Part 5 – Personal Project – Stage 2 & 3 Reviewing sketchbook & portfolio work & developing design ideas

Stage 2, Sketchbooks & portfolio work

To start this section of the course we were asked to look through our sketchbooks and portfolio of samples and identify something we would like to develop further.

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A while back I started to look at this amazing fabric and experimented in my sketchbook. I had found it in my fabric stash in the loft. I can only presume that it was gifted to me at some stage, a lot of my stash seems to arrive in this way. It is a printed, very matt fabric with a ‘bark cloth’ feel and slight texture. In orange, purple and pinky red it really stands out. The colour scheme is very much of its time but a slight tweak in saturation and it would be very up to date.

I love the vintage feel to the colours and simple shapes. My favourite part of the design is the colour change on the leaves and petals as another shape dissects it. I am not sure what the flowers are but they remind me very much of the Gerberas that we sell at work, some of which have a similar colour pattern:

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I love this flower so much I had to take a photograph of it! It’s colouring is so unusual and fits in perfectly with my theme.

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The beautiful bright colours of these plants really cheer me up. I especially like the bright pink flowers.

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Here is some of the previous sketchbook work I completed from this design source:

whilst I liked these preliminary sketches they were not really what I was looking for so going back to the original source material, I started with some thumb nails:


And some studies of the main motifs used within the fabric:


At this point I played around with some of the colors, making them into negative images etc.

I found this focused my mind on what I wanted to do. These ideas were then developed into larger working sketches:



There is still some refining to do but I felt able to move on to the next part:


Stage 3, Developing design ideas

Favourite parts of this design I wanted to focus on and develop:

  • The vibrant strong colours
  • The intersecting lines and colour changes
  • The strong sharp lines and shapes


at this point I have a a fair idea of the colour pallette I wanted to use but decided to trace my design into the computer and try a few differnt schemes to consolidate my ideas:

The final design idea (below). No doubt there will still be some tweaking bur i really feel I am getting somewhere now.



There is no texture as such to the original design to develop except for slight lines caused by the almost ‘bark cloth’ type weave but I have a strong idea for a ‘flocked’ effect, raising some areas as I did in the bag design sample for part 1:

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Bag design in part 1:  Using felt applied over a plain cotton ground using my embellishing machine as a technique I feel worked really well and was very effective on a bold design.I really liked where this technique was going and it would be good to develop it further. I particularly enjoy the flat calico background against the raised felted design. I feel it would work really well with some heavy stitching applied.

My next step was to try out my combination idea. I painted the background design onto my fabric using fabric paint then proceeded to ‘felt’ into it with the embellisher machine using 100% merino roving. Although quite successful, I decided that it would be better to actually make some felt first then apply it to the calico background with the embellisher. This means that there is no actual stitching required creating the strong outline I wanted.

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I pinned up all of my work so far to get an overview of developments: The pin board had copies of my colour experiments, closer research on gerbera flowers, some fibres and threads and some initial ideas and sample.

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My next step is to develop a storyboard, this is a stage I am looking forward to as it always feels like I am getting somewhere!





About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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