Artdecoish Lilly of the Valley design (Spoonflower weekly design challenge)

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I’ve been thinking about designing an artdecoish pattern with a rhombus for the base (this whole concept might have a proper name… ;)), featuring some kind of fauna and gradients for quite some time. Something that looks a bit like a Liberty print. (Just a bit, I’m obviously never going to pretend I could get on the same level:))

For no particular reason I haven’t done any Spoonflower designs in quite some time. Most of the weekly contests either didn’t appeal to me or I just didn’t have the time, so I didn’t even visit the website for a month. Then, on Sunday, I went to check out what contests are coming up in the future, thinking I could practise some of the techniques I want to really learn in Illustrator. And there it was, this week”s contest.

Lilies. I love flowers SO much. Huge lilies in general aren’t really my thing (they always remind of funerals or tacky holiday postcards), but their tiny sisters, lilies of the valley, are one of my favourites. They have been popping up around the routes where I walk my dog every day in the past few weeks and it’s really hard for me not pick them all and bring them home.

So it was almost perfect. Lilly of the valley was one of the most popular flowers in the art deco era (maybe it wasn’t and I just notice all the deigns that feature it more, I don’t know) and they are perfect for a rhomboidal design. Unfortunately, I only had two days to make it, so it’s not where I wanted it to be. I had quite a lot of trouble working out the repeat so some other features of the design aren’t even there (like stems or leaves intertwining). But all in all, I’m still very much in love with it.

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And, as usual, if you like it, go to Spoonflower, and vote for it. I don’t think I really stand any chances, the fat quarter preview doesn’t show the design at all. But I didn’t want to make the rhombuses (god I love this word) to big, so it is what is. I kind of really want to order two yards of it to make myself a dress, but I can’t really justify the costs. Just the customs and handling fees were 12 pounds the last time, so… No. Or maybe?

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Halloween costume that fits on a yard of fabric

Spoonflower has a design contest for a Halloween costume that can be made out of a single yard of fabric this week. At first I didn’t think of entering, because I don’t have children or even know any children, so I couldn’t think of a costume design for such a small amount of fabric.

But then I remembered my costume for last years carnival (Slovenian grown ups dress up then) and part of it was an Elizabethan corset, that can easily be made out of a yard of fabric. An Elizabethan corset doesn’t singe in your waist, but makes your boobs look amazing. Here’s howthe one I made for carnival looks like:

corset

So an idea was born- part of the yard is going to be the lining of the corset with the boning marks on it, so it would be much easier to sew, and the outside was going to be… yeah…. something Gothic?

A ribcage in a vintiage medical book design style seemd like an appropriate start. After finding the right picture and manipulating it a little in photoshop it still seemed very boring though. I mean… there’s so many t shirts out there with a ribcage design on them, what was going to make my corset stand out? (The first thing was the fact that I always knew I was going to make the design in a size and position similar to my actual rib cage. Not a tiny picture that just floats in the middle of a t-shirt or a corset). And then I remembered this sad ballad I was forced to reread over and over again for a primary school literary competition. It was written by the most famous Slovenian poet France Prešern. I tried finding a decent translation of the title, but couldn’t, so here’s my best shot at it (I love it because it sounds like a Gothic bed time rhyme for children): The heart that would not rot.

the heart

It is basically about this singer who was in love with this pretty girl that didn’t love him back. Once she got married to another guy, he stopped singing. Because his heart was so full of unsang songs, it would not rot in his grave, so when some people dug him up, they found it there, still beating. That’s what ultimately inspired me for this design. (here‘s a google translate of the whole thing. It’s hilarious.)

I really like the whole design (as you’ve probably noticed, there’s also a skull mask) and for a second I considered ordering it with some rush shipping, but realised I do not have enough money for fun stuff like that. (The shipping would actually cost more than the yard of fabric and that seems silly). I’m also not planing on gong out all dressed up for Halloween, so it would probably be a waste of money. I am ordering a yard though and I’m going to sew this up sooner or later, even if I’m just going to wear it around the apartment. For, you know, cooking and stuff.

fabric

What I would like you to do, dear reader, if you like the design, is to go to this page and vote for it (along with other designs you like, obviously). Thank you!

First Visit to Liberty

If you like patterns or design or fabric or fabrics with pretty patterns and London, you’ve probably heard about Liberty. If not, it’s a department store and a company that makes and sells fabric with the prettiest floral and graphic designs ever. (They also sell other fancy fashionable stuff and chocolate, but that’s not that important.)

liberty

I’ve been looking forward to visiting the store ever since we moved here. I have also been avoiding it the whole time, because I knew exactly what the expedience was going to do to me. This weekend however, the time has come- Norb forgot his laptop charger at work so we had to go to the city centre. And since we were already there and had nothing else to do… we pilgrimaged through the tourist ridden streets of Soho to Regent street. (and visited the Orcs nest on the way there, but that’s another story)

The store was build in the “Tudor revival” architectural style, so it looks and feels even older than it actually is (and kind of Harry-Potterish). When I entered it, I felt like I’m entering a magical place where time and fiancés who’re accompanying you don’t matter. Walking up to the third floor where they sell the fabric I also kind of forgot how much money I don’t have. I just knew I had to look at ALL of the patterns, find the prettiest one and then buy at least a yard.

stairs

I gave Norb specific instructions of what he has to take pictures of (all the pictures in this post are obviously his work:)), because I had to manically look in every direction and didn’t really have the time to do it myself. Luckily, that kept him at least a bit entertained while I spent a few minutes (it was probably a bit more, but who counted?) in pattern heaven. I tried narrowing down my favourites to the smallest possible number, but couldn’t. Every fraking one was perfect. I also hoped, every time I glanced up at the price of the cotton, that it wasn’t going to say 22 £ / y, but it did. At some point the number said 36 and that probably brought me back to reality.

When I finally realised that I’m not confident enough in my sewing skills to spend that much money on fabric, I tried convincing Norb that I most definitely need a pretty sewing accessories box, but he (and my voice of reason) couldn’t be persuaded. I then tried convincing them both to buy pretty wrapping paper, frame it and use it to decorate our bare walls, but encountered another problem. Norb is a bit afraid of butterflies, so giant pictures of them make him feel uncomfortable. (Yes, I’m going to get married to the manliest man in the world. But as long as he isn’t afraid of spiders, I don’t mind.)

Harrypotterish window

So at the end I left Liberty empty handed, frustrated, sad and knowing that the world is a horrible, horrible place. Just as I expected. I’m probably going to go there regularly for another month before the Christmas season really starts, just to dwell in all that beauty. I’m already craving another hit of the art nouveau peacock patterns…