Friday, 28 March 2014

Module 6 Journal Continues...

21st March 2014

Today we had a tutorial on sketchbook-making. I'm going to work on paper in future because  I can think better that way.
Sketchbook Method:

  1. Get images
  2. Plan "sketchbook" pages (lay out the images)
  3. Do scruffy work in design book
  4. Put best work and samples into "sketchbook".
If you're wondering why I put the work "sketchbook" in quotation marks, it's because Beth (our tutor) has quite a different idea of what a sketchbook is. I thought a sketchbook was a book you sketched in (crazy I know) but she has a whole different concept as explained in the numbered list above.

22nd March 2014

One feature of good design for a "short" person is that is works with their proportions instead of making them look squat.

"Petite: attractively small and dainty" OED

Also "small-busted" doesn't mean "no-busted". It's just a matter of dressage so thaw the "petite" bust is flattered not flattened. The figure is there, it's just subtler.

23rd March 2014

I spent much of yesterday working on my sketchbook plan. I'm not pleased with it, but I think knowing how to improve it will only come with practice. I'll just have to work with it because I haven't the time to be a perfectionist now. I'll get it digitised and completed today, and try to plan my photoshoot this evening. If I've time I also want to get the illustration done, but that might have to be tomorrow.

Little Star

In velvet black, in dead of night,
A single star shines its light,
And all the world who never saw,
Stare open-mouthed at beauty in awe.

The little star, she shines up high,
Not big or brash or loud but I
Can hear it softly, sweetly call,
"You're beautiful" to all who're small.

24th March 2014

Yesterday I did some sketches/design development for my sketchbook. I must get the rest done today. I find it most inspiring to work in a real sketchbook, rather than loose sheets of paper. I can still have the images separate (that's possibly better), but just work is better in a real book.

I need a way to binding my sketchbook. Something conceptual. Jewellery chain with diamond and star charms, or sequins. I can make the "look" whimsical and elegant if I alter the sequin pattern on the dress to be curlier. Maybe I can add some pictures like circles (which seemed to crop up quite a lot in the design book).

Reminds me of Arabian Nights

26th March 2014

Yesterday I made a plan of the next tow weeks and stuck it to my bedroom wall. I'll include it in my head-in so I don't have to write it here. Today and tomorrow will be spent in making the dress, and U want to get a couple of hours of sketch booking in too. for the sake of speed I'd rather hem by machine and as the dress will be backed I may be able to blind-hem by machine quite easily. I'll try a sample. If it doesn't work out very well, I'll hand-hem.

I wonder if I've any silver embroidery thread? If not I'll use gold. I want to print out a pattern envelope too. That won't take long.

[That evening at ten to nine].
I didn't get as much done as I wanted to do. I corrected the pattern (took ages somehow) and cut out most of the velvet pieces (one to go). Tomorrow I must finish cutting the fabric and at least begin making the dress. If they can do it on The Sewing Bee, I should be able to do it. : )

27th March 2014

Got most of the dress finished. Just hand-sewing to do now.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Stars Dress Toile

I forgot to mention in my previous posts that I have made a toile of the Stars Dress for the DiversityNOW! competition. Why is it called the "stars dress" you ask? When I was coming up with ideas (meaning standing in front of my long mirror pinning the dress I was wearing into different looks) the pins reminded me of stars, and I thought "stars are tiny, and people admire them for their beauty, just like petite, small-busted women" and I got my angle for the design. I'm going to make it in black or dark navy velvet (backed of course) and embellish it with beads. I also have to correct some issues with the pattern so I've got a lot to do. If I can't get it made in time, I'll just have to decorate and submit the toile.

Here are the photos:

The pockets pattern is quite similar to the one I used on my French Dart Shift Dress, but I had to include a sewn-on pocket facing to facilitate the extra width I put into the skirt part (that's why it sticks out with showing my hands in the pockets).

I figured out how to get a French dart sheath dress. It works best if you use the pivot technique for transferring darts. You just pivot on the bust point until the full waist dart is pointing towards the hip at the side seam. As long as the now-French dart doesn't end in a point at the seam, I think it should be alright. It's hard to tell how the fit would be if I hadn't added the pockets because the bias seams on the pocket facings and so on might have stretched during sewing. : )

(Yes, I'm not a natural in front of the camera but I'll have to improve quickly because I'm my own model (and probably photographer) for the photo-shoot.)

Here you can see a few issues with the fit. I think I'll lower the under bust shaping a little; it's rather unflattering like this, wouldn't you say?

The back neck somehow ended up way too high and I need to lower it by about 3-4cm.

The sleeves took a lot of paper-draping, but given the end result, I think I might as well have just used the original sleeve head and added a seam to get rid of the ease.

I want to add beads or sequins along the French Dart line and along the neckline. The French-dart ones will look like the tail of a shooting star. : )

I've also been working on my illustration. Here it is so far:

It's a combination of pencil, ProMarker, watercolour, and Photoshop. I like it anyway, even if it doesn't look like a professional did it.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Module 6: First Toile and more Journal

After the last post I did several more pages of sketches. Here are the most important ones:

This is the one where I decided on a sweetheart neckline:

This one isn't really important, but I like the styles. I am aiming to have a design that looks womanly on a very slim figure. It's quite easily done without a padded bra and corset you know. : )

This is the final design:

The pattern took a bit of working out, which indicated (as usual) that I was over-complicating it. After this page I realised that all I had to do was give the pocket a sewn-on facing and slash and spread the outer one to match the slashing and spreading on the "skirt". Simple.

I still played with a few other design options, more inspired by Audrey Hepburn and by Jane Austen. The third one from the left is inspired by when I used to wear my t-shirts in different ways; this one is when I pulled the side seams to the front and pinned them. It's very flattering.

This is today's journal page so far. You won't be able to read my handwriting so I'll transcribe.

19th March 2014
Yesterday we got our grades from the last module. I was less than pleased. It seems my presentation was too long and verged on boring, and my sketchbook was presented entirely wrong. All this "paperwork" seems so vague to me. I need a process, an order. I need each kind of "paperwork" to have a purpose distinct from the others. How are they separate? How do they link? It's so confusing to me.

To Do This Week:

  • Sketchbook: 10 Pages
  • Samples
  • Sourcing
    • fabric
      • velvet
      • backing fabric
    • beads
  • Photo-shoot
  • Pattern corrections
  • Illustration
  • Design Journal
  • Evaluation
  • Complete research
Oh! It's so hard. Or at least it seems it to me. I'm technical and all this is right-brained. I need a method. How should my sketchbook be laid out? What is a sketchbook's (as opposed to a design development book) purpose? All this is so overwhelming! 

(Note to self: Do one thing at a time.)


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Module 6 continued

Well, after I had done most of the illustration my tutor and I reviewed the competition brief and realised that I had totally gone off track. It was decided that I would do the Garment Design brief instead. That means I have three weeks to design and make a garment that matches this brief:

Garment Design: Your womenswear or menswear garment will be empathically constructed, finished and photographed on a diverse model. Your entry should be accompanied by a professional illustration, technical drawing and and explanation of how and why you came to your design.

So my to do list (not in this order):

  • design the dress (I'm doing a dress)
  • do the professional illustration
  • do the tech (this won't take long)
  • write about it
  • make the pattern
  • sew the dress from calico (never mind other fabrics, I have calico)
On with the journal:

14th March 2014

After getting most of my illustration done I checked the brief and realised that I had totally missed the mark. So I'm going to make a dress for a small-busted, petite woman (me) instead. By Tuesday I need the client brief and initial ideas. I can make the dress from calico and perhaps embellish it. It has to show the grace and beauty of a small-busted figure, especially a petite one.

In the photograph, I'll have to hold up a sign that makes my point. It could say something like:
  • Beauty is not a Bra Size
  • Pretty and Petite
  • Little and Lovely
  • Size isn't everything
  • Who says "bigger is better"?

15th March 2014

My journal entry for today:

I want to include some inspiration from Pattern Magic but I don't want to do something that makes the bust look bigger; that just furthers the idea that a bust ought to be bigger. I want to show that you can be beautiful without being b-cup or bigger. I have three routes to consider:
  • Vionnet
  • Fairies and Ballerinas
  • 1960s mod (Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn styles)
Maybe I could combine all three inspirations. For the Pattern Magic, maybe the interest should be on the back of the dress on on the skirt.

Now I'm working on a dress that looks like a butterfly in reference to a fairy...


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Module 6: DiversityNOW!

Well, as it turned out, I couldn't use my idea for the competition. It has to be about body image. I think I'll do photography. I want to learn more about that anyway so I've spent today researching cameras (I'm looking at the Olympus Pen E-PL5) and finding out what my current model can do. It seems there is a lot to learn about even with a compact digital camera.

I think a great deal of photography is about lighting and reflecting, and about Photoshopping (ground-breaking, I know). I've taken a free course on Craftsy that is a great help to novices like me. I've found this guy and I'm considering getting that DVD. The question is: should I get that set, or will it be better in the long run just to get a better camera and learn how to use that?

Anyway, onto my "journal". This is copied from my written book. I hope I have been thoroughly inoffensive and I apologise now for any offence people may take, it isn't intended.

I think I can combine DiversityNOW! with my independent project by using the idea of out-sized children.

Maybe line up the Rugby players inc. "Smalley" (the shorter one) and have him wear something that says he's the best player.

5th March 2014

To begin with, I'm not really into this project. Diversity doesn't really interest me, especially as I'm not a "diverse" person. I suppose I could write an article telling why I and lots of other people sew (nothing in the shops) but that probably isn't right.

Here are my other options:
  1. Design something that makes a point.
  2. Film
  3. Brochure
  4. Photography and Styling
    1. Barbie and Plastic Surgeon
    2. Multi-cultured vs models
    3. Rugby players and Smalley
    4. Young girl and wrinkle cream
  5. Journalism
  6. Illustration
    1. Barbie
    2. Child beauty pageant
I have to make a point I believe in about diversity. I can play up the good things about being small, or small-busted.

What do people assume about small? Delicate? Child-like? Ankle-biter? Often small women are portrayed as being either nice and gentle or take-no-prisoners. We're make to feel small and inadequate. Physical size has a lot to do with authority but people are often leaders in spite of being small. Small children, Napoleon, The Queen. Size is only an issue if we focus on it. Complexes are made by contemplating things -- making mountains out of molehills as it were. They say good things come in small packages.

One of the contradictory things about modern society is that while the Government is concerned with rising obesity, the fashion market is pushing the idea that thin is out and "full-figured" is what makes you a "real woman". They're so concerned with not making large women feel bad that they forget about not making thin people feel bad.

I could do a video or something making the point that thin women are real women too.

Global ideals of beauty and a picture of someone trying to embody them all. A picture of the Venus De Milo made up of pictures of diverse people.

An aerial short of diverse people making the Venus...

10th March 2014

I'm enjoying photography. I think this could be another career option for me. I'm finding it quite interesting, all these technical terms and settings and adjustments, and lighting conditions. It's also quite satisfying to be able to make photographs that look professional.

One of my reasons for being interested in photography is that is makes you look more professional and helps your products sell better.

13th March 2014

Yesterday I looked at cameras in Curry's and it gave me more to think about. Then it turns out that there's an Olympus E-PL6 coming out soon. I think for now I'll make do with my camera.

I think I'll illustrate the Barbie at the Plastic Surgeon's scene. I wonder what media I should use? I suppose I ought to stretch myself and try different methods and media. I could try:
  • Promarker
  • Pencil crayons
  • Gouache
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • mixed media
  • photos with mixed media
Granted I already know how to use pencil crayons and gouache. I think I'll try a few different versions of the illustration. For guaranteed neatness I'll draw each component in the drawing separately and then combine them on Photoshop. I've already had a go at illustrating Barbie:

To get the right colours I used my DigitalColor Meter on my Mac on an image at the Barbie website. I had to make up the yellow for her hair though, or she'd have had nearly white hair. I also chose the red and the colour of her eyeshadow. In the illustration she's holding up an image (yet to be drawn) of how she would like to look (like normal people) because if Barbie were in our world, she'd feel as though she didn't look perfect. She would actually look really weird as a real person because of her proportions. Besides which she probably couldn't stand up with those tiny feet and ankles. And imagine the strain on her neck with her giant head! You may notice that this Barbie has the modern Barbie proportions: somewhat smaller bust, large protruding bottom, and strange posture (which you can't see very well because she's sat down).

That's my journal for this week (Friday to Friday). I'll get on with illustrating now. (No, this was not procrastinating; I have to write this journal as part of the module.)