It’s been a long time in the making, and now that it’s a reality, I wonder what took me so long! Launching a Plus Size Youtube channel http://bit.ly/2AU1ZPN is my 2019 commitment… and my why is all about introducing Plus size women, far and wide, to the Hayley Joy brand, of respectful Plus size fashion.
The beautiful Reana and I talking about how to wear print if you’re a 6XL
For far to long I’ve heard the same story about the frustration around Plus Size shopping, and that frustration is 100% justified. I’m a Plus size myself, and I know how it feels to go into a store when they’ve advertised that they stock Plus sizes, and not one thing fits. It’s disrespectful and soul-destroying.
Dressing a variety of sizes and shapes is a very big part of our beautiful world at Hayley Joy.
My commitment at Hayley Joy is to honour my Plus size truth. The entire store is filled with fashion that fits, no matter your size or your shape. I’ve also realised that in order for you to have the confidence to walk through the door, you need to see the clothes on real Plus size women, and that’s why I’ve launched a YouTube channel, showcasing the beautiful REAL women we dress at Hayley Joy.
Arlene and I talking about embracing colour, no matter your size or your shape.
Today I put a post on Facebook about maths not being my strong point. Judging by the many supportive comments and private messages, I thought it a good opportunity to do some deeper explaining.
This is a story about “Me and Maths” (I averaged 16% until I was able to drop it as a subject. Maybe if I loved it, like I love iPhoneart, I would have nailed it. Definitely something in that, about the things I nail, and the things I don’t).
Designing for Plus sizes, has many challenges, the biggest one for me being the fact that I don’t upsize regular sizes. I have created an exclusive Plus size basic block range of patterns, based on my Plus size body. Every single style that we design and manufacture at Hayley Joy, must be able to be sized from a small to a 7XL…AND…it must be as flattering on both sides of the size spectrum.
There are designs that float around in my head constantly, that never make it into the range because there is to much “maths” involved. I do have a mental block when it comes to me having to look at measurements and style lines from a mathematical perspective. I see it in my head perfectly, and I can hand draw it onto pattern paper, but it doesn’t work that way when there are 10 sizes to be made in every design.
Today was the day to break the “fear of maths” shackle!
2019 is going to be the year that I stretch myself on many levels…AND…I have committed to myself, that I’m going to follow through on every single one of these mental block situations that I have. No more hiding behind “maths is not my strong point” scenarios.
Soooooooo, this new design is one of those that only I can take on, because my brain thinks in Plus sizes, and most importantly designs in Plus sizes. This particular design is the beginnings of a new jacket design, and that piece in the picture is going to form a very over the top, collar/lapel detail. How full, how wide, how long are all incredibly important considerations, because when you take that concept and project it onto regular sizes, you can be generous and get away with it, but when you’re projecting that detail onto a 5, 6 and 7XL, there are very, very different considerations.
I booked time off, took a deep breath, and put myself to work on the pattern table, where I haven’t been for a long time, because to be honest, if I couldn’t get the design out of my brain, and onto the pattern paper, because it involved maths, then I procrastinated it to the point where it never happened. Well I’m done with procrastination and I’m most certainly done with holding myself back.
I nailed it and in doing so I’ve opened doors to other things that have been lurking in my “to-do” brain.
The aim of this blog post, is to inspire you to take on that self-inflicted hurdle, that limits a whole world that could open up for you.
I’m an iPhone photographer, with a passion for turning my iPhone photos, into art.
I’m blessed to live in a city, where the weather is beautiful. I’m extremely blessed to have a beautiful garden, that affords me so many beautiful opportunities, to photograph nature at her very best.
I recently bought two exotic Hibiscus plants, that inspire me daily. Their flowers are exquisite and they flower profusely. I feel as though I get a new gift everyday. Some days the flowers are more perfect than others, this day was one of those.
Besides the joys from my garden, the other amazing joy that I’ve been given, is the joy of app editing. I have been introduced to a world that enables me to go on creative journeys that take me to places I never thought I could go to.
From the phone that I hold in my hand, to the incredibly powerful apps like iColorama, my world is filled with never ending editing joy.
I took this Hibiscus on an inspired journey, starting off with the ability to blur the actual image. Imagine that with one tap, I was able to create a perfect blur background, on which to build multiple creations.
My go to app for creating and designing my prints, is iColorama. I am continually blown away by what is possible. It is app editing on steroids, and I have so much admiration for the creators. It affords me the opportunity to go on the craziest design journeys, that enable me to take this blurred image, and create the beginning of a future print.
Within iColorama there are endless opportunities and for me it’s about pressing buttons. My hubby knows that when I start frenetically pressing on my iPhone or iPad screen, I am lost to the real world. And so the build begins.
My aim is to build this into a step and repeat pattern which I can then use for my clothing creations. The repeat pattern starts out very simply as a tile effect.
I love playing around in the Superimpose app where you can go completely crazy with masking. Confession…I spend hours there.
I took the blur background and superimposed the tiles on top of it.
This will make a perfect step and repeat pattern, but there are so many amazing options in iColorama. I’m on holiday, so I can play, with no time constraints. It’s a wonderful place to be – we take time so for granted – I’m spending hours binge watching iColorama tutorials, and then going on these amazing design journeys.
I see the one below as a greeting card and also the cover of a journal.
Here are some never ending possibilities.
And from all of those, I will build a final fabric print, that will look something like this.
This is a perfect example, of the patience that I’ve learnt, on my iPhone photo to fabric design journey.
Patience is something that eludes me in most areas of my life, because my mind races continuously with pattern, print and of course colour, and I want to see them all, now! The introduction to Photoshop for the final stage of the building of the fabric prints, has humbled me, and I now know that what I see in my design brain, requires many hours of patience, to achieve the final result. This rose print, that I created from a photo that I took with my iPhone, of a beautiful pink rose in my garden, and then put through some very interesting apps on my iPad, is an example of the patience that I’ve learnt on my photo to fabric design journey.
I built this rose print from scratch, and out of interest I’m logging the hours for these prints. This one took 15 hours. It was intense because it’s the first time I’ve gone down this print road, but the result has been so incredibly rewarding. I’ve seen the samples on, and they do exactly what the plan is, fit and flatter, and offer the colour that my market so desperately want to wear.
I design for a hugely diverse market, and my objective when planning the prints, is to always take into account how much cover I can achieve, whilst still offering the maximum amount of colour. The lighter colours are a challenge because they tend to show every lump and bump, but when you choose a crazy colour like this vibrant lilac, and you cover it with roses, which just happen to be one of my favourite flowers, you fool the eyes of the beholder, because between the colour and the print, there is so much going on, that lumps and bumps don’t have a chance to feature.
Not sure how many of these marathon prints I can do, but I’ve dreamt of a print like this for so long, and knowing that I can create it myself, makes me a very happy fabric and fashion designer.
I took a very ordinary photo of a not so ordinary flower. It should have been trashed…but…there’s always app editing to save a bad photo.
My day today was crazy, beautiful and so incredibly rewarding. We’re printing new fabric designs for Hayley Joy for Summer ’18, and today was one of those days where everything that came off the heat press, lived up to my design dream. I’m doing lots of florals and of course lots of colour.
The heat press runs at 200 degrees, and our space is small, so little mini breaks are a necessity. This flower has been incubating in my design head since I edited it yesterday. I couldn’t wait to play with it, so on my little mini break, I went on a crazy editing journey. We joked and said that at the rate I was going, I could be designing “a print a minute”.
This is the edited version that I took on the design journey.
Once I’d cleaned the image up and created something that I could work with, I started playing.
The first edit was a simple one so that I had a base to work from.
From there it was into my most favourite app called Frax, which creates incredible Fractals. There were so many amazing results, here are a few of my favourites.
This will definitely illustrate why I’m so inspired by app editing. After all, this was a very pretty flower, captured badly, that should have been trashed.
These remind me of very glammed up seashells.
I see this design on silk scarves (my big dream is to have my own Fractal prints, printed on pure silk.)
From here I started to build actual prints for my clothing collections.
I can’t wait to print these on Chiffon.
I often get asked for fabric prints with yellow. It’s not a colour I ever really work with, but I’ve decided to honour the requests this season, and really liked this combination.
I’m not sure what I would do with this, but I love it, so I’ve added it to my think tank.
And last but not least, my absolute favourite – a labour of love to isolate it onto the black background, but so worth the effort. This one I’d print on a huge canvas.
My appproach to my life is a choice. I choose to see the beauty in everything. It doesn’t make me lucky and it isn’t always perfect, but it sure beats wallowing in the negativity that we are purposefully exposed to. The more pretty pictures I post, the more people tell me how lucky I am that my life seems so perfect. There’s no such thing as the perfect life, but there’s definitely a thing called the perfect choice.
How do you keep the masses from questioning your dodgy actions?
You keep them stupid, hungry, cold and in debilitating debt. That way they will just be trying to survive, they will never have time or capacity to question or see the beauty in anything.
How do you not become one of those masses?
You make a very conscious choice to choose a different life. You enlighten yourself any way you can. Don’t assume that you have to pay for everything, you don’t, you live in the smartest world, with access to things called Google and YouTube, that can teach you anything you want to know, for free. Don’t tell me it’s not free because you need data, there’s free wi-fi, you may just have to choose to look a little harder for it.
How do you shift your thinking from shame poor me to Yay me?
You stop listening to fake negative news, that’s a logical choice. You choose to search out the beauty that we are surrounded by, and hardly ever see, because you’re so busy obsessing about situations you cannot ever change. You hold a thing in your hand every single day that enables you to capture so much beauty. Go to the camera in your phone, focus on something beautiful and capture it, and then share it and make somebody happy, because you made a choice to share beauty and not ugly! You don’t have to be a photographer, you just have to be committed to seeing the beauty that is everywhere, and that has been gifted to us for free. You’re surrounded by it, you just have to start seeing it.
And when you start experiencing the feeling of satisfaction, because you put something beautiful out into the world, then you will understand the difference between being lucky and being the navigator of your own destiny.
It’s always a choice 💜
Being able to design exclusive fabric prints for my Hayley Joy ladies clothing collections is a true dream come true, but the bigger dream is now starting to become a reality, and that’s the dream of being able to take a photo with a specific end goal in mind. The end goal in this case is to create a print in specific colours, to compliment a jacket that I’ve designed, so that it creates a complimentary mix and match. I wanted to use something that is fashion related so settled on the thread that we use in the factory all the time.
The colours are the four colours that I want in the print, so let me take you on the journey to the final print. I took the photo into an iPhone app that creates old fashioned kaleidoscope type images. This would enable me to have a good spread of the colours.
I then went into my favourite fractal app, took the kaleidoscope image and converted it to a fractal image. I created two fractals to see which one would convert to the final print. Creating fractals has become a real passion of mine. I love the results, and I especially love how many different versions are achievable.
The end result of this feather design is exactly what I set out to achieve, and I cannot wait to print it to see the final result. The best part about my chosen journey is that I get to design it and print it, so I can plan the whole process from start to finish, and achieve instant results. That is the ultimate dream come true!
Being able to share this print journey with you, from a photo taken by me on my iPhone, to a complete garment, is indeed a very special moment.
This is a print journey that starts with an out of focus orange Gazania Daisy taken in my garden, and ends in a fabric print that I’m so incredibly proud of. I spent days figuring out a way to get to the final result, and I do think that I went to the moon and back…probably unnecessarily…but it was sooooo worth the result, considering I don’t really know very much about fabric design. What I do know though, is that you don’t have to be clever, you just have to be determined!
So what to do with an out of focus photo? I’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of the iPhone Photography School, and have been introduced to so many amazing apps, that are available to us all via the App Store. As I was about to delete the photo, I changed my mind and converted the ‘bad photo’ to black and white. Violá, totally blown away, I loved that the sprinklings of pollen looked like glitter.
Whilst playing around in numerous apps I tried a mosaic effect, but I realised that it’s very in your face, so I carried on experimenting, and then happened upon a grunge filter which was perfect.
On my buying trips to Hong Kong, I used to see these kinds of prints, in these grunge colours, and I so yearned for somebody to import them into South Africa. I was just never able to get any of the importers to understand the need for these kinds of prints. Being able to design them myself, and print them, and then manufacture collections out of them, is down to pure determination.
I’m passionate about Roses and could quite happily put them on every future print. I took a photo of a beautiful pink rose in my garden, and put it through the same grunge process.
I then went on an editing journey that took a very long time, actually an insanely long time, because I’m such a perfectionist. I’ve come to realise though, that if I want perfection, I’m going to have to learn patience.
Placing the roses perfectly in the lines of the mosaic was a mammoth undertaking, but I taught myself how to do it and this Grunge Rose print is the result.
I’ve printed it in plain, and then I had some real fun with it in my numerous apps, and I came up with some fun prints by adding coloured hearts. Hearts and roses work really well for me, they make me happy.
Red hearts and Grunge roses
Turquoise hearts and Grunge roses
Knowing that this process starts with a plain piece of white fabric, and in a couple of hours it’s printed fabric, and in another couple of hours, it’s a fabulous Plus size, Miracle shape top, makes me a very happy fabric designer, and an even happier fashion designer. I now have access to anything and everything I dream of, because if I dream it, I can now have it.
In conversation with a very dear client this week, she told me that I absolutely have to share my experiences so far in 2017, because there are so many people going through so much, and sometimes it takes somebody else’s experiences to put your own into perspective…so here goes…whew, and it’s only the middle of March!
2016 was a year of immense challenges both personally and as an entrepeneur. The world as we knew it shifted once again, and new challenges presented themselves. Personally I was dealing with watching my beloved father dying a very slow death in front of me. Watching the slow degradation really took its toll on me towards the end of 2016, and it was only my faith in focusing on the light, that enabled me to keep the darkness at bay.
But then as life does, it always offers up two choices. I had embarked on a journey to realising my dream of designing and printing my own exclusive fashion fabrics, that would allow me to take my Plus size fashion collections to a whole new level, and that was my welcome diversion. I completely immersed myself in my great love which is all things fabric related. And so 2016 came to an end, and I was able to go away for 4 days and indulge my love for iPhone photography. I discovered a love for bugs and macro photography, and captured nature at it’s really ‘up close’ best.
And into 2017 I came with an excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time. I went full steam into converting my iPhone photos into fabric prints, and on the 10th of February we printed our first samples of my exclusive designs. Realising my 25 year dream was a defining moment, and I came alive with a feeling that made me really excited. I rushed home after work to share my excitement, only to find that my Dad had taken a really bad turn. An hour later he died in front of us, and even though I never got to share my news with him, I knew that he had moved on, to release me to be able to go forth and give this new venture my all. It is a venture that will prove many things, because I’ve gone into it knowing very little, but am determined to take full advantage of the amazingly smart world we live in.
On the 11th of February, 24 hours after my Dad passed on, my beloved mother tripped over a shoe and fractured her hip. At this stage you’re probably reading this going “what!!”, well I felt the same way as I stood looking at her lying on the floor. It is 5 weeks since her fall and I have been ‘nursing’ her, never having taken care of anybody on this level before. I’ve been asked so many times how I do it, and it’s a crazy thing, but there’s a side of you that kicks in and you just do it. As negative as the actual experience was, there are many positives that have come out of it, the most important one being reconnection. We had all become so disconnected whilst dealing with my Dad’s illness, and in a crazy twist, my Mom’s fall forced us all to reconnect.
They say that things happen in 3’s and I so hoped that it wouldn’t be true, but unfortunately we’ve been dealt another devastating blow. Three weeks ago my father in law was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, and has been given four to six months to live. I’ve had to go from being supported to being the supporter.
I’m not one to question, so I’ve accepted that this is our journey in 2017, and our lives at the moment are filled with many juxtapositions. We live with tremendous sadness, and we live with tremendous excitement. The diversion that the excitement provides from the sadness, is one we will only truly understand in the months to come.
You’re probably asking how I’ve stayed upbeat and focused. My only advice is to find something that you can immerse yourself in when the going gets tough. I hope that your going is not as tough as mine has been, but my iPhone photography and iPhone editing, has been my absolute ‘sanity saver’.
Life as I knew it, is going to be forever changed in 2017, but I have a little toolbox in my head, filled with ‘life tools’ and I think I’m going to be calling on them a lot. Feel free to reach out if you need support.