Green and jade velvet devore print was the first inspiration. Leopard polyester print in light green/jade and black adds extra interest. Centre top back has green/black abstract cotton floral pattern print. Pale green viscose print is highlight. A grey devore voile adds a subtle touch and forms a frill embellishment bordering around the black neckline and front edge of lining blouse, (which is dull cream with green/pink/black floral print).Blouse lining shape was followed exactly, including the curved dip at the back and existing black sleeve cuffs. One button with a loop to hold is above waist under bust line.Suitable 36-38 inch bust. (max 40). 36 inches around at closed button position.
Kimono styled below knee dress, (same style cut as dress Aldebaran) in panels of purples, navy and floral prints. Close fitted back top, with skirt section gathered slightly below bust into high waist.
Unique adjustable front lacing. Front lower skirt stitched closed but can be reopened to customer's preference for open lower dress below laceup.
Abstract with text print blue/white cotton-viscose.
Feather print navy-white cotton.
Navy blue lace lined on gold.
Stylised flowers blue-gold-navy cotton print.
Gold embroidered cotton.
Gold plant dyed silk.
PLUS – Leopard print blue-black-grey and Chinese Bird of Paradise with gold texture cotton.
Applique Seed Pods Nigella 'Love in a Mist'
Robe Dress has applique lace pod dyed in eucalyptus dye bath after the collar piece. Colour took well, which is a guide to fabric content being cotton or silk. Dark centres to seed pod designs are cut from eucalyptus dyed silk (iron modified). Light centre to pod is from bundle steam died silk with seeds and petals. Nigella blues has variable on same pod idea. A motif is a good means to join over a seam (smock left top). Also provides contrast to break up a solid dark or light area.
NIGELLA BLUES Smock Top Dress
When there are enough patches prepared, another garment can be made. Size and shape was dictated by the blouse used as an underlining, the colours of which were a perfect match, being cream brown and pale blue. Short sleeves made in dark blue lace. Coconut buttons with bound buttonholes. Applique patches again created with eucalyptus dyed lace and bundle dyed silk. Back hem is drooped lower.
Nigella Blues Smock – Bound buttonhole sewing – Click to enlarge
Tasmanian Blues Making Procedure
Fitting top shape on dummy
Bodice top fitted to lining fabric
Lining (blouse) is put inside out on model, then outside patchworks pinned to it. First cut blouse neckline according to style wanted) allowing extra cm for seams.
Sleeve lining lengthened on dummy
Short sleeve (blouse) as lining, needed lengthening with cream floral thin polyester fabric. Fitted on dummy to check desired finished length of sleeve, before cutting length.
Sleeve lining lengthened patchwork
Llining of sleeve (partly made in patches), except small join at shoulder top which can remain after cutting open and flat most of the lining blouse.
Sleeve top cut to fit armhole.
Shaping sleeve top fit fit curve of bodice armhole.
Sleeve lining with outer patches added
Lining sleeve having patches added. Bodice top right has outer fabric pinned.
Floral patch added to upper sleeve and back top bodice
Floral patch added to upper arm with blue lace. Floral fabric used for top back bodice top. Leopard print added.
Upper sleeve both lining and upper sides ready
Sleeves layers visible ready for inserting into dress armhole.
Sleeve ready to be sewn into dress armhole
The floral patch has gold in which was a pointer to add the gold dyed silk for collar
Creating Floral Sleeve Turn-ups
Fused vylene interfacing ironed onto inside of outer sleeve extension.
Sleeve Cuff Pressed
Blue and gold floral fabric used for decorative interest. Seam pressed 1cm away from outer hem, for added decorative interest, before cutting rough edges equal.
Sleeve cuff attaching to sleeve
Pin in place cuff and upper sleeve (when open and flat). Join seam down length of sleeves.
Machining Cuff to main Sleeve
After outer sleeve patches also seemed to close sleeve, smooth down outer sleeve patches to lay behind sleeve cuff. (Cuff folded over first and pressed). Pin cuff to sleeve; machine or hand stitch down, all around sleeve.
Gusset Inserted Under Sleeve
In order to increase the dress size to 38", to be larger than the lining, and to give a loose arm feel, sleeve inner and outer was left unseamed for 8 inches with 2 inch extra at armhole line. Two gussets were cut, and added one to dress and one to lining. (see machining images).
Machining under-arm gusset to dress sides
Machining gusset side to dress side, from arm seam slit point to empire bust line bodice cut. I used viscose weight for outer gusset to match with fabrics, and the blue lace for inner gusset, for light weight in the under-arm area.
Gusset inside lining piece
Lace used for the inner gusset lining; also machined to lining down length of sleeve slit, and joining bodice front and backs.
Underarm gusset completed
Facings for Collar Front
Join patch pieces to form a facing (take shape from back neck centre, around to front, on dummy). Pin to cotton to make a pattern to cut vylene interfacing. Or use two thicknesses of cotton tacked in.
Back Neck Section and Collar forming
Lining fabric (black/blue/cream floral) (interfaced) used as an upper back section to be inserted into a loose neckline. Smart patch colours (with gold dyed silk painting) joined to form facing, which when turned outwards, becomes the open collar. Note 'pointed angles' - when turned right way out, become collar points.
Collar and Facing forming
Patch pieces chosen for outer collar. This may be difficult to follow for beginner sewers. Whatever shape is the front of garment (e.g. a basic round neck cut down centre front): this requires a facing fabric, so when top neck is turned out, it becomes a small faux decorative 'collar'. To have a proper back collar would need additional piece inserting around back neck.
Exhibition Curator Hilary Burns I remembered from 1970s Textiles Degree course. She studied weave; myself silk screen printing. Now a basket weaver, she had also moved to Devon. It was uncanny how she spotted my work at a craft fair and chose for the exhibition.
Museum receptionist, visiting Spanish student, models Linen Cruise
'Linen Cruise' (sold) Robe in white linen and viscose prints shows black underside lapel of white linen collar and front edging (cut two collars contrasting) and two patch pockets. Front has silk painted panels. Robe is loose T-shaped structure in patches with no traditional tailored 'armhole'. A diamond gusset is inserted under arm, under the 'T' join. Patchworks are large and long as they were intended to be a bed quilt, until I changed my mind.
Large rectangular patchworks in viscose and linen. White linen wide front band and collar (see museum model shows black embroidered under collar). Sash belt same: white/black.
Silk painted panel lower right of robe; design taken from another patch, changing colours to navy background to coordinate with navy viscose print bottom left front.
Exhibition featured first Robes made: using white, cream and ecru linens with viscose and cotton printed patchwork rectangles.
Upper left sleeve shows silk painted panel. Design was copied from a small scale print on robe, seen below arm, but with enlarged scale, and keeping same colours.
Robe sold. A very pleasant scheme which may get revisited.
'Mandarin' (sold) Modelled by fashion student at Cockington Court Crafts Fair
Short heavy (furnishing weight) cotton kimono dress: deep no-fit sleeves and 'mandarin' Chinese style stand up collar, sleeve turn-ups and bound edged side pocket.
Patchwork contrasts of white/black toile design and orange poppies/olive leaves. Black and white striped lining. Unusual colour contrasts for me, but used up similar heavyweight cottons
'Mandarin' - Making
Named for a Mandarin-style collar made with a strip on a curve (cut x 2 on bias): Piped edge in black; also on pockets. Patchworks of equal 8 inch x 4 inch. For attractive 'turn-ups', use contrasting fabric. Sleeves have faux turn-ups by adding black lace layer below last black patch layer, which turns back to be stitched also 2 inches up inside lining, to reveal black/white striped cotton-satin lining. The seam formed when stitching to lining, gives a thicker strong line, which will enable a turn-up to sit at the fold-up nicely.
Dress hem is same black lace as end of sleeves. Adding a bottom hem layer 'frames' the garment together; cut double to stitch down inside, encasing the edges of the upper patchwork. Dress uses same striped fabric for front facing lining for interest.
Dress was also chosen for the Totnes Museum Exhibition.
Features three fabrics: olive silk, royal blue linen, with 'bluebird' printed cotton.
Independent fabric colours were a perfect match for each other, the green silk blending well next to the printed cotton.
Modelled by keen browser in rainy Exeter crafts market.
Patchwork robes can be bespoke made to your measurements with your own fabrics. Send me details of your measurements to adjust dummy. If you have an idea of colours, I can show you photos of coordinates in my collection. Silk painting additional quote on enquiry.
Making fee for standard kimono styled robe with collar extended down front facing. Style tweaks can be arranged.
Long large patches: Short to knee - £160, Ankle length - £200.00
Small patches 8 inch x 4inch: Short to knee £220, Ankle length £260.00
Extra materials cost would be lining, as I do not stock new, although I have some thin white cotton in stock. Robes need lining. Summer dresses need not, as patches are over laid zig-zagged.
Silk painted panels for Red Hopi Dress, Peach Pinafore, Grey Hopi Pinafore
Red Hopi has two front panels - black/red on white, and red/white on black. Coordinates with a red linen skirt and black viscose print used in the long red dress design. Vogue pattern used: V1234 by Sandra Betzina.
Peach Pink Pinafore has pink/orange/brown abstracted bird design natural colours from Hopi pottery.
Grey Hopi Pinafore Hopi birds with feathers and native American sayings.
Pinafore Apron Dress: Brown silk background was chosen to match brown cottons and viscose (from recycled skirts) to make an unusual charming pinafore dress showing off the silk design in the bib top and apron. I used a dress bought from a French market as a pattern shape to copy.
The drooped top 'collar' style is formed by not buttoning the top corner of the apron top. This can be cut higher to give a deeper cowl-type 'drop'.
I have kept these 'curved' surface designs almost exactly as the originals, but applied to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. It was an obvious decision to put feathers around the Hopi birds but I needed another element. I decided on a selection of Native American quotations intended to stand out in cream. However, I wrote them with a water based gutta resist, and they were mostly blurred or lost during the steam fixing process; so I embroidered over them. By happy accident this gives another texture, although time consuming. Better to use a dark gutta and draw dark writing directly.
Quotation on silk:
"After dark all cats are leopards" ~ Zumi
"We will be known forever by the tracks we leav
When I coordinate found fabrics to recycle together into a new look garment, I enjoy imagining a new decorative design with them; to contrast with the many plain cottons and linens I use. Hand painting designs on silk is the obvious solution, taking inspiration from the existing colours and any print coordinated with the plains. I was busting to get back to silk painting which I'd developed as a technique in my first Devon workshop back in 1995!
When designing, one has to start from somewhere; taking a few elements and putting them together. I began again, exactly where I had left off, with the inspirations I'd had for the last paint on paper furnishing design I'd done. I've always been intrigued by Native American design and recently found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, adapting bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design.
Grey Hopi Bird design - white/jade green/orange
Coordinates with several grey cotton and linen skirts used to make the pinafore dress with a front silk panel.
Printing Experiment: Texture of gold on grey is made using dried corn cob leaves (which have fine narrow ridges) glued onto a cereal packet cardboard, then varnishing (acrylic water based) 3 layers recommended. Their fibre formation, of quite pronounced ridges, left natural looking printed lines, and although I used an epaissisant thickener with gutta, the end result after steaming was mostly a blur, but still provides an interesting background texture, one which I hadn't planned, but actually like very much. Again the words were lost after steaming, so I embroidered them.
Quotations embroidered on silk:
"Walk lightly in the spring: mother Earth is pregnant" ~ Kiowa
"Plants are our brothers and sisters; they talk to us and if we listen we can hear them" ~ Apache