Photoshop As A Design Tool

I am experimenting with using Photoshop as a design tool. This is the first attempt at sketching an illustration with Photoshop. I haven’t really used Photoshop as a drawing tool before; mostly it’s for editing my photography.

The idea behind this sketch is clearly tribal bellydance style with a typical 10 yard skirt and tribal tassel belt. This is a look I really want to develop into my own style, probably through embroidery, hand dyed fabrics and something else that makes it my own and unique. The overskirt is an idea I’m playing with, where there is dimension and texture built up in layers on the skirt itself; this one uses strips of fabric? Just one more step towards creating the Global Garb collection!

blues

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Design Process

Now that I’m full swing in the design process (this collection has actually been circulating in my brain for months) I feel like I have a better grasp on what I’ll need to complete it. So, here’s my basic plan, for those that are interested:

  • I’m planning on using primarily cotton, silk and possibly bamboo fabrics. I plan to source them from Dharma Trading and will be dying them with solid colors or stamped/resist designs.
  • My inspirations come from many places, including renaissance fair clothing, Middle eastern embroidery designs, belly dance attire, and the need for cool, flowing, comfortable “garb” made with natural fibers.
  • I have quite a few sketches, and am currently in the patterning process. My goal is to ultimately make the pattern sized and ready to reproduce for the garments to be sold at renaissance fair booths.

I am working on the embroidered bracers today. I have recycled some fabric from projects in the past, and will try to use a black velvet, a burgundy velvet and/or a tan suede-like fabric. I am looking into using embroidery designs called “Suzani” which is Persian for “needle.” Once I have the bracers completed, I’ll be sure to post some pics!

Global Garb

Trying to launch the Global Garb collection I’m inspired to create! I need some fabric from Dharma Trading, some thread for the embroidery, and a little bit of gumption to #createsomething.

gofundme

Sewliloquies

O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear;
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!

Sewliloquies has been inspired by a soliloquy. After agonizing for some time about what type of sewing endeavor I should set upon here in my new home of New Hampshire, it has clearly come to me. While I will continue to stitch fanciful garments for myself (and friends), I have decided that sewing period costumes is probably my best choice for selling what I sew.

Here’s why:

  • I’m good at it. While I have not sewn that many costumes, I’ve sewn a goodly amount, and what I have created has received positive reviews. I don’t have photos of everything I have made, but it has included: men and women’s full Tudor court garb, men and women’s Victorian costumes, pirate coats, cloaks, knight tunics, skirts, pants, hats, corsets, bodices, flags…..
  • The Texas market for period garb is saturated. There are so many lovely people that do this so well for a living, that even with my skills, I wouldn’t have been able to prosper.
  • With that said, it appears at first Google that the New Hampshire market does have some gaps; while the customers might not be as plentiful, there does seem to be opportunity – at renaissance fairs, re-creations, theaters, etc. Of course, I’ll need to do my due diligence in the market research area, but the possibilities appear to be there.
  • I like it. Seriously, I love costumes, love attending period events, and enjoy the process. So why not make costumes to sell?

Getting Pretty Serious

I am doing what’s called “getting pretty serious” about sewing. While I have been slacking a bit in the garment making area, I have been working on expanding my skills.

First, I am taking a Dressmaking and Design course through Penn Foster. While I would prefer a local, hands on classroom approach, it is hard to do so with baby and while working full time. This was the best choice for me right now. I will always consider more education in the future, especially workshops or other hands on sewing experience. This course is actually serving me quite well. I have learned a considerable amount in the first two thirds of lessons that I have completed. There are also activities that get me in front of a sewing machine, with the next assignment to include pattern adjustment of a princess seam sheath dress which I plan to make out of leather (or faux leather at the very least).

Second, I have had the wonderful opportunity to do some alterations. While I have done alterations sporadically in the past, I am glad to be able to use my skills to benefit others. Thank you dear alterations clients!

Third, I have taken the plunge and purchased a very entry level embroidery machine. Embroidery machines can cost thousands. I did not spend nearly that much, so I’m hoping the little guy I got will serve me well. My husband was adorable because he asked if it was something we could use for awhile. Well, it has a 20 year warranty, so… yeah? It uses the PES format of embroidery designs, and it has a USB connection so I can shop to my heart’s delight then transfer designs right over to the machine from my computer. Gotta love technology!

On a final note, I enjoyed Madonna’s multiple costume changes because she is keeping fashion designers and seamstresses busy!

“I’m a material girl… want to see my fabric collection?”  ~Author Unknown

Perfect Vintage-Inspired Shirt Dress

A few years ago, I wanted to make a shirt dress. My inspiration came from a few places: one was a dress worn by the character Sofie on Carnivale, and another was a runway dress from the Ralph Lauren Spring 2010 collection. My perfect vintage-inspired shirt dress falls somewhere between these two.

My niece, blogging down a Retro Rabbit Hole, has recently gotten back into sewing garments. Which is great, because that means I don’t have to talk to myself about sewing anymore! (Don’t worry, the Sewliloquies moniker isn’t going away). Her recent sewing adventures have inspired me to become reacquainted with my shirt dress. I even have the fabric for it. I bought this great light blue fabric with a teensy floral print all over it, just for the occasion. I’m undecided about the lace sleeves seen on the Sofie dress; I’ve done lace sleeves before on my Victorian garb, and I love the pleating, but I’m not sure I want my shirt dress that girly. What I do love are the little red buttons on the Ralph Lauren inspiration dress. And the piped pockets. I’m digging the piped pockets.

 

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