Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Mother's Day

If you can't visit mum this Mother's Day, Cheeky Leopard can deliver direct to her!
We have some fabulous gift ideas in store from coin purses, cosmetic bags and clutch bags to pretty decorative silk scarves.

Card Cases

Cosmetic Bags

Tissue Holders

Coin Purses

Bag Charms and Keyrings


Clutch Bags and Handbags

Monday, 16 March 2020

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue is an exhibition currently on at the Fashion and Textile Museum that is celebrating the work of Designers Guild, a design company founded in 1970 and still going strong today. It was founded by Tricia Guild who draws on colour, pattern, texture and form to create a harmonious space and her signature style is instantly recognisable for its vibrant colour palettes and painterly style.

The first room of the exhibition showcases beautiful hand painted birds and florals. Along with these is a selection of paint and paper mediums that were used to create the birds. It's great to see how important these traditional methods were, and are, still important to the company.

A voice-over by Tricia Guild talks about how the introduction of digital printing has been really useful for the business as it means that you can capture the nuances of colour and texture of hand painted work on the fabric without losing its quality. This is unlike using screen printed techniques where a limit of 18 screens means that you can't often incorporate many tones of colours.

The painted bird sketches were used as inspiration for this final scenic mural in beautiful shades of blue and greens with a hint of pink bird here and there. The colours of the mural tie in with the blue of the sofa and the teals of the velvet cushions.

Tricia Guild's love of nature has always played a large part in the look of the company.

The enormous florals of the 'Le Poeme de Fleurs' collection show how a change in scale and colour can make a radical difference to the final effect. There's a hand painted feel to each flower yet a modernity in the colour palette. Mixed with a mustard yellow vase and vintage rattan chair, the look becomes eclectic and fresh.

Tricia's love of Italy has influenced her designs over the years and she used the luxurious silks from Venice, silk brocades, flocked silk and cut velvet to create a new contemporary elegance in a vibrant colour story. Acid greens sit against hot pinks and vivid turquoise.

She also travelled to India regularly where she came across a plethora of fabrics and got to meet the skilled workers who made them. In the fabrics above she has captured the vibrance of Indian summers as well as the colours of the women's saris. She also used Indian printing techniques, such as block printing, creating a cushion with a gold motif on a luscious turquoise silk. The wallpaper (above right) captures the texture of an aged blue painted Indian wall.

Her style varies quite a bit throughout her career and this can be seen in the two room sets above. They both use shades of green and pink yet the collection on the left (Ornamental Garden) is much more traditional in style than the modernistic theme on on the right.

Plain and semi-plain fabrics have always been an important part of Designers Guild as these fabrics provide relief from the heavily patterned fabrics within a collection. Above, bright woven silks on the left sit amongst sumptuous jacquard velvets on the right.

The creative process can take up to 18 months from start to finish and Tricia Guild works closely with her design team, starting with mood boards and colour chips (above left) to the finished product (above right). As you can see from both images, the integrity of the initial design has been achieved amazingly well in the finished product.

This exhibition is on until 14th June 2020.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Pretty in pink

Times are rather strange at the mo! And during strange times, sewing is a great distraction and a wonderfully therapeutic pastime. I feel very lucky to have a business where I get to play with fabrics and to sew on a regular basis. My latest sewing project and new addition to my store is this pretty pink and red scarf.

This scarf is made from a selection of vintage cotton kimono pieces from my extensive kimono collection. I chose to combine a red and white chrysanthemum fabric with a pink ikat floral fabric.

Each of my scarves are long enough to wrap once or twice around the neck and makes a great addition to any outfit. Each of my scarves is a complete original, an individual and a one-off piece.

All fabrics used in my scarf designs are vintage pieces that were bought from shrine sales and antique markets whilst living in Tokyo. I lived in Tokyo for four years and spent many happy days trawling antique markets and kimono shops for the perfect motif and colour combination.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Nautical gift ideas

I recently mentioned a rather fab sailboat fabric that I designed for Makower UK, as part of the Sail Away collection and I now have some rather fabulous sailboat items added to my store. They make the perfect gift for a sailor or sea-lover.

So far I've added a cosmetic bag and glasses case to my store. Each one is lightly padded and has a contrasting red and white cotton polka dot lining to give a flash of colour to the inside.

This cotton pouch is perfect for storing makeup in. It is made from cotton and is machine washable.

It would also be perfect for using as a gadget pouch for storing items such as electronic devices and chargers. It has blue zipper closure to keep items safe.

It could also be used as a travel bag, where important items such as passport and phone can be stored.

The glasses case is lightly padded and big enough to fit large sunglasses in.

It can also be used as a phone case.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Sail Away

At the weekend I paid a visit to Creative Quilting fabric shop in East Molesey. I regularly go there to pick up wadding and forage for interesting fabrics and I came across some fabrics that I designed for Makower UK. The collection is called Sail Away and has a fresh nautical theme which includes boats and beach items. The style of the group was inspired by the look of linocuts, with their stylised feel and irregular linework.

The fabric I bought was this fabulous boat print on a rolling sea background. The boats are incorporated into the sea but stand out boldly too.

Other designs in the collection include beach huts, boats, nautical icons and crabs! I love the quirkiness of the crabs and think it would make a great lining to a bag.

These ten inch squares use a different nautical scene in each one and were designed to be used as panels for cushions or for making into beach bags. They could also be used as table mats.

This border print is lovely and bold and uses many of the images from the other designs.

The border print is perfect for making into little girl's dresses. This one was in the window of Creative Quilting.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Queen of Hearts

The latest collection from Alexander McQueen is bold and heroic, drawing influences from Welsh history and culture. The basis of the show started when designer, Sarah Burton, visited St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff and the Wrexham Tailor's Quilt caught her eye. The quilt had been made at night, over a ten year period, by a tailor who used recycled scraps of the uniforms he made during the day. The quilt uses scenes from the Bible as well as images of the impending  Industrial Revolution that was threatening the very idea of handcraft at that time. Burton took this starting point to create sharp tailoring combined with upcycled wool flannels from past McQueen collections.

The asymmetrical styles combined swathed wools with structured leather.

Beautifully soft leather was draped like silk into a vibrantly coloured dress.

Upcycled wools pieced together to create a modern version of a patchwork coat dress.

Intricately quilted coat dress in pretty pink.

The quilted soft pink skirt was a great contrast to the sharply tailored black jacket.

Traditional Welsh lace was combined with tailored black leather.

And a new take on the white Welsh lace - hot red!

The last pieces of the collection involved 'birds nest' evening dresses combining frothy net and embroidery.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Emily Isabella

On a recent shopping trip to Anthropologie, I discovered the whimsy style of Emily Isabella who has designed a number of prints for the store. Based in the Hudson Valley, just north of NYC, she works from her studio, inspired by her search for charm in the everyday.

Her pattern-driven work reflects her background in textile design and her drawings and paintings have been applied to products such as books, bedding, clothing, fabric, rugs and wallpaper.

I couldn't resist buying one of her shirts in Anthropologie. It's called the Tabitha Printed Blouse and this one is a stunning blue with whimsical Chinese-inspired tigers on it. It is made from a lovely fine rayon fabric and I love the vibrant colour and original imagery.

In fact I love it so much I might have to go back and get the poodle shirt and the trapezist shirt too!

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