I spent Saturday sewing up a shirt with some lovely cotton shirting fabric from The Cloth House on Berwick Street (dangerously close by...) The pattern was made up from an old Jaeger shirt, using the technique which Alice Prier teaches at Ray Stitch.
It wasn't 100% successful - a bit massive and baggy, but that was sort of the look I was going for...! And it was my first go at buttonholes which were not nearly as scary as I'd feared. (Although, because they turned out too small, I mostly sewed the buttons into the back bit... but I'm still going to consider that part a success!)
I'm really into this blue/grey with bright red buttons look!
I've moved studios! It felt a bit soon, having only been in Dalston for a year, but the west-east commute was just starting to feel a real waste of time. It's very exciting to be in the centre of town now, and to have halved my commute. But I'm dangerously near the fabric shops of Berwick Street... I popped out for lunch just now and came back with shirt fabric, a thimble and 10 buttons. I must get a grip!
Down the alley, to the door, up the stairs... to my desk!
Which needs some loving decoration on the wall there, and then it'll be COMPLETELY perfect! I feel very lucky to be in a such a special place, and I'm going to make the most of it, and work HARD!
I'm working on a book at the moment and I've got my head down! But I was inspired by one bit to draw some vinyl-buying keensters - I'd like to do a print of these guys, along the lines of the intellectual cats. Maybe saying I Heart Vinyl or somesuch... anyway here are some of them!
And I'm moving studios next week, which is exciting. I'm really going to miss the people and place where I am now - the darned commute has beaten me. But I'll be back to do some more screen printing, as I don't want to forget what I've only just learned!
My keenness on sewing continues, and this was my latest project! A couple of weeks ago I went to a one-day class at Ray Stitch, taught by the very talented Alice Prier. The class was called Recreate Your Favourite Garment, and I brought along a dress I love, and a midi skirt in case the dress was too difficult.
Alice taught us a great technique for making a pattern from our old clothes, and I took away a dress pattern at the end of that day. I wondered if it was a little ambitious for me to sew, but it's been great! I've definitely learned a ton doing this, and bits that I thought would be very hard were easier, and vice versa. The buttons for example, which looked like a nightmare, were easy peasy, whereas the darts were trickier.
It's not a perfect fit on me, but then neither was the original. I managed to lose some neck space, so it bunches up a bit there, and is a bit billowy around the middle. But apart from that, I'm pretty thrilled!
Bonjour. Je suis le original dress. I found it in a Paris frip store, and it had massive holes in the arms from day one. Plus I'm not much of a red-wearer - quelle domage!
I think it was the buttons and the neckline shape that I liked the most, and wanted to copy.
Pattern made in Alice's class, then I added a seam allowance and cut it out at home. Pretty stripy fabric from Ray Stitch.
Almost there - just need some arms...
Arms! And I made a belt too, to solve the billowy middle problem. I ordered the plastic buckle off Ebay, about £3 I think.
On Thursday last week, Marta and I had a joint book launch for our new books, My New Home and Digby Dog Delivers, at the really wonderful Book & Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove.
I had a great time, and we both sold out of our books, which felt like a good success! Sadly I didn't get many pics, and certainly none of me looking normal (sober), but there's one below, plus the super flyer Marta designed for us.
Digby meets Racoon - the start of a great friendship!
Emily, our friend and Macmillan editor, me and Marta
My third book in the Olive series, Olive and the Embarrassing Hat, publishes this week!
Joe gives Olive a present because he loves her so much, but unfortunately it's a rather unattractive hat (Olive naturally has a keen sense of style!) How can Olive ditch the hat and still be a good friend to Joe?
It's based on an experience I bet many of us have had with a well-intentioned but unsuitable gift - mine involved a t-shirt from my cousin reading "Alexander Loves Tor" in large multicoloured felt letters - a painful (though loving!) situation to find myself in.
Olive and the Embarrassing Hat is in bookshops now! Very much not an embarrassing gift to give to a young friend in your life!
This book is published by Brubaker, Ford & Friends.
My thanks to Katie, who was a lovely editor on this book, and to Amy and Amelia, and David and Brett - I will always feel grateful and lucky for the time I spent working with them.
My new book, published by Macmillan Children's Books, is out today!
Digby Dog Delivers is a story with search-and-find activities inside. Every other spread is a big scene, with jokes and lots of jolly things to find. Digby goes to a greenhouse, a dinosaur museum, a scientists' laboratory and more!
It was a joy to draw, and thank goodness for Photoshop and being able to move things around - hiding objects in the pages was a lot harder than I thought it would be...
After the busier style I was getting more comfortable with on Showtime and The Toucan Brothers, it felt like it'd be good to try paring back the story, and focus on making the pictures as fun to look at as possible. So that was the aim, and I hope it's worked out and that Digby will be a really enjoyable book for children!
Below are some of my favourite small bits from inside... If I ever get to illustrate a dinosaur book, it looks like all my Jurassic characters will be a bit socially needy - the ones on the left are especially eager to please I think! They've turned up 15 minutes early to your dinner party, and you didn't even mean to invite them in the first place.
Digby is in bookshops from today, and hopefully not very well hidden at all! I hope you can find him...
With thanks again to the super duo at Macmillan, Emily and Emma! As always, it was a real joy to be working with them.
I just went to Hato Press to collect my and Marta's risos for our book launch! It's the first one I've done, and I definitely feel that I want to do more, and that much more is possible with the process than my print allowed for. It was good to look at some examples on their walls to see.
We will be giving away limited edition signed risographs with our books on the night!
Hato walls above - imagine the possibilities!
Digby Dog, 4 colour risograph, signed edition of 100.
Delivering this August 31st!! In fact, in two days!
For the last six weeks I've been doing an weekly evening sewing course at Ray Stitch in Islington, taught by Moyna. I've enjoyed it like mad. I haven't really settled on a hobby that's kept me entertained over the last few years. After a burst of guitar enthusiasm, that's now languishing... pottery classes petered out... I WILL take up running again (ahem), but that's a bit different.
Anyway sewing seems to be scratching the (st)itch, for now at least. Plus there's such a lovely and interesting community of sewers out there, writing super blogs and posting pictures of their projects. And all the fabrics and bits to covet!
My friend Susannah did a wonderful blog a few years ago, Fashion on the Ration, and I've been admiring her application and skill ever since.
Here are some pics of my guys!
Our first project was a Simplicity pattern 8523 top. I used cotton print fabric from The Cloth Shop on Portobello Road.
I think this was my favourite pattern. Really easy but looks much harder than it was. Fabric was from Ray Stitch, and the pattern is the Chardon Skirt by Doe and Deer.
And last was this pattern by Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons - her Miette skirt. I love the pattern, but sadly chose rather a rubbishy wrinkly fabric from one of the Goldhawk Road shops.
I want to sew and sew! Anyone know any brilliant patterns that they've used and would recommend??