Final Reflection

I enjoyed this module and the challenges that came with it, adapting patterns for products particularly. I think my skills in Photoshop, digital work and pattern creation have improved a lot, although I still want to work more on this, so it becomes easier. I also think my mark making was better this term, I spent more time on it and it flowed better through my book to the patterns that eventually became digital outcomes. I was more creative this module with my research, taking every trip in Summer as potential inspiration and capturing plenty of photographs throughout, I also actively enquired to the Cardiff Museum to a contact there and was able to gain access to the Entomology Department’s archives of insects. This allowed me to get close to the insects for detailed images, something I would not have been able to do while they were alive. I think one of my biggest strengths remains using the fineliners to create the pattern that I want, I have adopted this style for years and believe I have found my handwriting style, when I transferred it to digital I was adapting to the change of a thin nib to the Apple pencil, however I found the motifs worked well. They were time consuming to complete but the perk of being digital, it could be manipulated and moved around if needed, so other options could be explored quickly, this worked for pattern and colour.

I think I could have improved on my trend research, I knew from shopping and social media that bees were trending the recent years however a search on WGSN could have been useful, as well as visiting shops and doing my own research there, however as I was unwell, I was not able to do this. I think I also could have improved my stitch work, I did some basic samples but due to timing I prioritised my digital over this, I could have really explored some interesting finishing effects to the fabric samples. Stitching could have been a nice touch over the top of the pattern on a summer dress for example, or even beading. I also would have liked the chance to do some digital stitch as I think I could make some nice repeated designs with this and tried out some interesting decorative stitches with it, I would like to properly learn how to do a good digital repeated pattern on a larger scale, I imagine it involves marking out the borders around it and a lot with measuring, the same would apply for adding stitch over digitally printed designs.

If I was to repeat this module, I would have done more research back when it was the main task that could have influenced my designs. I also would have done a wider range of motifs, some not so patterned with blocks of colour maybe, so this was an option to include more colour into the patterns sometimes.

CAD Visuals of Dresses

I looked into fabric samples and what I wanted to put the patterns onto for my mini fabric collection, and I settled on young girls summer dresses. I thought the subtle patterns suited this quite well.

There were a few unsuccessful attempts before these, where the image quality was not good so the patterns began blurry immediately. I thought these ones were quite interesting and both patterns work well on the dresses, I think the scale is also good but could be tried smaller again to see if this looks better.

Choosing a Fabric

I ordered samples from Fashion Formula and Contrado is find the perfect fabric for the summer dresses I planned for young girls. For the summer dress brief, I needed something quite lightweight and thin, I orginally thought of some kind of organic cotton but I actually found some of these to be quite rough or firm even when they were thin, so I knew I needed to find something softer than this for comfort purposes.

I started with fashion formula and started to sort through, thinking about my key criteria of softness, thinness and a clear image on the fabrics, as some of the thinner one became a little see-through or faded.

These four stuck out to me for a couple of reasons, the bamboo fabric was very soft and thin but not so much that it would be see-through, I could imagine it working for the summer temperatures and being comfortable, without it being so light that it would blow in the wind too easily. I liked the quality of the cotton slub as well for the thin effect, I have worked with fabric like this before for hair accessories but I think for the dresses it may be too thin as the white was not a clear white, instead being able to see the warp and weave I think showed it was a little too thin for the purpose. The percale was interesting, it had an unusual softness to it without it being as heavy as a velvety type of material, there was also a very clear image on it as well which I think looked really nice compared to one that was more disturbed by the warp and weaves of the various other materials I was going through. The final one I found was the organic cotton interlock, I mentioned that I wanted to look for a softer organic cotton and this was a soft one, with a good level of thinness without being see-through as well. It also had a little stretch to it which I thought could be quite good for a young girls dress as it would allow for some growth in the child, it also was very colourful so shows the colours of my designs would come up much better than some other fabrics. The only thing with the Fashion Formula samples is that I noticed the details are not really included, such as a thickness of the fabric or a code or anything to identify it on the website, I originally thought it was nice that they used different patterns on them while Contrado stuck to the same pattern in each and every fabric sample, but it is only comparing the same photo on different fabrics that you can truly see the effect of it on that fabric, so I do think the Fashion Formula samples could be better if they shared the same images, at least within a category of fabrics.

These were a few fabrics I picked out from the Contrado fabrics that I found, The pima lawn one is very thin and soft without warping too much, I do not like working with silk twill for example as it is so hard to cut a straight line in it due to the natural movement of the fabric. The janice Poplin fabric was a little thicker, but still thin enough to suit the purpose for the summer dresses, the image is very clear in terms of the pattern which I like, and does show up better than the crepe jersey one, which is a much softer fabric and at only 150gsm it is not a thick fabric either, but just by the feel and look of it I think it would feel a little hotter on the body than the other two fabrics would.

I think next it would be interesting to look into pricing for these particular fabrics that I like on the websites, maybe even looking at ordering a couple of them to show that the dresses that I am designing for could be out of a couple of fabrics, rather than just the one.

Firstly checking Contrado, I put in a size of 52 by 50 CM to have a fat quarter and be able to neaten up the edges as I want, I tried the Pima Lawn fabric first as I thought it looked interesting, the design came to 14.50 for this single piece of fabric in this size, without any discounts or anything. The Janice Poplin also came to the same price, as well as the crepe jersey.

Looking on Fashion Formula, the tools to repeat the design are a little more complex, this means that I would need to pay close attention when designing the fabric. I put in the percale fabric which came back as a fat quarter price of 12 pounds. There was another called Organic jersey interlock which was 11 pounds. The bamboo fabric was not available on the options which is disappointing, but the percale was a very nice sample one, so I may need to look at them again to make a decision.

Fabric Outcome Intentions

I was thinking a lot about what I wanted to do in terms of creating a small fabric collection from my current giftwrap collection. I thought back to my original ideas for my collection where I was basing the collection on a more sophisicated design for children. I ended up changing this to more appeal to the young mothers market as I found my designs were going towards an older market than children. However I do still think something about the designs could appeal to children and the parents that would buy for them, not in the giftwrap setting, but I do think the designs or a variation of them could be suitable for young girls summer dresses.

Fashion used to be a large part of my textiles journey, however as I discovered more of the interiors market and the stationary market that was not limited to the basic ideas I had for these, I started to enjoy working with them a lot more. I think the idea of aiming towards young girls, aged 5-10, would be interesting as I think my fabrics would suit well for summer dresses with their light colour scheme and cute insect patterns.

I really like the ladybird design and as I had only used this for the gusset of my bag I felt like this was an underused pattern in my design, I think this could look very nice on a summer dress and I plan on trying it out as a CAD visual. I think the dragonfly pattern at present could be too dark so I need to try and lighten this up a little. I plan to digitally print these patterns onto fabrics, I need to look into what kind of fabric I want to use, at present I want to look at quite light cottons as I think it would be a suitable fabric for the dresses.

To show what the products will look like on the fabric, I plan to print two fat quarters.

Mitigating Circumstances and Plan of Action

During the course of this term at Uni, my health was not great and I ended up not attending uni very much, apart from the odd hour or two when I was up to it. Throughout this time I tried to keep up with my work as much as I could on my good days at home, and it was only really when the deadlines started coming that I realised I was behind and needed extra time to account for this and catch up properly, but also give myself the time to get better.

As term is ending, I was given an extra month to ensure that I was up to date with my work over the Christmas period. I know in the upcoming weeks I am due a few appointments too and I am confident I will start to feel better given the time over Christmas.

I wanted to make a brief plan of action over the holidays to try and finish what I need to, which is as follows.

Saturday 14th December 2019 – Moving out weekend, return to Carmarthenshire, unpack, sort Christmas presents out

Monday 16th December 2019 – Finish as many gaps in sketchbook as possible during the week, drawing, painting, textures

Thursday 19th December 2019 – Annotation of sketchbook and research file

Friday 20th December 2019 – sort out fabrics in preparation for stitch samples

Saturday 21st December 2019 – Stitch out samples – Free machining, applique, quilting

Monday 23th December 2019 – Check research file, look for more artists research

Friday 27th December 2019 – Look over feedback for patterns and redefine them

Thursday 2nd January 2020 – Watch some Mat Rhys tutorials to further redefine quality of patterns

Friday 3rd January 2020 – blog catch up day

Monday 6th January 2020 – Continue annotation of sketchbook and research file, check patterns and order fabric samples

Tuesday 7th January 2020 – Explore choices for fabric collection, what is my target market? Look through fabric samples and choose some that would be suitable

Wednesday 8th January 2020 – Sort out emails, finish stitching pieces, take photographs for blog and blog about recent events

Thursday 9th January 2020 – Check everything is done and packed, pack up everything ready to move back

Friday 10th January 2020 – Continue blogging

Saturday 11th January 2020 – Move back to Cardiff, research into paper printing shops nearby and get paper products printed

Sunday 12th January 2020 – Finish any gaps left in sketchbook and research folder

Monday 13th January 2020 – DEADLINE

Paper Mockups

I finished a rough idea for my patterns, they were I felt at a good place, I think they did need more work but as the paper was cheap to print at uni I wanted to have a good at a small giftbag and card and envelope to see how they will look. I printed my patterns and had a go at folding the bag up, it did not go exactly as planned however it did take shape enough to see how it will look in terms of colour and pattern.

The bag as shown here is good, I like the pattern on the gusset I think that works particularly well, however I do wonder about whether it would look better with the pattern all over it and a block of colour on the side or something, this could also be something to explore in the coming weeks. The card I quite like, I think maybe lightening the font a little and maybe changing around some of the other elements of it would be quite interesting to try. I like the inside of the card, maybe playing with a slightly smaller scale on this as well as the envelope could be something that would work a little better here, just it seems very obvious that the motifs are cut in half at this size, but I think it would look silly if the cut in half ones were just removed, leaving odd gaps. The gift sheets of the dragonflies and the beetles I enjoyed making, but I think theese can be redefined to make a little more interesting to look at, with some varying scales maybe.

Paper Samples

I ordered and chose a range of paper samples from various companies to find a good quality of paper that I wanted to print on. I ordered sample packs that came back, including some that contained business cards and press pack things that could be useful later on as well.

I liked the range of different papers and packs that I received, some clearly for printing paper and others more aimed at products like the business cards. I also found a foiling pack which I thought would look really good on my products, especially as I was aiming them as more upscale NEXT market rather than a cheaper brand.

Redefining Patterns

Working more into my patterns was an important part of the process to make sure the collection was as best as it could be, I wanted to work more on most parts of it as I think they could all be improved.

I worked on redefining the positions of the motifs first on the tiles which I think makes them look better already, I think the texture in the background really works too as I particularly like the one with the white background, with the blue texture giving the little pop of colour to contrast the red bugs in this one. Im not sure about the spot texture in the beetle one, I may revisit this one again to try something different as I just do not think it is catching.

I have shown two colourways of the dragonflies here, I like both and I was unsure about using the patterns backgrounds all in white. I think another colourway of the beetle too would be good to see which looks better for this.

The Collection

Right now the collection looks like this, with possible colourways for the dragonfly and beetle, and a thought about changing the bag completely too by getting rid of the front and back design and replacing it with the gusset pattern, this is something I want to think about further.

CAD visuals

I wanted to show how my patterns would look on actual objects to get a feel for how they were going to work, so using Photoshop I created CAD visuals, some of which look decent but others I am struggling with the quality of the backing white image, meaning the pattern quality is reduced as well. Another reason why I would like to create my own mock up white objects to photograph next term, as well as make actual prototypes.

Overall as I collection I do like it, but I do want to work on and redefine my patterns more, I particularly like the gift tag in the shape of the ladybird motif. I may consider changing the bag, with the pattern on the gusset on the front and back and a plain blue gusset instead, as Im not sure about my design of the happy birthday on the front of it. I am quite pleased with the card, although working on this more and looking at embossing and printing foil could also be an option. I like the inside of the envelope and the card, but maybe reducing the scale may be more attractive.

First Pattern Attempts

I wanted to try out the motifs in repeat very basically to see how they would work in different sizes and in repeat with other motifs. I usually start these plain repeats first then move on to more complex ones as I get more comfortable with the shapes and see what I think is missing.

The ladybirds were quite fun to work with, but with the first repeat I knew straight away that it needed less of the red and more of the other motifs that I created to go with them. I think this one is better but it is a very obvious block repeat so I want to work better on this and make one that is far more hidden and more full.

The beetles are quite plain in this repeat but this could make for a good secondary pattern if I explored colour more, however this collection is a little different to the last pattern collection we did, which included a hero, secondaries and tertiary patterns, whereas this one we are designing for specific objects, and I think this is important as a customer may not buy the whole set, so each object needs to be as visually appealing as the others.

I worked on the dragonflies too, I quite liked the composition of this one but adding texture to the background is totally different and changes the whole image, I do like this one a lot but I still think there is room for improvement for it.

I also had a go at a more complex beetle pattern, again I prefer the one with the texture in the background as I think it works well, however I do think while its harder to see the repeat, I think more of a change in scale would be more interesting.