Soft toys designed and handmade by Rachel Jillions.
One-off designs, inspired by favourite childhood storybooks and created in your favourite baby clothing to create toys with attachment, meaning and value. These toys have been made with a lot of love and will be treasured over generations.
Whilst I was on holiday in Borneo, on Turtle Island to be exact, I came up with ideas for a new sunny wellington collection. It takes inspiration from my travels and is for ladies who travel. Comfortable useful pretty clothing that is sun bleached, worn, battered, patched and colourful. Fabrics and shapes from around the world, taking inspiration from the Japanese kimono and Indian dhoti.
This is my inspiration board…
The first thing I started to make was the kimono. I researched how a kimono was made, sketched out the basic pattern, took guesstimate measurements and cut one out. The first one I make of everything is always for me, so I can test it out, make practical changes. I grows and changes as I sew and wear it. After sewing it up and trying it on, I decided to unpick it all and add a different lining, so it would hang differently and the soft cotton lining would juxtapose the bright sari outer layer.
This weekend I had a surge of sewing activity and made a pattern for a summer jacket, a pair of shorts, a sweatshirt. Here is my progress so far
I went to a wedding of 2 very special friends over Easter, 2 friends from Australia came over for the wedding too, so it was extra special. I had made a black silky backless dress for the wedding, but wanted to dress it up somehow. My friend wanted us to have matching buttonholes so I decided to make some, I also dressed up a fascinator with matching white roses to compliment the buttonholes, here are the results…
Hello everyone! Now I’m back home with lots of inspiration and energy to get back into my studio and down to some designing and sewing! I’ve decided to create a line of capsule collection inspired by my travels with little girls clothes to match alongside…
So, think pockets, cotton fabrics, loose, light, things you can turn inside out and wear again, locally sourced fabrics, fabrics which refer back to your childhood…
MAXI DRESS: Inspired by all of the maxi dresses around this summer and also by the fact I will be attending Glastonbury and wanted an easy-to-wear festival wardrobe I decided to make my own version of the patterned maxi dress. Riffling through my ever-growing collection of fabrics I came across a box of second hand sari’s, and thought this would be perfect to make a long dress with. I decided early on that I would need to make the dress with 2 layers of fabric so that it wouldn’t be see-through. I thought the silky fabric would be difficult to work with, but it was very adaptable and suited the pattern and cut fantastically.
I am really pleased with the dress so far, I just have the front top section to work on, gathering it to make it presentable and shapely…I have marked this with a light blue circle, any suggestions would be great! The back top section proved difficult but I overcame this by pinning the dress on to my mannequin and creating pattern pieces to fill in the gaps! A bit unreliable but it worked…this time!
CARDI/DENIM JACKET: After a recent trip to a jumble sale where I came across a denim jacket and a fantastic blue and white stripy cardigan I decided to fuse the 2 to make a button up long jacket. I cut the arms and the collar off of the denim jacket, leaving a denim waistcoat behind. I hand sewed the arms and the collar on to the cardigan, as you can see the hand sewing is quite crude, giving a real handmade look. I then added some more gold buttons and a broach. This makes a very adaptable jacket that is warm and can be worn with lots of different things, lovely!
HEADBAND: Again, thinking along the festival wardrobe look I wanted to create lots of hairbands that I can use to decorate my hair which may become a bit dirty after a week of Glastonbury! So I found an old hairband I didn’t want and then lots of pretty fabric scraps and a sequined decoration, glued it all together, et voila, easy peasey!
CLASSIC SUNNY WELLINGTON SKIRT: OK, so I always re-create this draped and gathered skirt again and again, but it is me, my design, it just happened at first when I bought a table cloth and only had a needle, thread and some buttons at hand! And no I am not going to stop making it as each one is very different and they always get a lot of attention and it makes people that wear it feel special, that’s what sunny is about!
TREASURE CHEST:This is the start of a project really…I am going to make this into a seat, of sorts and pad out the top and make it pretty, but it will obviously have to match my black furniture and red signature wall…
More to follow, I’ll keep you updated on any developments….
TV and films that I watched whilst creating: The Duchess, Skins Series 1, 24 Series 1 and Abigail’s Party…
Music I listened to: The Luminairies, Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Cycle Club, The Foals (new album), Willie Nelson, Slash! and a few more all featuring at Glastonbury this year!
sunny wellington is an eco-friendly fashion label for women. It was started by Rachel Jillions in 2004 after she graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a First Class BA Hons in Fashion Design, Manufacture, Marketing and Promotion. For her final collection Rachel sourced her fabrics from local ragtraders around the West Yorkshire area, Rachel found the sourcing of these fabrics exciting and more fulfilling than working with new fabrics. She accentuated the worn, battered and weathered feel of the fabrics and highlighted them within the individual designs of the clothes. This is why each piece of clothing is completely individual and special for each new customer.
The first sunny wellington collection was sold in Facile Clothing, Leeds and Fenella’s, Essex in Autumn/Winter 2004, it sold out within 2 weeks of being stocked in the Leeds shop.
sunny wellington went on to design, create and produce a collection each season, expanding it’s customer base by showing at different shows, fairs and stocking in more shops and boutiques around the UK. By 2006 sunny wellington was stocking in 5 shops in Leeds, York and Essex and taking part in UpMarket Brick Lane over the summer and Christmas months.
Rachel started her MA in Design Management for the Fashion Industries at London College of Fashion in 2007, with working full time at the College as well, she decided to stop sunny wellington until she finished her MA studies. Her MA dissertation and final practice-based project was about on and offline communities and bringing people together through a shared interest in crafts and recycling. The results can be found at http://www.wordpress.com/communitybricolage