It’s been a while as I have been travelling around South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and working for Neema Crafts in Tanzania, a fantastic charity that employs deaf and disabled people through craft. This has been my second time here designing for the charity, as well as renovating the cafe (last time I led a team to renovate the shop). I have come up with a few new designs that are being produced, including screen printed fabric and cards as well as batik. I also spent time creating a map of Iringa town centre where Neema is bsaed, and other art work to decorate the cafe, as well as working with deaf guys in the carpentry department to create new shelving units and a bamboo wall to divide the space. Here’s just a few of the results!
A piped cushion I made as a Christmas present for my mum using beautiful Mulberry fabric that was donated to Sew Over It a couple of years ago when I was working there full time. It has been in my cupboard since then whilst I figured out what to do with it…and finally decided as it was just one small scrap this would be the best way to show it off! If you fancy making one yourself, check out the class at Sew Over It!
Getting ready for Christmas I’ve been doing a bit more screen printing, developing some of the prints I have been working on inspired from my trip to Africa last year. I have printed onto fabric and paper, and have been experimenting by making them into cushions, recycled leather-backed bags, wrapping paper and anything else I can think of! The products will be available soon through my shop.
For the third time I’ve been back to Canford Magna School in Dorset to teach a textile workshop to their very talented GCSE & A-level students. I decided my portfolio needed a little update with some more recent work so started working on this… Machine embroidery geometric style!
A few of my friends who DJ together in town (the Unwanted Family) have had a long desire to start their own festival and after much planning this year managed to pull off their first trial run in a field in Dunsfold, Surrey…inviting family and friends to come along so they can test it all out. Knowing about my workshops and shiny new Bell Tent that I recently purchased they asked me if I wanted to get involved and of course I said yes! With my guitar and shisha in the corner of my tent I spent the day teaching some super enthusiastic fellow festival goers to make jewellery and design bunting for next year… It was a great day & night with great music and an awesome setting. Can’t wait for next year!
My friend Mel from the cafe ‘Alkamel’ down the road from Sew Over It on Landor Road rung me in a panic this week saying her partner is in desperate need of a ‘baker boy’ style hat to match his denim waistcoat for his gig this weekend headlining for a festival. So I agreed! He had another hat I copied the pattern from which consisted of 8 sections, and a few pairs of old jeans to make it from. I then took apart the cap peak on the original hat and covered that with denim. I used the same pattern to create the lining and attached elastic around the rim on the inside which was then top-stitched down around the edge. Fairly simple job but had to adjust the sizing slightly as it was originally a bit too big. Here’s the result!
I’ve been busy recently making these beautiful new espadrilles! I don’t think i’ve ever been so happy – the *bling* ribbon ones on the right are my all time favourites – the ribbon I bought from Sew Over It but originally came from India – I have been wondering what to do with them for a while now! And if you’re wondering how I did it….I will be teaching workshops for this and others throughout July in London – check out my Workshops & Parties page to book a place!
I have been wondering what to do with my beautiful ceramic hooks from Zanzibar that have been sitting in my room for nearly a year! After stumbling across a bit of old wood laying around my house…I thought this is it! I painted the wood and sanded it down a bit to give it that ‘shabby chic’ look, drilled a few holes and under the guidance of my handy house mate ‘counter-sinked’ the back so it sits flush against a wall. Added a couple of picture hooks on the back and this is the result!
And in the theme of screen-printing, I did another one off print for my friend’s birthday, which I then made into a cushion. Again I used a simple stencil cut out, and layered various shapes on top of each other. Here’s the result!
I have screen-printed a tea towel for a wedding gift for my friend’s that are getting married on the Bank holiday! I used a simple stencil and two colour-ways. I hope it will serve you well Luke & Ellie!
I have just entered a competition for Shake-The-Dust, an ethical design brand who collaborate with British designers and ethical producers in developing countries. One of the businesses they work with is called Quazi Design based in Swaziland, and the competition is to design a print for their jewellery collection and a gift card. As well as a winning design, the top three designers will get a chance to promote their collection through the shop, and be involved with their event ‘Africa calling’ in London.
Recently when walking back from work I found this poor old deckchair discarded by the side of the road and it was such a lovely sunny day I felt inspired to carry it home and give it a bit of a makeover! I already had paint, and some beautiful mulberry soft furnishing fabric that I was given and i’ve been trying to figure out what to do with. I gave it a quick clean and spruce up, and with the help of my handy housemate managed to stitch the fabric onto the chair. This was tricky as I imagine the fabric is generally added before the chair is constructed, so he had to hold the chair up and move it along whilst I stitched it in place. I reinforced it with some hand stitching as well to make sure it is secure. And here’s the result!
Being the hoarder that I am, I’ve kept the original fabric and put it in the wash, ready to make a canvas beach bag! So there we go. Two products in one, completely for free!
I recently contributed an article for Mollie Makes, guest edited by Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It. The project is how to up-cycle an old jacket with a bit of freehand machine embroidery! You can use the same concept for most things so buy the magazine and get creative!
I have been wanting to get back into screen-printing for a while now and invested in some silk screens for my birthday! My latest work seems to be going down the geometric route, no doubt stemming inspiration from my African trip last year. I’m playing around with a few new product ideas to start off a new collection. Here’s a sneak preview of what i’ve been up to so far…
This is a dress I made by copying the pattern from an existing one I had bought from a well know high street shop! The fabric was bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton (£3p/m!) and I even had a little left over at the end to make a little ‘pointless layer’ as my friends would call it! I copied it by tracing around the edges…without unpicking the seams which made it a bit tricky, but made a toile out of calico and adjusted the pattern here and there until it fit.
As it is made out of cotton lawn, which has a beautiful drape but tends to be a bit transparent, I made a second copy of the dress out of the same fabric and lined it using this, overlocking the edges around the centre and top seam.