Tag Archives: Arts

Authentic Creatives & designers a dying group

Designers and original makers are dying out. We are going extinct and being replaced with big machinery and cheap overseas labour. Not only that whenever we make something that is authentic it is copied. That I don’t mind. I just want to let people know that working with our hands and a sewing machine is an art form and the fact that you meet someone who can sketch an image, draw their own pattern, cut and sew from start to finish is rare nowadays and I’m amongst the youngest in this field in Australia that can make anything from the beginning.

When you look at a dress in a retail store that costs $350 it has went through so many hands for each piece and the fabric sourced all over the world but made in less than an hour. When an authentic creative makes you something for $350 +++ it would of taken many more hours or days to produce. The sewing of retail clothing is hardly done in Australia nowadays and is mostly done in India, Bali, China, Phillipines, Turkey etc where the dollar is cheaper. I don’t mind that but do not compare an authentic designer or creative who makes one off designs or capsule collections to the mass produced market or to something you buy from the retail store.

For 19 + years I have been slowly learning my craft. Just bits a pieces here and there picking up every piece of knowledge that I can from people, from books and just generally learning as much as I can of anything at all that I can apply to my field. It is my obsession and my dream. I am young to be running my own business as a Designer Dressmaker but I created my job because I saw a need in the market. Plus until I started calling myself The Designer Dressmaker nobody else had put those words together. The decline of dressmaking and especially dressmakers that make their own patterns is obvious in Australia adding further value to what is left. We are a dime a dozen. Help contribute to Australian dressmakers or local dressmakers if you aren’t Australian because otherwise we may just die out and who shall you buy an authentic designer dress from.

I’m going to rock this year. You should too. ūü§ėūüŹĽ

Golden Party Dress-Design 9 (50 Designs in 50 Days Challenge)

Here we have a size 10 Gold Party Dress with panelled bodice and gathered skirt ***AWesome****.

Made with Metallic fabric that is so shiny!!!!!You will be the blingiest sparkliest and prettiest girl at every party with this Secret Culture original. It is fitted to a standard size 10 so will only fit a girl that is a perfect 10.If you are larger or smaller you will have to be fitted by a dressmaker to ensure that the dress maintains that perfect figure hugging silhouette.With the bust if you are smaller or larger you can always wear sticky cups to make your bust size increase to fit.If your hips are larger this won’t make a huge difference as the skirt is gathered and so will flare out around you.
Measurement of a perfect 10:
Bust: 86cm
Waist: 58cm
Hip: 86cm
50 designs in 50 days 9 001 50 designs in 50 days 9 003 50 designs in 50 days 9 007
Buy it now AU$50.00
Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200880416475#ht_591wt_1186
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120715409/size-10-gold-party-dress-with-panelled


Size 14 Asian Elegance!Double Bow Tomoko Nagamichi inspired cocktail dress”One off”

Here we have an Asian style Tomoko Nagamichi (famous Japanese Pattern Maker)inspired Cocktail Dress. It is joined at the Waist with Double darts on the back of skirt and side darts as the fabric has been wrapped around the figure to remove side seams.Front Tucks for added comfort as you and I both know stomachs expand and decrease. This will mean you will have a little extra room and your dress isn’t likely to pop when you have an extra spring roll at the party.The dress is fitted mainly to the hip and arm and has extra fullness in the bodice for women with a larger bust size.The sleeve has inverted pleats allowing extra room and comfort of movement.On the front bodice we have the Tomoko Nagamichi inspired double bow. This can be tied however you like.There are French darts from the side seams to add extra elegance and poise to the design.The design is fully lined in a black polyester with an invisible zipper.

To Fit:


Waist: 80cm

Hips: 100cm

If you like this design and want to follow Secret Culture’s blog please go to http://www.secretcultureshop.com

This is Design 8 in Secret Cultures 50 Designs in 50 Days Challenge!

50 designs in 50 days 8 001
50 designs in 50 days 8 002 50 designs in 50 days 8 005 50 designs in 50 days 8 007 50 designs in 50 days 8 009

Buy it now $144.95

Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200877355835#ht_665wt_1186

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120110759/size-14-asian-elegance-double-bow-tomoko

Size 10 Strapless Floral dress “Cup Size B Bust” with top stitched detail on boned structure

This is design 7 of Secret Cultures 50 designs in 50 days challenge!

50 designs in 50 days 7 004 50 designs in 50 days 7 006 50 designs in 50 days 7 008Here we have petite Size 10 (small make) with measurements 

Bust: 84 cm
Waist: 60 cm
Hips: 84 cm
It is a Strapless Floral dress “Cup Size B Bust” with boned structure.

This is a one-off!!!!
The skirt is a lovely crepe which is gathered to the bodice at the waist. The bodice is made of a polyester.
This is design 7 of Secret Cultures 50 designs in 50 days challenge!If you like what you see follow this blog to find out what will be tomorrows design!
Buy it now $74.95
On EBAY: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200877116875#ht_679wt_1186
On ETSY: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120053556/size-10-strapless-floral-dress-cup-size


Pretty Lilac Rose Peplum Dress

50 days 50 designs 004 50 days 50 designs 007I decided to design a peplum dress with a twist suitable for a standard size 10.Inspired by the summer heat I wanted it to be pretty and light weight although a stable weave with airy qualities due to the heat that Australia is currently feeling.


This is a one-off and I will not be making another one. 

50 days 50 designs 005

This will not be mass produced.
It is a standard size 10. 
To fit~
Waist: 58cm
Hip: 86cm
Bust: 85cm
Available for Purchase for $59.95
Purchase on Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200874973393#ht_674wt_1186
Purchase on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/119571237/pretty-lilac-rose-peplum


Fashion- Outsource This!

I hate the fact that fashion exists-The endless waste created by mass production and especially the outsourcing to countries with lower regulatory standards but that doesn’t stop me studying the course.To me the name Fashion is just a name and a way to discover things that I couldn’t learn from my mother who has worked in the industry in factories when they existed in Australia.They are still here but I think it is unlikely you might only be paid 50 cents for a shirt-maker dress nowadays in Australia although you never know.I mean I worked for Suboo a supposed high fashion swimwear label as an intern for nothing(clothes were really made with poor quality control and sold for ridiculous prices).Intern is the equivalent of slave labour with a pretty name.Fashion is the only comprehensive course related to designing your own clothes around.I actually had the argument yesterday with some friends studying the advanced diploma in fashion design.They justified the fact that they could outsource to other countries because of the cheap exchange rates because they have been told that people are paid reasonably in comparison to the country they live in and those people have reasonable conditions in comparison to the country they live in.I gave them a case study to look at.The link for the video is¬†¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmZkkYxHaaM&feature=plcp&list=PLA5D40D9AC0E2CF5B¬†which didn’t change their mind and rather made them outraged.The truth is to be a Fashion Designer as I have been trained to be¬†you have to decide between your own moral judgement or justify your actions.With cheap imports and so many other designers and large corporations you hit a major moral dilemma.To mass produce or not to mass produce. To outsource to another country or to have your product made here.I personally am in a situation where I could easily import from India a mass produced product allowing me to break into the market and reach my target market successfully. To become successful in my industry that is what you do to get to the top.I personally would like to mass produce and outsource to another country in the future.The way I go about it I am hoping will be different to other designers.I could not live with myself if I allowed myself to just call a factory overseas or email them and then get my products made.I want to own the factory and pay the workers straight into their bank account.I want to ensure my workers are protected from abuse and mistreatment.Have appropriate baby minding facilities in the factory.A school education supplied and scholarships for further study for the children of the women who work in the factory.Appropriate living arrangements that are not just conditioned on what is appropriate to that country.Whole family health facilities. Training programs and wages that are better than reasonable.The management who run the factory while I am not in India will be continuously tested to ensure that there is no corruption and that standards are maintained.That is just one of my ideas on how to change the world in fashion.It makes me so sad to see videos of people that have worked and lived in such terrible conditions.My father and brother recently went to China and wanted to buy jackets because they were so cold (one for my mother was a dolce and gabbana jacket which I am pretty sure is not counterfeit).My father and brother were amused to see Chinese factory workers living in the boxes with the fur jackets that they have made to send overseas to us.These people are forced to live in boxes so that we can wear that new faux fur jacket.I could never live with myself but so many designers do. They are taught that certain standards are in place and certain Government regulations because if they weren’t taught this these large companies and the whole Fashion industry would have to reassess and rethink how things are done.The fact is the regulations are there but the factories and management are the people who decide what standards are adhered to.That is why I have already started thinking because one day people are going to have to stop ignoring the harm the fashion industry is causing. Not just to countries with the ability to supply poor labour but also to the environment everywhere. I do not know the actual percentage of which landfill is textiles, clothing and footwear and we can’t forget related products such as beds and lounges which are all made from textile fibres.Our society might be finding innovations in relation to fashion but are companies actually using these innovations or age old techniques to save wastage of water and fibres.Do the people in the companies care what happens to the lives of the people who work for them in that other country so long as the garments are delivered on time to reach the catwalk and the market.I could talk for hours on this topic but the truth is this is something that effects printmaking aswell. The fashion industry uses the techniques of printmaking so commonly and in such repetition that having your work printed overseas by a machine or a small child is something not unheard of.Ofcourse with printmaking there are quite reasonable businesses in Sydney and around Australia that will print your design on a shirt. For the ¬†larger companies they would still rather send it straight overseas to cut costs. Look at Bonds factory for example. They packed up and moved out of Sydney around 5 years ago overseas.I was lucky enough to walk through twice in high school and it was an eye opener.Even in Australia the standard of that factory was poor.There were gigantic cracks in the floor. Rat baits everywhere. It was cold and wet in some rooms and then almost dusty in the spinning rooms and knitting rooms.In the main designer offices where products are sold it was lovely and clean which has sort of stuck with me. I guess it is the personal note of seeing how factories actually work and knowing my mother worked in many in her time that made it hit home. Designers and management in large companies and even small business have the chance to change the way workers at the bottom of the fashion tree are treated.I will leave you with a video of an exceptional factory to think about..
Link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxGLdTARCMk&list=PLA5D40D9AC0E2CF5B&feature=mh_lolz
This amused me because all the women seem to be wearing their best saris and the floor is spotless. This is the clean image that designers imagine when they are purchasing via email or phone.If you actually went to the factory would it look like this?Would these people be getting paid right?
Have a look at this website if your interested in womens rights http://www.dfid.gov.uk/What-we-do/Key-Issues/Economic-growth-and-the-private-sector/Women-and-business/

Fashion Palette Highlights

I attended Fashion Palette recently as a V.I.P for displaying my white silk satin gown that Paige Freeman modelled for me. If you would like to view the gown it is on display in my previous blog post.Here are a few photographs of the highlights of Fashion Palette 2012.The moments where my heart really did  skip a beat. Where the room felt alive with the bright lights shining on the 6 foot tall models as they glided down the white catwalk to the mesmerising sounds of Lana Del Ray.

The Ballerina was 2 metres from me dancing the most beautiful dance that I have ever seen.Each costume had it’s own point of difference.The designer sat on a long couch on the catwalk as she watched her own models dance so beautifully. If I were her I would be very happy at the amazing performance!No doubt she would of made many sales on that day!

I almost cried it was so beautiful!

Fashion Palette Highlight!


When I saw that white dress with the black bow it just seemed to make sense and stood out from all the rest!





Designing a Fashion Range Based on a Brief

With many design companies you will find yourself having to design to a brief. A Design brief will tell you what the company you are working for is wanting you to design, hint at the fabrics that are trendy and the current look that the company is going for based on their own trend research.Here is an example of the Design brief that I was given for my first major work in TAFE  and I will show you the process of design through this example. My work is in no way special as this was the first collection that we were actually allowed to design from the beginning using the whole process.When you first begin a design course they teach you many bits of information about all different aspects. In this project it all comes together for me and so it is a little more than messy although it is a good example of a variety of techniques.


You are required to design a Spring/ Summer 2010/11 five piece cohesive range, targeting women aged 18-30 years of age. The range will be suited for day wear and the australian middle market and involve a fresh, clean pastel colour palette when considering fabric choices. One piece must be a dress that will be produced in the pattern making & sewing classes. Present to a ” Design Team” to sell your ideas and range.

A post hippie romantic theme inspired by the seventies and a handmade spirit with a dark undertone. A focus on basic high summer fabrics like pure cotton, plain to colour wovens and stone-washed, bleached denim. Prints focus on bucolic motifs, photography landscapes. Botanical and insect plates that are treated in a naive romantic vein with a strange edge. The colour range is made up of fresh clean pastels that are offset by a pop of pink and a somber brown.

The dress design and garment must be of a stable woven fabric & include either lapped or invisible zip CF (centre front) or CB (centre back) button opening.It must include one or more of the following features – yoke, gathers, pleats, ruffles, sleeves, sleeveless, collar and facing. The dress design and garment must NOT include: Evening/ sheer fabrics or linings or strapless, halter, raglan or wrap opening designs.

Creating a Design Diary

Title Page & Mood Board:

This is the beginning of your design and so make a quick mood board of what direction your thinking about heading.In this case I am thinking about the romance from the brief and decide to base my designs on Italy:

Mood Board

Mood Board Italian Romance

Brain Storm

so now that you I have decided on the mood and the basic idea it is time to develop this idea. So Cutting out heaps of magazine images or collecting heaps of pretty pictures off the internet helps to find inspiration.

map Italy

Italian Map Design idea

Also Writing in what you like about your chosen idea and what things you think of once you have decided on a design really helps in developing those initial idea.

Brain storm

Brain Storm

Making a brainstorm can be a fabulous way of pulling ideas out of your mind. Here it helped me to name my collection:

Italian Romance

We have the title of our collection so now it is time to develop who our customer is.

Target Market Profile

Usually a target market profile can be any length. The larger the company the bigger it would most likely be (page wise) as companies spend humongous amounts of money identifying who their target market is.As it is the consumers who spend the money it is very important that you get this right when designing. So make sure you spend your time thinking about who you want to sell to and why you think your design will suit that target market you have specified. This will all connect to the selling points when you approach the buying team with your ideas.

My example is short as it is my first target market profile that I ever did.

Target Market Profile

Target Market Profile


It can be much fun to develop a muse so you can actually think more about your target market aiming at a specific type of girl or boy!Here is my Romantic Isabella:

Romantic Isabella

Romantic Isabella

 Colour-way selection and Fabric Sourcing

Knowing what colours you think would suit the collection is absolutely crucial so colour way selection and Fabric sourcing go hand in hand.In this example I am thinking about some make/up as well as my colour choices.Looking at trends of make-up can really help if you don’t especially know that much about make-up application.I am absolutely fascinated with make-up artists simply because they have found ways to use make-up that I could not even dream of.

Colours & Make-up

Colours & Make-up

More Theme Development as your ideas change:

smooth look

smooth look

pretty pink look

pretty pink look

love and freedom

Freedom in Lust and Love

animal fashion

animal fashion

Dark Seduction

Dark Seduction

Draw your Concepts

Using your theme selection and a combination of everything you have researched so far draw your design concepts. As many or as little as you want to. The more you draw the more you have to pick from.







Design Selection and or Fashion Illustration

Select your designs from your concepts and then begin Pattern Making!It is not important to draw illustrations at this time simply because you may change your mind half way through pattern making after toiling your design!

Pattern Making

Now this is the real designing because it is the pattern maker who gets to make the design based off the concept

Patternmaking 1

Pattern Making 1

Design analysis

The design analysis is what a pattern maker uses when they look at the concepts to define what the pattern needs. e.g. a zipper in the cb and a 4 cm hem. This can be very detailed or just a few quick notes. Even a good pattern maker can make mistakes so it is like a check list to make sure you complete each part of the design on paper before toiling the design.

Design Analyis

Design analysis

Block Selection

Is where you decide which block from your collection to use when designing. A Block is a silhouette of a design before the pattern is made from it. Designers / pattern makers keep these as reference tools when designing in order to save time and money in the design process. Many designs that are made by one company come off the same block. Block construction is a process where you make the block using mathematical equations that have been preset for the last 50 or more years. There are only a few different books in block construction available and so there are not many different ways of making blocks. The only way to get a more specific block is to use the measurements of a model from the target market you are aiming for.

Block Selection
Block Selection

Pattern Making Process

3 ways of Pattern making.

1.There are hundreds of commercial patterns in the world that you can alter.

2.You can trace a pattern from something you like and alter it.

3.You can use a block and make your pattern from scratch.

In this case I made my pattern from the beginning using a block. Placing in my design lines and so my dress looked exactly like the picture that I wanted.

Sewing Construction

A very important part of designing and pattern making is knowing how every piece goes together. This is something that everybody is hopeless at in the beginning. Even the daughter of a seamstress as I am. There will be hours when you grind your teeth. There will be unpicking and there will most definitely be mistakes where you have to re-cut pieces. But how else can you learn without unpicking a thousand seams and re-sewing a thousand zippers. Books on Sewing construction are available from libraries. So if your 16 or 32 please don’t put it off any longer.Just go and learn. If you put the time in you will learn no matter how many hours you cry….maybe put some money into a stress ball aswell.

Dress Complete

Dress Complete

Dress Complete

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