Tag Archives: Fabric

What it means to be a third generation dressmaker

sewing is not just a craft to me. It is my life. Something taught from my mother from when I was deep within her womb. The sound of an industrial machine humming to the beat of my mothers foot. Falling asleep to the hum every night while my mother worked to support our family from home as her grandmother did her father. Dressmaking was not meant to be an easy job and can take quite a toll on each and every one of us. The smell of new fabric on the bolt. Knowing where to place that flower, bow or lace come second nature. Drawing a pattern and cutting the fabric so the flow of the garment falls amazingly. It’s just what I do.  It’s something deeply instilled in my person. Not many girls can say they have grown up playing hide and seek amongst rolls of fabric or playing cut out the doll costume when they were 4. Or even that their first injury was from sticking their finger into the turn wheel of an industrial machine while it was sewing.
 I do not sew just because I can sew and I have been taught from a young age how to guide a needle through fabric. I sew because sewing brings great joy to my life. The joy of creation and design. The ability to design from a line to a piece of fabric is something that is a dying art. I have more than ten boxes of fabric that I have hoarded over my lifetime and it makes me feel alive just looking and feeling the fabric. The endless possibilities and innovation I visualise as I run my finger across the fabric. Such beauty to be made. Not just to follow the trends set by other designers but to innovate new trends through my own creation. You can put ten designers in a room and get them to draw patterns of the same design and every one will be different. I don’t care if people copy me or my designs because no matter how hard they try it will never be the same. It will never have the same quality or finishing. I care only for creation and the joy of placing a needle through thread. 

Bright Purple & Orange Pleated Flower Pot Formal Dress



50 designs in 50 days 5-6 010

Upcycled Designer Dress!!!!
This is for someone who is just that little bit unique!
Here we have a Bright Purple & Orange Pleated Flower Pot Formal Dress  made from Satin fabric.
Cross over straps and covered buttons.
Organza Flower
The skirt is a fish tail that falls quite nicely.
It has areas exposed on the back and side yet still covers the bust quite neatly.

Side lap zipper.

Standard Size 12.

Made from Recycled Fabrics!!!



50 designs in 50 days 5-6 009 50 designs in 50 days 5-6 007 50 designs in 50 days 5-6 006Buy it now $99.95

On Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200876969785#ht_572wt_1186

On Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/120013538/bright-purple-orange-pleated-flower-pot



Day 3 of 50 Designs in 50 days brings us the Floral sundress

This is what I designed for day 3 of my 50 designs in 50 days challenge:

Here we have a lovely floral Sun dress/Kaftan that is belted at the waist to accentuate your womanly curves. It has a very pretty feminine floral pattern. It is made with a light weight sheer Cotton fabric that is suitable for wearing to the beach or around the house. The qualities of the fabric make it very comfortable. 


The sun dress has been sewn in rasant thread which is very good quality and will ensure the longevity of your garment.


The size of the garment means it is suitable for any size up to a 14 and the waist belt should be tied to suit your personal fit.


This is a One Off and is made in Vintage fabric. The design will not be mass produced in this fabric in the future as there are limited amounts of this fabric available…..and I have already planned to make a dress with what I have left over.

50 designs in 50 days 001 50 designs in 50 days 002 50 designs in 50 days 006 50 designs in 50 days 007 50 designs in 50 days 008 50 designs in 50 days 009

The design is available for $39.95

Available for purchase on Ebay:


Available for purchase on Etsy:


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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