Thursday, 29 May 2014

Using Nature as Inspiration

How can I use nature as inspiration for my fashion?

In a previous post I was discussing Fae fashion, an alternative style that utilizes organic materials and motifs to reinvent the image of the mythical fairy. I had mentioned that many Fae outfits are inspired by nature. Most of us feel a deep, spiritual connection to the natural world, whether that connection might be with the moon, the sunset, the trees or the rivers. I have a particular emotional connection to autumn and the full moon, or stormy summer nights. I recall as a child I spent the majority of my time outside and it saddens me that as adults we spend the brunt of our day cooped up inside. If you're interested in using nature as a source of inspiration, one of the best ways to do so is to go outside. Nature is all around us, even in big cities there are still trees, flowers and animals. 

About two weeks ago, my fiancé and I visited one of the parks within my city. There was an abundance of life there; floral trees were in full bloom, birds were singing to their potential mates and the grass was greener than the finest cut peridot. I had brought my camera along to complete photos for a project and I was lucky that I did, because I would have otherwise missed out on documenting all the wonderful things that spring has to offer! Getting inspired by nature is easy, you may come across a flower in your favorite colour or a grand old tree that you admire. Try going on a hike and snapping photographs, making sketches, or collecting objects you find on the trail.

Creating a colour palette using photographs

One of the easiest ways to incorporate nature in your fashion is by utilizing a color palette found in nature. You can do this from photographs or through your observations, but photo documentation is often easiest. To give you an idea, I'll be going over a few pictures from my outing and discussing the colour selections I made based off of the image.

*** I only have a basic knowledge of colour theory, this is just my method for developing a colour palette and is only meant to inspire you! : ) ***

This is a photograph of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. I have always been drawn to cherry blossom trees for their vibrancy. In order to select a palette using the cherry blossom tree as a basis, I start by selecting my favorite main colour. In this instance, it is a seductive lipstick pink. I will go one shade lighter (or darker) within that colour family. I will then choose a colour that compliments (the spring green found in the leaves), an accent colour (I chose yellow) and a neutral colour (the gray found in the bark). I use Adobe Kuler to refine my colour selections. Kuler is a free online colour mixer often used for web and graphic design. It comes in handy when developing a fashion colour palette!

Here is another example using red maple leaves. This colour palette may appear somewhat monochromatic but not all of these colours come from the same family. The first two colours are on the cooler side of the colour wheel (leaning toward the purples and blues) whereas the last three are on the warmer side (closer to orange and yellow). Sometimes allowing more neutral tones in your palette can give more vibrancy to your main or accent colours. In this example the grayed down browns on the end cause the first three colours to stand out more.

This example is the almost the same as the cherry blossom palette. Can you tell which colours are my main, accent, complimentary and neutral?

This example is more difficult than the last three. This is a beautiful picture of tree bark but at a glance it just looks gray! How can I pull any inspiration out of this? Look harder. You can see that there is more than meets the eye. This tree bark has shades of red, orange, green and blue!

Finding a colour palette in nature can be easy once you get the hang of it. You can use these palettes in your makeup or through your sewing; the possibilities are endless. In the future I will discuss utilizing organic forms and textures in Fae fashion. For now, I encourage you to go outside and enjoy the fresh air!

Kind regards,

Main photo - image source unknown; photographs and colour swatches are mine.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

A joyful World Goth Day to you!

I hope you're having a happy World Goth Day! 

Although I don't consider myself goth, I still have a great appreciation for the subculture. How have I been celebrating? I'm watching dark comedies. I just finished Death Becomes Her, my favorite movie. Soon I'll be watching some old school Addams Family episodes and maybe I'll break open my Universal Monsters blu-ray pack. I'm also sewing because I have to finish a dress I'm working on. I hope that in the future I can get back to working on more of my alternative fashion designs. I have a lovely lime green tartan that I'm dying to work with.

What are you doing on this fine day? In case you're bored or lacking ideas for what to do, you can check out the official World Goth Day site and connect with other goths via the forums! I might make bat and owl shaped cookies if I can get the ingredients together! Maybe I'll post pics when I'm done.  : )

Kind regards,

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Fae Fashion

Fae Fashion - Photo by Atistatplay

Have you ever heard of Fae Fashion? 

Fae is the Celtic word for fairy. Fae is a small subculture supported by fairy enthusiasts. These individuals may be pagans or non-pagan fairy fanatics. Fae fashion is noted for its use of organic subject matter and resembles the artwork of a various fairy artists, like Nene Thomas. Although this style is rarely seen outside of a convention or festival setting, it has weaseled its way into many wardrobes. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sharpening Pinking Shears?

Can Pinking Shears be Sharpened?

It's debated often by sewists; can the scissors with the jagged teeth be sharpened? Pinking shears are scissors that feature blades with triangular teeth. They are used for finishing seams and often to create a decorative edge in crafting. Although they are not necessary to have in your sewing bin, they are very handy to have around!

I have a pair of pinking shears that I recently received from my mother. They are probably as old as I am. It should come as no surprise that these babies are dull. I went to try them on a scrap of cotton sheet and it chewed the material right up. I didn't even get a single snip! So what can I do with these very useless, dull scissors? Can they be fixed? Or should they be replaced? I've scoured the internet and come up with a handful of solutions that you might find useful someday! I caution that you should only try some of these steps if you are certain that your scissors cannot be repaired by a professional.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sewing Nightmares

The Stress of Sewing

Have you ever worked so hard on a project only to make a terrible mistake that costs you the whole garment? Or maybe only enough of an error that you toss the project into your UFO (unfinished-object) bin? It seems inevitable that when working on a project I will mess something up. It changes the way I feel about the garment and I become less motivated to finish it or try to sew it again. When I begin, I am always filled with hope that this project will turn out perfectly and look like a million bucks. Then about half way through, or just before the project is completed, something awful happens; like the material snags, I make an accidental cut or I seam rip too far, or maybe the zipper doesn't sit right. You name it, I have made every kind of mistake. There is nothing more disappointing than losing interest in a project because you messed something up. I'm about to begin a dress that will be difficult to sew. It will be made out of a lightweight satin, a fussy material that can snag easily. It will have five meters of fabric in the skirt, which will be intense to put together, and it will have a lace overlay - something that I have never done before. There is a lot of work going into this project and I am terrified of messing it up!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tips for Sewing Lightweight Fabrics

My tips for sewing slippery, lightweight materials.

For my latest project I created a blouse using polyester chiffon. Chiffon is a lightweight fabric that is known for being difficult to cut or sew. I have never sewn with chiffon before for the fear of ruining it. I'm sure many would agree that this gossamer material is intimidating as hell. It's light, it's airy and it's prone to snagging and slipping. What's more is that it isn't necessarily cheap and with my selected material being only two meters of a vintage '95 print, I couldn't afford to make mistakes!

 I have sewn with lightweight materials in the past and I have had little success with them. I certainly lacked the confidence to get started using chiffon, but after hitting the books and reading a handful of articles I became satisfied that I have the tools and the knowledge to tackle this fabric. I have learned a few tricks to make handling and sewing lightweight materials easier and I would like to share them with you!
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