Saturday, 5 October 2013

Chillin' with the Knittin'

Good afternoon to all!!
I'm chilling with my knitting on a well-deserved day off. The image above? Of that said knitting, which is based on the pattern 'Brownie' from Rowan's Kidsilk Dream pattern book. The book consists of a variety of woodland-like knitting and crochet patterns using Rowan's awesomely beautiful fine yarn. Sadly it is expensive at £8.99 per 50g ball, but I'm thinking of making this a last sort of knitting project for the year (academically speaking).
However, with the recent release of her amazing book Woodland Knits, Stephanie has given me reason (and other knitters alike) to keep giving different projects a go. I don't own the book yet, but I think I will be in due course, purely because she's managed to turn gorgeous faery-things into a reality through an interesting craft. I think I've been overlooking the fact that she truly is my inspiration in creative things and wondrous dwellings (of course alongside the likes of Brian and Wendy Froud, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Karen Kay (Editor of FAE Magazine and Faery Events Coordinator) ).
Stephanie's book Woodland Knits, and creator of site 'Tiny Owl Knits'
Currently, I would love to get my hands on the pattern 'Seedpod Purse' as I just think it's so adorable and would fit with my eccentric ways.
'Seedpod Purse'

Until the next time,
maddening wishes xxx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I have been dragged from the pits of earth to start afresh

Ok, it' a bit later than intended but I've been busy finding work and fitting in exercise. And now for the continuation of my wonderfully odd blog and ramblings of my Sudden Madness.

Well, I did it people! I succeeded in passing through A Levels successfully, gaining some very good grades in Textiles, Photography and Business Studies. Watch this space - you could see the next best fashion/ textiles entrepreneur to blow your minds!!! But until that happens, I'd like to share several things that I've been doing since I last left you all.

If you aren't aware that I work for a soft furnishings and Haberdashery shop, well, now you do; and in the first image you can see a sample of a Jane Churchill furnishing fabric usually used for children's curtains (which I bought as an off-cut). Now, I adore Winnie The Pooh, and have done since I was a year old, and thought that a child-hood memory would sooth the stress of the A Levels I was undertaking.

Original Jane Churchill sample.

So, I drew from eye an image from the sample I had onto a plain white cotton square, and went around the pencil lines with black embroidery thread using back-stitch. I filled in the characters with according colours using satin stitch as this gave the best coverage of colour.
This was just the start. I enjoyed doing this so much that I ended up doing the same thing with the other characters. Not all of the book's characters are on the sample as you can see, but I decided to use images online to fill in the gaps (based around the original drawings, of course!).

 Once I had completed 6 squares, I opted to sew them together, with right sides facing, in a patchwork format, which resulted in the composition below.

But I didn't want to stop there.....
 I traced over leaf patterns onto strips of fabric the double the length of the width of the embroidered patchwork, and used a satin stitch on the sewing machine to go around the edges. I used embroidery scissors to cut away sections to leave the following patterns; which for those who don't know is a technique called Cut-Work Embroidery. 
 Sadly, I wasn't too keen on the way the maple leaf had turned out, as I wanted a more curved line. So, I ignored those and carried on with the other leaves all the way down the fabric strip. I then put gathering stitches along one edge, pulled them up, and attached each panel to the main panel on either side.
 Although you can't see it, (purely because I was lazy and forgot to take pictures of the last steps as I was so excited that it was almost complete!), I created another panel for the back, which ultimately allowed it to transform into a cushion cover.

 The above photo is its finished self, unfortunately without the cushion as I haven't got one in its size! I am considering to stuff it with toy stuffing to fill it out and then secure it shut so it doesn't come out; but that is a task yet to do.
What do you think? I was so proud of making this despite revising for exams and finish off my tedious coursework that took priority *cough* *cough*.
And so my quest shall continue, as I have many more projects tucked away down my sleeve. Please keep visiting to see what happens next in my crazy and unexplained mind!!
Until the next time,
maddening wishes xxx








Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Give me a break

In the sun? In the snow? In the woods? OK, the latter does sound creepy if you're looking at it from the WRONG perspective. I want a holiday. The major exam for textiles is looming around the corner and I'm just so damn tired!  But to help with this tiredness I've been listening to music, as you do. No, not making anything - I haven't got the energy to do that at the moment!

Anyhow, back to the music: Did anyone see Eurovision on Saturday (18th may) ? I think by far this year has been the best - it was all so modern and appealed to a younger audience much better than it has in the past. Denmark won, and quite rightly so in my opinion, as the combination of song, performance and outfit were just beautiful! I felt at home when their track came on, as the melodic tune that Ireland would put through - obviously not and their hard luck!
However, aside from this, I was also captivated by Robin Stjernberg's entry for Sweden. My heart just melts every time I hear the song 'You' that he performed on the Eurovision evening; of which the song below is of a guitar-acoustic version of 'You', but listen to the piano version too. Taking a look at his other songs 'Scars' and 'Beautiful' you just can't argue that this guy is amazing (despite being a participant of a singing talent contest in Sweden. Clearly Britain just hasn't got it right).
Aside from beautiful music, I will be taking a few months off of blogging to reconnect myself with what I really want to do. A.K.A, go out, have a bit of fun, and chill out. I will be back in September to share my Gap Year with you all and the fun projects I'll be looking forward to doing.
Until then,
happy blogging to all! xxx

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Give me a Bug and I'll Talk about it for Hours...

Ok, so I've finished all my Photography coursework for the year and felt like meandering around on the web and random stuff - another strife for tattoo possiblities is still an ongoing search. Yep, madness.

But as I was in a trance over Pinterest and going crazy over the beautiful images my eyes had been littered with, something struck me quite suddenly. You all know out there how bored I am of clone-like fashion and I was interested in finding out what styles and trends other people loath. To my suprise I came across Chictopia which I can honestly say I'm proud to have found people who have the same hatred towards certain 'trends' as myself.

1. Brand slogans and advertisements on t-shirts. Just Don't. By all means have a patterned print but please, slogans have become an overrated nuisance and the high street has just ruined the whole concept of it.

2. The 'look-at-me-I'm-wearing-short-shorts-that-don't-fit-or-hide-my-rear' girls. I've been to Reading Festival (UK) and it just makes you feel so awkward when all you see is just, well, that. It's like a competition to see who can look the sluttiest - and it's one competition I think people would definately appreciate me not participating in.

3. Overly short skirts. Yes, the Mini skirt was invented for freedom of speech and a rebellion of the youth, but it doesn't mean that you have to parade your 'stuff' around for everyone to see. No I didn't want to see what coloured knickers you were wearing - save that for your boyfriend!

4. Ugg Boots. I'd accept them as slippers in front of the TV, but please what on earth were people thinking to wear them out on the high street paired with leggings or jeggings. They just make me cringe!

5. Neon anything paired with your fake-bake. I'm a strong protester against fake-tanning in the first place, but to pair it with a brightly coloured neon item that enhances your terrible efforts to create a 'healthy' glow? Not. My. Cup. Of. Tea.

6. On the subject of fake-tanning, the over-use of makeup that just isn't necessary. I've known many a girl at Secondary School and during my time at Sixth Form who I can't understand why they even need to consider plastering their faces in such muck because they quite frankly, well, look pretty without it. Enhance your features ladies, not create unslightly new ones!

7. Top-knots. Messy one's at that too. Yes I know they're apparently good for making round faces look more oval, but to me it just looks so, well, messy. But on the other end of the scale, I'm not keen on sleek ponytails either - I'm more of the loose-rough-it-and-go person. A natural mess wouldn't harm anyone from time to time.

8. Overly structured, monochrome suits and dresses. It may be practical for work but can't we jazz it up just a little bit?

Well there you have it. My list of bug-bearings, aside from clone-war shops. Please share some of your fashion and trend pet-hates....

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Mad Men Challenge 2...revisited

Having been rushed off my feet with coursework all week and only getting the chance to sit down and breath this evening, upped popped an e-mail from Julia Bobbin. "What's this?" I thought. Ashamedly, I haven't been scouring many bogs recently due to work overload, but when I saw that I had won third prize I was ecstatic!! Me? Win at a sewing competition? I based my project on Mad Men's Bobbie purely on the context that I had some awesome fabric that I found from the furnishing remnants at work. Here's another picture of it:

There were so many other amazing entries - I particularly liked the entry from That's Sew Amy as it just looked so alike the original. Here's a photo of it if any of you out there haven't followed the links:

Damn my confidence has soared right there. I'm glad there are people out htere still fighting for our individualism in sewing desires!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Just The Tee-ket

Yep, I know... cheese all over that title. But I couldn't help myself!! The glorious sun is out on this chilled bank holiday and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. Ok, I say chilled as more of sat at the desk going through past exam papers in prep for my Textiles Unit 3 Theory exam kind of chilled - which in reality could be translated as 'yikes, I don't remember being taught this!'. On the bright side it is going rather fetchingly, so fingers crossed, eh? (website printscreened).
I'm currently having a well-earned break; a bit longer than it should be but hey, I've got to get some of those rays!! After shooing the cat from the comfort of his blanket on my bed (don't worry I wasn't intentionally cruel - he had a fur-ball and I didn't want a yak-smelling duvet for tonight!) I stumbled across a couple of books that I have ashamedly neglected over the past few years.

Generation-T is an awesome book written by Megan Nicolay, who has shown that you can just do about anything with a t-shirt. From refashioning funky tops, to reconstructing them into skirts, THIS is the reason I fell in love with fashion. Not high-end coutured pieces. Not stuck-up-look-at-me high street stores. THIS. It just feels so original and gives me the impression that everyone could have a go at making fashion their own. I love the fact that Nicolay also cares very deeply about the environment, which is something that I feel quite strongly about too. I own both her books, and I must say, flicking back through them is Just The Tee-ket I need to revive my feelings towards fashion.

Friday, 12 April 2013


I've spent the past two years of my life raging about pointless, insane stuff, alongside the troublesome of my tedious A-Levels. Sure, I've enjoyed letting out a bit of tension in another place other than the rugby field, but it's got to the point where I just want to express what I originally cam here to do. Talk about the things I love.
It's an odd sort of thing being a self-confessed eccentric, as not many people take you seriously. Why should they? I mean, I question my sanity from time to time, but life is a bubble to me. I want to fill it with wonderful things and happiness, because that's just me. It's like the world's against you all the time - you come up with something awesome, then BAM! it throws three impossible things your way. Wouldn't it be awesome to just have a world full of happiness? Peace, perhaps? Sure, we're all different in our own ways - despite my complaining that too many fashionistas look like clones - but we could do with a lift. A sort of airy-faerie sort of lift to bring something better to the world that is struggling.
But why, I hear you ask? Why bother when there could potentially be absolutely no one out there listening to your world of madness spinning in your head? Because I know that out there, somewhere amongst the draining, miserable economy and work-induced world, someone IS listening. You can wait for a hundred years and still not find that person, or know who would want to care about something as random as a piece of fabric or the crisp page of a book you loved as a child, but secretly I know that life will eventually turn out magical in the end. You ramble on about anything and everything, to anyone anywhere, worrying about the future, regretting the past, and longing that someone will come along and smash that thought into a million pieces, replacing it with a candle. A beacon of hope that draws you in to something that we all secretly desire, and bring our imaginary worlds to life - other than just to the big screen.

The following are a collection of images I have been experimenting on for my EXAM photography project, which are all subject to copyright protection on Flickr.

All we need... a beacon of light... brighten our hearts...

...and pull us through...

Monday, 11 February 2013

Shock Horror....

...I've updated my blog in less than a week!! Yes, yes, calm people - it's only human to leave things for ages and then go back to them. Well, at least in the world of Alimcfadian it is. Anyhow, let me see. What was I going to talk about? Oh yes, indeed!!

Following on from my outburst on 'Vintage' Fashion a few months ago, I've recently come across Esme Wonders, who led me onto JuliaBobbin and her wonderful 'Mad Men Challenge'. As you are aware I'm studying textiles and photography, so I thought this would be the best opportunity to get my garments 'out' there.

So, keeping to the guidelines of the challenge rules, I chose a Mad Men image of a dress I admired.Here it is:

JuliaBobbin on Pinterest: Mad Men
Look past the clutter of the image and identify the beautiful gold brocade fabric and off- the- shoulder sleeves. I LOVE it. So, it inspired me to produce this:

Photography courtesy of Alimcfadian.
The lighting admittedly is a bit harsh, but you can get the gist of the whole garment. The main brocade fabric is actually a furnishing remnant, so I suppose that you can say you can make curtains fashionable! I used a simple satin lining in a tarnished gold colour.

It consists of an inverted pleat at the centre front of the skirt, and has a bodice that shapes in at the bust with bust darts and at the back. The straps sit just off-central of the shoulder, and it all fastens up at the back with a concealed zip.
IT.IS.SO.COMFY. Yes, the pleat looks a bit stiff, but that's nothing a few tacking stitches can't do to hold down in place. I wore it to The Clothes Show Live December 2012 and I can honestly say I didn't have any problems with self-conscious issues or 'uncomfortable' moments. Even when we were in the main arena where it was hot from the lighting (oh, and those hot looking models!).

To style it, I would pair with some outlandish yellow/mustard tights, a cardigan to match, and a pair of Mary-Jane Shoes. To enhance the femininity of the look, add an iconic Chanel handbag (not that I own or can afford one....yet) and the look is finished. Makeup? Up to you - I have no care for that element of fashion.

Please take a look at the challenge too - it will be inspiring to see others with different interpretations. x

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Fighting your way to the top

This whole University malarkey is just a nightmare, and in my opinion, overrated. Let's face it, they're all trying to expect that you're going to be an individual that can be moulded into the stereotypical trash seen in main-stream society, which of course you know, that just isn't what I want to be. We've appeared to forgotten the main reason for fashion. It frustrates me to no end. Oh, I had to write an essay for interviews at Bristol UWE and Southampton Solent on anything to do with fashion, so I suppose in a way and relation to my ranting, here it is:

Fashion. It’s quite a complex and almost complicated thing to write about considering the broad extent of which the industry can cover. But in that sense, you could also ask yourself what exactly is it? Posed like this you have to scratch that (rather stylish fashion-addicted) head of yours and ponder. To you and me it can be classed as two completely different things. Confuse Google with the question and it will churn out 2,590,000,000 articles on the topic, but also leaves us with that all important definition at the top of the page that reads: “(Verb) Make into a particular form”. And that’s simply it. Everyone’s perspective of it is going to be completely different, as form and influence differs from one individual to another. But you can’t help but argue that the mainstream fashion industry has got a lot to answer for in more ways than one.

Christian Dior's New Look
Mat Quant's revelation of the Mini Skirt
Initially a way of keeping modest and warm, the diversity of the industry has expanded quite dramatically over the past century. We notified the definitive arrival of change during the 1920’s, where Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, a designer from France, burst onto the scene during the Art Deco period.  The controversy made about how women should be perceived within society took a turn for the freedom-searching individuals when corsets became a thing of the past as the Little Black Dress became the iconic go-to evening garment, which still holds its right in every female wardrobe today. The relaxation of tailoring inspired by menswear at the time likewise became an iconic piece in Chanel’s classic tweed suit in 1925, which reinforced a desire for comfort amongst women. In 1947, we saw Christian Dior embrace the industry with the ‘New Look’ after women had donned trousers and shirts during the second world war to help keep Britain’s workforce running. Although rations were still enforced after the war had ended, Dior astonished many other designers of the time by creating a figure with swathes of fabric that emphasised ‘prominent shoulders, accentuated hips and a small waist’ to reconnect women with a feminine reality check. However, as decades progressed, one woman by the name of Mary Quant highlighted an important target market that was missing out on fun free fashion. Rebelling against the feminine figure once again, we saw the arise of the Mini Skirt in 1966, along with bold, eccentric colours and patterns that drew in the attention of young people. Once again, the rebellion of form and appearance changed, this time taking its hat off to the youth; which saw developing designers bring new ideas and ultimately a new ‘modern’ image to the streets of London. But it doesn’t stop there. As technology progressed with our desire for inspiration and new developments, so did our experimental taste towards our rebellious nature. Renowned for her Punk and DIY appearance, Vivienne Westwood ultimately brought DIY fashion to the forefront of the industry. Setting up shop ‘Let It Rock’ in 1971, which later was renamed ‘SEX’ in 1974, she began styling for the Sex Pistols during the Punk-Rock age before moving onto more high-end couture later on in her career; which ironically saw the revival of the corset with underwear becoming outerwear in the mid 1970’s. Her extravagant pieces and excellent tailoring-work pays homage to British made fabrics such as the iconic Tartan and even linens to strengthen individuality and a unique outcome.
Alexander McQueen's Floral Dress
Another area that hugely benefits our ideas yet seems to be undermined as an alternative magical vision of fashion to wear on a regular basis is the entertainment industry.  Originally working at Angels Costumiers, the late Alexander McQueen began his career in theatre costume construction before becoming one of the most influential fashion designers of the 21st Century. His theatrical-influenced catwalks were, and still are, a differentiating change to the regular shows seen by other designers; as it offers a different perspective from an alternative industry towards another. The West end and Royal Ballet Theatre exhibit shows with astounding garments that emphasise personality of characters on stage, similarly to the characters of McQueen’s unusual garments. The Nutcracker, a ballet performance based on the story ‘The Nutcracker and The King of Mice’ by E.T.A.Hoffman, is in particular a world-wide phenomenon. It’s enhanced by the beauty of David Walker’s costume designs for the main characters involved within the play, which allows you to connect with the exaggeration of personality and elegance of each piece. Extending an array of luxury fabrics and highly skilled hand-crafted embellishments, it opens up a door to beauty and aesthetically pleasing designs. This can similarly be seen in period dramas on television or films, where costume designers curate masterpieces that accentuate roles and periods to their rightful era. The fabrics used, the accessories paired with outfits, and the style and form of each individual provokes an innovative story behind each piece and distinct visualisation as equally as luring as fashion trends, yet for some reason is very rarely noticed amongst the streets of ‘modern’ society.

However, although this sounds amazingly glossy, there is the other end of the scale, of which I like to call ‘The Mass-Market Clone’ component to the industry. Despite being able to have a wide variety of garments to cater for all occasions, events and comfort factors, it seems that everything that is produced in High Street chains is just, well, generally too similar. The juxtaposing soft and harsh features of recent inspiration doesn’t necessarily create just one unique element but seems to be a reoccurring piece within the mainstream industry. It’s nice to have some form of commodity that has an altogether sense of connection between different Light and Dark elements within people’s interests in society, but our desire to be unique and individual seems to be slowly becoming extinct despite an uproar of demand for it. Of course, it’s amazing how such beauty can be clashed together to make a distinctive concept that would appeal to everyone, but it just seems either too formal or too tacky to be desired by an entire civilisation.

 We all have dreams of changing stubborn society, but we secretly know we can’t. Contradicting myself to a ‘T’, don’t you get fed up of people getting slagged off because they want to be original? Aspects of fashion are other forms of art and ideas generated through inspiration from paintings, stories, developments in technology, and the need for a purpose. It should be a way of putting something together that emphasises who and how we feel as individuals, and a way of expressing a personality without being afraid of consequences. It’s an alternative answer to beliefs and idealism's of today’s culture. In the words of Gianni Versace, "Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live." ‘So what?!’ if it’s not practical? – if you don’t like it, get out there and change it.
I know it can be tedious listening to someone moaning about an insane subject, but I believe that it DOES effect everyone in one way or another. What happened to the beauty of it? What happened to the fierce power it had in an individual way? Trust me, life is just boring with the mass and batch produced trash thrown on the shelves in today's society. I'm not saying it's going to be easy to get my voice heard, but I'm not going to sit back and watch it all crumble into a mess any longer. Let's bring back one-off, bespoke pieces for EVERYONE. Let's rebel.
(please note, the essay here has been copyright protected.)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Belated Happy New Year!

It was a strange. difficult and stressful year, but I've been persevering. Did anyone see the beautiful Christmas shop windows of Harrods in London? Oh my, they were so magical! An array of Disney Princesses inspired the look for 2012, which gives me a perfect opportunity to gain some ethereal inspiration for future projects. Sleeping Beauty is particularly my favourite, promoting a gorgeous Ellie Saab dress with an amazing applique flower decoration. The pink is just too good for words - it personifies every girl's dream dress down to a T.

Harrods window, Sleeping Beauty
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was also a must see - I saw it twice in less than a week!! It was THAT good, my friends. Tolkien followers, you'll love it, but for those who don't know or don't admire his work, please do watch this film as I can reassure you that the imagination behind this mythical masterpiece will change your minds. Of course you can't have a Tolkien film without a captivating song, so I'll leave you with "Misty Mountain", sung by the Dwarves at Bilbo Baggin's House on the eve before their quest to Erabor.

I leave the old year of 2012 behind and journey into 2013 with an open mind. Give me an adventure! 

Many people have been complaining about the 'New Year, New Start' slogan and it's getting on my nerves - my turn to have a complain. I always believe that a New Year can create a fresh sense of mind to move on from difficult prospers in the previous year. It's a sense of ease and most importantly a way to renew yourself. To those who say otherwise, then please just keep it to yourselves.

Glastonbury Tor -
Any how, for myself, I am hoping that it's going to be an exciting year! I finally agreed to go on the family February-half-term-get-away for a week (despite the big hit of A2 exams and coursework overload). But you've got to hear my justification as to why I want to go.... GLASTONBURY!!! O.K, were not actually staying in Glastonbury - we're going to Somerset for the week - but my fascination with the beauty of Glastonbury Tor and the mythical/magical elements it brings is going to be a soul enhancing opportunity to put something towards my photography work. And bring inspiration to textiles. And perhaps give me ideas to set up a potential business. And - oh yes, the possibilities are endless! So, exciting times are afoot.

On a crafting note, I have made more stuffs sewing wise, and found an idealism in creating small knitted items after making my Best Friend an owl hat. It's quicker for me to do and more satisfying to complete a knitted project within a couple of days as oppose to 6 or 7 months! I shall post some images once I have recharged my camera's battery, but until then, Happy Uniqueness Wishes to you all! x