Friday, 26 October 2012

Wedding Dress Doodle

Recently, lots of people have had weddings! Mariam was one of them... so here is my drawing of here in her dress.

Mariam Wedding Dress

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Ophelia Dress - your style rocks

Here is my latest entry on your style rocks!

This next competition is called "Freedom of Choice". For this competition you are instructed to pick one of the past contests that you might have missed and use it as an inspiration for your design. My design fits with two of the previous competitions.

One of my favourite charactors from Shakespeare's plays is used as the basis for the design. Ophelia has also been a subject used by Natalie Merchant for one of her songs. I really love that song as it is really pretty and provides a questioning of what it is to be a woman - concepts such as feminism, obedience, love, seduction and even confusion are all drawn through and seen as embodied in Ophelia.

Previous competitions that this entry coresponds with:

Stitch Stories - Ophelia is a charater from Hamlet which is one of Shakespeare's plays.

Sew your song! - 'Ophelia' is also a song by Natalie Merchant.

Please vote for my entry here!


Ophelia: The Inspiration

There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

-Gertrude’s Speech about the death of Ophelia (Hamlet. VI vii 180)

Ophelia: The Inspiration

Ophelia is one of the pivotal characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet. She is widely regarded as a tragic heroine. Ophelia, is a beautiful young woman. She is the daughter of Polonius, the sister of Laertes, and Hamlet's love interest. In the play, Ophelia is torn between her obedience to her father and her love for Hamlet the result of this battle between love and duty tragic consequences for the character.

Throughout the play she is accused of a variety of unbecoming qualities as well as those with more positive connotations. This has led to Ophelia being understood as a character with many dimensions. The song Ophelia by Natalie Merchant plays upon these contradictory qualities in an exploration of womanhood.

Here is a link to the music video:  

Ophelia: The Dress

Inspired by the words of the play:

Looking at the quotes from the play Ophelia is shown to wear billowing clothes that spread wide and made her float mermaid-like. The skirt component of the dress reflects this billowed quality with double layer skirt of which the top layer is tulle. At the back of the skirt small pleats are made in the tulle layer both to add interest and to increase the skirts billowy and fluttery quality.
The shape of the skirt is that of a bell or flower which reflects Shakespeares use of the language of flowers in order to give a voice to Ophelias emotions.

There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples....

Inspired by the character:

The character's innocence is reflected in the simplicity of the front of the dress. While the back of the bodice is complete with pleats and folds and areas that are hidden. This complexity is not obvious at face value (on the front) but only becomes apparent as you continue to look at the dress. This reflects the increasingly complicated situation of Ophelia as the play continues.
The end of the zip is hidden at the point where the two pleated panels are crossed over.
In the play Ophelias life is at an intersection where her love for Hamlet is crossed by her duty to her father and family. In doing so Ophelia leaves some truths hidden from her love Hamlet and her motives are ultimately obscured.

The aim of the dress design is to reflect these contradictory qualities associated with the character.

The dress has subsequently been designed to have a number of different options from the more modest to the more seductive.

The longer length skirt and the lace sleeves on the dress provide a more modest combination. In this way, it reflects Ophelias youth and innocence. The pale pink of the water lily is used in the drawings to emphasis this and is often a flower used in representations and paintings of her.

The shorter skirt provides a more seductive take on the character (reflecting Hamlets accusations) and with or without sleeves it also reflects some of the more contemporary understandings of the character (as reflected by Natalie Merchants song).

 Perhaps a version of the dress with the shorter skirt and no sleeves could be made in black fabric. This could add a further dimension and reflect the notions that prompted Hamlet to shout at her "Get thee to a nunnery". Plus, it would look really cute on a night out!

To vote for me please click here!




Trouser Time Winner - Bethany Beach Trousers (That is my design!)

Many thanks to all those who voted for my design on I am pleased to inform you that I managed to win the competion! How cool is that!!!

I really like the announcement on the website where they are described as 'super-summery'. Have a look here to see the comments.

I am really looking forward to seeing my design made up into a pattern. It is going to be really amazing to have a pattern for an item of clothing that I designed. I will have to make a pair of the trousers and wear them to the beach!

Check out my design here!

Do check out the your style rocks website it is really good and all the patterns from the winning competitions are free to download! I really like the Eva Dress and have put it on my very long 'To Do' list of craft and sewing projects.

Many thanks!

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Olympics 2012!

I have been one of the lucky people who managed to get tickets to an Olympic event. Which is amazing particularly as it was totally sold out. Further to this and unbeknownst to me when I applied for the tickets I got to see Team GB! I got to go and see Great Britain! I was very lucky to get tickets to cheer on athletes from my nation at a home Olympics!

Tickets to watch Olympic Football!

Arriving in Cardiff Central Train Station.

The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff!

The Olympic Logo "London 2012" on the outside of the Stadium.

Here I am ready to support Team GB!
Go Great Britain!
We got to the stadum early and watched it fill up with people.

Up on the Big screen Before the Start of the first football match
 - between Mexico and Switzerland

Here is Switzerland warming up for the match.

Start of the Match.
(Cool Mexican hat warn by the man in the row in front of us)

The end of a really good game although Mexico dominated for the most part.
Final Scores

This is the one that most people in the stadium came to see.
It is great that there was so much support for the home team.
The stadium was completely packed and everyone was having a fab time!
As the start drew closer the atmosphere began to build even more!
GB supporters with their Union Jack flags filling the stadium
back up after the break between the two matches.

GB Team warming up!

Olympic Mascot "Inspiring a Generation"
This huge banner was brought out along with giant footballs
that bounced around the stadium while the teams warmed up.

The Referees leading the teams out onto the pitch as seen on the big screen
Our seats were on the side where the teams came out.
That meant that we had to look up at the screen to see their entrance.

The Japanese referees were so funny with their warm-ups on the pitch.
They were in time with the music - the song playing had the line "I'm sexy and I know it..".
The warm-up at that point consisted of ... skip, skip, high kick... repeat.

The line-up for the national anthems of Uruguay and Great Britain.

"God save the Queen..."

Shaking hands before kick-off

Match Kick off!
Great Britain in the Dark Blue (with red and white)
and Uruguay in the White (with light blue shorts)

 Action Shot - an attempt for GB at a goal. Team GB had most
of the possession throughout the match and had a number of attempts on goal.

Just before Half Time GB scored!
When I say just before I mean in the extra minute of stoppage
time that was added to the end of the first half!
It was so exciting and it seemed like the whole stadium was cheering!

Second Half - still 1-0 to GB
There was an announcement which stated that the stadium was sold out!
With around 69,000 spectators at the Millennium Stadium.

The Match finished with Great Britain victorious!
That goal in the first half has made them the group winners!
Great Britain has made it into the semi-finals and has to face South Korea on Saturday.

Off home! The crowds had a really good atmosphere and everyone seemed
happy about Great Britain's Win! It is so great to have the Olympics in Britain
and have the home crowd here to cheer our athletes on. 
Olympics football: 69,000 watch Team GB men beat Uruguay :

I am totally loving the Olympics here in Britain. It is so brilliant to have the opportunity to cheer on the home side and see some of our sporting heroes in action. It was pretty cool to see so of the Wales international football players in the GB team - I got to see Bellamy captain the team to victory. It was so much fun joining in with the Mexican waves and getting into the spirit of the event. It is also really nice to see on TV that the Prime Minister and Royals are getting involved too and cheering on the athletes - it is really nice to see William, Kate and Harry at the events. It was also very exciting to see Wiggins win Gold in the cycling time trials up on the big screen in the stadium before the first match started. There was such a massive cheer and lots of applause as he went over the finish line! I am totally loving the cycling and the rowing/sculling at the moment- I always love watching the gymnastics and seeing Beth on asymmetric bars for team GB.  

What I also like about the Olympics is the good sportsmanship where the athletes congratulate each other and respect one another. I am also really pleased to watch the crowds cheering the athletes on no matter what country they are representing. I loved watching Michael Phelps in the swimming and winning medals with the crowds cheering him on - he may not be our national hero but he is a sporting hero and his achievement are just amazing! It was also really nice when he got the silver medal the other day and the young swimmer who had just beaten him to the gold was so bewildered that Phelps guided him through the media and medal ceremony. It was just so sweet! I am finding that I am getting more and more addicted to watching the Olympics on TV... it is really getting exciting!

I had so much fun and I am so exited that I had the opportunity to see an Olympic event here in Britain!  

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Dorothy Ruffle Trousers

They are of a casual design with a ruffled waist band. The waist band also features a bow which is positioned at the hip. They also have white lace turn-ups and pockets with a lace trim.
They are a practical feminine trouser - ideal for skipping along the yellow brick road!

These are a relaxed style of trouser which could also be used as a design for pyjama bottoms. Perhaps without the pockets as I always think that nightwear with pockets is a little odd. In the same way that pockets in baby clothes are odd - what are they going to put in them?

These trousers were inspired by the film 'The Wizard of Oz'. This is a classic film from my childhood - I was really frightened of the wicked witch of the west and her flying monkeys! I also played Munchkin Number 1 in a Christmas panto when I was younger - I had one line! I loved being part of the production and the lovely good witch who did my stage make-up for me; she did the best munchkin freckles! I can remember thinking how grown-up she was - I think she was around 17 at the time, which just goes to show how young I was! I am sure that my Mum has some embarrassing pictures of me in my munchkin costume.


I also thought about making the design into dungarees:

I don't think they work quite as well as the trousers but it is fun trying out a few ideas but they reflect the pinafore dress a little better. I think the design is a bit of fun really.

Here is a link to YOUR STYLE ROCKS where you have the opportunity to vote for your favourite design that has been entered into the competition. I love checking out all the different designs in the competitions and the free patterns - I hope you like my designs enough to vote for them!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bethany Beach Trousers

This month the Your Style Rocks competition is to design trousers! The outline states that they can be "practical or dressy, simple or intricate". 
If you like my design please vote for it on YOUR STYLE ROCKS. This is the second month that I have entered their competition. It is so much fun having a go at making up my own designs. Last month I submitted my Emily Dress. I managed to get ten votes in total and my entry came overall third in the vote. I am so pleased as I think that it is really good for a first attempt.

I decided to go with a simple cropped trouser with some key features: a sash waist, a pocket (optional - but I think it is cute!) and buttoned trouser legs. 
I also decided to go for a summer evening theme for my design - particularly thinking about cool relaxing summer evenings by the beach.

Side view of button fastening at the end of the trouser legs

The above diagram shows a depiction of the close-up view of the bottom edge of the trouser leg. Here two buttons are used to fasten the edges of the trouser together. This is particularly useful if you wish to paddle in the sea without getting the trousers wet. Simply undo the buttons and role the trousers up so they are above the knee. Plus, it just looks pretty!
These trousers are designed with cool summer evenings in mind or for those days when there is a cool breeze in the air. Made from a lightweight fabric these cropped trousers hit just below the knee. They feature a decorative tied sash at the waist and are secured with a zip and button combination at the front of the design. The button is subsequently hidden underneath the sash.  There is an optional pocket featured on one hip. The end of each trouser leg has a split in it which is secured together with two buttons.

The shape of both the pocket and the sash - also shown is the
stitching in the shape of an ice cream sundae

The pocket has an unusual shape which complements some decorative stitching which is featured in a shape that is similar to that of an ice cream sundae. The sash is also curved along its bottom edge giving it a more relaxed wave-like shape. Both these features are designed to maintain a continuity with the seaside/beach theme.
As the design is for lightweight fabric and is cropped below the knee they are ideal for relaxing at the beach and ideal for summer holidays. They will also be a useful part of your wardrobe in both the spring and autumn seasons while the weather is cool but not cold enough to yet want your winter coat.

With the beach theme in mind I have chosen colours in ice cream shades that remind me of childhood holidays by the sea.  If you like my design please vote for it on YOUR STYLE ROCKS.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Maxi Dress and Sketching

I really love the idea of wearing a maxi dress. There just something really summery and relaxed about all the flowing fabric. Unfortunately, I am short or at least those couple of inches shorter than the hight that clothing shops use as a base their maxi-dress designs. This means that I get that anoying couple of inches of fabric dragging on the floor getting dirty and just waiting for me to trip over! Often you find that you have to cut off a pretty edging or the bottom of the print to take it up and the dress just doesn't quite look right. Similarly, I have a non standard bust size as I have just a 28 inch underbust measurement with a cup size that is on the larger side. This is such a pain; particularly with strapless or spagetti strap dresses!

At the moment Melly Sews is doing an awsome sundress series through which she is featuring lots of sundress designs and tutorials. I was checking out her blog the other day and I was so pleased to find that Shannon who blogs over at googiemomma (I'm not sure if it is one or two words...) has designed an awsome maxi dress that can cope with all your curves! As it is homemade there are no worries about it being too long- just make it to suit your needs! The TUTORIAL which is featured on Melly Sews is really clear and I can't wait to have a go at making one for myself!

In the mean time I was wondering what it would look like on me... so I started to doodle.

How I think it would look on me in blue

I think I will have to keep an eye out in the local fabric shops for some fabric - I am thinking that blue might be nice... perhaps a light blue flower print. I will try and find something summery!

I do really love the fabric chosen for the original dress featured on Melly Sews... the wavy lines are pretty funky but this made it quite fiddley to draw. I think my drawing turned out fairly well and Shannon who modeled it herself has fab red hair! (hair is always fun to draw - trying to get the different tones and colours).

I am really looking forward to having a go at making my own version of this dress!

Maxi Dress

Please check out the photographs of the original dress - PHOTO - for a comparison to my drawing.

I love drawing dresses and clothing - if you have a project or a photo that you would like me to have a go at sketching I am happy to have a go at drawing it for you. Please contact me by leaving a comment on my blog and I will get back to you. Check out some more of my sketches in my SKETCH BOOK!

                                                                                                              -Jessica  x

Saturday, 23 June 2012

French Toast with Cinnamon and Sugar

French toast is one of my favourite treats. 'French toast' is the 'posh' name for it; I usually call it "eggy-bread" which is far more parochial. It is one of those treats that I find myself craving every now and then - the great thing about it is simply how easy it is to make!


All you need is:

6 slices of white bread (may vary due to thickness of bread slices)
2 eggs
1/2 a cup of milk
Some oil to grease the pan

For the Topping:

Cinnamon and Sugar     {my personal favourite!}
... or whatever you fancy (syrup, jam, honey...)

  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk
  • Beat the eggs and milk together
  • I normally cut each of the slices into quarters  - it just makes it easier to fit in the pan. 
  • (Either squares or triangles - personally I think that things taste better when they are triangular. Unfortunately S. cut the bread this time so we have square eggy-bread pieces!)
  • Coat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil and heat on the hob
  • Dunk the pieces of bread in the egg and milk mixture so they are coated on both sides
  • Make sure the pan is hot
  • Drop the now coated bread into the hot pan
  • Turn the bread over to make sure that the egg is cooked on both sides
  • When it is done remove from pan
  • Sprinkle plenty of cinnamon and sugar over it (or whatever you feel like having on it...)
  • Enjoy!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Singing in the Rain

Yesterday it has rained - a lot! I wanted some photographs of the dress that I have just made to put up with the TUTORIAL that I have just written on how to make the dress. Anyway we had to run outside with umbrellas and quickly take a few pictures.

I am not a model nor do I aspire to be one, so I just danced around singing "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling I'm happy again...". I hope the neighbours didn't mind!

The rain was really heavy and I had to be careful not to get the dress wet - I think that you can see the raindrops on the umbrella...



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