Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Penelope Red Winter Fashion Parade Video

The Rocks Markets held a Winter Fashion Parade, featuring Penelope Red designs, on the 17th and 18th of April. There will be an official film of the parade, and professional photographs, but I couldn't wait that long to get my hot little hands on it, so I made my own video...

It is a short little film- only 2mins long, and it can be downloaded from youtube here.

Take a look at the video here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Making of The Venus Floral Bolero

Last week, I needed to create another Penelope Red Venus Floral Bolero for an order, so I thought it was a good opportunity to show you the "making of" this new design...

First I cut out all of the "main" pattern pieces from the vintage cotton floral fabric.

Next I cut out the fusing; this is a stiffening which you iron-onto the main fabric. By the time I cut out the vintage cotton, the fusing and then the lining, it takes a while!

Once the fusing is attached to the floral cotton, I then start to sew as many seams as I can.

In some areas I can attach the lining to the facing pieces.

To keep the neckline from stretching, I place some stay-tape around it.

Next, the sleeves need to be fitted to the armhole. To do this, I place a gathering stitch around the sleeve-head, then I slightly gather it up to fit, and then use the iron to steam it. This shrinks the gathering and prevents puckering.

Once the sleeve-head is steamed, I pin it to the armhole, then I sew it in place.

Then I can focus on the lining and sewing the jacket together.

I like the lining to be just as neat as the outside, so I trim the seams to be neat, and press them flat.

I like to match up all the seams as best as possible too- including the lining.

Now that the lining is ready, I need to insert the pretty pink pleated frill around the neckline of the jacket, before I sew it all together. I create this pink frill from another vintage fabric. It is a large roll of pleated material, which I cut the edging off- this is what I use on the bolero.

Once the frill is attached to the jacket, I then sandwich the layers with right sides together, and sew around the entire edge.

I then trim and clip all seams, as it creates a better finish. Then the whole jacket is turned out through a gap in the lining seam- a little handy trick I learnt in college! This is where it really gets complicated!

Once it is turned out and the neckline has been under-stitched, I then need to finish off the sleeve hem. I do this by turning it inside out, through the same gap in the sleeve lining. It is too hard to explain, so just take my word for it when I say that is where my years of sewing experience comes in handy!

I like to use a contrasting blanket stitch on certain designs. I think it adds a certain handmade quality, while still looking chic and individual. In this design I use a bright pink thread to tone back in with the flowers in the print and the pink frill.

When I bought my sewing machine, I thought I was never going to need all of those fancy stitches that it can create. Now I am so glad they are available, as I think when I use them on my designs, it sets them apart from the rest.

By this stage it is practically done. All I need to do now is place the tiny hook and eyes onto the garment centre front. This is done by hand, and I even make my own little eyes with thread.

And the completed Penelope Red Venus Floral Bolero is done! You can purchase a copy of it in my etsy shop here.

Penelope Red at The Rocks Market: 1st & 2nd May 2010

I will be trading at The Rocks Markets, this coming weekend, the 1st and 2nd of May. I will be showing off my latest Penelope Red designs, including the Black Rose Red Dress, and the Ivory Rose Black Dress ( a black version of the red dress).

I am also hoping to have a brand new style of dress, made from wool- but I will have to see how my timing goes!

I will be there form 10am to 5pm. My location will be announced on my facebook page, closer to the weekend.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Happy Customer: The Paris Bow Top

One of my lovely customers, from the USA has been kind enough to send me a photo of her wearing the Paris Bow Top, which she bought from my etsy shop recently. I love it how she matched it with a great pair of navy pants, and some cute red shoes.

This is what she had to say about it:

The beautiful Paris Red Bow Top arrived yesterday and it is lovely!!!! I can't wait to wear it. Your workmanship is top-notch! I'll have my husband take some pix of me wearing it this weekend and send it off to you.
Thank you so much again...it's beautiful!

The Paris Bow Top has been one of my best sellers, and now that I have run out of fabric (in both the stripe and the red), I will not be making any more. I only have two US size 8's or AU size 12's left.

If you would like to buy a copy for yourself, please email me on designer@penelopered.com.au

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Style: The Black Rose Red Dress

Introducing the latest Penelope Red Style! The Black Rose Red Dress!

I wore this dress out in the city last night, and I felt so glamorous, but yet so comfortable and practical! I think I have found my latest favourite dress to wear!

The reason why it is so comfortable is that the dress is made from a bright red rayon/elastane knit. The fabric drapes beautifully, there is no need for ironing (except for maybe sometimes around the neckline after you have washed it), and the dress has a full skirt falling from the waist (which is still made from the knit fabric), so you can eat as much as you want, and never have a tight waist band.

The reason why it is so glamorous is basically because it is a very classic shape. People at the markets say it is a very 30's and 40's shape- an era of fashion which I love!

This dress is meant to show off your figure, and mainly your waist; there are six pleats that are evenly divided around the front waist, and then six pleats around the back waist. They then fall out below your waist into the full skirt. I think because the pleats highlight the bust and waist so much, I decided that a modest boat neck would be best- and I think it balances out the hips and full skirt nicely. As it is coming into winter, the 3/4 sleeves add some extra warmth.

I only have enough fabric to make 10 of these. I have already sold six of them too! I basically have run out of fabric, and my wholesaler is not making more in this colour. I will be however making this dress in a black with cream lace, and perhaps a turquoise green with black lace.

I will be selling all of these dresses at The Rocks Markets in the coming months.

Each dress is slightly different to the next as I have hand stitched the lace on each individually in a random fashion. They all have it placed around the boat neck.

If you would like to enquire about this dress or the coming colour variations, please email me at designer@penelopered.com.au

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Summer Retro Fabrics: Vote for your favourite!

I visited my fabric supplier yesterday, and I am quite excited as they have a new print which I am in love with- I am just not sure which colour-way to get! In comes in a choice of three colour-ways, and they are pictured below.

1. RED



I am loving the Pink colour-way and the aqua as well. So, I am now asking you, what do you think?

These fabrics will definitely come in handy for the summer, as I wanted to go back to my 60's and 70's retro styles- styles which I known for when I was selling at Paddington Markets. They are loads of fun to wear, and whenever I wear my catsuits, I feel like a million dollars!

Keep in mind that this fabric is a beautiful soft polished cotton, and I will probably make the following type of styles out of it...

1. Flared Pants like these:

2. Kimono

3. Catsuit

so please leave your comments! I would love to hear what you think!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My photos from The Winter Fashion Showcase

I finally have a photo of the new Penelope Red Dress, because it was featured in the Winter Fashion Showcase, at The Rocks Markets this past weekend, the 17th and 18th of April, 2010.

The below photos were taken using just my little digital camera, and I will hopefully soon have a few more photos from the day.

Above is the Penelope Red Black Rose Red Dress. Below is the Penelope Red Silk Road Winter Dress.

I am aiming to complete a short film of the parade, but I shot it via portrait and not landscape orientation, so once I work out how to rotate it, then it will be done!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jane Austen on Etsy

Recently I featured a few other designers/artist in my blog that have used "The Birth of Venus" as their inspiration.

My inspiration for the latest Penelope Red range, "The Venus, Penelope and Jane Collection" has made me think about all those other artists and designers on etsy who love Jane Austen. I decided to search for "Jane Austen" using etsy's search engine, and this collection of items is what I picked...

Jane Austen quotes 3.5 inch squares digital collage sheet. Use this for coasters cards or other print projects. By magicpug

Emma by Jane Austen book handbag by bookity

Hartfield Nights by mashalaurence

Art Nouveau Mother's Day Card by newnanc

Captain Wentworth Notebook - Jane Austen Hero by restaure

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Style: The Mint Regency Blouse and The Venus Skirt

As etsy only allows for five photos per item listing, I like to add a few extra photos to my blog. It gives me a chance to really show you the inside and the outside of my garments- as to me, the finish of each garment is just as important as the design!

The Mint Regency Blouse has been made from a gorgeous polka dotted vintage mint fabric. As soon as I saw it, I just simply had to have it! I only have enough fabric to make around another 2 or 3. The polka dots are in the shades of white, navy blue and beige, and are on a mint green background.

My gathered neck blouse's (the style of the design) have been really popular at the markets, so I will be making other colour-ways in this style.

The lace applied to the neck is a stunning white vintage hand-crocheted lace. It is amazing to think that someone has sat and crocheted every last loop and knot to make this! I was really lucky in finding this lace, and I have recently stumbled across some other laces too. I have no doubt they will all come in handy for my designs!

I have finished off the sleeve edging with a decorated elastic- it makes a nice neat edging, while still being delicate.

All seams are overlocked, and pressed.

The Venus Skirt is a high-waisted number, which really defines your waist, and accentuates your hips- a really curvy number. I guess this is why I gave it the name, "Venus Skirt". It is all about femininity.

The print is quite unique- has a slight "mod" feel to it. The background is a dark brown, with apricot contrast. The contrasting fabric is in apricot too, and it has a slightly textured feel to it of lines.

The hem has been curved to a point at the centre front, as this mirrors the rest of the design.

There is a split at the centre back, and an invisible zip with a large black button for the fastening around the waistband.

All seams and facing edges have been finished off with overlocking.

The Venus Skirt is a really striking design. I like the Mint Regency Blouse worn with it, but you could just as easily wear this skirt with a plain white business shirt and black heels.

Both of these designs are available for purchase in the Penelope Red etsy shop.