Monday, 1 June 2015

Fabulous Fabric: Party dresses

It all started with vintage shoes my mum was about to sell. She had bought them in the early 60's but had hardly worn them. The moment I saw them I fell in love, bought them and a new creative project was born as I didn't have anything suitable to wear with them.


I decided to make an evening dress and initially chose a McCall's pattern. After 6 trials in old curtain fabric I realised I wouldn't feel comfortable in it so I chose a different design and went for the pattern from Butterick 3080. Aberdeen unfortunately doesn't have a wide range of shops that supply dressmaking fabrics and after a bit of research online I found
The Dress Fabric Company based in Edinburgh. The owner was able to advise and source a wonderful drapey fabric (100 % polyester) that would perfectly suit the colours of my new shoes, all by email and phone!

As there was no gala ball to go to (we decided to pass on the one organised by Jaap's employer) I had plenty of time to finish it...and this is the result:


Front view wrap evening dress ©Fenfolio2015

Back view wrap evening dress ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up front view wrap evening dress ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up side view wrap evening dress ©Fenfolio2015


Close-up back view wrap evening dress ©Fenfolio2015

To make it really stand out of the crowd I made a clutch from the dress frabric I had leftover. I bought the PDF pattern online via Etsy.

I used the same buttons as the ones on my dress, only one size larger, supplied by my
local craft shop. It was quite tricky to get the pintucks perfect, even after pressing, as it's 100 % polyester. I used a tricot stitch as this fabric tend to pucker easily.

Front side evening clutch ©Fenfolio2015
Back side evening clutch ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up wristlet evening clutch ©Fenfolio2015

Close-up evening clutch ©Fenfolio2015

I applied two magnetic closures for the flap. For the interior of the clutch lining fabric
(100 % viscose) was used which I had bought for the dress based on the McCall's pattern.


Magnetic closure flap evening clutch ©Fenfolio2015

Interior evening clutch with pocket ©Fenfolio2015

Evening dress with clutch ©Fenfolio2015

After I completed my gala outfit I realised there wouldn't be many opportunities to wear it. I  was also left with a lot of lining fabric which I didn't want to go to waste so I decided to sew a cocktail dress with a lace overlay. I used the pattern from New Look 6261. It was hard to find the right scalloped lace fabric in the UK so I bought it from a supplier in the USA via Etsy.

To check whether the measurements were correct I quickly made the dress in old curtain fabric (looks like satin). After I made some adjustments onto the pattern pieces I started the project. Well, little did I know how difficult it is to sew lining and lace fabric! The mesh of the lace fabric was very stretchy so even cutting out the pattern pieces was really tricky. Also pressing with a low heat iron seemed to stretch it so I had to be very careful.

The pattern allowed for quite a bit of ease but I like it more tailored so during this project I had to make a few adjustments, meaning cautiously ripping my seams. Luckily I was sensible to baste everything first so it was easier to make changes if it wasn't right.

In the end, by being patient I was able to create a wonderful dress I'm really proud of. I have already worn it to a ladies night out. They adored it and were gobsmacked to hear I made it. They even asked whether I would take any orders! I don't have any intention to become a professional seamstress as I would have to give up all my other interests, but their feedback really made my day.

Front view cocktail lace dress©Fenfolio2015

Back view cocktail lace dress©Fenfolio2015

Close-up sleeve cocktail lace dress©Fenfolio2015



Close-up waist cocktail lace dress©Fenfolio2015

Close-up scalloped edges cocktail lace dress©Fenfolio2015



Monday, 11 May 2015

Ski touring Glas Maol

I just realised I had forgotten to write about a ski touring trip we did last year which was very memorable for me and I'd like to share these beautiful moments with you. We are now well into Spring (although it feels very wintry sometimes!), but some people are still skiing in the Scottish mountains!

Here's the route we took, starting at the carpark at Glenshee Ski Centre.

Ski tour Glenshee ©Fenfolio2015

Enjoy the photos of this amazing winter landscape:

Skiining up towards Glas Maol ©Fenfolio2015


Ski lift covered in rime ©Fenfolio 2015


View to the South towards Spittal of Glenshee ©Fenfolio2015


On top of Meall Odhar ©Fenfolio2015


Making our tracks in powder snow ©Fenfolio2015



Enjoying the sunshine during a lunch break ©Fenfolio2015


The North facing side of this slope was covered with sastrugi ©Fenfolio2015


Sometimes we had arctic conditions! ©Fenfolio2015


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Artistic Explorations: Creative Sketchbook (3)

Recently I joined an online group where people who like to draw share their sketches and drawings following two-weekly prompts posted by the administrator of the group. One of the briefs was to draw rocks. Instantly I thought about the standing stones of Callanish on Isle of Lewis we visited last year.

I selected these black and white photographs for my sketches. It really helped that they were monochrome so that I could focus my attention on the shapes, lines and tones.


Callanish stones ©Fenfolio2015


Callanish stones ©Fenfolio2015


Callanish stones ©Fenfolio2015

 The first drawing is a blind contour drawing in black fineliner pen. By only looking at the subject and not on your paper and by keeping the pen on the paper, you feel a bit out of your comfort zone at first but very quickly I felt less restricted somehow. It really is liberating! I like the expressive style you get with this kind of exercise.

Blind contour sketch ©Fenfolio2015

For my second drawing I used the same fineliner pen and focussed on the various tones. But now I used my non-dominant hand (which is my left) to free up the mind! By scribbling light and heavier I was able to create interesting marks and depth.

Pen drawing with non-dominant hand ©Fenfolio2015

The third sketch was again focussed on tones, but this time I used watersolubale graphite pencils (Karismacolor).


Sketch in Karismacolor pencils ©Fenfolio2015

For my fourth sketch I used pastel pencils and a very fine fineliner for the cracks in the rocks on grey coloured paper. I really like the way pastel has given the drawing a more softer, even mysterious feel.

Sketch in pastel pencils ©Fenfolio2015

 Then I wanted to create a drawing with more sharpness and with a more graphic style. I used Derwent Graphik Liner Painter pens on dark grey coloured paper for my fifth drawing.


Drawing in Graphik Liner pens ©Fenfolio2015

 Finally, I wanted to use collage and colour to compare it with my monochrome drawings. For this one I used tissue paper, watercolour paint and inktense pencils on watercolour paper.

Callanish stones drawing in mixed media
©Fenfolio2015

After all these exercises I realised I prefer drawing on darker coloured paper and in monochrome. It's something I will keep in mind for the other prompts!