Fabric designs contests, refurbishing, submissions & sewing classes : bring it on 2014!!!

Since the beginning of the year I have a energy renewal. Many people have gone through a pretty difficult year in 2013 and attack 2014 with a different perspective.

I’ve continued to submit my designs to the Spoonflower weekly challenge, gave sewing classes, submitted my artwork to fabric manufacturer and refurbished a chair.

FABRIC DESIGN : Since the beginning of the year there has been 7 contests, the most difficult is yet to come. Toile de Jouy is this weeks contest. Famous female scientists is added to the theme making it interesting but still very hard to achieve. So until the deadline you’ll find me at my drawing table!

SEWING CLASSES : It’s going great. I have a little less students that I hoped for, but all is not lost : I manage to finished almost half of my un-finished projects and still going at it. I should be able to put up some of my work for sale on ETSY pretty soon and I got time to do an interior design concept. (It was awesome to return to my design expertise which wasn’t lost at all)

ARTWORK SUBMISSION : I pushed myself to submit the best of my artwork done in the past year to fabric manufacturers. I decided to submit once a month to a different company every month, for 12 months /or until one offers me a contract for one fabric or a collection. It’s officially my 2014 resolution. We’ll see what will come out of this experience.

FURNITURE REFURBISHING : I was always very drawn to vintage furniture and refurbished chairs, tables and other pieces to my tastes. But lately, I have so many ideas, I surprise myself looking at little adds on the web to find vintage, unloved or ugly (at first look) furniture. Last week I refurbished a chair and the Facebook response to it was amazingly hear warming!!!

Here’s a before / After photo of it :

AvantApres

I already have another chair lined up for a make-over.

Keep you posted on ALL my projects lined up and hope you have the same enthusiasm towards what will 2014 bring us in projects and other exciting+teaching+learning+humbling moments!

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RESOLUTION 2013 done!

Today, on Sponflower.com the last contest of a full year participation, will be put up for voting. I’m so proud of myself. I managed to enter every contest that I could for an entire year.

Even if I’ll continue entering in the contests, this one is a step stone (or a mile stone?) The theme was AMAZING : magic show… So I challenged myself to the max and sat down on my drawing table and got to work. It took me a long time to come up with the idea of a collage of hand-drawings, newspaper background and textured-rich foreground .

Rabbits drawings

I draw 8 rabbits, first pencil, than pen to look as much as the old engraving (or etching prints). And the finish design submitted looks like this… tadaaaaa :

MagicTricks(c)

Really happy about the result. I hope I’ll be in the top ten with this “out of the box” textile design.

Since December, I’ve been adding to my textile designs library with basics like polka dots and chevrons. I now have more than 200 designs to sale. All of it done in my 2013 resolution. I plan to keep on adding to my library so it can become a little extra income (it never hurts).

At the beginning of this year I came in first place for the second time. I hope this performance won’t go un-noticed when I’ll knock on manufacturers doors.

I hope to everyone a resolution that’s kept, it’s a very rewarding feeling…

Resolution 2013 almost finished 92% , resolution 2014 coming along…

So this week finishing my entry for Spoonflower contest “Ugly Sweaters” I was curious of how much more left to complete my resolution…?  4 contests if Spoonflower does one due the 31 of december.

4 Contests left… I held on and did all the contest except one (I went back and realized that I skip one), the zodiac one! So because I’m the kind of person who want’s to be able to say I completed my 2013 resolution, I’ll continue competing in the weekly contest until it’s complete year ! It means that I’ll do 2 contests in January 2014 en then I’ll be able to say a full year! I’ll continue competing but on a lighter scale throughout out 2014. The mental exercise of directed creation is good for my brain but I want to set myself a new challenge/resolution!

I’m thinking, for my 2014 resolution, to apply to each of those 12 fabric manufacturers  ( in non-specific order ) :

Alexander Henry, Andover fabrics, Bernatex, Clothworks Textiles, Michael Miller Fabrics, Hoffman Fabrics, RJR Fabrics, Robert Kaufman, STOF, United Notions (Moda), Westminster Fibers, Windham fabrics

While tipping the list, the resolution takes form… I could submit my portfolio to each of these manufacturers once a month. Because elaborating a portfolio (and adding or taking some designs) makes it a few days project at each submissions, it’s not an easy task. Every month would be a different submission and a more focused to there needs one. And also some of those companies don’t put there “submissions” forms online, it means I have to communicate with many of them to enquire on ” how to submit my designs” I think it makes the amount of work challenging enough to be a good resolution.

My hopes would be to have at least one contract, from one of them, on at least one of my fabric design… Is that to hopeful?  We’ll see!

To leave you on a picture, here’s my “cozy” entry for the Spoonflower’s  “Ugly Sweater” contest that I draw this despite being sick (flu) :

Spoonflower entry to Ugly Sweater contest

Spoonflower entry to Ugly Sweater contest

Make your own curtains with big grommets (DIY sewing project tricks)

Here is a step by step how I did my 2 colours curtains for a patio door :

I’ve pre-ordered 5 yards (4,5m) of one of my textile design on linen-cotton canvas and put my curtain pole up.

1: 1Coupe 2: 2mesureF

1) Once it has arrived I cut it in 2 equal parts of 2,5 yards (90″) or 2,25m each

2) Then I measured the width of the window (72″ or 1,8m) and the height from the floor to the top of the pole (90 ” or 2,25 m)

The width of the fabric is ( 56″ or 1,4m) so 2 panels will add to a (108″ or 2,7m)

so perfect to cover the entire patio door!

But the height  after the hemming won’t be enough so I’ll add a black fabric header to both parts and it will add a bit of drama to it 🙂

3: 3HEM 4 : 4FoldOnce

3) First I’ll overlock all the cut edges so it won’t fray and I like the overlock professional finish but a simple zigzag will do the trick.

4) I fold the BOTTOM (take car of the direction of the fabric ) and measure the fold so it’s 9,5 inches or 23,75cm  from one side to the other, I do so for the 2 panels

5 : 5Refold 6 : 6Pinit

5) I re-fold outwards a lip of 1,5 inch or  3,75cm and as I go along …

6) I pin it in place sir all my measurements are not in vein.

7 : 7SewSides 8 : 8Clipcorners

7) I stitch both side of the bottom fold, I do so for the 2 panels

8) I cut the corners not getting closer than 1/8 of an inch or 4mm

9 : 9FlipCorners 10 : 10PinitMesure

9) I flip the fold outwards pushing the corners all the way out to make them perfect and square

10) I make sure that my bottom fold now measures 8″ or 20cm from the bottom to the inwards flip, and I pin it from one side to the other.

11 : 11Sewfold 12 : 12ironsides

11) I stitch the closest I can the the border 1/16 of an inch or 2mm

12) I iron inwards the 2 side of the 2 panels

13 : 13Pinsides 14 : 14SewSides

13 ) I pin my ironing so it won’t move while I sew and move the panels

14) I stitch near the finished edge of the fabric (away from the fold) from the bottom fold to the top, I do so for each sides of the 2 panels

15 : 15MesureLenght  16 : 16MesureWidth

15) I measure to length of the panels it gives me 80,5 inches or 2,05 m

16) I measure the finished width that gives me 54″ or 1,35m

17 :  17CutBlackFab 18 : 18PinCurtaintoBlack

17) I cut 2 pieces of black fabric 55″ or 1,375m wide (54″ + 1/2″ seam allowance on one side + 1/2″ seam allowance on the other side) or (1,5m + 1,25cm  and seam allowance on one side + 1,25cm seam allowance on the other side)

by 26″ or 65cm in height (90″ *from pole to floor* – 80,5″ = 9,5″ + 2 x1/2″ seam allowance = 10,5″ +2,5″ on top of the pole= 13″ x 2 because I want to double it EQUALS 26″) or (2,25m *from pole to floor* – 2,05m = 20cm + 2 x1,25cm seam allowance = 26,25cm +6,25cm on top of the pole = 32,5cm x 2 because I want to double it EQUALS 65cm)

18 ) I pin Right side of the black fabric to wrong side of the of printed fabric leaving the extra hanging equally on each side

19 :  19SewblacktoCurt 20 :  20FoldBlackBack

19 ) Stitch 1/2″ (1,25cm) from the the edge All the way from one side to the other, I do so for each sides of the 2 panels

20) I fold the black fabric backwards and pin the sides

21 : 21SewSidesBlack  22 : 22Flipcornes

21 ) I fold upwards the bottom edge of the black fabric 1/2″ (1,25cm) before stitching over it 1/2″ (1,25cm)from the sides

22) I fold back outside in the black folded part pushing the corners to make them square

23 : 23Mesure&pin 24 : 24StictchOver

23) I measure the fold making sure that 1/2″ (1,25cm) is folded inwards at the seam and that it measures  12,5″ or 31,25cm I do so for each top of the 2 panels

24) I stitch the closest I can the the border 1/16 of an inch or 2mm

25 : 25IronTop 26 :  26MesureGRometes

25) I press the black fabric flat on each panel

26) I measure the width of the panel 54″ or 1,35m  and I divide it by 8 (8 grommets) = 6,75″ or 16,9cm (always put an even number of grommets so your curtains sides will point the walls)

I make a mark with a chalk  at 3,5″ or 8,75cm from the top so the top of the grommet will end up at 2, 5″ or 6,25cm from the top of the panel. The first mark will be 3,375″ or 8,45cm from the side, the second 6,75″ or 16,9cm from the first mark, and so on… I repeat for the other panel

27 : 27Stencil  28 : 28-CutCircles

27) I use the stencil to make the circle putting my mark in the middle of it and do so for all 8 marks on each panel

28) I cut carefully all of my 16 circles

29 : 29-Pushgromets

29) Each grommet comes in 2 parts, one positive one negative. I put the positive on the right side facing down, the negative part underneath facing upward and then press until I hear “click” and hang them

30 : 30Resultat

30) RESULTS!!!! 🙂 Really happy about it.

86% of my resolution pasted, sum up of creating a textile design weekly…

As written before, I took the resolution at the beginning of 2013 of participating to all the weekly contests of Spoonflower.

The contests are : design a fabric in the proportions asked (8″x8″ * if its a swatch or most of the time 21″ x18″*  if its a fat quarter and rarely 42″x36″*  if it’s a full yard). The theme is given by Spoonflower. Sometimes a colour palette is restricted (you have to use and only use the colours specified), other times it is asked to create a pattern within the dimensions with explanations written on the fabric and seam allowances included. Most of the time it’s create a fabric design that fits a fat quarter (21″x18″ * horizontal) that respect the theme and considers repetition. (depending on the repetition, half drop, hal brick, mirror or basic it’s all in the mathematics!)

Since January 1st I submitted over 40 designs. It’s an exercise for the creating muscle, let me tell you!

Here’s the resume of my performances (yellow frame : made it into the top ten, red : FIRST place):

1-Snake 2-ToileJouy3-Australia4-MardiGRas 5-LoveLetters6-Africa7-Critter 8-LionLamb 9-GirlPower10-PaintedEggg11-JaneAusten 12-BabyAnimals  13-GardenTools14-PopChick15-Sailing16-Birthdays  17-Geek18-GREek19-Mod 20-FRogs  21-Farmers22-Midsummer23-Citrus24-Picnics  25-Horses26-Crickets27-Byways 28-bit 29-Fireflie 30-fashion31-Pencil32-DimSum33-dino   34-Kuler35-Geo 36-Constellation  37-Pies38-Costume 39-Ghosts 40-Calendar

The resolution I made with myself had many purposes  : force myself to create weekly, create a portfolio to knock on textile printers doors and challenge myself to a year contract and keep my word.

CREATION wise : The more you create the more you’re creative!!! It’s a muscle. Yes, I had themes that were really difficult, but the thing is though it! And no matter what, enter the contest with the design you came up with no matter what.

PORTOFOLIO wise : I have 40 designs of really out of the box themes, so I can show that no matter the theme I can create and be inspired. So Christmas fabric here I come! On top of my resolution,  I manage to challenge myself to add to certain really inspirational designs that I made. By doing so, I design  a few collection with blenders fabric, and mid scale fabrics. So, then again, It shows in my portfolio that I can decline an idea into a viable collection yey!!

CHALLENGING MYSELF wise : At first I thought and said to myself if its to difficult or a boring theme or it doesn’t fit with my schedule I could skip 1 design per month. But you know what? I couldn’t do it. I did all the contests that I could enter. And by doing so I’m proud of myself by not giving up or giving myself excuses.

There’s 8 contests to go before the end of my resolution. For sure I’m going to prepare my portofolio in 2014, to show the fabric printers and hope for a collection contract or even just a try at first. But I think I’m going to continue entering the contests. Maybe not all of them but I think I’m going to miss it 😉

After all of this my conclusion is :

– When it comes down to voting on-line, don’t beat yourself if you don’t perform. Sometimes your best design won’t do so well and a design that you did without “suffering” will be in the first ones. Be aware and honest. If others a clearly better accept it, and study there success, try to observe what makes it so great is it details, out of the box thinking…? (don’t copy!)

– Fame comes in waves… surf it. But don’t despair when it goes away and don’t wait for it, it will always come as a surprise!

– Keep your word, make the challenge big enough to be proud of overcoming it, but not to big that you set yourself for failure that’s not the point.

That was my reflexion, my resolution is almost over… I’m wondering if I’ll give myself another one for the next year. I’ll have to think about it…

For now, this week challenge is Film Nor (it took me 5 designs before being happy with what I’ve done, but submitted it just in time)

I really hope it gave you the will to challenge yourself with a 2014 resolution!

* 8″x8″ = 20cmx20cm          * 21″ x 18″ = 52,5cm X 45cm             * 42″ x 36″ = 105cm x 90cm

On my way to a working sewing studio

One of the most exciting part of putting together a room is the last details that brings every thing together.

I’ve always had a soft part for antiques and “the old days” and how we use to do things right. Don’t get me wrong, I looove this days for technology, communication and accessibility. But through out all the flea markets and pass down stuff, I gathered a few beautiful elements that I decided to put on a stage wall for my sewing studio. First I managed to save a few frames by repainting them. I bought a few new empty ones.

I used every single and last element that was from near or far related to sewing that I gathered over the years and decided to either frame them or simply screw them directly on the wall.

I started with a shallow frame that was given to me and pined the best needle booklets I had in it. I’m so thrilled with the result :

BTKmpTEIcAAy8tx

I’ll put a photo to show you soon all the frames and other old stuff up on the wall once is totally finished. (I still have 2 holes to fill in) and still doing my weekly challenge of participating on the Spoonflower contest.

This week is small geometric shapes. And the winner has custom made shoes… that speaks to my girly side!!!

Keep you up to date!

Back from my vacation, what a human experience

I have been back from my vacation for a couple of days and been running like a crazy lady since.

To sum it up :

I didn’t re-do my website. I started to plan my sewing lessons, I almost finish the way for the students. I”m down to decoration and lighting details in the sewing studio (I’ll have photos soon and even a video). I had fun going to farmers markets to buy antique sewing accessories to put in my frames.

I didn’t had time to create my fabric website. A friend told me about Béhence, so I’ll try it as soon as I can have a day for it. I’ll post the link for sure!

Family came over, and I took the time to learn and know about them which was refreshing. Unfortunately the vacation started with funerals so it was brutal.

I visited family too and took the time to be self-centred for 4 mornings, by doing my yoga on a pier giving on mirror like water (that was so grounding!)

As for my Spoonflower contests entries : “Fireflies” I came up in 13th place (246 entries),  for the “Fashion” contest I was 68th on 314 entries, and I manage to enter “Cut and Sew Pencil Case” again I was in 13th place (81 entries). It was a low participation contest because it required a full pattern with explanations so that will eliminate a lot of the “easy” entries.

Then it was “DimSum” which had a restricted color palette. I was really proud of this design. It gave me a dumpling craving for a week 🙂 but I came out 21st on 144 entries. The top ten was of uneven quality, but hey now that I know it’s more a “friendly” vote contest than a quality of design and repeat, I’m still very proud of my design. This week is the “dinosaurs” contest.

I still managed to draw a water-colour/illustrated japanese cranes on winter background for Spoonflower’s book interviews, and a 30 fabric designs line of retro polka dots

Here’s some images of my entries :

Fireflies

rrJuliesLightField_contest61308preview

Fashion

rrrJulie_sFashionMannequins_contest61826preview

Cut & Sew pencil case

rrrJulie_sPencilCase_contest62099preview

DimSum

rrrJuliesDimSum_contest62536preview 

Dinosaurs

rrrDinosaursDig_contest62956preview

Tonight I had to deliver the “Kuler” one. We had to determine a colour palette from a random photo using Kuler Application and from that palette design a fabric. I was really happy to discover Kuler’s application. It opened up an entire new branch of possibilities and ignition of creation for me so it had its purpose!

I took the weirdest photo I had taken to make it a challenge. It was a dumpster full of old mannequins in the old fashion district. It gave me a few palettes (you can choose from color moods) I chose the “DEEP” one. I then elaborated a birdcage design with lace in the background giving a little bit of “chinoiserie” feeling.

Kuler'sPickdeep Julie'sKuler'sPickDEEP01

So it was a fruitful vacation after all, even if it was an emotional roller coaster. Of course I wish I had drawn, sewn , taken pictures, painted and web designed  twice as much… but what are vacation for? let loose! So I did manage to forget which day it was for about 2 weeks…