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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Savage Beauty V&A Trip

Photo: V&A

I was so lucky to be able to visit London this Friday to go to the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" exhibition at the V&A museum. It was a truly amazing experience that I feel I have waited most my life for. I have always found McQueen such an inspiration and if I had just 5% of his talent I would be a very happy designer. Having studied his designs for my Fashion degree and just through being a fan I thought there wouldn't be much I didn't know or hadn't seen. Boy was I wrong! I was almost brought to tears by what I saw and experienced. From more structured tailoring experiments through to a dress made of razor clams. My senses were totally overwhelmed and I know it will be a long time before I feel like that again.

The selection of designs on display was extremely well presented, you were taken through a pathway of different collections and stages of McQueen's career. It was almost like glancing into the different facets of his personality, reflected onto his designs. Each person that I saw looking around had a different emotion from wonder, repulsion to just being plain confused! After reading through the catalogue I came across a quote from McQueen himself that really rang true "I don't want to do a cocktail party, I'd rather people left my shows and vomited". It wasn't just a presentation of pretty dress after pretty dress. People were divided by opinions on each outfit.

On a more technical note I think the success of this exhibition is not just down to the genius of McQueen himself but also how well it was curated. I was glad that photography was not allowed, I am bored of looking at exhibits through other peoples camera/phone screens. I felt like it forced people to be part of the experience and take in every last detail and second of the journey. After going to the recent knitwear exhibition at The Fashion And Textiles Museum that was really disappointing this was a breath of fresh air. The clothes were in glass cases, catacombs, projected into glass pyramids using a victorian magic trick and shelved in a large cabinet of curiosities.

 It also has timed entry which makes sure there are only a certain amount of people in at once. I found this made it so much more enjoyable than most exhibitions I have been to (I'm not going to say anything about the stereotype of Londoners being rude). The show catalogue is also a great way to read back into the exhibition. It is really insightful on the pieces that I saw and includes all the clothes shown as well as promotional and editorial images to accompany them. It is also only £25 which I think isn't too bad considering the quality and quantity of info you get.


This is well worth a visit even if you don't know much about McQueen! Aesthetically there is a lot to appreciate and if you are interested in fashion and the design process you will be there for hours. All I wish is that I could be locked in there overnight so I could properly go around and study every exhibit close up and on my own!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Returning To My Sewing Machine

 After being in a massive knitting rut and a lull in Etsy and Folksy sales I thought of taking a little holiday from advertising and making things solely to sell. I was starting to not enjoy what I was making which no crafter should ever experience!

I lasted the total of 3 hours on my day of without creating anything and then cracked the sewing machine out to finish the sofa cover (its not knitting so it doesn't count!). It wasn't perfect but it turned out really well!
Extremely bad photo and messy living room but you get the picture!
I haven't sewn anything since uni which was now 2 years ago, time goes so fast! But I remembered a couple of Burda patterns and fabric I had bought before christmas to make for spring. I want to start wearing all of my own makes so I bought a shirt pattern and basic dress and jacket pattern.
Three different blouse patterns smart, work and casual!
So last night I decided I wanted to make the tux style shirt, but with the regular cuffs so it is still wearable. I traced the pattern and and cut my fabric out in record time. Now to the sewing! I started the pleats for the front panels and lasted a total of 20 minutes before I realised I had cocked it up already! My pleating effort resulted in this:
What even is this?
Look how uneven and wonky those pleats are. I obviously got over excited so I turned to the instructions for help. After all I followed the pattern pleat and sew lines so I must have gotten confused. That is where I found the downside to this pattern, there is no explanation about the pleats and I still don't know what I did wrong, considering the panel ended up an inch out! 

I went and stared at my yarns for a bit, I find this tends to calm me down and give me ideas, mental I know but it works for me. And then I thought I need to take this into control and the only way I know how to get my pleats with mathematical precision would be with knitted pleats! I cant help myself. So I chose a white viscose 2ply with some clear lurex and knitted a pleated panel.

Much Better!
You can't see the lurex much in this photo because It is very subtle. I wasn't too worried with it being sheer because I had cut out 2 cotton panels to back the knit with so it could sit on the shirt front flush without pulling or distorting. 

I made the front panels by sewing the cut out shapes on the wrong side of my knitted pleats then cutting out the panels, this ensures you don't get a huge ladder and that the shape is correct. Cutting out knit is a nightmare without backing. You could also use bondaweb but you can sometimes see it under the knit and it can make your fabric a bit too crisp. 

I have set them into the fronts and they look great! So far so good and a good mornings sewing before work. It did only take me another 10 minutes to go wrong again but I might change the design to regular button stand rather than concealed just to make my life easier. As I will wear this shirt for every day rather than the black tie its intended for. 

But thats tomorrows problem!