Friday, 22 June 2012

Art Deco

In my previous post I promised to tell you more about an Art Deco inspired watch band that I have been working on. I like lots of different design styles such as Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival, but I keep being drawn back to Art Deco. I love the clean lines and beautiful shapes. I have several sketch books full of Deco design ideas, I even have a Pinterest board devoted to it.

I recently had the idea of designing an Art Deco inspired watch band. For a number of years I have bought watch faces and created my own beaded watch bands. I have really small wrists and hands so I find it very difficult to buy a dainty watches that fit me. I used to have to resort to chunky leather straps. Then one day I decided to have a go at making my own. My first design was a very basic ladder stitch pattern but I loved wearing it. It was comfortable and attractive.

This time I chose a square silver watch face. I then created a series of peyote stitch squares with open centres. I used my two favourite colours - blue and green. I then linked the squares together with green fire-polished crystal beads and finished the whole thing with a magnetic sterling silver clasp.

These images were taken by my OH, who used them as part of a project for a photography course. The photo above is a basic shot of the watch on a neutral background.

He took this shot of the watch lying on my sketchbook to emphasise the fact that it had been designed and handmade by me. I try to keep sketches and notes for all of my designs so that I can replicate them or re-use certain elements. Plus, it is a nice record of how my work has developed over the last 8 years.

In this photo was taken with the watch lying on a mirror. He deliberately left space around the image. The brief was to come up with a layout which could be printed in a magazine, and so space needed to be left so that text could be inserted.

I think that they are really good photos, but of course I am biased!

I now have an idea for a necklace rolling around in my head. More about that in the near future.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hello, remember me?

Sorry, I don't know where the time has gone since I last posted! I haven't been idle. I have been doing some knitting, sewing and beading.

I have been struggling a bit with my dressmaking endeavours. Nothing seemed to be going right. So I decided to take a break from making clothes and make a bag instead.

I bought a floral bag from a well known high street chain about 5 weeks ago (I am not naming names for obvious reasons). After 2 weeks the bag started to fall apart. The print faded dramatically, the base of the bag developed a hole in the outer fabric and one of the straps started to shred. Admittedly I didn't pay a huge amount for it, but I was bitterly disappointed. I decided that I could make a much nicer and more robust bag myself, for a fraction of the cost of the high street one.

A couple of months ago, during a trip to Fabric Land, I had bought a bag pattern on impulse -

The Lisette Foreign Exchange Bag pattern seemed to give me everything that I need. It had a small outer pocket, an inner zip pocket and a divided slip pocket for my phone, pens etc. I decided to sew View D.

I had a piece of Amy Butler fabric, perfect for the bag. I paired it with some blue cotton drill and some blue and white polka dot fabric for the lining.

I spent a few evenings happily sewing my bag. 10 or so years ago I used to make and sometimes sell bags and I had forgotten how much fun they are to create. It went together with only a few small hitches. I loved the pattern and would definitely sew it again. It was fairly easy to make. However, the instructions left a little to be desired in a few places, so I don't think this is a bag for an absolute beginner, but perfectly fine for someone with a few projects under their belt..

I am really pleased with the result.

As you can see my version is not exactly like the one on the pattern envelope. Here is what I did -
  • my fabric is quilt weight so I added fusible fleece to the outer fabric and medium weight fusible interfacing to the lining
  • I added a central zip top pocket to give me much more organisation within the bag
  • I added a piece of plastic canvas to the base for added stability
  • for more security I added a magnetic snap fastener to the top edge
  • the original pattern tells you to leave a gap in the side of the lining, then slip the bag inside the lining, right sides together, stitch the top edge and then pull the bag through the gap in the lining. As I had added an extra pocket and extra layers of interfacing this was not going to work. So I made some binding from the Amy Butler fabric, dropped the lining into the bag and bound the top edge.
I am particularly pleased with the front pocket. It is the perfect size for holding my travel card and swipe card for entering buildings at work. Plus it gave me the opportunity to showcase a beautiful 1950s vintage glass button from my stash.

I have been using the bag for a few days and I have to say it works really well as a work bag with plenty of room for my pens, phone, MP3 player, purse etc. There is also enough room to carry a notebook or file, if I have to go to a meeting.

I used the instructions from Lisa Lam's wonderful book 'The Bag Making Bible' to create the extra internal pocket.

Another recent purchase was a Kindle. I have always loved books and really enjoy handling them as beautiful, satisfying objects. I never really saw the appeal of e-readers.

However, after talking to a couple of friends who own Kindles I started to rethink my attitude. They both told me that they read so much more than they did before buying their Kindle. It is much lighter and easier to carry around than a paperback or hardback book.

So, I decided to buy one. I have to say that I love it! I am now able to read waiting for the bus, waiting for appointments and during my lunch break at work. I would highly recommend them.

I have been doing some beading too. However my beading endeavours have been hampered by my having contracted a rather nasty virus. This left me shivering, coughing and sneezing, on the sofa, covered in a quilt for a few days. My head feels as though I have cotton wool stuffed inside it and it takes a great effeort to concentrate on anything. However I am trying to carry on with a design that I am developing for an Art Deco inspired watch strap. More about this and my knitting endeavours very soon.