Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Environment and Penelope Red

This is just a quick note... Most of the customers that I speak to at the markets will quickly understand that I use a lot of vintage fabrics and trims. I wanted to share with you a few reasons why...

1. I believe in today's world we need to be innovative with what materials we use, and what we choose to discard. It is always important to think of the environment, and do your part. I like to think that instead of irresponsible landfill, I am making something beautiful!

The Venus Floral Bolero, made from two vintage fabrics.

2. I like using vintage and recycled because it gives me access to hard to find prints, and the trims are usually better quality.

I source my materials and trims from many places...If you take a close look at my designs, you will notice a mix of vintage, recycled and new.

The pieces I recycle is either fabric that hasn't been used yet (and doesn't fall under the "vintage" category), or sometimes I find an old garment that has beautiful fabric; I simply wash it, cut it up, and make a Penelope Red design from it.

The Venus Corset, uses two vintage fabrics.

3. I receive a lot of my vintage fabrics and trims from my Mum's friends and my family -so I think it is nice for them to see what I have done with it all.

The new fabrics are purchased from a local Australian supplier.

The Mint Regency Blouse uses a vintage fabric and a vintage trim.

And a Greener Penelope Red:

I have always recycled my patternmaking cardboard and paper (which amounts to quite a lot!), but I have been wanting to find ways to reuse the fabric scraps I have lying around.

I have now found an accessories designer who will collect my off cuts, and use them in her production. Melissa Tan, who makes cute ipod covers, and handbag organisers, will be using these pieces, and I think that all of these small steps will amount to a better Penelope Red!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Penelope Red Pink Summer Kimono

Introducing the latest Penelope Red style, the Pink Summer Kimono! It has been handmade from a 100% polished cotton, featuring a bright coloured print of flowers, paisley and marbling. The colours include pink, yellow, red, blue, purple, white and more.

I have taken many photos of this style, and I wanted to show you a few more than the five etsy allows, so here they are.

The back ,above, with the belt tied around the waist; the below photo showing the back when the belt is left loose.

The back has several pleats above and below the waistband, which is shown in the below photo. I have sold several kimono's (in other prints) at the markets, and the back pleating is usually one of the aspects of this design that people love. It really makes it easy to wear, as you don't need to arrange the pleating yourself- the garment already has it.

Above and below shows the inside of the garment. I always like to make sure the inside is as neat as the outside!

It truly is a simple style to wear; pair it with jeans and some chunky jewellery to go shopping; wear some skinny black pants and heels for a night out; cute shorts will make this style versatile for a lazy summers afternoon at the beach! As it is 100% cotton, you could also use it instead of a sarong- it is a light fabric, so it will dry quickly, and no need for adjusting and re-tying it all the time (like we do to those sarongs)!

Take a look at the Pink Summer Kimono style in the Penelope Red etsy shop

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vote for Project Reconstruction Competition

In the current edition of current Viva La Moda magazine, Penelope Red designs has been featured in a competition: Project Reconstruction. I have more details about my Project Reconstruction design in a previous blog entry.

Take a look at the current Viva La Moda magazine online, and it is free.

Above are the competition details, and they can be viewed in a larger font by visiting the magazine website: current Viva La Moda magazine

I need as many people as possible to vote for my design, so I will be featured in the next issue- it would be great to receive the publicity! So please vote for me!

I have placed a copy of the pages from the magazine that feature my entry into the competition- the Penelope Red Collared Stripe Halter Top. These pages can be found in Viva La Moda magazine on pages 47 to 49.

Please vote for my design!

Monday, May 24, 2010

More photos of the Black Rose Jade Dress

The Penelope Red Black Rose Jade Dress was added to the Penelope Red etsy shop today, and as usual, five photo spots is never enough for me, so I wanted to share a few close-ups on this blog.

This dress has been made from a gorgeous rayon (viscose) elastane fabric, in a bright jade green colour. The rayon makes it soft and comfortable to wear- even in the warmer weather, and the elastane helps the fabric to hold its shape, as well as produce the beautiful draped effect of the pleats.

I have over-locked all seams, to make everything nice and neat. The black lace is hand sewn on to each dress- this is why you can see small black stitching on the wrong side of the garment (pictured in this photo above).

The pleats accentuate the waist, while also creating volume for the hem, and an illusion of length as the pleats create vertical lines from your waist down.

One of the best parts about this design, is that it is so comfortable- I can not stress it enough! The fabric is so soft and floaty. Take a look at the video below to see how the hem flows and twirls!

The only difference between the back and front is the back has a centre back seam. I still have the same pleating on the back as well as the front, and the same fullness at the hem.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Black Rose Jade Dress

Introducing the Black Rose Jade Green Dress, the latest style from Penelope Red- I literally finished making it two days ago. This is the same pattern/style as the Black Rose Red Dress that was really popular a few weeks ago at the markets .

I LOVE this colour!!! I have to admit, when I was deciding on the colour, I was a little hesitant, but then I received some assurance from a few lovely ladies, and now I am so glad I made it in this Jade Green colour! (One for me, one for the shop-I am so bad!) As soon as I tried it on, I knew I had to keep one.

The black accentuates the colour even further, as well as adding a little extra Penelope Red feel to it!

I decided to show you a few simple ways in which you can wear this great style. As it really is quite versatile. When some people look at bright colours, they think they are limited to one or two colours. I say you are only limited to your imagination!

I could really imagine this dress with a gorgeous red or pink printed bolero- I just need to find the fabric people!

One of the many great things about this design is that it is so comfortable, and the fabric is so soft (it is made from a rayon elastane knit or jersey)- there are no excuses for needing to wear tights or jeans etc. any more!

Wear it with boots, tights and a big overcoat when it gets cooler; wear it with strappy heels and a full brim hat on the bright spring days.

I decided to make this dress a mid-calf length as full length is a little predictable (and it doesn't suit some of the shorter ladies), and I have done many knee length dresses. I have long legs- so it looks more knee length on me, but for most, this is a mid calf length.

This dress has 6 pleats on the front, and 6 pleats on the back, all spread around the waist. You can have the choice of wearing a great belt around your waist to accentuate it even further. I love wearing a bright contrast- it draws the eye straight to the waist.

Please note, all of these photos were taken outside, in natural lighting, as I wanted to show you the true colour of this beautiful dress. The only photo shop I have applied to these images is cropping.

I currently have this dress in a US size 4, 6, 8 or 10 or an Australian size 8, 10, 12 and 14. If you would like to enquire about this style, please email me:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Penelope Red Tailored Winter Dresses

I finally have made more of my Penelope Red Tailored Winter Dresses. This new design is made from three different fabrics; the black is a textured 100% wool jacquard, the check is black and ivory- a vintage wool I have had for a while, the third fabric is a beautiful white/ivory silk that my Aunt gave to me- they all look so beautiful and striking in this design!

I will be placing more photos of this dress on the blog, including perhaps making a video of the making of this dress. We'll see if I have the time!

For now, I have included in this post a few variations of the same idea. These are all my Winter Tailored Dresses. The designs have used either a very similar pattern, or the exact same pattern- all being created in completely different fabrics.

This was a custom order. We picked out the fabrics together- doesn't the blue look so lovely against her skin tone!

Above, I have used a gorgeous antique yellow lace, made from wool. This is one of my personal dresses, and I love wearing it to special events and functions as it is so different- a real head turner! I wore this again, just over a month ago to a musical.

Above is the Silk Road Winter Tailored Dress, made from three very distinct fabrics. This is available to purchase at the Rocks Markets.

I last wore this dress (yes, this is another of my personal winter dresses!) to the city, when I visited the Art Gallery. Four complete strangers commented on my dress- always a sign that it is a good design!

I wore the Black and Cream Winter Dress to a wedding this past weekend, and it was a definite hit! I love this dress! It is so stylish, but so pretty.

For enquiries into ordering your own Penelope Red Winter Tailored Dress, please email me :

Friday, May 14, 2010

Project Reconstruction

I have been invited to compete in an online charity auction for CARE Emergency in Haiti.

My design is below:

The competition, named Project Reconstruction, is organised by the Canadian online bi-monthly magazine, Viva La Moda.

There will be quite a few designers involved. The design brief: use a men’s business shirt in your design, and make something wearable from it.

The design of the silhouette is actually one of my biggest sellers, the Penelope Red Wrap Around Halter Top; this style is flattering on so many figures, is versatile, and adjustable, and since we were auctioning this on the internet, I thought all of these factors would be best to apply to this design.

Above is pictured the Bohemian Sari Halter Top, which is available to purchase in the Penelope Red etsy shop.

Look below to see how I made this one-of-a-kind top:

Once we were given the design brief, I knew exactly what I wanted to create. Since we were told to use a men's business shirt, I wanted this to be the focus of the design, and use as many elements as possible from this.

What the original shirt looked like...

I used bright blue silk for the lining of this top.

I thought the most interesting part of this shirt was the collar and the colours in the stripe, so this is what I kept.

Above and below, sewing the collar in place.

Once I applied the collar from the original shirt to the top, I then exchanged the original cream buttons, for black buttons- I think they really make a statement against the stripe. I was going to apply a few pieces of randomly placed black lace, but it didn't add anything to the overall design.

I think this design is chic and elegant, and I could see it being worn with a great pair of jeans or a pair of hot black pants, some heels and some chunky jewellery.

The auction will be online, and run through ebay. Subscribe for free to Viva La Moda magazine so you will be notified instantly when the competition starts.

All proceeds go to the CARE Emergency in Haiti charity, and it would be fabulous if you could all tell everyone about this wonderful idea.