THE FINE LINE

I think this may be my favourite collection after February’s My Dear Valentine. Once again I made these garments the day before, I know I keep telling myself not to but it happens due to work and other projects that come my way. What started up as a project to promote slow fashion has just become a mad frantic rush for me to make garments to show off what I can do.

Is it stressful? It wasn’t to begin with- I’ve worked with Charlotte since January and this is the first time I had someone else shoot with me so it has opened my eyes a little that I shouldn’t really be dumping my photographers at the deep end by showing garments and concepts a few days before. It just means I should actually keep to my schedule instead of rushing like a mad woman three days before.

Anyway, I hope you like it as much as I do and once again thank you to my models and Kwaku for taking awesome shots.

Thanks for stopping by!

M

POLAR

I promise I will get better at updating this blog.

This is March’s offering and sadly not shot on 35mm. This time I’m in front of the camera which did feel a little bizarre as I’m usually the professional coat carrier during our shoots. I also think this collection shows what I felt at the time, I was very indecisive and left things to the last minute (no really I made everything the day before). I personally know I can do better and I was so ready to dismiss this piece of work until I saw the response and support on Instagram- that kept me going so thank you to everyone who is still reading this and watching my work in progress. This is just the beginning.

Once again thank you to Charlotte for taking the photos.

 

 

My Dear Valentine

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Forgive me, I know it’s already March and I forgot to update the blog about February’s collection for A Working Progress- it used to be called Slow Futures but that sounded terrible and did not really fit the purpose of this project which was to grow and to evolve my design/garment making skills so we now have A Working Progress (huzzah!).

This little collection was a lot of fun to create- once again I did not give myself very long to create it, just finishing the last stitch the night before the shoot and my dear photographer Charlotte freaking out because she hasn’t seen a single garment at 10pm prior to shooting. The sweatshirt is made out of suedette with a lovely satin backing with a zip front. The skirt in the same outfit is in a beautiful lurex knit that I like to call mermaid fabric, I don’t think the pictures do the fabric justice. The other outfit consists of a coordinating flowing shirt with a matching skirt that looks gorg on Gabi!

Hope you guys like it and thanks for stopping by!

M

 

Slow Futures: Denimhead

The first offering this year. Shot on 35mm film by Charlotte Joseph. Modeled by Gabrielle Ngoo and Gloria Massamba-Lutama. A huge thank you for getting up early on a very foggy morning.

Check out the photos in all its glory on Cargo Collective

Thanks for stopping by!

M

Slow Futures

I am very happy to be sharing this new project I am working on. It will kill me because it is a huge task but I need a challenge and I need to keep my creative energy going.

I started this off as a way to educate myself in pattern cutting and garment construction, to find my “signature” if I have any and to be able to make clothes that had no agenda, no trend that it followed, no season.

Slow Futures is a project that will test me over 2017, over 12 months I will create 12 mini collections with 12 different concepts shown across 24 different outfits.

I’m crazy right?

A visit to Abraham Moon & Sons Ltd

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I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Abraham Moon and Sons Mill up in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. It is the last vertical mill in the UK which was established in 1837. Everything from dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing processes all take place here.

When walking up to the mill it is really difficult to imagine how much can go on in what seems like a small space but once you go into the mill and the smell of wool hits you, you just feel like you are in a very special place.

Firstly the wool is dyed in huge dye baths after ensuring that the fibres are free from soil, debris and animal matter.

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If a wool needs to be blended, a huge blending room in which fibres are shot through a room that reminds me of a wind tunnel and all the fibres are mixed together to be blended and packed into bales like the photo below:

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The bales are then ready to be carded. Carding is the process of fibres going through a series of drums of wire brushes that pull fibres apart to detangle them and remove any remaining impurities.20161215_103452

The slivers are then wound into bobbins to be spun into stronger yarns before weaving. 20161215_103523

The photos below show the spinning process, fibres are ring spun to make the yarns stronger before weaving.

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Below, the yarns are being prepared to be warped onto a loom. 20161215_104209

Here is a look into the weaving shed, it’s loud and dusty but here is where the magic happens.

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The cloth is then finished by washing, drying and brushing (if needed) then cut into either scarves, blankets or rolled ready for clients.

After the tour around the mill we had a peek into the archives seeing each swatch of fabric ever made since the late 1940s, cloths were a lot heavier then but the colours were intense and a wonderful surprise.

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I had a really enjoyable day, I would like to thank everyone at Abraham Moon’s for their hospitality as well as sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for their beautiful products.

I also hope you enjoyed this post, I don’t think the photos do justice of what a special place this mill is.

Thanks for stopping by!

M

Post extreme hiatus.

I’ve been away for quite a while haven’t I?

Since July I have been caught up with work and it hasn’t stopped to let me breathe at all. It doesn’t mean that I find it overwhelming, I just find it very busy. I’ve been given a lot more responsibility at work and more opportunities that sometimes it is a little difficult to fit in during one working day. One thing that I have learn in the past few months is how to manage my time better. I thought I had that to a tee when I first started but there are days where you have so much earmarked as “urgent” that you start to lose focus.

I have also been trying to protect my mental health as fiercely as possible. Tension and stress levels at work are high and trying to balance that with a social calendar, financial stability and general well being is difficult. I haven’t been able to take time off work but I did take some time to re-assess my priorities and give myself quality T-I-M-E. After spending many months feeling that I have lost my sense of creativity I thought I could combat this by creating more and challenging myself to try things I would initially never do.

2016 has taught me a lot so far despite what feels like the worst year in history and I hope to keep the learning momentum rolling into 2017.

 

6 months in…

Time has flown! I’m already past the first 6 months here at M&S and after a very long awaited holiday, I took some time to reflect on the a few things I have learned so far.

I visited a military tailor’s based in North London to have a look at the factory and ways they produced their suits. The techniques they used involved large baste and padding stitches as the layers between the outer fabric and the lining were very thick, therefore did not need that much to hold its shape. The results were very heavy military uniform adorned with very detailed embroidery which are done both by hand and machine. They used a variety of canvas from fusible on the uniforms to different weights depending on the end use of the suit. It was also good to see young people in the workshop and seeing them work makes me wish I was in the same position, thimble in hand and shears at my side.

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I also had a chance of visiting a reprocessing warehouse- it’s always important to note the cost of logistics and reprocessing as it is an important step in how the end product is presented on the shop floor. It’s a huge operation and it’s amazing to see how it all works.

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I also visited our biggest distribution centre which also houses our firewall team, my favourite ladies that are our point of call when quality isn’t up to standard. They audit purchase orders when they come into the country as well as when technologists notice a rise in return to manufacture rates/customer complaints. I underestimated how much work they did as they diligently check so many products per week. They let Russie and I have a go and within 2 hours we only went through 30 pairs of trousers and about 15 coats- we’ll pick up speed next time we visit.

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Here is another look at the factory I train at once a week; every week it looks manic and it’s great to have a factory as a resource during my studies. As someone who hates sitting in lectures, it’s great to have access to a factory which can provide context to what I am learning at work and whilst during coursework.IMG_20160823_125839

I’ve also been lucky to have visited London College of Fashion for various product knowledge courses. They are very intensive but provide a good foundation on the basics of knitwear and fabrics and fibres. I personally enjoy them as I like to geek put about fabric and material composition/construction a lot.

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I remember a conversation I had with HR and she asked what a good learner is and my response was that they should be a sponge so my goal in this first year is to absorb everything that is going around me and to take every opportunity available. One thing I definitely need to work on is establishing relationships with my team members, I don’t feel I connect with them enough because I’m generally a very shy person but hopefully by the end of the year that changes- I just need to give my self confidence a little boost.

Thanks for stopping by!

M

Cloth Talk

I must confess, I hate shopping. It started with my mother’s rule of “think about how many times you will wear it”, then throughout my tailor training it was just ingrained in me that quality must be of immaculate quality and tender loving care, my job now is to analyse garments on a daily basis and that has totally cut out the habit of impulse buying for me.

My shopping trips generally involve me walking around a shopping centre, checking out every shop, touching everything, checking the finishes on garments and then thinking “is it worth it for this price???” which usually means I will walk away empty handed.

Word of advice, don’t date a garment tech if you hate shopping with girls already.

Now time for me to analyse shit from retailers that honestly shock me.  Starting off with this pretty little dress on a scuba fabric- great for a night out with the gals, awful when you get stuck in it whilst trying it on. The first thing I noticed was that the stretch was going length ways, how the hell do you expect me to put it on.  clq5856_-35main

Looking at the make up of the garment irked me even more:

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At the top back panels of the garment, there is puckering due to the tension of the stitch as well as the fact the fabric is not able to stretch. Then you can see the wiggly stay stitch from the waist up to the cut out panel- I’m going to tell you now the length of the stitch does not match the stay stitch on the other side and that is just painful. As you can see, the front waist panels don’t match the length of the back panels.

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All seams were susceptible to slipping, again because the fabric was cut on the grain and not on the cross to allow for stretch.

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Thread ends all over the garment just irked me and the fact that fibres were coming out of the strap shows the lack of care in this garment.

So I copied the pattern, bagged this little bitch back up and sent it straight back to the retailer.

Thanks for stopping by!

M