I'm so pleased to be planning the launch of the DIY Couture mega book to coincide with launch of The Make Escape, a new monthly night for making things in Hackney. The launch has many exciting things in store, including a Shoe Design Station run by I CAN Make Shoes, a sewing machine corner run by Fabrications, a dressing up rail and a collage corner for you to make your own, personalised paper fashion doll. It all takes place on the 5th floor of the Picturehouse cinema on Mare Street, a beautiful venue called the Hackney Attic.
One of the unofficial mottos of The Make Escape is "there is no right or wrong in craft" and this positive, can-do ethos is very much inline with my own theories about making clothes. I feel that many people would like to give clothes-making a go, but they are worried that they will do something wrong, so never quite get round to it. If you are one of these people, I hope that my book will encourage, inspire and enable you to make unique garments that you love wearing.
The book contains ten sets of instructions, each one describing and illustrating how to make a particular garment from scratch. The instructions can be interpreted in an endless number of ways - in other words, two different people could follow the same instructions and come up with two entirely different pieces of clothing. To illustrate this and hopefully inspire experimentation, I designed eight collections. You can see two of them here:
For each collection I created a mood board, which helped me choose fabrics and think about styling. Here is the mood board for the 'Rude Disco' collection.
These are the illustrations of the ten DIY Couture garments made Rude Disco style. It is hard to pick a colour that properly represents gold sparkles.
I sourced a lot of pieces for styling the collections from charity shops but also borrowed some great items, like these leggings from latvian company QooQoo, and this beautiful giant perspex zip necklace by Tatty Devine.
I was also very happy that Above + Below London were kind enough to lend me this pair of high-tops made from disused seating fabric from London's underground trains.
This is how the hoody, the waistcoat, the skater skirt and the slouch top turned out, modelled by Danielle Doobay, who I spotted wandering down Brick Lane way back in 2009 and has been modelling for DIY Couture ever since.
Here you can see four different incarnations of the slouch top, made for four different collections featured in the book; Rude Disco, Jungle Punk, Tea Picnic and Monochrome Art.
We will have a dressing up rail at the launch, where you will be able to try on many of the piece of clothing shown in the book. I hope this will help you to think about how you can invent your own creations using the DIY Couture instructions. This launch is an open event - a party. The more the merrier, so please do come along, bring your friends and have fun experimenting with DIY fashion.
I hope to see you there-