A sneak preview!

There is this short, but brilliant, online course I did. It is called: “Who made my clothes“. The course is still online but it is supposed to take three weeks and it will not be online for that long anymore. It is still worth a look though. It is made by the university of Exeter and the brilliant people behind fashion-revolution.

The course mainly helps channelling your worries about the current fashion-system into action or words. In this light I hope to share some information on where I got the fabrics from that will form the collection, later. This I cannot do without picture, hence a sneak preview!

I will firstly show you the entire colour palette, than cut the fabrics in different categories to show the different backgrounds. First up will be the printed fabrics, after that the background of the organic cottons.

Greens and greys

The colour palette is going to be greens combined with different tones of grey. The print I designed myself. These leave patterns were selected after a tedious process of trying out different kind of techniques and ideas. I wanted the pattern and colour to work for both boy and girl. That was the most important thing the design of the print had to comply with. The inspiration for this came from nature clashing with the hand of mankind. The shapes of the leaves are controlled by sharp boundaries in the print itself, or by sharp seams in the garments itself.

The print is printed via the Spoonflower website. I have a few more designs on there, but the Dubaly designs will never be available, as they are specifically meant for Dubaly.

Patterns that go by the names snap-leaves and leaves.

Now Spoonflower has a clear page about its ethical responsibility which looks reasonablly good. It explaines the benefits of digital printing over “normal” printing. But it takes this as a main benefit as if Spoonflower cooked this up all by itself. The truth is, if it was not for the option of digital printing, ordering per meter for the individual would be pretty much impossible.

I asked them for more information than the strict communication on their wesbiste and they gave a great reply, although the reply was mainly about the dyes used. These were things I mostly knew unlike detail on the the fabrics and their origins. Find the spoonflower communication here. The lady added a link to a nice page about the many ways Spoonflower works to reduce their impact on the planet. My communication hasn’t ended yet, but last thing I got was an automated reply because they are on vacation.

Spoonflower used to offer 2, now 3 organic fabrics that can be printed. I didn’t use these though. Only one of them is jersey and this one is a bit yellow. It means my print will be too yellow. It is not weird for organics to be a bit more yellow though. Bleaching is in general very harmful for our environment. I was sure not to use the organic because of this yellowish tint. But the who-made-my-clothes course will make sure that in the future I will give the organic more chance. As with all these choices the garment will be more pricey if it’s organic too.

Next up are my beautyfull organics from Lebenskleidung. As the name might suggest it is a German company, so I had the fabrics shipped in from Berlin. A few years ago I tried to make most of my outfits in organics as I think it is a must for designers to explore these avenues. But it was much more difficult than it is now to make an entire collection of organic certified fabrics so I was incredible happy with these people making it easy.

To say:”50 shades of grey” would be a bit much, right..?

Now, Lebenskleidung has all its fabrics certified with GOTS certification. It leaves me very little to condemn.

The fabrics I selected have the perfect weight, and Lebenskleidung makes sure there is always a matching rib that goes with a flat jersey.

I have asked them if they know where I can find trimmings that are made with the same environmental and social standards but they were unable to refer me.

Apart from my fabrics I have thread, elastic waistband, and push-buttons. I havent been able to find the right place to order these, my thread comes from a local store, here in Sofia. It is Cacadou, a great place to find any kind of fabric that you might need. It also has the biggest selection of trimmings that I could find in Sofia. But nothing is certified or anything like that, as far as I know or were able to check because of the language barrier.

My push-buttons I got the last time from a small, you cant even call it a store, near my home. The man was sitting underneath a staircase at the ground floor of an apartment block. He had to look inside a glass yarr and found a few matching buttons for me. They way he was looking trough all of his jarrs means I doubt he knows where he got them or even how. But it was definitely an interesting place that I would otherwise have never been. Doubt I will go again as the seamstress around the corner even dismissed a few of them.

So this is the story of the fabrics that I will be using. And a pledge to work to find the right trimmings in the future. Hopefully in a week or so I will have sorted out the right way to produce this collection, so that it can be online in a few weeks/months.

D is for Development!

There has been a surge in questions on what the status is on Dubaly. I keep having to respond to the question about if I have something for sale negatively. So, because also my spouse has been surprised about the amount of work that goes in a collection before it can be sold, I will share an insight on the development of the first 3 garments, aka the first set!

Now, at first with most collections you have an idea in your head. This idea will be brought to life with test-fabric. You will try it on, and adjust according to your new insights. This needs to be done over and over until you are happy with the result and the real thing can be made. Apart from getting the right fit, I also need to try out the different sizes (or grading). I started with both things at the same time.

My first was supposed to be simple, one outfit to start with. This was a bodysuit, a pants and a sweat vest. Then, I started making them, and almost completely trashed it! It had too many zippers, too many pattern pieces and too much of everything else.

The result of the second start from scratch was much simpler. A tee, a pair of pant and a long sleeved bodysuit. The model should be most simple because it shows the best the pattern of the fabric. After drawing the patterns I added the grading. As I had not just one, but two models around me almost constantly, I was able to make a small size and the biggest size of the size range in test-samples for them and try them on.

Two models with Vermeer-like lighting!

Now, as I have made a few more samples you will see that these ones were a good try in the right direction, but not there yet. As a next step I further developed the pattern of the bodies, but I made a beginners mistake! I put the fabric on in the wrong direction. Therefore the bodies would not stretch. It would only give me an idea of the sequence of the bodysuits, but nothing more. So, trashed it again!

Thankfully I know how to have a bit of fun while I am working. I felt like I was playing Tetris while working and cutting out next adjusted set of samples.


Playing tetris paiyed off, as it produced a nice set.

Not Dubaly-Fabric

I was not happy with the shape of the bottoms, I think the whole garment was too wide.

Wide legged pinguins!

Furthermore this current sent doesn’t entail an important part of the design. I want a big cut and sew through the middle of both the tee and the bottom.

Cut and sew

The body of this set-in-the-making has  a slightly longer sideseam, which I put there because it will cover up the nappy completely.

Lower seam at the leg.

Now this set is very close to the real thing, but do not forget, it is still not in the right fabric! The final garments will look very very different.

I learned a few things along the way. The most important one, I should have never started to develop the size-range, or grading, at the same time as the sample making. That took way too much time.

And I hope you are looking forward to see the final first set of Dubaly clothing. It won’t be very long!

How a name is born…

Dubaly, is the name of my brand-to-be. And how I came up with the name as well as the design I will show you in this blog.

Dubaly, with a leaf-shape logo on the background.

Yes I know. It isn’t much but it sure is important. After trying to figure out a name that is unisex, happy and baby, (more on that later) I need it to look nice too! In the video you get to see some of the stages of the design process I went through.

In this video you only see the last bits of the brain work so I need to shed a bit of light for you on what set me off in this direction in the first place.

So, I take my inspiration mainly from where “human-made” is being taken back by nature again. I can get enthusiastic by a garage door left unpainted for too long… Even better if there is a plant slowly but surely climbing up the walls. Or just a bit of dust and dirt! I dont know why I keep falling for these bits that some people might find unappealing. Maybe I am turned-off by the typical over-designed streets in the Netherlands? Or would it be possible that I am just more comfortable with something that isn’t too pretentious?

A nice day in Plovdiv, recently.

These kind of pictures I have used a lot in my artworks, layer on layer or with the old typical photoshop effect. Especially the walls that were painted a long time ago work well when you cut them out with photoshop, as there is enough colour-difference in them to make it interesting. I am the first to admit, just the photoshop effects are not often nice.

Old work, largely cut out and pasted over. Find this in a short video at my vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/35130388

When I began with brainstorming on the look of this new word; Dubaly, I did not have much luck with the different fonts you can find online. They just didnt do the job. At the same time I came across a picture of a bird on a telephone wire. The bird could be representing nature, and the hangling wire, peoples work. Therefore I tried to make this “bird on a wire” into a letter, with not much succes at first. But after some time with a sheet of paper and later the computer I got it working. Hope you can spot the bird!

Early bird-on-a-wire ideas.

This bird turned out to be the main ingredient of my letters, as I thought it was a strong element that can evolve into new looks in the future. And even though you might not recognise the bird anymore in the final letters, it was an important part of the design process.

At the same time I was working on a logo. I wanted the logo to mix the female and male sign, together, but not in a straightforward way. That would have been too close to a hermaphrodite or transgender sign. I want it to be unrecognisable.

Early sketch of the logo. The leaf will be a reacurring image in the collection.

So, I thought I had it! But I placed the two together and they just didn’t look right. I needed to take a few steps back. And then it occurred to me, (or maybe I got a hint from somebody…) to do the “bird-triangle” in the logo too. And that is it, as you can see it worked quite well!

This just does not look good together!

In the end I am happy with the result. I feel I can look at this outcome for some time withouth getting bored and, like I said, it has many possiblilities on how it might evolve in the future. Let me know what you think! Either here on the website or via my Facebook.