4 July 2014

Creative White Shirt

Hi all,

As one of the first projects on my course, we had to take the basic pattern cutting skills that we developed, and exploit them in a creative white shirt.
I chose to base mine on containment, and the ideas of Victorian life. I created a shirt that buttons up the back with a row of pearl buttons, it has a wide high neck and exaggerated sleeves. There are external panels that wrap over the sleeves, limiting the arm movements of the wearer.
The lower part of the shirt I developed a pleated feature, which I lined in a satin lining to emphasize. 

I definitely wasn't thinking 'wearable' when I designed this, but I wanted to explore elements that could then be extracted and adapted into something slightly less dramatic.

It's a little crazy, and I probably won't be wandering down the high street wearing it any time soon, but I had so much fun making it, and I am really pleased with the outcome.

xox Niamh xox

1 July 2014

Cobweb Textiles

Hi all,

Let me introduce you to a mini project I did, involving the colour pewter. I chose to explore cobwebs, as they become visible when they are covered in frost in the early winter mornings. 
I translated these images onto fabric, first dying the fabrics then working onto with angelina fibres and free machine embroidery. The angelina fibres helped to give a reflective nature to the pieces, and look different colours as they move. 

xox Niamh xox

27 June 2014

Vintage Photos

Hi all,

Whilst in Paris I picked up some old vintage photographs. These are a combination of postcards, and promotional images that photographers of the time would have used to demonstrate what they could do and bring in new clients.
I was particularly intrigued with the photographs that introduced colour. These hand painted photographs are amazing examples of the development that photography was taking, and early steps towards colour photographs. The heightened vibrancy of the colours used is such a contrast to the black and white or sepia colours of most photographs from before this, that they can appear quite garish, but I think that they are amazingly beautiful.

Have a look for yourself...

xox Niamh xox

23 June 2014

Paris Flea Market

Hi all,

A little while ago I took a little trip to Paris with uni. It was an intense few days packed full of research, sights and lots of shopping. The main purpose of the trip was to go to Premiere Vision, the fabric expo, which was huge and overwhelming. There were so many beautiful fabrics, trims and laces in such a huge exhibition space.
On the final day of our trip we headed to one of the Flea Markets, nearing the edge of the city. It was a pretty amazing place, a feast for the senses, with stall selling incredibly well preserved vintage pieces from the 18th century onwards, and a host of other interesting stalls with weird and wonderful bits and pieces. Oh, and there was lots of lace! 

Take a look...

xox Niamh xox

20 June 2014

Hello Again!

Well hello good people of the internet!

Its wonderful to see all of your lovely faces again (in a manner of speaking)
I must apologise for my long absence, I can't believe its been so long since I last posted, and frankly I'm a little ashamed.
So much has happened since I last graced your inboxes, and well...one of the most unbelievable ones is that I have now completed my first year at University studying Fashion Design!!!
It's been a whirlwind of a year, and so much has been packed into it, that just thinking about it all is kind of making my head hurt a little. I have made so many amazing new friends, and formed so many memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life (both good, bad, and ugly!)

I really wanted to share everything as it was happening, but time kept slipping away. But now I have decided that I am going to step back through my first year, and show you all the highlights of what has happened. The work I have made, the places I have been, and some of the different opportunities that presented themselves to me.

I'm writing (well..typing) this on the last day of my first year. And I think I might add a little note to my future self. Right now I'm kind of terrified of going into second year. Okay, its going to be so much fun, and there will be lots of new exciting challenges, but at the same time it's another change. More responsibilities (although I feel I have been given ample of them this year!) and higher expectations.
As a self proclaimed work-a-holic and perfectionist I have to admit my balance of work life and social life was a little (well ok...a lot) out of whack for the majority of this year. But with a little help from a few people I'm beginning to find the balance. I'm hoping that next year I can keep that balance and keep everything in perspective.
I'm looking forward to living with a new group of people next year. Six fashion students all under one roof! People are saying we are crazy, but I'm hoping it all works out, and that we don't end up wanting to kill one another! (watch this space!)

But until then I have the whole summer to enjoy (with a summer project from uni, they never give us a break!)

So, stay tuned for more in the not so distant future!

xox Niamh xox

8 November 2013

Milly Skirt

Hi all,

The past three weeks have flown by in a blur. I completed the first half of my first module at University, in flat pattern cutting. Our main project was to re-create a skirt from Milly by Michelle Smith A/W 2012-13. We didn't have any instructions on how to do it, just the basic pattern manipulation skills that we learnt.  We had to try to create an accurate representation of the run way image, in calico and black contrast fabric.
I won't bore you with details of how I did it, but it involved a good few pattern drafts, half toiles, full toiles and lots of yoke samples. I am quite pleased with how the skirt turned out, but I am most pleased with the progress I have made with my pattern cutting.

This is the runway image of the skirt.

Here is my interpretation of the skirt, including side seam pockets (which were really satisfying to have made!)

Hope you are all well,

xox Niamh xox

17 October 2013

Very Chocolatey Beetroot Brownies

Hi all,

My mum is currently on the hunt for the ultimate chocolate brownie recipe, and we recon that she has gotten close with the most recent recipe she tried. It has a little ingredient call beetroot in it. I had never had beetroot in a baked good, but I have to tell you...its amazing. The beetroot doesn't bring too much flavour to the brownies, but what it does bring is an intense gooeyness and moistness, which combined with the chocolate just melts in the mouth.

If you want to have a try of these scrummy brownies then follow the recipe below.

Very Gooey Chocolate Beetroot Brownies

  • 275g (10oz) beetroot, leaves removed
  • 250g (9oz) dark chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces. (or more if your a real chocoholic)
  • 250g (9oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g (11oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g (3oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

You will need a 20cm (8inch) square tin, with 5cm (2inch) sides.


Prepare the beetroot by trimming the stalks back to about 2cm (3/4inch) from the end, was them carefully under a cold tap. Do not scrub them - simply rub off any dirt with your fingers. You don’t want to damage the skin or tails otherwise the beetroot will ‘bleed’ while cooking.

Place the beetroot in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and continue to simmer for between 30 mins and 1 hour, depending on the size and age of the beets. They are cooked when their skin rubs off easily and a knife can easily be inserted into the centre of each beet.

When cooked, rub off the skins and discard, then cut into chunks. Place in a food processor or blender and whiz for a few mins to form a smooth purée. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F), gas mark 4. Butter the sides of the tin and line the tin with baking paper. 

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave till just melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. 

Whisk eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds until mixed, then gradually add these to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time. Beat in the purée beetroot and melted chocolate, then sift in the remaining ingredients, fold these in until fully combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Bake in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is almost set but still wobbles when you gently shake the tin. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely in the tin before carefully removing the brownies, and cutting into squares to serve.

They will keep in an airtight container for a few days (if they last that long!)

xox Niamh xox