop prices, this gets expensive. I've spent about £35 so far, not counting the elastic I used in the skirts, or the thread. The jeans with the pink embellishments were mine but they kept shrinking in the wash and started hurting me when I wore them so I thought I might as well use them for this. I can't use many of my clothes because I don't have many. Fabric simply refuses to appear magically before my eyes. :)
As for learning to ride a bike, I'm glad I didn't get a really nice one because my brother is learning on mine and keeps kicking the mudguards when he pedals. I've had to buy a new set. Eventually, I think a folding bike might be the way to go because EYMS bus service won't allow bikes other than folding bikes on board, and even then I think it's at the driver's discretion, and if I go to Rochester to do my Top-up year next year, I'll have to take the train and the tube in London, and store my bike somewhere when I'm in student accommodation. How do students usually deal with bikes? (Answers will be appreciated.)
College starts for second years on the 16th September and I've got to have the clothes made by then. I'll have to take them in my shopping trolley or I'll look like a pack-mule going to the bus (I'll have my backpack too!) I'm looking forward to college, and we have to do work experience (I'm so excited!) this year so we've got to list places we'd like to work. On my (fantasy) list are Colette, Tilly and the Buttons, BurdaStyle, and By Hand London. I will have to add to this list some more "realistic", mainstream fashion-business choices I suppose, but I can dream! I simply do not want to work in retail because I'm no good at it. I'd much rather work with the same people everyday than with customers. That's just me.
That'll have to do for now because I have a lot to do!
Have a nice day!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Pixie Shorts

I am having physiotherapy on my knee so I needed shorts. I know a lot of religious women won't wear them out of modesty, but when you have to do a lot of leg exercises, shorts are more modest than skirts. :)

So I made these from my brother's too-short trousers. They were a sort of moleskin fabric, and are is apparently Italian-made (when they were trousers). I adjusted my Audrey Short pattern (which I haven't told you about yet) to have princess seams and those petal shapes at the front.

When I put them on yesterday, with socks after my bath, my legs looked quite stocky in them. (I think I look much better in tights.) Rather than think of my legs as stocky though, I would rather think of them as pixie-ish, like Tinkerbell. It's much better to put a nice spin on things, isn't it? I think that's the start of a good body-image for anyone and you might as well like yourself because you're the only self you'll get. :)

Pixie Shorts
Upcycled Pixie Shorts (worn with upcycled t-shirt)

The hardest thing was sewing the curves neatly, which I didn't quite manage to do. In retrospect, I ought to have done a faced hem, but I was upcycling and it was a miracle that the waist-facing was exactly the right length (by accident). I also ought to have used cotton tape to stay the waistline because it's ever-s0-slightly stretched now.
I didn't need to add a gusset to these shorts. I pressed the seam open (well, finger-pressed) and they're perfectly comfortable as they are. Calico seems to be unreliable for fitting purposes because it's so unlike any fabric you'd actually wear.


P.S. Yes, these are inspired by the Pattern Runway shorts, and there's the link to make up for my not buying the pattern (how can I when I can draft one?).