How to make a collection - The print

How to make a collection - The print

Above Julie is wearing Misty Dress in the print Erosion.

I made a test run on the prints last fall when I came across a new supplier for digital print on textiles in Latvia. I sent them a bunch of pictures and prints to make and was happy with both the quality on the material and the print I received a few weeks later.

The prints “Manhattan Wall” and “Manhattan Greens” from summer 2018 collection was the first ones to go to production. For the second run I chose the Bilbao line because it had so much content,  as I told you about in “How to make a collection – The Inspiration”, and it had a beautiful autumnal palette.

This is how a picture becomes a print:

The big picture is the original picture which I twist, turn, copy and paste until it becomes an all-over-print. 

Dimensions are important. Interesting thing when the main picture disappears and the repeats makes its own rhythm like in the two prints above Erosion and Misty. In the print, The Worker, the motiv is much clearer and will not dissolve as easily. Appropriate for the theme, as it’s a pic of the moment where the worker captures the abstract idea and puts it into an order or systemizes it. 

The Materials

The factory that made the print could offer several cotton qualities and I choose 2. One is thick, solid and sculpts easily, the other is thinner and has a more whimsy and cute character. Since I have chosen a bit heavy wool for the knitted line, I thought cotton would be a good companion. In addition, I chose a shiny and heavy viscose.

In previous blog, I described colors as balmy, faded and juicy and that each had a role to play in the entirety of the collection. The same goes for the materials. The shiny surface of the viscose adds depth and exclusivity, the wool adds volume and warmth, the printed cotton ads low key playfulness. Tone-on-tone green knit and shiny viscose will never be dull, but hints of toned-down luxury. If it’s something I’m a big fan of, its elegance that doesn’t need to shout to be noticed. 

The Shapes

The classic knit has often a clean cut in outline. The detail that turns a very simple item from dull to interesting are often small and few. That’s why I went in a different direction with the printed line. Puffs and ruffles are all around us these days and I have taken my fair share of the trend. To get a sense of how this trend is used, I do a lot of research and study how other designers has taken on the trend. This is one of my ruffle collages:

Am I inspired or copying?

In the fashion industry, copying is a big thing, and the grey area in between inspiration and copying is big. To follow a trend is not copying, but you should pay attention so you don’t make things too similar to your idols. Orla Kiely is a designer that inspires me. Her style is not unlike mine. We both make cute clothes with an edge, still there are lots of things she does that I wouldn’t do. Its often the placing of details, or use of materials. Your inspiration, no matter where it comes from is a tool you use to make your own path. It will put you on the right track to make your own version of the trend.

These are how my shapes turned out in the end. They may seem modest, but since they are going to be made in 3 different and quite demanding prints, I need to make a balance.

At the same time I do these sketches, Ialso gather the ingredients to the collection. Materials, yarns and buttons are chosen, the consumption is calculated and everything is ordered. Some qualities I’m familiar with, other needs to be washed and tested. 

Above is "The Worker dress" in the print Erosion


When the sketches are ready, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. It’s a common thing to send sketches to the factory with measures and they do all the sampling. When a sample is ready, it’s sent back to the designer or design team for correction. A few samples may go back and forth until the two parties are content.

I feel it’s necessary to make all the samples myself. A lot happens from a sketch to the final product. Through time I have found the best and most “real” clothes are the ones I shape myself. I’m very sensitive to what I wear, and this sensitivity I use when shaping new garments. In short, - the trick is to make shape, material, practical use, maintenance, and price to agree with the inspiration and entirety of the collection…. In short….

Some models are easily shaped, but others are more time consuming. There is no blueprint, so I will have to “feel” my way towards the result. Strange thing, but when I try to calculate rather than to feel what’s right, it’s seldom becomes a hit.

Classics are easy to make, because the shapes are well known and thoroughly tested. The clothes I make in this printed material has a different role to play in the collection. They need to me more in all aspects. They will be the identity for this collection, so I will need to push a bit further, but still keep the balance.

Above, Birgitte is wearing "The Worker dress" in the print Misty with "Classic Turtle sweater" underneath.

At this point in the collection it’s very busy. Everyday life is eating time from my already tight schedule and stress is building up inside me. My studio space is in the shop, so even though the customers can’t see me, I’m easily involved in everything that’s going on. To be hand on all aspects of the business and to be close to the customers is a unique position, but it’s very difficult sometimes to let the development of the new collection come first.

Above Julie is wearing "The Worker dress" in the print The Worker. Underneath she is wearing Shiny Puff blouse in the color Andorra. 

So, what happens when I let my self get of track? I make bad clothes. The first samples I received from the factory of the styles in the printed material was not good. There had been too much fuss around me when I shaped the styles. I wasn’t present in the process, and finished the collection before I really FELT it was finished. Maybe 3 of 13 styles was usable. My slot in the production line at the factory closed in on me, and I had to really hurry! What a nightmare! But when a nightmare is something you wake up from, I just had to fight my way through this. I put on my noise cancellers and crunched.

Shiiiiit! To make a long, painful and sleepless story short, everything turned out ok in the end ;) The tempest in a teapot had passed, I survived and the collection arrived perfectly on time. 

Oh, but there is more! The collection is not done yet. Read more about how the print was transfered to knitwear in the next blog.