Inspired by, Journal

Inspired by Nani Iro


Nani IRO is the brand name of the renowned Japanese artist Naomi Ito. I was introduced to the collection and designer through the fabric shop Guthrie and Ghani. The collection really made my head turn as the collection can only be described as art on fabric.



There is a strong, abstract, painterly, minimalist aesthetic, that savours every line and brush stroke. There is a clear connection to the natural world and influence of place in which the work is produced.  In 2011, she moved to Iga, Mie, Japan, which is surrounded  in beautiful forests, which made her relationship with nature deepen. Her art is born by living together with “natural antiques” such as rotting leaves and berries, branches or seeds.



Airforce Tencel .jpg

02Airforce tencel

Nani means beautiful in the Hawaiian language. Iro is the Japanese word for color, and from its kanji character, harmony, balance, and a meeting of light and dark. All of these meanings can be felt across the collections.





Her work is printed on cotton, linen and double gauze and the unique quality of these fabrics adds depth to the designs.  By making textiles from the art, Naomi Ito describes ‘the possibilities of new stories with those who receive them as limitless –such as items that give an impressive color to the interior space, or that add an accent to your accessories’.



What I most like about the fabric designs is the painterly quality and the intent to celebrate fabric design, not only as materials but as pieces of art to be treasured by the wearer.  The fabrics are not only loved in Japan, but wholesaled across 30 countries around the globe.



In 2012 the shop “ATELIER to nani IRO” was opened in Osaka. I haven’t got any plans for a trip to Japan, anytime soon but if I ever found myself there I would most definitely make a pilgrimage to the store. In the meantime, I do have a trip lined up on the 5th October to go to Guthrie and Ghani for the Sew Brum Meet Up, so I look forward to seeing the fabrics in real life then. For now I can appreciate the painterly, minimal quality of the work that is as soft as the fabrics it is printed on.

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Until next time.

Claire & co.





Inspired by, Journal, Uncategorized

Inspired by Cotton and Flax

Alongisde my #100daysofpatterns project, I’m looking at pattern and textile designers that I admire to try and get a better understanding of how and why it works. So today I’m looking at Cotton and Flax, handmade textile home goods from US based designer Erin Dollar. Every piece in the collection is cut, printed and sewn in California.

About Cotton & Flax - How it's made

The striking patterns featured on each Cotton and Flax piece begin as ink drawings — Erin creates each pattern by hand, using a brush and sumi ink. Then she transfers these patterns to a silkscreen to print multiples on fabric. Cotton and Flax textiles are made using natural materials, including linen fabrics and eco-friendly water-based inks. Erin chooses linen-blend fabrics for their unique qualities: high absorbency, durability and increased softness with time.

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Production for Cotton and Flax is done in small batches, and many items are available in a limited quantity as Erin refreshes her palette seasonally.

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With Cotton and Flax, Erin approaches textile design as a blend of fine art and fine craft. By using traditional methods to print each textile piece, Erin hopes to share her love of printmaking and to promote greater public interest in owning unique, handmade home goods.

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What strikes me most about Cotton and Flax is the commitment to craftsmanship and promoting the value of this within the home. All principles that can be applied to my own work and values that align with my own.


I’m looking forward to putting my hand at silk screen printing on to some fabric and lino cutting onto some linen, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks. Prints made by hand create a quality that just can’t be replicated on digital print, so I look forward to returning to ink and cloth to make some patterns.


All for now,

Claire and Co


Handmade Wardrobe, Journal, Sewing

Me Made May 2019

2019, was the 10th year anniversary for Me Made May, an initiative set up by Sozo to encourage makers to wear items in their handmade wardrobe. On Sozo blog, Zoe speaks about how all clothes are handmade by someone in a factory normally, so she prefers the term me-made to describe clothes that you’ve made yourself. This was my first time taking part. I am far from having a 100% ‘Me Made’ Wardrobe, but I do have 14 items in my spring capsule wardrobe, that I’ve made myself.

  • Tilly and the Buttons Stella Joggers
  • True Bias Ogden Cami blue
  • True Bias Ogden Cami linen
  • Thread Theory T-shirt white
  • Sew Over It Molly Top blue and white stripe
  • Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top yellow
  • Sew Over It Molly Dress blue stripe
  • Sew Over It Alex Shirt Dress denim
  • Simplicity hack jumpsuit chambray
  • Sew Over It Eve Dress colbalt blue
  • Tilly and the Buttons Joni dress black and white stripe
  • Sew Over It Mia Jeans
  • Sew Over It Erin Skirt
  • Wool and the Gang Hotline Sweater

With just under half the number of items for the optimum capsule wardrobe, I thought I’d pledge to wear one piece of me made everyday, in a hope of understanding what I reach to wear everyday, discover what I’m missing and most importantly celebrate one year of making my own clothes. So here it goes…



Well, I did it, and I loved it, so here’s what I learnt.

Getting dressed matters

I heard Helen and Caroline on the Love To Sew Podcast, discuss the science and satisfaction behind making your own bed in the morning, it gives a sense of accomplishment before the day has even begun. They likened this to getting dressed in the morning and wearing clothes you’ve made yourself, as a double dose of accomplishment. I have to agree. I learnt that getting dressed matters, I’m unemployed at the moment for health reasons, so it could be tempting to stay in my pyjamas all day on the sofa. But I go to yoga everyday at lunch time as part of a physiotherapy programme, so it’s tempting to wake up, put on active wear in preparation for yoga and walking the dog. Soon enough by the time I get home from yoga and make lunch, half the day is gone and I end up staying in leggings and cosy hoodies ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.


[The pin is from Joy from PinkCoat Club, which I picked up at Sew Creative]

This signposts to a need to make my own sportswear, but importantly MeMadeMay forced me to get up and get dressed for the day, and just swiftly change into yoga gear when the time came. I noticed a shift in mindset, I’d plan my outfit the night before, (just like I did when I was working in an office) and it put a spring in my step, knowing that, yes, I may be the best dressed dog walker, and my self-appointed title contained more gravitas, because, I’d made my clothes myself. So I’m all for supporting and continuing the #diyootd because getting dressed matters, to firstly make sure I showcase my wardrobe, but also to celebrate accomplishments everyday, however small.

Jumpsuits everyday, all day

By far, my most worn item during May was the Simplicity Hack Chambray Jumpsuit. I have grown to LOVE it, the fitted bodice creates a sillhouette,  but the relaxed fit trousers make them comfortable to wear. I paired it with a RTW, but second hand, stripe top and trainers. Putting it politely, the weather has been changeable, so with a t-shirt underneath this was a great choice for unpredictable climates. The main reason I hadn’t been wearing it was because I needed to hand stitch the lining, so MeMadeMay gave me the little nudge I needed.

JumpsuitBut I have grown to love jumpsuits, they are comfortable to wear, easy to put on and suit my lifestyle. The Sew Together for Summer challenge this year is jumpsuits.  I’m going to start a jumpsuit sewing marathon, firstly with the Deer and Doe Sirrocco with both short sleeves and long sleeved hack in cotton jersey. Then a Tilly and the Buttons Marigold and Bettine mashup, inspired by Emily from Self Assembly Required, then I’d like to try the Fibre Mood Carmella Boilersuit for autumn.

Mending over making new & upcyle from your own wardrobe 

MeMadeMay forced me to handstitch linings & finish hems, reminding me to finish one project fully before moving on to the next project. I unpicked and upcycled, my Sew Over It Molly Top, which is made from Navy and White Breton Ponte Roma, the fabric I love, but I find the sillhouette drowns me. Although I was reaching for stripe tops most days, Molly remained unloved, so I decided to transform it into a 3/4 sleeve coco top instead to maximise fabric in my wardrobe, so it taught me to upcycle and mend from my wardrobe, first before upcycling from second hand shops. Next year, one of my pledges will definitely be to finish projects before starting anything new.


A summer coat is a staple

Most days, I was reaching for my denim jacket, or a light midi length coat, it was May, but some days it definitely felt like March. So it spurred me on to make The Named Isla Trench Coat, I have on my Make Nine List for 2019.  Inspired and motivated by all the makes I was seeing this month, as well as the rain, I finally cut the fabric and it’s soon to be finished, which will be set to be a well worn staple.

Denim Jacket

My love for coat making continues, mainly because I know I am guaranteed to get a lot of wear from them and I love all the tailoring involved, so I’m tempted to make a Closet Case Kelly Anorak with a fur lined hood for walking the dog when the weather calls for strong protection against the elements after seeing Becky’s version here on Note from The Sewing Room.

Relaxed fit trousers

I realised how much I love a relaxed fit pair of trousers, I have two RTW pairs, one in a crepe, I bought for going to Morrocco a few years ago but since have worn them at home. Paired with an Ogden Cami, the relaxed fit, make them easy to wear, great for sewing days, when I’m crawling on the floor playing pattern tetris.

Relaxed Trousers

The Sew Over It Carrie Trousers are a similar fit and style, I have the pattern, but I’m looking for a great patterned crepe to make them, or maybe I should hang fire until I have some of my own surface patttern designs ready to print on to crepe.


I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, one I’ve made myself and two ready to wear pairs, one which is too snug and another which I like the cut of, but I don’t really like the wash. So jeans need to be a priorty for my making.

jeans 01

I have the Ginger Jeans on my Make Nine, but I really want to nail the fit on them. I want to tackle the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers first, then draft a pattern for trousers based on the recent body scan I had Manchester University so I have a real understanding of the adjustments I need to do to make the perfect fit for my body shape.

It was eye opening how I have three pairs of jeans in my wardrobe, that I’m indifferent about. Spending time and energy to make a great fit on one pair is more important to me than having three mediocre pairs that don’t make me feel good. I’m sure there are thousands of unloved pairs of jeans in womens’ wardrobes across the world, because well no two bottoms are the same, so finding RTW jeans can seem like an impossible task.

A massive thank you to Zoe from SoZo blog for having such a bright idea 10 years ago to set up MeMadeMay. Hopefully by sharing photos of home sewn clothes it will encourage more people to start making their own wardrobe. It was seeing other peoples’ photos in which they were wearing their homemade clothes on Instagram last year that got me inspired to start garment making. So to celebrate my one year anniversary I’ve made a page with a gallery of my 2018-2019 makes. Finally a big thanks to Rob, who painfully and patiently took photos throughout May, yep, there’s a shirt coming your way to say thank you. May, will certainly become a creative highlight of the year and here’s to MeMadeMay 2020.








Inspired by, Journal

Inspired by Laura Slater

I’m in the midst of my #100daysofpatterns project and in addition to creating my own work, I’ve been taking inspiration from print designers around me. Last week, I found myself at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, definitely a day out I’d recommend if you’re in the area, and I came across the work of Laura Slater.

The studio describes itself as ‘Informed by the interaction of colour and shape, the design focuses on the translation of drawing and surface through hand printed processes. The specific interests lie in engagement with pattern and it’s ability to connect us to the environments and objects we surround ourselves with. This is explored through approaches to drawing, process, materials and product.’

What I love about the work is how you can see the process used to produce each piece, from what I can tell the work has been screen printed and printed with monographs. I’m drawn to the brave colours and bold shapes. There is a clear influence from the natural world and bringing the outside in, and this creates a sense of calm to the shapes, and in turn to the interiors. The work is produced on natural materials and how these fabrics take on the ink adds to the individuality of each piece.

John Lewis


A collaboration with John Lewis sees the prints on their womanswear collection, called Kin creating bright abstract striking womanswear with simple silhouettes. The main take away for me from looking at this work is seeing how integral the process is in the aesthetic and how important that is to continually stay true to the materials and processes used. Laura teaches workshops in her studio in Leeds, so with any luck, I’ll find myself at one of her textiles screen printing workshops to get started on screen printing onto textiles.

Claire & Co.




Journal, Sewing Plans

Posh Frocks Pattern Picks

So wedding seasons is nearly upon us, just like Glastonbury Festival, we’re having a fallow year for weddings, we hit it pretty hard last year, two in one week, one of them being our own. There are a few on the horizon for 2020 and I’ve already started to think about what to wear in 2020,  for me, half of the pleasure of sewing is in the planning of the projects, finding perfect patterns paired with the perfect pattern.  I made my first dress, to wear as a wedding guest last year, The Tilly And the Buttons Etta and I loved wearing it.So here’s my suggestions for posh frocks patterns to be the best dressed guest.

Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown

For a special occasion, it’s a good excuse to use a fabric that has been savoured. I found this emerald green midi-length dress on Pinterest  and I love the simplicity of it, it’s very elegant. I searched high and dry for a pattern that is similiar and the Named Clothing Elizabeth Gown is a great starting point. The thin straps and deep neckline at the back are a near perfect match. The bodice is lined with a V neck which could easily be hacked into a straight neckline. The Elizabeth Gown is maxi length with a high slit, with extra length to accomade being worn with high heels,  alterations would need to be made for a midi length and maybe some extra room in the skirt is the slit would be emmited. The pattern calls for well draping, light- to medium weight fabrics. The sample is made of silk crepe. This Bambo Silk from Ray Stitch is the goldy yellow or cornflower blue would be a great choice.

A Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers and Coco Jacket Trouser Suit

It’s not just Men who wear suits to weddings, there has been a growning number of floral trouer suits on the high street, many of the jackets make a nod to the 70’s with long line, oversized blazer. This style is not really for me, so I would love to make a Sew Over It Coco Jacket with Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers with the high waist hack, into a trouser suit. The advantage of making a suit, is that the pieces can be worn seperatley or together for the full effect. The Coco Jacket looks great in a brocade fabric and is luxurious for a special occasion. For me, this outfit is really driven by the fabric choice so over the coming months i’ll keep my eyes peeled for fabric. I like florals on a dark background, but I spotted this lighter colourway which would be ideal for summer from Minerva Crafts.

Vogue 9075 Jumpsuit

Finally, but by no means least, is a jumpsuit. This Vogue 9075 has been doing the rounds amongst the sewing community, rightfully so, as it is a beautiful pattern and very practical, looks like a skirt, but is actually culottes.  This version here by Sharadha is stunning, read review over on her blog. I like the view with sleeveless on the bodice and the added detail of a belt really finnishes it off. For fabric, I love this yellow taken from the inspiration photo, and the pattern calls for a medium-light fabric, with enough structure to maintain the pleats but enough drape to be move freely. I’d like to try a Yellow Tencel Fabric, again, I haven’t found the perfect fabric but this yellow gold tencel is a good start.

I hope you found inspirations from my suggestions for best posh frock (or jumpsuit or trousers) for a special occasion or well, just any occasion.

Until next time.

Claire & Co