Sunday, 28 December 2014

Go, and do not stop


It always comes back to this. I get absorbed in my life, in what I do, in the people I see, and as soon as it comes to the holiday I fall into the trap of asking myself who am I, what the hell am I doing with my life, and what on earth are my hobbies actually?? It then comes back to me writing again, for this poor blog that I neglect when I am in Aberdeen - but as soon as I am at home and I am not surrounded by glaring deadlines and formidable knitting machines, I end up having zillions of existential crises and I have a yearning to write it down so that the odd stranger can read it. 

It feels like rather good timing for my bubbling need to write again, as it is about to turn into 2015, a year which is the same distance from 2000 as it is 2030. It's the perfect time of the year to make solemn promises to myself to eat better, drink better, be better, procrastinate less, smile more and in general live better. 

Everyone loves a New Years Resolution, and everyone loves to hate to break one. Someone mentioned in passing to me the other day that if you were serious about changing your life, then you wouldn't wait for the new year to actually realise it. For many though, the change of (usually) one digit in the calendar signifies the possibility of huge potential changes, which I for one am not up for putting down.

What pisses me off is so many of us wait for the clock to switch from 11:59 to 12:00 for major changes to suddenly happen, which naturally, never do. We're humans, we love to picture a future where everything is hunky dory but never actually do anything to make it hunky dory. We're stuck in a present that turns into a future we dream of but never comes to pass as we never bother to change it. 

Fuck New Years, and FUCK OFF NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. If I am going to change my life, it's going to be in the near distant future. So, never.

Ciao, stay wiggly, and break your New Years Resolutions,

Jean 
XXXXX

PS The title of this post is great and from this piece of writing.
PPS Don't tell anyone I read Thoughtcatalog, thx.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

inspiration | new york fashion week ss15




I am a little ashamed to admit that prior to studying fashion and textiles at university, my passion for fashion (excuse the cliche statement!) was enhanced through drawing, blogging and obsessive reading of magazines. I was never too keen on keeping up with (what I thought to be) more sophisticated fashion weeks which occurred annually in February and September in all the fashion capitals. I considered the fashion shown to not really be something I could strive for, but now looking back I regret not jumping in and simply using the internet and social media to keep up to date. Just because I wasn't able to buy the products shown shouldn't mean I couldn't watch it - it's fantastic just to watch the action unfold, even if you are in bed in pyjamas watching a live stream, and the clothes shown are bang on, or ahead of, trends and show you what will be on the high streets months in advance.

Potentially I wasn't quite drawn to keeping up to date with the fashion weeks because it is called "fashion" week, and I am more drawn to textiles. However, I think watching it live can allow the fabrics to seem real and close up photographs usually uploaded instantly after a show offer stunning glimpses of high quality fashion, and it is then that you see that textiles is just as prominent, with many designers not only focusing on tailoring and intricate dressmaking, but using textile techniques such as embroidery, print work and weave, to name a few, which can offer me valuable inspiration.

I think the point I realised why they are important was when I visited Paris for the first time earlier this year and going into an Issey Miyake store where I was allowed to get close to the fabrics and feel their quality. It was an amazing experience that highlighted to me to keep up to date a little more with designers and their collections. As a fashion student it was a little strange I didn't keep up with it a bit more!

Vivienne Tam SS15 RTW via style.com

My favourites of New York Fashion Week, which began last week on the 4th September, have been Vivienne Tam and Phillip Lim. Vivienne Tam's show was simply amazing - there was so much inspirational pieces in there. Landscape prints and detailed embroidery finished up with my absolute favourite pieces from NYFW so far, beautiful Ming inspired ceramic prints interspersed with mesh.

Phillip Lim was just as unique, and I think offered a very cool activewear inspired collection with cool futuristic vibes, and the piping and unique contouring neckline which warped to the left was to die for.

Phillip Lim SS15 RTW via style.com
Other notable mentions are Rebecca Taylor - whose colour palette and absolutely gorgeous patterns (which I thought seemed like micro-organisms!) were to die for - and The Row. Mary Kate and Ashley seem to really know their stuff, and I think by showing a collection with near to know fastenings showed how good they are at design, simply beautiful folds and layering with a fab colour range, and in a really spectacular venue, was in my opinion one of the best shows of the week so far.

To be honest, just last year I thought keeping up to date with the designer shows was time consuming, but in an age where you can watch live streams (and the shows only last about 15-20 minutes yesterday) and see photos and read instant coverage on Twitter, you don't really have to take much time out of your day even just to see what trend cropped up most.

There's up to date coverage of not just New York Fashion Week, but Milan, Paris and London, over at Now Fashion, which I've been using to write instant reviews of shows for a fashion website(!!). It's been a good lesson to me to stay organised and keep on top of things, that's for sure!

If you've caught any shows, what have been your faves so far? And if you aren't really keen on fashion, why not have a look at some of the shows on Now Fashion? You might see something that speaks to you!!

Hope you liked the post, stay cool n wiggly!!

Jean
XXXXXX

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

wedding dresses 1775 - 2014 @ the v&a


I finally had the opportunity to visit London a few weeks ago, and the most important thing for me to do when I got there was to visit the V&A. I've been wanting to visit the museum for years, and there were some particular books that featured the museum in it that made me want to visit it even more... so finally getting the chance to visit it literally made my week! 

Unfortunately, for any of the special exhibitions at the V&A you are not allowed to take any photographs, so even though I really wanted to, you weren't allowed!
I was lucky to be able to borrow my cousin's membership card so my sister and I could get in to the very popular Wedding Dresses 1775 - 2014 exhibition. My poor sister hasn't got a real interest in art, but even she felt the exhibition was curated very well and the entire exhibition was, all in all, fantastic.

It was fascinating to see the history behind the wedding dress, starting from when a wedding dress was simply the best dress a woman had, or bought for the occasion, and then worn again and again afterwards.

Before Queen Victoria, a wedding dress was any colour, but for richer people it was an extravagant colour such as red or blue that cost a lot to produce, so they could show off their wealth. The majority of the dresses on show from the more recent past were not stuck behind glass so it was really easy to go up close and look at the detail behind the craftsmanship.

My favourite dresses in the collection were the couple dresses from the 1970s which were mini dresses, and I think it was mainly from the fact they were so simple, but when worn oozed a very rebellious sort of elegance. I'm certain that when it comes to me wearing a wedding dress, I'll be rocking a simple silk mini dress!

But my absolute favourite item in the exhibition was a beautifully tailored coat, where all the decorations had actually been painted on! From circa 1971, you can see that there's a lovely contrast between the cream base of the wool crepe fabric and the decorative flowers, which I think makes it very aesthetically pleasing. It really looks like it has simple been stitched on, but on closer inspection you can see that has been very finely painted on with a great care for attention. The story behind it is that the bride's mother did not want her to wear white as the bride was marrying a divorce! You can read more about the coat, designed by Richard Cawley for Bellville Sassoon, here.

I also posted this over at my new very professional textile-y blog, which you can go check out here. The number of different tumblr blogs, and now with this new blogger blog, is now up to a pretty large amount! They all have varying degrees of formality and use, and I do post on them all! I'm going to attempt to write up a list of all of my tumblrs, blogs, websites etc. and I'll stick them somewhere useful on each of the websites, so that people can easily find them all!

Hope you enjoyed this review of the exhibition!

ciao and stay wiggly
jean
xoxoxoxo

The Wedding Dresses exhibition is being shown at the V&A until 15 March 2015, for more info check out vam.ac.uk

Sunday, 27 July 2014

how to have a creative summer


One of my main goals for this summer has been to, basically, have a creative summer. What do I mean by that? Well as an art student a summer is 4 months where you don't technically have to do anything art-y at all. And in theory it sounds great but if I were to not do anything creative at all over the summer and then came back to college after summer I'd find it difficult to transition back into the creative mindset. By doing lots of creative things over the summer it makes it easier for me to 1) continue being in a creative mindset when I'm back and 2) use some of the stuff I've done over summer as inspiration.

It's a win:win situation! What I think is important though is that even if you aren't a creative person, it's to know that literally anyone can be creative. Not everyone knows that literally every skill is learned. If you continue to fiddle around with a guitar you are eventually going to be able to play a chord, then a little rhythm, and then a song, and then hey presto, you've written an album and you're super famous!!

It's an old one, but practice does make perfect. If you start a sketchbook and start writing and drawing in it after a year you've probably gotten a lot better at drawing.

So even if you don't like these tips, grab something you've not considered doing before and try doing it, then try doing is some more. Before summers end I'll bet you're a few steps closer to being awesome at it. It's worth saying - if you don't try you will never know. And go do it. (how many cheesy cliche phrases can I fit into this post??)

Here are a list of a few ways to either be creative or to go outside and be inspired in order to maybe instil some summer creativity. Even if you don't get some new ideas, you are bound to collect some nice photos anyway.

  • go for a walk and take a photo of the first 10 things that catch your eye
maybe one of those 10 things inspire you to start a project based around it. 
  • start a dream diary 
I started a dream diary last month and I am now able to remember a dream practically every night. They are super weird, though. I only found out through this Rookie post, that doing a dream diary actually makes it easier to lucid dream, too. 
  • draw your hand every day
you're bound to be pro at drawing hands by the end of the summer.
  • learn a new craft-y skill
whether it's something like weaving (little desk weaving looms are super cheap, and you then just need string and yarn), making your own sketchbook, making bracelets, knitting, crochet,
  • start a photo diary
i've mentioned this in a previous post about taking photos here, but it's worth mentioning again as it's been helping me a lot in regards to "lost" inspiration, the kind of inspiration that in the moment is really inspiring to you but you then forget to record it. try taking more photos and then at the end of the day choose two that stand out to you, and then showcase them in a simple format (you could use a nice tumblr theme for example). 
  • see something you want to buy but it's £££££? try make one yourself
crochet bra lets and crop tops are super in, but why not try and crochet one yourself? how COOL would that be if someone asks you where it is from? OH I just crocheted this MYSELF! (+10000 cool points). 
  • tidy your room
okay so this doesn't sound particularly creative, but I find tidying my room to be not only fun, but you can come across a lot of things you have forgotten about. You might find something from years ago that reminds you to try a new hobby again, or you find a book you've forgotten about. Also, you end up with a tidy room!
  • go inside every charity shop you can find
You might not buy anything ever, but at least looking inside every charity shop you see gives you more chances to find something really cool. And it gives you major cool points if someone asks where something is from and you say "oh, it's was 40p from a charity shop". so cool, man.
  • learn to meditate
this is one of the things i've been meaning to do, and the concept of which eludes me a little. meditation is super, super good for you though so if you have the opportunity definitely try to learn.
  • read classics
another thing i've been aiming to do is go through classics. I love reading but I'm astounded at myself that I've hardly read any. They may not be considered good (I told my mum I was reading Wuthering Heights and she said "why" a lot) but reading classics can offer you new viewpoints of the world. Don't brag about reading them though that's just lame.


They're small things, but everything starts out small. And most of all, they're fun things to do. If you have any creative ideas or have been trying to be creative this summer, let me know, I'd love to hear about it!! 

Be wiggly n creative!!!
Jean
XXXXX

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

ootd | tumblr art girl





grey/white stripe top - asos
red corduroy dungaree dress - primark via ebay
denim shirt - levi's via vintage fair
watch - charity shop
socks - asos
earrings - birthday gift
scrunchie - topshop
badges n brooches are stuff i've collected over the years

what is this??? an ootd?? I have felt bad for a while as I am not only a fashion student, but I call this a fashion blog primarily and this is my first ever proper style related post! Pretty bad, huh?

The red corduroy denim dress is literally my favourite item of clothing right now, and I am so pleased to have found it on eBay. I've started following a group of people on tumblr who are very arty and a lot had worn these in selfies, so through some detective work I found out it was from Primark a year or so ago and actually managed to buy it for £4.99 off eBay! Just last week I decided to find the black version and snapped that up for 99p off eBay too. I felt like the bargain queen to be perfectly honest!!

The massive denim shirt is something I got from the Edinburgh Freshers Vintage Fair last September, and even though I wasn't an Edinburgh fresher I still hadn't started uni at that point so I thought it was worth a shot, and the stuff I got I've consistently worn throughout the year so I got a lot of good stuff out of it.

I shy away from wearing the big denim shirt quite a lot, mainly because it's so oversized that it is practically a dress on me. But I really love it so I should really try a bit harder, as it can really go well with anything to be honest!

Basically all the photos are me mid-laugh as my mum made fun of me the entire time. It made for some quite happy-looking photos though so, I don't mind particularly much! How lovely is my mum's garden though? I've persuaded her to let me take cuttings off some succulents to grow in pots for me to take back to Aberdeen - how exciting!!

Au revoir and be wiggly
Jean
XXXXXX


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

arty farty | my sketchbook




I've been off from uni for nearly two months now, which is rather hard to believe! It's been rather nice not having to franticly meet deadlines for the past two months, but I have to say I really miss it and my friends, and really can't wait to start second year on the 26th September.

Anyway, on 9th May it was assessment hand-in, and one of my projects that I had recently finished was the "Assemble" project. Using inspiration we could have found from anywhere, we had to design a t-shirt dress which was inspired by a particular designer from a list. I chose Louise Gray who tends to uses a lot of bright, bold and irregular patterns in one garment, so using that as a starting off point I began to find inspiration from ceramics, stained glass (mainly from some primary research in the Saint Chapelle in Paris) and distressed surfaces I came across at the art school or around Aberdeen.

Some of my favourite pages are ones from the research stage, which are below.






Development was when I began to take this inspiration and translate it into workable patterns. I mainly did this using Photoshop, the photocopiers at Gray's (which hardly ever work and cost sooo much money), experimenting with the heat press and printing and just drawing stuff out. Photoshop was my favourite thing in this project and the tutor pointed that out in feedback! I just find it so easy to move primary research forward into patterns using it, and in my opinion some of the patterns I made I could actually wear myself!

Opinions are welcome, constructive criticism is super useful and one I've grown to love and use. Let me tell ya, right at the start of the year it was hard to hear constructive criticism as I only heard the 'negative' criticism part, but really it's about looking at what can be improved!

If anyone is at all interested in a post about sketchbook tips, let me know!


Ciao and stay fabulous,
Jean
XXXX


Sunday, 29 June 2014

the importance of taking photos




With this post, I started looking back at my first year of art school but then it started to change into the following post about taking lots of photos, and memories, and nostalgia. They link quite well together but for the sake of clarity I decided to separate them as each part got a little too wordy and the overall post would have practically been an essay (which we only had to do ONE of this year, how lucky are art students?!)!

Basically, I was looking the other day through all the photos on my phone (a lovely iphone 3gs, not at all clunky) and being quite nostalgic, there are two years worth of photos on there and I realised for the last year I had hardly taken any photos, and if there were they weren't very telling of the memories themselves, you know? I hate it when I take photos but when you look back at them they don't tell you anything about how you were feeling, who you were with or anything like that. That's not the type of photos I want to take (not that I am a photographer or anything) but in my opinion, even though we live in a digital age now, I still think it's important to try and think about each photo and try and make it meaningful.

By the sounds of that, you would think I would be totally into Instagram, but after a few months of trying it in 2012 I kind of gave up, initially out of boredom but basically because if I became addicted to another social network it would have meant my entire life would have been spent on my phone. I totally get the appeal, and I LOVE the idea of looking through a person's profile and seeing their aesthetic and their life at a glance, but I feel like I missed the popularity wagon for Instagram and it's now too late to get on, y'know?

Anywho - my main qualms with my honestly crap selection of photos from the past year were that I wish I had taken more photos of places I had been, people I was with, interesting things I saw... things that may seem banal at the time but if you look back on can really clearly detail memories and feelings n lots of soppy stuff. Of the photos I did take I found it really fun to look back on because you can see the growth of myself as a person, how my clothing and style changed and other strange, small things that changed over the course of the year. If I had taken way more photos of what I initially thought were banal, I would have had a really interesting photo diary of the year.



This kind of elitist mentality I find stupid. This person used a phone to take this photo and then share it?? The 459,313 people agreeing with this were using technology?? I'd get it if these people then didn't continue to most likely take photos and stick em on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but they most likely didn't... Either embrace technology and how it has brought an abundance of benefits and privileges (along with a vast number of problems) or don't.

And continuing on from the concept of a photo diary, I hope to take as many photos as I possibly can without gaining some sort of reputation as a weird tourist gal... photos of my face, what I wore, what my friends wore, my desk, my flat, funny things, plants, the bus, pavements... Not only will it serve me well in terms of providing inspiration as a designer but it will be a fantastic way of being soppy and nostalgic when I make a post similar to this one next year!! 

If anyone dares to tell me taking photos are taking away from the moments themselves, then I'll just tell them I have such a duff memory of my childhood that looking back at photos from then is the only way of making me remember stuff!

my little photo blog - i've been posting 2 photos from each day for about 2 weeks now

Hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy post, but I'll leave you with another technology-relevant post I found on tumblr. Unfortunately I don't know the original source for this one, but if anyone knows who said this originally I'd be very grateful!

"Food doesn’t taste better or worse when documented by Instagram. Laughter is as genuine over Skype as it would be sharing a sofa. Pay attention. Take in nature, hold someone’s hand, read a book. But don’t ever apologize for snapping a photo of a sunrise after a hike, or blogging about the excitement of having a crush, or updating your goodreads account. All of these things are good and should be celebrated. Smile at strangers on the sidewalk and like your friends’ selfies. It’s all good for the human spirit."

CIAO and be wiggly
Jean
XXXXXX

Monday, 9 June 2014

Knitting in Fashion

Howdy! I'd like to share with you guys a guest post I did for over at Mademoiselle, about the history of knitting in fashion! I go from its beginnings of fashionable-ness in the 1920's all the way through to the present where you can't go into shops without seeing a jumper (except summer, of course). I really loved researching and collecting lovely images for this post so I wanted to share the post and the lovely blog to you guys.

Here's a little excerpt:

Chanel wearing one of her infamous striped jersey tops
Source
Two of my most favourite things in the world are knitting, and fashion, so what better to display my enthusiasm than to showcase the interesting history knitting has had in the fashion world.

It's not always been that comfortable and fashionable knitwear has existed, and even as recent as the 1980s, knitwear was seen as dowdy and old fashioned. So, what changed?
Knitting itself has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, and the practice itself saw a sharp decline in popularity in the 19th century when the industrial revolution began and the use of machines caused many families to stop hand-making clothes and undergarments, because many had to instead spend most of their time working. 

Knitwear never really came to the fore until Coco Chanel completely changed the course of fashion...


Read more about what Chanel did and how knitting so a decline later on in the post which you can read here. Be sure to check out Mademoiselle, it's a lovely blog by a lovely blogger!

Ciao and stay squiggly~
Jean
XXXXX

Post banner made with clipart from Just Something I Made, and a sample of knitting from the V&A website 

Friday, 30 May 2014

Interview with Cat from Through A Cat's Eyes


I am super excited to welcome Cat from Through A Cat's Eyes to my humble corner of the internet. Cat is absolutely lovely, and has been blogging for well over seven years now, and I've been a reader of her blog for a very good portion of that time!! I'm so happy to call her a friend, so when she asked me to answer a few questions for her own blog (you can check it out here) I didn't want to waste this opportunity to ask her some questions too! 


Hi Cat!! Welcome to my little blog. First of all, can you describe your blog - Through A Cat's Eyes - in one sentence?

Hello! Thanks for having me. ^_^

Through A Cat's Eyes is my baby; I've had and loved it for almost 7 years now and it really is an extension of me and my personality. That's the only way I can describe it!


You've been blogging for a long time now, what are your tips to newer bloggers to stop the 'bloggers block'?

Don't force it: If you don't feel like writing a post, don't write a post. Readers can sense when you don't want to be writing so make sure you're doing it when you really want to.

Make sure you're blogging for the right reasons: I think it's really easy to start blogging with the wrong intentions now that the blogosphere is so big and popular. Please don't be one of those bloggers who are only after PR samples and money! Just be in it for the right reasons and stick at it, and I can pretty much promise that you'll do well. ^_^

Don't get bogged down with numbers: This is incredibly difficult and, to be honest, I've been guilty of getting bogged down with the numbers. Really try not to compare your blog to other people's. Just stick at it, don't get disheartened and do your own thing!


What is your favourite 'thing' (place/hobby/product/person/etc.) you have discovered through blogging?

I've made some amazing friends through blogging (Holly, Charli and Amber, I'm looking at you!!) and have just met some wonderful people in general, which is awesome. As for products, blogging has pretty much introduced me to most of what I use... I really rely on blogs to introduce me to new skin-care and make-up products and, as a beauty blogger (I don't stick to that, though), I get to try out lots of new stuff to review. It's hard to pin-point one product! Blogging has also given me an amazing hobby - my blog is my pride and joy. :D


Who are your top 5 bloggers, the ones you get routinely inspired by?

Wow, that's difficult! I read an awful lot of blogs but if I have to choose 5, I'll probably have to say Etc Llymlrs, EssieButton, LexieAlexandra, The Lovecats Inc, and...*drumroll*...Oberjean! And no, I'm not just saying that because I'm on your blog right now; I genuinely love your blog. ^_^


What do you think has changed, good and bad, about blogging, since you first started?

Pretty much everything has changed since I started blogging. When I started, blogging really wasn't a 'thing' and it definitely wasn't a trend like it is now. I'd never heard of any big bloggers or anyone who had made a career out of blogging, and the 'blogosphere' wasn't even really a developed thing yet. In a way, I miss what it used to be like: I was part of an amazing, small community of bloggers all around my age and we were all friends. There was no competition, bitterness, elitism or plagerism and, unfortunately, the blogosphere is full of that now. I've mentioned this briefly before but I really feel incredibly excluded from the blogging community now because of the elitism, even though I've been here for 7 years. Sorry...you opened the flood-gates! :'D


What is your favourite skin care product?

On a lighter note, my favourite skincare product is the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + because I honestly feel like it keeps my skin under control. Being a teenager, I have quite a few problems with my skin and I do get spots quite often but since I started using the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +, my skin's been behaving a bit more.


If you could go back to your past self and tell them something, what would you say?
Stop caring so much!! I used to care about what everyone thought of me way too much (I still care but no where near as much) and I would put so much pressure on myself to get the best marks in all of my classes and to never ever get in trouble...ever. There are more important things to be worrying about, when I used to think that getting sent out of PSE was the end of the world. Also, don't care so much about everyone liking you; it ain't gonna happen. 4 years ago, I would go home after school and cry because a stupid ass-hole in my year called me flat-chested. Now, I'd laugh and politely tell them where to go. Stop caring!!


If you won the lottery, would you tell anyone? And, what would your dream wardrobe end up being?

No. Instead, I would go on a shopping spree and buy stuff for all of my friends and then surprise them with a load of presents. Then I would tell them that I'd won the lottery.

Ooooh...my dream wardrobe would be really quite grungey; full of amazing vintage bomber jackets, ripped denim, band tees and muscle tanks. Then I would girly it up with some florals and silver leather (I have an amazing silver bomber jacket from the mens section in ASOS but my family refuse to leave the house with me when I wear it...) :D


What hobby / interest do you turn to whenever you are bored out of your mind? Why?

I usually play my ukulele and sing when I'm bored (or sad; it really cheers me up), or I blog. There's just something so relaxing about making music and blogging is quite comforting for me because I've done it for so long. Both of them are default hobbies for me when I'm bored.


Which book do you force people to read (in a nice way!!)?

Starter For Ten by David Nicholls! I'm obsessed with Starter For Ten - the book and the film - so I'm always nagging people to read and watch it. :'D



Go check out her blog over at Through A Cat's Eyes, you won't regret it!

Ciao and stay squiggly!
Jean
XXXXX

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

sewing the high street: using a sewing machine


Hello!! This week's instalment is a wee bit late, and is due to my stressing out over my final deadline. This means I won't be posting a new Sewing the high street for 2 weeks so I can focus more on my deadline. I'll be going over the parts of a sewing machine, threading up and a few tips and tricks :)

sewing machine anatomy

For the most part, sewing machines tend to follow the same sort of pattern (pun intended). The past couple of decades hasn't seen much in innovation and just more changes to design and enhancement of the process of sewing. So, when you come across a sewing machine it will be pretty similar to the one I have in the photos below, just with changes to the design, positioning of buttons and dials, and how fancy it is (the one featured not being fancy, heh)!

There are a lot of stitches, even on this cheaper sewing machine, but for most people they will only really be using variations of the straight stitch, zig zag stitch (for edges) and the button hole function. Most offer dials to change the stitch but more modern ones also have digital displays or buttons that light up (woahhH). Usually 1 or A is your best bet for a simple straight stitch.


On the front of a sewing machine, along with stitch options, you will also come across ways to change the tension. My one has that option near the top left as a dial, but some have it next to the stitch options as well. You don't really need to fiddle with that, but the tension is your first port of call when your sewing machine is acting up - such as if it misses stitches or there is poor stitching.


The back will most likely have the holes for power and your foot pedal as well as an on button. In addition, the lever for the presser foot (the part which touches your fabric) tends to be at the back as well, and changes position ALL the time depending on which sewing machine you use (so don't get used to the positioning of it!).


This dial is basically how you can "manual" sew, and I find it super useful to start off stitching, press the reverse to secure the stitch and stitch forward a couple times. This is just my way of doing things to start things off slowly but most people just like to use the presser foot all the way through. 

The dial is really for making sure the needle is in the position you need it - if you need it down for turning corners or if you need it up and out of the fabric once you have finished sewing to cut the threads.

It's super important to know that you must only roll the dial towards you. That is the direction the needle goes and it can mess with the machine if you turn it away from you!


threading a sewing machine



Threading a sewing machine is always a bit fiddly but machines always have little arrow guides to show you the way to go! Follow the directions, and make sure to see if there is a little nick or hole above the needle for your thread to go in. This is so the thread goes straight down towards the tip of the needle. Then, lower the foot and try and stick your thread through the needle head for 10 minutes and then get someone else to try and watch them do it within 10 seconds (this happens way too often for my liking...)!


Once you are threaded up, now is the time for the bobbin. The bobbin is what is seen on the wrong side of fabric but in any case should be as similar a colour to your top thread as possible. In this instance I chose a different colour to make it more obvious but it shouldn't really be.


Machines are all different when it comes to which direction a bobbin must be placed in, and it's pretty important to get it right as it does not sew properly if it is in the wrong way. So make sure to check the manual for the right direction. For mine the right way is when the thread is pulled and the bobbin rolls clockwise, so I place it in with the thread popping out....


...and I hold the top stitch (shown in white) and turn the MANUAL sewing dial towards me so the needle goes down and up (one rotation). If it doesn't pick it up after one rotation go once more (it may not have been a full rotation) and that should pick up the bobbin thread. Lift the presser foot up and pull the bobbin thread up and out. Pull both threads until they are about 15cm long and lay them behind the presser foot.





actually sewing



Now it's time to actually sew! Yay! So once you are threaded up, make sure the presser foot is up and pop your material in. Before you begin sewing you must always lower the presser foot. Now, have a few goes sewing straight, turning corners, anything you fancy.


Once you've finished flick the presser foot up and pull the fabric out carefully. Leave some bits of thread on the fabric and cut it off the thread still in the machine.


There you have it! Fabric now stitched together... 


tips n tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks you will learn as you sew more and more, handily put here for your convenience!

- It's super easy to pop thread through the clip/hole above the needle if you lower the needle into the machine before you do it, and contrastingly...
- If you lower the presser foot and raise the needle using the manual sewing dial it then makes it easier to put your top thread through the tip of needle
- Use your reverse stitch (usually on front of sewing machine either above and to right of needle or a push button on front of sewing machine) at the start and finish of stitching so that it sets the stitch and it is less likely to unravel
- To turn corners, simple leave the needle in the fabric and lift the presser foot. Then turn your fabric to the direction you need, lower the foot again and continue sewing

Pressin' the reverse stitch

Those are just a few off the top of my head, the more you sew the quicker you get at it, the easier you find things and the more you find little tips and tricks to make things easier for yourself!

I hope you enjoyed this week's post!

Ciao and stay squiggly
Jean XXXX

This week I am busy with final deadlines for assessment so will not have the time to do much sewing. However as soon as the deadlines are over I'm technically into summer!! So the following week I'll actually be moving on to the garment itself and show you guys my progress. See you in 2 weeks!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I WAS IN PARIS



(Picture heavy!)

Heck yeah!! I was in Paris for 3 days in mid March with 140 other first year art students from Gray's, and it was possibly the most fun I have had EVER in such a short space of time. We were staying in the Gare du Nord St Christopher's Inn, which was brand new last year and really lovely to stay in. It was also easy for us to socialise altogether because there was a pretty big bar and restaurant. There was no way we were heading out into the Paris nightlife, because as far as I am concerned the day was scary enough... I've not experienced much street harassment in my life, it happens but never to the extent that me and the girls I was with most of the time experienced in just 3 days there!

Someone's home underneath stairs at the Palais de Tokyo
My favourite day was "the shittest Thursday ever". It started out so bad because we wasted an entire morning (not good if you are there for just 3 days) but looking back it was so funny. Myself and 12 others were all heading to the catacombs under Paris (where they moved about 7 million bodies when they ran out of room / were building) but managed to get onto an RER train instead of a metro train, which not only took us to the airport OUTSIDE of Paris, but also in the wrong direction. 

A genuine French market(!) just in front of the Palais de Tokyo
We then spent 30 seconds in the airport and got on a train back to Paris, which took one hour altogether and we got charged 30 Euros each because our metro ticket was for inside Paris only. Great! 

It then got better - we finally made it on the right metro (not a train... sigh) to the catacombs, and then one of the girls had the lovely experience of sitting next to a man who was masturbating. Yeah, masturbating on the metro. Yay Paris! The catacombs were awesome, and the following afternoon we wandered into the Saint Chapelle trying to find the Notre Dame, found the Notre Dame and also the really cute padlock bridge.

Saint Chapelle - so so so pretty! (unfortunately just had my iPhone camera at the time)
The first day was the visit to the Eiffel Tower (natch), a really cool Conde Naste exhibition about fashion photography, wandering of the streets, finding all the expensive high end fashion designers, and going to the biggest shopping centre in Europe (which didn't seem that big!).

Views of a bridge while trying to find the Notre Dame 

The final day we went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa (exactly what people say, pretty pants), went to Les Arts Decoratifs and saw the incredible Dries Van Noten exhibition and finally, my favourite thing we did, visited the Issey Miyake flagship store on Rue Royale!! It was so cool finally stepping inside a proper fashion designer's shop. The clothes were about 30cm between each other on the rails and touching them was amazing because you could literally feel the quality and effort that went into them.

Our little padlock

I had an amazing time and desperately want to go back to experience everything I missed out - going up the Eiffel Tower, more wandering of the streets and lots and lots of fashion and textile related exhibitions and shops we just didn't have the time for.

The infamous Louvre triangles

I am pretty chuffed because I have convinced one of my closest friends Anye and my sister Heather to go to Paris next summer for 6 nights at the same youth hostel. I'm hoping I can get them to squeeze all the interesting fashion things into one day and then we can go to Disneyland another day! 

Issey Miyake flagship store!

Going to Norway last summer and Paris this past March has really made me realise how much I want to see of the world!!

Stay squiggly,

Jean 
XXXXXX



Assortment of cute Paris streets and buildings