The Great British DIY Floral
This weekend has seen thousands of floral-wearing garden lovers swarming through west London to admire explosions of herbacious colour at the Chelsea Flower Show. To celebrate the season of the flower, I worked on a DIY Couture collaboration with two inspirational ladies; Melanie Bowles, author of "Digital Textile Design" and Emma Neuberg, founder of the Slow Textiles Group.
They were running a series of workshops at the V&A, teaching participants how to make floral repeat prints. They suggested I make a version of my slouch top design in one of their prints, so students could see that the entire production process of a garment - from print design to construction - could be in their grasp.
I made eight different versions of the slouch top to feature in my DIY Couture book.
The different versions show how fabric choice makes a huge impact on the appearance of a garment. I made one floral version of the slouch top for the 'Tea Picnic' collection, but was looking forward to working with Melanie's unique print, rather than a high street fabric.
Melanie makes tutorials that explain how to digitally create repeat patterns. For the Great British Floral tutorial, she began with a photograph of some flowers...
She traced the image with ink to create bold, graphic shapes...
With some Photoshop work, she transformed these simplified images into a fresh, summery floral repeat design.
Emma printed this onto some light weight cotton and it was then my job to turn it into a slouch top.
I got to work on the sewing machine. This is by far the finest fabric I have ever had the privilege of using.
I called in on Melanie and Emma's final 'Great British Floral' workshop, to show them the finished slouch top and to see what their students had been up to. The V&A has a beautiful, well equipped learning area called The Sackler Centre.
The two sweet flowers Emma and Melanie flicked through my DIY Couture book!
Melanie showed me the repeat prints the students had designed during the workshops. She is wearing one of her own explosive floral prints.
You can see some of these designs brought to life in Melanie and Emma's joint project, The People's Print.
This is how my final Great British Floral slouch top turned out.
I am more a cactus than a flower girl, and a single geranium is the only flowering plant in my flat. My boyfriend has green fingers but I do not. Here I am having a natter with our geranium in the back yard.
I found it hard to keep still in this top, as the print is so full of life.
It's very exciting for me to see that digital repeat printing is a DIY possibility. Fabric shops hold endless wonders, but actually being able to design proffessional looking prints opens up a whole world of thrilling potential...