Monochrome and parrot coloured

When I designed the collections for my DIY Couture mega book I wanted to show that the items clothing could be made to look minimal and striking. As a fabric lover, it is often tempting to pick busy prints that are lovely in and of themselves. If one always does this however, one can end up dressing like one's Grandmother's patchwork quilt. I thought it would be challenging and useful to show a collection of home sewn clothes made with just black and white fabrics.

I often tend to design a collection for someone in particular. I usually choose a model before I make my collections not only so that I can make the clothes to fit, but as I like to be inspired by the person I am making for. I chose my sister to model what became known as the 'Monochrome Art' collection. A naturally stylish lady, my sister Hannah dresses un-fussily and I can't remember the last time I saw her wearing a strong colour.

Above is the collage mood board I made before designing the collection, with pictures of Hannah at the bottom left. These are the final illustrations of the Monochrome Art collection.

And this is what they looked like modeled by Hannah, photographed and displayed in the book.

There is something beautifully simple about black and white. It can be sensible, deadly serious, but cartoon-like at the same time. Monochrome made it's bold, colourless voice ring loudly at a few of the big catwalk shows for SS13, particularly Louis Vuitton and Moschino.

This graphic, 60's inspired Moschino look has found it's way into the online DIY world with tutorials popping up all over the place, including this brilliant one by Marlena on the Rookie Mag site, explaining how to turn two T-shirts into one striking slip dress.

I bought some black and white printed fabric from Offset Warehouse a few months ago and decided I would make my own head-to-toe monochrome outfit. This fabric is fair trade and has been hand printed by a women's co-operative in India.

I used the same McCall's pattern that I used to make my pink high waisted trousers but planned to allow a bit more room to move, as the monochrome fabric did not stretch at all.

I added the same extension at the top and dropped the crotch slightly.

I worked under the watchful gaze of my pet eyeball.

Here are the finished trousers. I love them, though the fabric is quite thin and lends itself more to summer wear than to the endless cold winter we are experiencing in the UK at the moment. I'm wearing the trousers with a jacket I got at a second hand shop in Liverpool last summer.

I looked up the 'Sundance Dance Club,' who's logo is embroidered on the back, and they still exist.

I cropped the trousers fairly short, but I need to wear them with socks firmly pulled up in this weather.

I picked up some striped jersey on Goldhawk Road and decided to make a T-shirt with it. I often end up playing drums in shop-bought vests, but would like to gradually replace them with homemade clothes. I made this T-shirt with drumming in mind.

Spot the deliberate mistake! I wish I could say it was deliberate, but I did absent mindedly sew the sleeve to the neck hole!

I self-drafted this T-shirt, just making some simple changes at the shoulder to distinguish the back from the front. I drew out a bit of facing for the neck edge at both front and back. I slipped a piece of A4 paper behind the neck and used a pen to roughly mark out the right shape.

I used this paper as a pattern piece to cut my back facing and then repeated this for the slightly different front neckline.

I look grumpy here as it is freezing cold and I am wondering why the hell I'm taking photos of myself in the back yard without a jacket.

If you look closely you might spot a flash of bright orange! Try as I might, I cannot master 100% monochrome. Colour is too much fun. This flash of orange is a ring designed and made by my sister.

My boyfriend bought me the ring for my birthday, in a sneaky transaction that took place under my very nose without me noticing. Here is the ring in a more colourful setting. It is based on the shape of an eagle's head, though the neon orange is definitely more parrot-like.

By coincidence (OR IS IT) it is a similar colour to some of the clothing in the Acid Candy collection, displayed next to the page full of miniature versions of my sister in my book : )


  1. I love this collection .. I like minimalist designs, clear and shadow lines... Your outfit is so cool

  2. Oh I love monochrome too, and the collection in your book screams brilliant!!. Great make on the pants and top too, love the silhouette. The pop of orange is perfect! now go pop your jacket on before you get a chill :)

    1. Thank you! London finally seems to have warmed up today : ) xx

  3. Loving monochrome with bold colour at the mo. Had to laugh at the old sleeve to neckhole gaff!! very funny!

    1. Ha ha! I thought something funny was going on when the sleeve was a little too small for the hole but I boldly persevered without thinking : /!! xx

  4. Love this look - one of my favourites from your fabbo book. Also love that picture of Hannah with her ventriloquist's doll on her knee! :) x

    1. Ah thanks Tilly : ) Ha ha! I do love that big natural Hannah is comforting small glamorous Hannah with a firendly hand-on-the-shoulder : ) xx

  5. Your monochrome outfit looks ace, though the line about dressing like a Grandmas quilt has struck fear into my print and colour loving heart!

    I've always enjoyed your blog so I've just nominated it for a Leibster Award - keep up the excellent blogging :)

  6. Hey Hannah - cripes what did I say? I am a firm believer in prints and patterns and staunch admirer of anyone dressing like a granny's quilt!

    Thanks so much for nominating my blog! I am really sorry that I won't have time to go through this process of passing on the love for the next six weeks. I have serious time pressure and not even enough time to blog, which is why my last post was at the start of April! I can't wait to have time to attend to things that need attending to, and if it's not too late then I will pass on this nomination.

    Rosie xx

    1. No pressure whatsoever - I actually appreciate that your blogging is more quality than quantity and look forward to your next post whenever you're ready. Keep up the rocking work! X


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