Exploring Inspiration

As I mentioned in my last post, the first exercise we were given at Eamoda to define our style as designers was to explore sources of inspiration and present them in a way which represents that style. We were encouraged to consider all of our senses and more: music, art, architecture, icons, food, landscape, memory, film.


The cover of my Libro de Autor (inspiration journal)

You may know that I have a degree in English Literature. Words are an important source of inspiration and pleasure to me, so I chose to present my project in a second-hand book. I found the perfect book in a shop on Avenida Corrientes: Las Tremendas Decisiones (tremendous decisions), by Enrique Oded Sverdlik. I liked the cover and title for my journal, so filled the book with text, drawings and images. Sorry Enrique!

Title page

Title page, photo by Isabel

I used found images, quotes, and borrowed some photos from my talented siblings, Tom and Issy. It’s been so long since I’ve drawn anything other than design sketches, it was a real pleasure to have an excuse to doodle on these pages.

Molly Whuppie, illustrated by Errol Le Cain

Molly Whuppie, illustrated by Errol Le Cain

Pinterest was a great help to me when choosing images to use, but there is no reason why inspirational images have to stay online. For me, deciding what to print and how the images fit together gave my choices a gravity that led to more careful consideration of what I find inspirational and why.

The Isis, Oxford

The Isis, Oxford (photos by me and Tom)

I really recommend taking the time to print or draw an inspiration journal. It is a pleasurable process, and I found the result surprising in some ways. My book has a nostalgic, slightly sinister feeling throughout, which I didn’t realise was so important to my design aesthetic. I still love Pinterest, but I can now see it as a jumping-off point for looking more deeply into where my inspiration comes from.

René Gruau illustrations

René Gruau illustrations

Repairs to my sewing machine have been delayed – for the time being I’ve been doing some sashiko embroidery, which should be finished soon! Also my parents are arriving for a visit tomorrow, so I doubt I’ll get much sewing done over the next couple of weeks. There’s some space to fill in my wardrobe after a successful chuck-out at the weekend!

* If you’re interested in looking at some more inspiration journals, I first saw an old book used as a journal on Esther from the sticks. I recommend you look at her blog anyway, because she makes some incredible clothes.

** I didn’t like to include all of the pages of my journal here because I can’t credit all of the images and I’m unsure about the copyright implications of sharing collages online.

Defining Your Style

Sunglasses in San Telmo market

Sunglasses in San Telmo market

The first step in designing anything (provided it’s not for someone else) is to define your style. Easy enough, you might think – just look in your wardrobe. But how many of your clothes really fit in with what you think your style might be? For me, at the moment, the proportion is quite low.

Here are a few reasons behind what is in my wardrobe:

  • Price: I haven’t been able to afford, or at least haven’t prioritised, buying stylish and/or new clothes for years. During this time I’ve also decided to no longer consume fast fashion (quite easy in Latam, as it’s relatively unavailable).
  • My body shape, age, and gender identity: This doesn’t really apply to home sewists, but your style as a designer may not necessarily relate to your own body shape, age, or gender identity.
  • Past tastes: Quite a lot of the clothes I own come from a time when I had a very different style (more floral, vintage… perhaps even twee?), but my wardrobe has yet to catch up.
  • Time: During my course, I always felt that if I was sitting at the sewing machine I should be working on coursework. I am thrilled that I’m going to have more time to sew for myself now!
  • Comfort: I’m not going to make myself popular by saying this, but I hate the long summers in the Southern Cone. For the past five years I’ve had to dress for weather which is alien to my sense of style. I love layers, tights, scarves, wool and hats. I hate shorts and summer dresses. I can’t wait to move back to London for this reason alone!

Wearing clothes that don’t suit or don’t fit you, or are past their best, is guaranteed to make you feel rubbish. I feel like getting dressed is no longer as fun as it should be. On this subject, Sarai has been writing a great series called Wardrobe Architect on the Coletterie. While I haven’t had a chance to really follow the exercises yet, it’s definitely worth a read – especially now that I have time to think about my personal style rather than my style as a designer.

The first exercise we did at Eamoda to explore style was to collect inspirational images and compile them, using a medium of our choosing (it was nice to put Pinterest to a good use, for once). I had a lot of fun doing that and will share some pictures of the project later this week. I think that it’s a useful project to do, whether you’re designing for others or yourself.

I’m going to try to cure some of my style woes this weekend by sorting through my wardrobe and taking out the stuff I hate, or clothes that are too old and holey to be worn in public. Then I can start thinking about sewing some wonderful new clothes. The sewing machine mechanic is coming on Monday, wooooo!

Lookbook: Dream of Ghosts

Lookbook postcards

With the help of some rather wonderful and talented people I made a collection of lookbook postcards of the four outfits from my collection, Dream of Ghosts. I hope you like them! A round of applause for my photographer Daniela Bermudez, model Agustina Varela, MUA Ayelen Ischuk, and lovely assistants Alison Smith and Carla Ischuk.





And I can’t miss out the campaign photo, featuring the logo designed for me by Isabel Wilkinson.


Don’t worry, I’m still relaxing. I have to wait until after the long carnival weekend finishes to get my sewing machine fixed, anyway…

Finally Finals


Sketches of my final collection, Dream of Ghosts

Whew! It has been an insane few weeks and I am proud (if slightly baffled) to announce that I passed my design module at Eamoda with a top mark! I have now completed my course and have nothing stretching ahead of me apart from blissful freeeee tiiiiiiime and the looming question WHAT NEXT?

I am determined not to get metaphysical too soon and ruin the relaxing rights I have earned. I am going to relax here, relax there, relax with a book, go for relaxing walks, and generally relax my face off, as well as revelling in normal things like, I dunno, mopping and socialising and maybe even a tiny bit of blogging.

A sign of my addiction to sewing is the fact that I am desperate to get back on the sewing machine and, finally, make some clothes for myself. Unfortunately my sewing machine has taken ill from overstrain and no amount of coaxing or poking or hitting will make it go.

I spose I’d better just get on with some more relaxing, then.

A Shirt Break

You’d think that after making those 25 shirts for the cafe uniform I would be sick to the back teeth of shirts but it seems there’s always room for one (or two) more.


It was Simon’s birthday so I made him this shirt, for which he bought the fabric probably about a year ago (so it was kind of a cheat present really… shhh), AND a bonus shirt, in Liberty fabric no less.


I must have bought this fabric for myself about five years ago, but eventually it dawned on me that I’ve gone off tiny florals on myself, no matter how delicious the fabric. Ah well. My loss is Simon’s gain. And YES that is Evita wrapping paper, because when in Rome… it’s from Papelera Palermo, which is worth a visit just to watch the man hand printing the paper in the studio at the back of the shop. His skill is mesmerising, and far removed from the sweary, inky mess that is me when I screenprint.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the coursework is still going on…. starting to wonder if I shouldn’t have given in to my destiny and made a collection of shirts.



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