My Black Dress: I discovered my passion in Fashion three years ago and just entered a fashion school without any knowledge of clothing construction or pattern-making. Now I can bring any design in my mind or on paper into reality. I purely love sewing, designing, draping–in fact, the whole process of making clothes. I work on every single piece with my soul, passion, heart, and love. I would not put anything on my store that I am not proud of. Each peice is truely well-made and one of a kind. Enjoy!!
Everyone please welcome Helen Hobden to Try Handmade! She’s a seamstress, artist, writer, renovator, pyrographer… The list goes on – I think she’ll really fit in here. Please leave her a comment on her first post and let her know if you know of any great alternative fashion she should feature. Other than her own shop of course :)
I’ve been wanting to watch Red Riding Hood for ages and I finally have this weekend. I loved it! It was everything I hoped it would be; the snowy village scenes, the mysterious atmosphere; Grandma’s fantastic cabin in the woods, but especially the costumes. (Credit to Cindy Evans for costume design.)
Due to films such as this one and fairies being the new vampires in the literary world, fairytale fashion is getting bigger and better than ever and there are some fantastic outfits on the market. I have never really grown up as far as clothing is concerned and I relish any opportunity to dress up just like I loved doing as a kid. I just wish invitations to fancy dress parties came my way more often!
This is one of my absolute favourites made by Enlightened Platypus; it is surely the ultimate Red Riding Hood coat. Made entirely out of recycled jumpers, this must have taken her hours and hours to sew together all the different pieces in various shades of red. I know her work sells very quickly, so if you’re after one these coats, watch out for new listings regularly.
If you’re on the look out for the perfect fairytale dress to wear beneath the cloak, then don’t be tempted to buy a horrible polyester number in a cellophane wrapper that you’ll feel uncomfortable wearing. Instead look for a creation that will make you feel special and stand out in the crowd.
This lovely medieval style velvet dress with its large bell sleeves and decorated belt is beautiful. Yes, it’s blue, so may not be your first choice for Red Riding Hood, but this is actually quite similar to the dress Amanda Seyfried wears in the beginning of the film. You could easily wear this one to another party without a red cloak and go as a different fairytale character!
This cloak has my favourite hood – I love the pixie-ish shape of it. Although it doesn’t look like it in the picture, it’s actually made from lightweight wool and trimmed with black lace. I bet it takes the chill out the wind when out walking in the woods on the way to Grandma’s.
If dressing up to such an extent isn’t your thing, then there are several t-shirts with really cool designs that give nod towards the Red Riding Hood trend. One of my favourites is this one from limeyts.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I am a fashion designer who is out to create fashion that you can’t buy in any one store. I am inspired by so many things which I think is reflected in my shop. I am also the seamstress of my art. I get to know my pieces very well by the end and pretty much want to tell anyone who buys the piece my process behind it. Sometimes I feel I end up as a storyteller also.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I have known since high school I wanted to go into fashion. I got my BA in theater Costume Design and then proceeded to go into fashion school. After working a bit more in theater I started participating in small fashion shows and making my corsets. After a while someone mentioned etsy and I have been working on my etsy and doing art shows.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Shawk is a combination of my last name and my husbands. One of our theater friends came up with it and we thought it was great. We thought it worked on so many levels. Great for a fashion name and great for his last name because he is a lighting designer working with electricity.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I mostly work alone. My husband gets to hear all my ideas and encourages me constantly. He also lets me know if my ideas are just crazy. Usually right before a large craft fair my husband and I (sometimes friends too!) sit on a couch together grommeting corsets, tagging clothes and doing last minute prep work.
My friends and family also give a good deal of support. I defiantly need it as I always need to be reminded that brakes actually make you more productive in the long run….
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I mostly sell online during the year on etsy.
But I do some shows and find I am more successful at that. I want to find some small stores to start having stuff in.
I love selling in person. I love meeting my customer and putting them in a corset. I love the reactions I get!
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers?
I just got back in touch with a friend from college. He was an amazing scenic designer and welder. He just opened up shop on etsy and he stuff is so creative! He is also pursuing his passion in art and learning tons about sculpture work too!
Its so inspiriting to look at his awesome creations!
What inspires and motivates you?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes an abandoned shack on the side of a road, a picture of paris, one piece of lace, a piece of fabric or a neat pattern in the sky. I don’t look for inspiration in something, it tells me what it wants to morph into.
Thanks Amanda! And if you would like to be interviewed in this space, just head over to DIY Interview.
We just enjoyed 3 days of glorious sunshine (which is a rarity this time of year here on the “wet coast”) and all I could think of was how I’d love a new dress or two soon, to be ready for all that summer will have to offer. A little insight into life here in Vancouver, we locals joke frequently about how most of our city’s dwellers have at least a mild case of “SAD” (seasonal affective disorder), and how we love to watch abandoned streets, patios and beaches become almost instantly filled when the first hint of summer sunshine arrives. Honestly, I’m getting wistful just typing this! Before I segue, I’ll just let you know that if you need somewhere to visit in the summer time, Vancouver is truly where it’s at if you love the great outdoors, good food, and unique shopping (and no, I don’t work for Tourism Canada ;).
Moving along… I’ve got a wonderful fashion duo to share with you today! Hailing from Australia, Three Little Ducks is a boutique fashion label run by Katherine Humphery and Patrick McDermott. Their line is full of beautiful classic tailoring, figure flattering cuts and details that make this fashion lover swoon! More than one dress from this collection has caught my eye and has me mentally calculating shipping costs and timing for a package to arrive from Australia to Canada.
Katherine and Patrick share on their blog that the focus of their line is quality and simplicity with details brought into their pieces through the use of layers and textured fabrics. Their passion for what they do is so evident – it seems clear to me they know the power fashion can have to transform us and they say it best on their blog:
“Even the serious fashion cynic can find him or herself in unconscious appreciation of a tailored shirt and aware of its persuasive influence on both wearer and observer.
The clothes we wear of course surround us and, if we accept Alain De Botton’s notion that, for better or worse, we are different people depending on our surrounds, we should resist the gauche and embrace skillful design and construction in fabric and clothes.”
I hope you’ll enjoy this peek into their latest collection and are inspired by their passionate approach to their craft. If you have a favorite indie design label you think we should cover here on the blog I’d love to hear about it!
This week I’m profiling Me&Yu, a small fashion label specialising in hand-made and hand-printed clothing for men and women.
I first encountered the label in offbeat shopping mecca Affleck’s Palace in Manchester, UK. There I had the fortune of meeting Angie, one of the label’s co-founders. Angie has wanted to be a fashion designer since she was a child and luckily she has turned that dream into a reality – albeit with a lot of hard graft along the way!
“We had the idea for creating clothes together back in 2003 whilst we were living in Sydney,” Angie explained. “We just wanted to create clothes that were a bit different, that had a bit more personality than what was available on the high street.”
Me&Yu’s designs are cool and unique, appealing to a wide audience. I particularly adore their quirky, hand-drawn prints and stylish handmade dresses! Unlike many smaller labels, Me&Yu offers both girl and guy garments and many of the designs are unisex, allowing the wearer to put their own slant on things.
Me&Yu started in 2003, with stalls at weekend markets and events in Sydney, Australia then in Manchester and Liverpool, UK during 2004-2006. The designers had to balance developing the label with working full-time – what a challenge! Finally in 2006, Me&Yu moved permanently to a shop in Affleck’s Palace, complemented by its online store and presence in a handful of boutiques in the UK.
“Affleck’s Palace is a great place to be as it houses lots of small independent businesses together – you have the support of other people around you, and that’s the best thing. When we first started we got loads of helpful advice from other small businesses, obviously every business is different but you can get some great tips!”
Designs are made up at the label’s studio in an old cotton mill in Manchester, and it is important to the company to keep the city’s heritage alive. The mill houses a number of other artists and fosters a creative and collaborative atmosphere.
Me&Yu is a great example of excellent self-promotion – the label blogs at www.wearemeandyu.blogspot.com, uses Facebook and Twitter, distributes flyers and has even secured features in magazines. In addition, Me&Yu gets involved in charity fashion shows and fundraisers – contributing to important causes as well as raising awareness of the brand.
“There is something special about selling something that you made yourself, its very personal,” finishes Angie. “However, it’s hard work. Handmade = labour intensive and not everybody understands quite how much work goes into each item.”
What’s your favourite Me&Yu design? Post your link below!