Design Your Own Fabric with Contrado

Designing my own fabric was one of my goals as a sewer. One deterring factor of not accomplishing this goal is that I’m not good at drawing. I’ve attempted a few times to consistently drawing, but it never lasted long. I just could not get into it. But! I have a good friend who can draw amazing flowers that would be perfect for dress fabric. Natalie Bleakly is a illustrator with a fashion background now living in Tokyo. She is showing her illustrations at a cafe gallery named in Kiyosumi Shirakawa. She was gracious enough to help me with my fabric order. Here is Natalie:

“The Camellia flower (a.k.a Tsubaki 椿) is a common flower found in Japan. The white camellia is definitely more rarely seen than it’s red or pink counterpart. I wanted to paint something that most people living in Japan would recognise straight away but, also admire the beauty and rarity of the flower. Although, the Camellia is not a rare flower in Japan, seeing it in white is really something special as it can mean several things including desire, passion, longevity and faithfulness. In Japan, is symbolizes the divine. It is often used in religious and sacred ceremonies and also represents the coming of spring. They can also mean purity, the love between mother and child or mourning when used in funeral flowers. When presented to a man, a white camellia is thought to bring luck.”

I’ve used Spoonflower in the past, but this time I ordered from Contrado. It’s great that they offer their services in multiple languages including Japanese. I first ordered a fabric sample pack as I was unable to decide between different types of satins. Fabric swaps were very helpful! It came with bunch of different fabric samples, including organza, scuba, stretch knits, chiffon etc. it’s a maker’s dream! I ended up with Duchess Satin. It has a very elegant sheen and nice weight for a drape.Here is the fabric that’s arrived. It’s exactly what I wanted – thanks to Natalie who scaled the flower print in the size I needed! I’m going to be making a simple I line dress to show off the print. 

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Soen Competition…Submitted

transition submission cover letterI wrote in the beginning of the year 2013 that my goal of this year was to practice sketching and submit my design to the design contest in Japan, Soen competition (装苑賞). The deadline was in mid May and I am proud to say that I accomplished my goal. This was my first formal design competition submission, and I learned a lot though the process. I had the theme “transition” in mind – I wanted to express the transition woman goes through from the life change, from becoming a mother, having different roles in life (wife, friend, mother, worker) and returning to workforce after such an dramatic change in personal life. I also wanted to incorporate French Renaissance influence as well as I thought French Renaissance was a big transitional period in History in art, literature and so on. Although I liked my theme, I don’t think I was able to express it well enough, mostly due to the lack of time. I finished all my sketch the day before the due date and express mailed the package to the examiners. I did not mean to do it so last minute, but it kept pushed back because of other VV work and life. This was my first try, so I hope to have something better put-together the next time.

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Sketch Everyday 3

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I set my year 2013 resolution to be sketching everyday. Although I have not been doodling every single day, I am happy to say that I successfully got in the habit of sketching my design ideas down whenever the mood strikes. At least, I am no longer afraid of sketching. Although I am not Picaso level, I enjoy sketching, which is important I think! Also, I am happy that I can present my design ideas in somehow presentable form to my customers. It helps both my customers and I.

To sketch, I was using regular black pen and colored pencils (borrowed from my daughter!), but recently bought a watercolor set because my biggest fashion illustrator muse, Paperfashion uses watercolor. Her illustration is amazing; something every girl would dream of having it next to her dresser.

Anyway, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been doodling – ideas for bohemian bride, flowy silk dress with floral painting on pure silk, wedding in the woods. Watercolor is fun, especially when Kiko can enjoy it too.

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Sketch Everyday
Sketch Everyday 2


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