28 Mar 2014

On how Elisabeth came to be

Here is the next installment of the design stories behind my new products.
Today I’m going to tell you all about Elisabeth.

Now if you never heard the name William Morris before, you will most certainly recognise at least some of his designs.

This fabric is an imported quilting cotton, released some few years ago to celebrate the birthday (if I recall correctly) of the person regarded as the “father” of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Being a William Morris fan-for-life, I could not resist buying the fat quarter pack containing these prints.  As the prints totally speak for themselves in my opinion, I kept the patchwork as simple as possible, not adding anything or taking anything away.

Originally Elisabeth had wooden handles, purchased at my local fabric store.  Unfortunately – as with most things found in South Africa these days (or what feels like it), the quality was sadly lacking.  My daughter accidentally bumped the bag off my work table and the one wooden handle broke.  Yeah. The wood BROKE.  For the longest time I could not for the life of me figure out what to do with this bag that was made to have those specific handles.  Then, lo! and behold! I found a similar shape set in resin.  I bought them – doubtful that they would fit or even look nice on the bag.  

To say that I was relieved and grateful that not only did the handles fit, they actually looked real good on the bag, is a total understatement.

So, what do you think? Do you think the handles go with the bag or not?

24 Mar 2014

On Joanna’s design story

As I told you previously, I’m sharing the design stories behind my new products, you can read so far about Athaliah, Phoebe and Delilah.  

Today I’ll be sharing the design story of Joanna.

Now this fabric has been going around everywhere on everything.

As I have a daughter at university now, I came to realise that she needs a bag for her books and stuff, a big one, but not an unwieldy one, and as she and all her friends use tablets and pads, there should be room for that too.  And she’s probably not the only student who needs a nice bag.

The bag must be easy to open and close, but secure at the same time – there’s all types of kids (unfortunately) around university, therefore the flap with the magnetic closure.
This fabric is similar to a cotton canvas (or cotton duck). It’s actually machine washable and can be tumble dried.  But since the bag has synthetic batting in to make it sturdy, I do not recommend the tumble dry part, as I think the batting will probably shrink in the heat of a tumble drier, if it doesn’t burst into flames or something.  So I recommend the bag to be washed in a machine, on cold setting.
Now, I don’t know how you feel about energy saving and stuff, but I do try to do my part.  I wash my clothes in cold water – in fact the warm water inlet on my washing machine isn’t even connected.  Not only does it save energy, it also saves your clothes, as there is less wear on the fibres in cold water.  Think that cold water doesn’t wash clean?  I’ve found that if I use the washing powder recommended by the manufacturer my clothes come out perfectly clean.  Whites white and all that.
So, Joanna can be washed in a machine, dried in the sun and ironed on a warm setting, since we all know how careless students can be and how they chuck their bags down any old where.

What is your opinion on Joanna?  Would you wear her if you were a student?

21 Mar 2014

On how Delilah came to be

Here is the next installment of the design stories behind the new products, now available here too.

Delilah’s fabric is also an African wax print. 

 However, looking at the fabric, it called to mind something art-deco-ish to me.  Don’t you see it too?

Well, I’ve had this pattern in mind for a while, but never came across just the “right” fabric until I saw this.
This shape is odd, I grant you.  

But look, why have something ordinary all the time?
I found the inspiration from what is called a “chatelaine” from earlier times, like this one

However, for a modern woman a little purse like this is totally impractical.  And I must confess, although Delilah is much bigger, I suspect she might not be the most practical bag I’ve ever made.
I added a few gold coloured beads to the flap, which works with a magnetic snap, just to add that little bit of interest. 

At first I wanted to add a whole lot of gold beads, but I changed my mind, as I thought it would be a sort of over-kill, with the odd shape, the strange strap placement etcetera.  Do you think I made the right decision?
Delilah is also lined in the cream bridal satin I used for Athaliah, as this lady deserves something glam!

I called her Delilah because – just like the lady in the Bible, she steals your heart without you meaning to have it happen.

Whyyy why whyyyy Delilah….” (admit it: you sang that)

17 Mar 2014

On the design story of Phoebe

As I told you last time, I’m sharing the design stories behind the new products, available here as well.
Today I’d like to tell you about Phoebe.

Again the same basic shape as Athaliah’s and also in African wax print.

I really like this fabric.  It has an almost “formal” feel to it and the colours of black, brown and green reminds me of Africa on so many levels.
To accentuate the “formalness” of the fabric I’ve again used a button flap as closure, this time a more square one.

The button I found in an antique shop.  

If it’s an antique one, I really can’t say, but doesn’t the antelope remind you strongly of a Bushman rock painting too?
rock art

12 Mar 2014

On design stories

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a few new items available in my shop.

Over the next few weeks I would like to share the design story behind these new items, I hope you like to read about the adventures that I have with my products.

I’ll start off with Athaliah.

She’s made with African wax print.  As I’ve told you before, I’ve discovered that these African wax prints are actually not from Africa at all.  Some places call them “London wax prints”, and I’ve seen other names for them as well, which involves brands, so I won’t mention them.
Anyway, the African wax prints do originate from Africa originally, so I’ll continue to use them.  I must also just mention here that these prints have tons of flaws in them, so if you buy anything made from African wax prints, be sure that there will be flaws in the prints.  It’s not the fault of the maker of the item - although I must say I try to work around the flaws myself.

The fabric for Athaliah has a cream base with oval shapes in brown, teal and purple with yellow lines. 

I chose this basic shape for her and Phoebe, Rahab and Priscilla.  You will find out why at a later stage – stay tuned ;-)

For her closure I wanted to do a button as I loved these purple buttons with their hint of glitter – a girl’s gotta have glitter at some point.  

To emphasise the oval shapes of the print, I made the flap oval too, and put two buttons on.  Only the bottom one does the work of closing however.

I’ve lined her with a cream bridal satin.  I’ve found the bridal satin to be surprisingly sturdy and since I found this bridal satin rather cheaply on the off-cuts table, I don’t have any qualms in using it for a lining.

Do you like Athaliah?  Let me know what you think!