Sunday, 27 March 2016

A capsule collection

This collection has been made for my client who is a lady falconer (keeper and exhibitor of birds of prey), she and her husband have a thriving business and this work is her way of creating a professional image that encompasses her creative flair and forms a recognisable corporate identity for the company.  It is fantastic to make such extensive use of my embroidery machine and software as I am embroidering the company name inside each waistcoat and jacket and a striking bird of prey design on the outside, each in a different tone, size and location appropriate to the individual pieces.

Together we selected a range of fabrics to begin the collection, as this is an ongoing project that will include a much larger number of garments. The client wished to use a colour pallet that was mostly greens and browns although we have picked highlights in other shades because she loves bright colours.  One of the pleasures of this undertaking is that of making use of vintage buttons, buckles and fabrics in my somewhat large library of materials.

Tweedy! This is my favourite waistcoat so far and is made with a narrow strip of tweed that was a remnant from an interior design company I picked up a couple of years ago, to highlight the turquoise in this tweed I have made-up embroidered the bird in the same shade.  The lining is a very high quality twill lining, along with all the other linings used in this collection, that I bought at Bailie House Warehouse, website below, and buttons were bought at Fabric Land in Salisbury a few weeks ago because they were scrummy!  I saw my client in this waistcoat last week and it look really fab.

Here is where I am embroidering the company name, it is the facing inside the neck and is a practical solution for having the name easily visible without being in your face.

Waistcoat number two is also in tweed, this piece I have stashed away for many years and can’t remember for the life of me where it came from, it is nice though.  The lining is satin finish twill and matches the red of the embroidery and vintage buttons from one of my many button tins.  The buttonholes on this and the previous waistcoat I have made using the same colour thread as the embroidery and buttons. I like the effect and buttonholes have become a design feature as a result.

Third off the line is a yummy soft needle cord waistcoat, the corduroy was supplied by the client – it has been sculling in her cupboard for quite a time because she loved it and bought it with a future project in mind.  Twill lining again, a plain dark moss green with corresponding embroidery this time which is a lovely contrast to the soft turquoise. Flower shaped buttons that I have been dying to use on something for years give a real feminine touch.

My client originally contacted me to create a copy of her favourite skirt which kicked off all the work I am producing for her, and here is that copy.  It is an A line skirt with small godets in the front and back to give a bit of extra flare at the hemline just below the hips. 

Here you can see the contrasting waistband facing inside which is in printed denim, good use of some leftovers from another garment.  The button here is a proper rivet button that I found online and got a big pack of, they are very easy to apply with a hammer and some thick fabric to wrap around to prevent damage when putting it on.  This zip is a nice chunky one that I inherited (literally) along with a large collection of goodies – perfect colour.

Making good use of the pretty stitches available on my JUKI sewing machine (model HZL – 300) the back patch pockets have little flowers tracking diagonally towards the centre back seam.  There are belt loops on the waistband in the cord and all the seams have been top-stitched twice for durability and presentation.

I love this jacket, it is a subtle departure from my  design as there is the embroidery at the front (outside) and the facing (inside) in the same bright acid green of the twill lining, the pockets are different, as are the sleeves.  This tweed is gorgeous and has a delicious teal stripe running through it which is echoed in the fabric of the collar and revers, cuffs, pleat and half belt at the back.  I have made all the piping in the tweed which will make the edges very durable indeed, perfect for the hard work it will be put though.

So here you can see the double welted fake pockets on the outside (I normally use a tailored pocket on this style of jacket which are double skinned and double stitched for hard ware) which were requested.  There is a double welted pocket inside the jacket for a piece of equipment that is roughly the size of a smart phone. All of the welts have been put together in the teal contrast fabric which is a lovely suiting from Bailie House.

That bird really is striking isn’t it!  Embroidery thread is finer than standard sewing thread and has a shiny finish; it catches the light beautifully and changes as it moves around because the stitching is multi-directional.  Here you can also see just how attractive the contrast panels are, these buttons have an interesting texture that also catches the light, I have used the same (in a larger size) as the first waistcoat, but they are the opposite way up being darker on one half.

Using gauntlets to handle her birds is essential so I have made the cuffs narrower to accommodate that portion of the glove and they are piped in the tweed at both top and bottom.  The rest of the full sleeves are pleated into the cuff so she can wear a nice jumper underneath on chillier days.  I have this kind of sleeve on my orange coat and it keeps the drafts out very well indeed.

This collection is the first half of what we currently have planned; we have collated materials for two more waistcoats, another jacket and some other garments, so watch this space for the next lot.

Here are a couple of links to the two suppliers mentioned earlier:

Bailie House, Sturminster Marshall – this is a strange warehouse full of lots of different products, it is worth visiting regularly to see what they have, I only visit for fabrics, and there are really, really good deals to be had on dressmaking and interior design fabrics: 

Fabric Land has a number of branches and they have a fantastic mail order service – very reasonable on p&p too, they buy in bulk and pass on great savings to customers and it is well worth a visit to their stores:

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