Friday, 6 May 2011

Creative Knitwear Project

This term I learnt how to operate an industrial DUBIED knitting machine (much larger and more complex than the small domestic machines we used in the first term). We learnt several techniques on the machines in order to produce a portfolio of knitted samples which we then had to develop further with our own yarn and colour choices, to inspire a design for a new garment. Below are some of my best knitted samples which lead towards the design of my second final piece.

ASOS ClassiKnits Collection

Here is my final collection for ASOS ClassiKnits, my approach to slow fashion. A collection of timeless, classic knitwear made from locally and ethically sourced, environmentally friendly yarns and materials.

Thursday, 31 March 2011


This module is all about the different elements of design such as shape, line, structure, form, pattern, symmetry etc. 

For one of the assignments we were required to produce a collection of 12 patterns/tiling designs, each created from elements cut from a regular polygon (take a square and a hexagon, cut them up into 4 or more unequal parts, colour them and rearrange them to make a repeat pattern "without gap or overlap").  The patterns also had to have an end use. I didn't want to be predictable and design patterns for a t-shirt/dress so I decided to create patterns for new seat covers on the London Underground trains, based on the London Olympic 2012 colour theme...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

ASOS ClassiKnits

For the design module this term we are looking at slow/sustainable fashion. We have to come up with our own approach to slow fashion and design a collection for a company of our choice.

As I'm specializing in knitwear, I decided to create a range of classic knitwear for a sub-brand of ASOS ( ASOS CLASSIKNITS).

I chose ASOS because I think they have the power to influence consumers that environmentally-friendly fashion is acceptable/cool. The consumers also trust the ASOS brand so they won't be afraid to buy something from a new collection.

The collection will include classic pieces such as a little black dress, a smart blazer jacket, a pencil skirt, a white shirt, a cardigan ETC... and will all be knitted from 100% British wool/cashmere, ethically and locally sourced (from Yorkshire - ). The knitwear will be extremely high quality and reinforced with E-leather trims (recycled leather - for added strength. I am also using reclaimed, vintage, leather buttons which I bought from Ebay for added interest and detail.

The idea is that these garments DO NOT follow trends BUT will always be in fashion, as they are classic designs which always look good, are comfortable, versatile and will last the wearer a life time therefore dramatically increasing the time in which the garment is destined for landfill and therefore decreasing environmental impact.

Below are the Customer Profile, Mood Board and Fabric Board which I created to inspire the design development of my collection (which I will be working on for the next 4 weeks). #
As you can imagine, the sheep received lots of attention.... hehe :)

All work © Julia Handley 3/3/11

Friday, 4 February 2011

Handley hand-me-down

My Nan hand-knitted this cardigan for my Grandad in 1982. When I found it in her wardrobe it was very fousty and moth-eaten but after a little TLC it's good as new :) It's made from 100% wool in a gorgeous sea green colour and knitted in moss stitch all over which gives it a lovely texture. It has two little front pockets and these cute embossed silver buttons - it's the details that make the simple design so special. Obviously it's a little big for me because my Grandad was a big chap but luckily oversized/slouchy knitwear is on trend and it looks great worn over a shirt and skinny jeans. Leeds is still freezing so this cardigan is getting a lot of wear (which it deserves)!!!

In next Tuesday's design class we're all bringing in the garment we've had the longest, our most recent purchase, the garment we're going to throw away next and the garment we imagine keeping for the longest. Should be interesting... But this cardigan will definitely be the garment I imagine keeping the longest because it's sentimental, unique, classic and beautifully hand-made. Well done Nan, you're a genius. x

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Project : Classics

Design Brief : "Slow Fashion"

According to Kate Fletcher, author of 'Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys',

 "Fast fashion has become a defining characteristic of today's clothing and textile industry. It is a combination of high speed production and high speed, high volume consumption. Just in time manufacturing means a design sketch can be turned into a finished product in as little as three weeks. Consumer demand is increasing - people are buying one third more garments than four years ago, fuelled by the rise of cheap clothes and value retailers. This route is not sustainable, our planet only has limited resources. "

We see new lines added in Topshop (for example) every week and fashion magazines are telling us what the "latest trends" are and what we should be wearing each season. It's difficult and expensive to keep up with the latest trends and ultimately it's just the industry's strategy of making more money by creating a need for us to look and feel good for ourselves and others. Retailers such as Primark are selling clothes for as cheap as £1, which some customers admit they only wear once before throwing them away, hence the name "throw away fashion".

"Slow fashion" is about designing quality clothes which have a longer life time and therefore reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. It also means manufacturing clothes in an environmentally friendly way to save energy and resources.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My task is to develop a range of garments that conform to the 'slow fashion' ethos. There are several ways I could approach this but my first idea is to design a collection of classic garments which people will wear time and time again, stand the test of time and survive the trends.

So, I want YOU to tell me what your key wardrobe pieces are...

It might be an item which you've owned and worn for a long time...

Or it could be a versatile item which you wear on a regular basis which you can match with several different outfits...

Imagine you had to pick 6 items out of your wardrobe that you were only permitted to wear for the next year, what would they be and why ?

I would love to hear from you and it would be really interesting and help me massively with the research part of my project. So please get involved !

All you have to do is submit a photo/s of yourself wearing your classic/key item/s. Also include your name, blog address (if you have one), where you like to shop, when and where you bought your key piece/s and what you love about it/them. Also tell me if there are any other items of clothing which you consider to be wardrobe staples or classic pieces that every woman should own? Do you have any opinions about fast or slow fashion?

Email me at by Friday 11th February 2011 (2 weeks from now) and I will feature you on my blog.

To help you out, I have posted my own key wardrobe pieces below...

 Sheepskin coat of my Mum's which she bought in 1978 and wore it every winter since... until I pinched it haha !  I wore this to Uni nearly every day last semester because it's so comfortable and snuggly warm (essential in a very snowy Leeds). It's beautiful quality and is special because nobody else has it !

These high-waisted leather hotpants are a fairly recent purchase (November 2010) but I have worn them so many times. They're really versatile because you can dress them up with a pretty blouse and heels for a night out or dress them down with a T-shirt, cardigan, tights and flats for daywear. Leather is also a timeless fabric.

I've had this blanket style cardigan from ASOS for just over a year and I think it's a classic because although it's a statement piece, it doesn't conform to the trends of A/W '09 meaning I could wear it again this winter and will be able to wear it again next winter. It has neutral colours (navy, beige and cream) and an eyecatching pattern. It's really warm and comfortable and would be flattering to most body shapes.

I bought this dress from ASOS in 2008 and I think it's a classic because it's a simple design with simple striking timeless colours (black and white) and I don't think stripes will ever go out of fashion either. It can also be dressed up or down and worn for different occasions.

I think every girl (and guy) should own a leather jacket (Jane Norman 2007) and a pair of black jeans (River Island 2007).  I've had so much wear out of both these items that it's getting to the point where I need to replace them because they're so worn (not because they're out of fashion). Again, these 2 classic pieces are so versatile and the outfit possibilities are endless.

I absoutely love this dress because it was a bargain in a really random and unexpected place (Matalan 2008). I just love the pretty colours and patterns and the style is so flattering. It's a little black dress with a twist and again can be worn for day or evening wear. The best thing is I haven't seen anyone else wearing it so it makes it a unique/special/classic addition to my wardrobe.

This is probably my favourite dress (Religion 2009) because I love the unique design with the sexy hitched skirt and open back and the edgey print. The gothic/grunge/punk look has survived since the 70's and I think it's a trend that will never die. Again, I haven't seen anyone else wearing this so I feel special in it and it's just one of those peices that always makes you feel super confident.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Knitwear Research & Presentation

Below are the research boards I created using Photoshop for our weekly presentations on Knitwear. The majority of images are primary (ones which I photographed myself). This part of the module helped improve my self confidence as we had to present our boards to the class each week and the research was very interesting as I discovered new designers and was able to recognise different knitting techniques being used on the high street. 

1.Huge variety of yarns available in Leeds market.
2. Multi yarn jumper by James Long for ASOS.
3. Cardigan by Maxmara 100% silk, £350. 
4. Mohair - a lightweight and warm fibre spun from the fleece of the Angora goat. 
5. Knitted vest made from Bamboo yarn. 
 6. Missoni dress made from metallic metallic fibres combined with merino wool. 
7. Handbag made from Jute,a long, soft and shiny vegetable fibre which is eco-friendly.
8. Hiker socks in Millets made from merino wool and stretch nylon.
9. Polar bear patterned scarf from Accessorize which uses Angora.
 10. 100% cashmere dress by Allude S/S10 - an authentic, luxurious cashmere company. 
11. Innovative/novelty yarns produced by plying 2 different yarns together. 'Boucle' yarns.

1. Balenciaga A/W 08 Raglan shaping.
 2. Flared cape by Dulcie Wanless with godet shaping. 
3. Emilio Pucci's patchwork style construction. 
4. Knitted hoody by Miss Selfridge with lots of separate sections to it.
5. Sketch of the different blocks which make up the previous hoody. 
6. Poncho from Chloe S/S10 - traditionally a simple rectangular piece of fabric with a slit in the centre for the head.
7. Asymmetric jumper by WAREHOUSE.  
8.  Cardigan with ASOS which has beautiful drape but has a simple rectangular block construction. 
9. Jumper from H&M with a cross over draped front created by two rectangular sections. 
10. Knitwear by Mark Fast with extraordinary shaping to create innovative designs.

1. Cardigan by Surface to Air with set-in sleeves, the simplest and most common form of sleeve. 
2. Jumper by Whistles A/W 10/11 with raglan sleeves. 
3. Saddle shoulder sleeve. 
4. Jumper from Primark with a gathered shoulder sleeve. 
5. Jumper by MCQ with dolman sleeves. 
6. Jumper by Amanda Wakely with raglan sleeves, exaggerated with a draped and ruched overlay for elegant detail. 
7. Cardigan by Karen Millen with oversized batwing sleeves.
8. Celtic cap sleeve dress by Alexander McQueen, 52% wool, 48% silk, £1, 590.
9. Knitted dress by D&G A/W11/12 with dramatic flouncy balloon sleeves.

1. Jumper by Something Else with strapping trim. 
2. Cardigan by TwentyeightTwelve, finished with a gimp thread which makes an ornamental trim. 
3. Stella McCartney cashmere jumper with a cotton-twill trim in the form of cuffs.  
4. Cardigan by Diane von Furstenber with a leather trim around the collar edge and zip front. 
5. Men's cardigan from Zara with contrasting bias binding trim. 
6. Jumper from Jane Norman with a knitted lace /crochet style trim. 
7. Cardigan by Silence & Noise with a knitted scallop trim. 
8. Cardigan by JJ Park for ASOS with beautiful folded ribbon trim detail. 
9. Lambswool coat by Julien MacDonald A/W10 with oversized trims included oversized ribbed collar, fur-trimmed hood and suede trims on zip fastenings and pockets.

1. Fairisle jumper from 1890, hand knitted on the island of Fair Isle.  Traditional colours and patterns.
2. Fairisle poncho by Alexander McQueen A/W 05.
3. Fairisle cardigan River Island A/W 10.
4. Small-scale fairisle jumper by Warehouse, floats which are normally on the inside are on the outside as a design feature.
5. Fairisle patterns created on Microsoft Excel.Demonstrates how a change in colour can change perception of pattern.
6. Jumper by Warehouse with birdseye jacquard pattern.
7. Jumper by River Island with birseye jacquard heart pattern.
8. Blanket stlye cardigan from ASOS with ladder back jacquard.
9. Knitted leggings by ASOS with small-scale fairisle pattern.

1. Shetland lace mourning scarf. Hand knitted from pure Shetland wool.
2. Modern interpretation of the lace scarf by Monsoon, fashion accessory with repeated eyelet and ladder patterns.
3. Fine knit top with transparent cobweb appearance  from Topshop.
4. Design by Sue Enticknap. Large eyelets create a crocheted look.
5. Mark Fast S/S10. Large ladders create a sexy see through design.
6. Large-scale cable knitted jumper with foil print embellishment by Pamela Leung.
7. River Island cable and ladder mix jumper.
8. Different cable knit patterns such as twist, plait, rope and interlocking diamonds.
9. Intricate cable design by Sue Enticknap.
10. Knitte dress from the emotional sculpture collection by Johan Ku.  Made in raw wool and knitted using fingers and giant needles to create cable patterns.

1. D&G A/W 10
2. Julien MacDonald A/W 09
3. Allude S/S 11
4. Mark Fast A/W 10
5. Missoni A/W 10
6. Amanda Wakeley A/W 10
7. Michael Kors A/W 10
8. Maxmara A/W 10
9. Marc Jacobs A/W 10
10. D&G A/W 10