Planning A New Heat Transfer Design

Today was the first workshop session since receiving my formative feedback. After enjoying using bird motifs in the repeating structures task I decided I would like to try a heat transfer design using them. I started off today sketching some ideas in my sketchbook of different types of birds and considered how I could collage them. I painted some more sheets of paper using heat transfer inks so that I had enough to collage the birds with. I traced out a template for a kingfisher, blue tit and yellow wagtail. I then started cutting out the shapes ready to be collaged. As my other heat transfer designs all have white backgrounds I thought it would be interesting to try a green background which I can then collage the birds on top and place in the heat press. In order to be able to continue at home I created my A3 green background in the print room and took home a selection of my heat transfer ink papers in order to complete the final collaged design. I enjoyed working with a new motif today as in the previous term I think I restricted myself with my use of motifs. It was a fresh start to try a new motif rather than sticking to the same imagery for all my designs.



Dissertation Proposal – PDP


My previous Constellation study groups and my textiles work in Subject have influenced me in deciding my dissertation idea. In my previous essays I have discussed gender, judgements on women’s body hair and explored concepts of masculinity and femininity which I found extremely interesting. The Goddesses and Monsters study group enabled me to consider how Constellation can be linked to my textiles work. I liked the idea of creating textiles work that challenges the norms in society that were discussed in the Goddesses and Monsters study group. I considered how I could design textiles that challenge norms of masculinity and femininity, and this led me to the idea of gender neutral clothing. I am currently very interested in children’s textiles designed for fashion, so I decided to create a gender neutral collection of surface patterns for children’s clothing for my most recent Subject project. These ideas from my Subject work and past Constellation groups helped me realise what I wanted to write about for my dissertation. I decided I wanted to write about the differences between children’s clothing that is heavily gendered in comparison to gender neutral children’s clothing. I am keen to design textiles for children when I leave university, so I thought this would be a relevant and useful topic to explore as it will enable me to learn about the design choices made for children’s clothing and the reasons behind these choices. For example, choice of colour, motifs, textures etc which are all elements that I have to carefully consider in my work as a textile designer. I also enjoy reading about concepts of gender in society, so I thought that this topic would stay relevant and interesting to me throughout the dissertation process.

As I have learnt about concepts of masculinity, femininity, the social construction of gender and gender stereotypes in my previous Constellation work, I was able to start researching my dissertation idea with a bit of background knowledge on the topic which was extremely helpful. I still found lots of new information by researching into children’s clothing which is a topic I had not read about before. I initially struggled to pin point what the specifics of my idea were. I knew that I was interested in the social construction of gender and its links to children’s clothing, but I wasn’t sure exactly what my point was. By attending weekly tutorials, I eventually found that my specific angle of research could be exploring how successful clothing labelled as ‘gender neutral’ is at challenging the social construction of gender and gender stereotypes.

Constellation this year has provided me with confidence and new skills in my academic writing. I feel much more confident in referencing academic writers, finding relevant academic writing and reading books using the index to find writing relevant to my specific idea. These critical skills are hugely important and have been and will continue to be constantly useful for me when applying them to my Subject and Field work. I have gained skills in thoroughly analysing points that I make in my writing, whilst using relevant academic writing to back up what I have written. I have improved on this significantly as in the past I have found that I don’t fully analyse the point I make, or make full use of the inclusion of an academic quote.

I have found that at times I struggle to be concise in my writing, and sometimes end up repeating myself. In the majority of my Constellation essays I have ended up reaching the word count limit realising that I still have a lot more to write. This has happened while writing my dissertation proposal. I ended up with too many words due to a lack of planning for each section. This has been a frustrating error as I have had to spend time reading through my writing and cutting it down. I found this difficult to do initially as I was worried that removing some parts would be losing important analysis. As I went on I found that I had repeated myself in quite a few places, so carefully going through my proposal helped me to refine my writing and make it more concise. This is a skill that I will improve on with practice as I continue academic writing. It will be extremely important to be aware of my word count and be concise in my dissertation as I will need to ensure that I can cover all of my points within the essay. As it is such a large piece of writing this will only be possible if I plan and structure my essay in advance by assigning a word limit to each section of the writing. I also hope that the process of writing the dissertation will help me develop and improve my academic writing style.

Concepts that I have found for my dissertation proposal have been useful to apply to my Subject work. I have gained more knowledge about gender stereotypes through my reading and this will give me a fresh approach to my own textile designs, especially when considering gendered clothing in comparison to gender neutral clothing. My research for the dissertation proposal has enabled me to find new gender neutral children’s clothing brands that are inspiring to me. This is great as these companies and brands can be added to my list of useful resources for my textiles work. Writing my dissertation proposal has helped me learn more about gender neutral clothing and how it compares to heavily gendered clothing. I have found it interesting to examine other designers work and evaluate their use of colours and motifs in order to assess if gender stereotypes are apparent. Analysing surface patterns on children’s clothing by other designers is a useful tool as it allows me to consider my design choices as a textile designer. I can also use this analytical skill to reflect on and analyse my own textile designs.

Analysis of Formative Feedback

  • Develop/change any final designs I am not 100% happy with
  • Develop trowel design by adding more garden tools
  • Remove grey scribble backgrounds as they don’t work
  • Add more animals into designs
  • Ensure collection works together but each design has individuality
  • Create smarter headers – slightly thicker, stronger paper
  • Create name/logo labels to go onto headers
  • Experiment with different backgrounds for prints, ensure colour palette is clear throughout. Research what backgrounds Mini Boden uses to help with this
  • Use croquis imagery in final designs as this was successful
  • Create a more complex and professional CAD design
  • Show experimentation and development in sketchbook using a variety of materials
  • Consider adding foiling and stitch to designs

Dissertation Proposal – Clarifying Ideas

In my tutorial with Ashley on Friday I went in with a decent amount written using the dissertation proposal structure document, and any final questions I had on the dissertation proposal, as this was my final tutorial before the Easter holidays. I wanted to be prepared so that I could leave with all the information I needed. We went through what I had written so far and discussed any changes I needed to make. In my writing I need to ensure that I am more critical, for example when using a quote to back up something I say I need to unpack it more, and discuss how it is important and relevant to my argument. We discussed that I should research into Semiotics which will help me analyse meanings behind ‘gendered’ motifs.

I am clear on the structure of the proposal and what needs to go into each section, and most of the feedback linked back to just explaining myself more clearly and making everything I write very obvious, not just assuming the reader will know what I mean. For example, when writing about my Subject work and designing a gender neutral range of patterns for children’s clothing, being very clear on the imagery I used, what the designs are for, and putting in images to show examples of what I am discussing.

I have been struggling to be clear on what is acceptable to use as my argument for the dissertation. I have been writing a lot about the social construction of gender and how children’s clothing is an example of this, and briefly mentioned comparing this with gender neutral clothing. In my tutorial today Ashley informed me that I still need to be more specific with the angle of my argument. I have been finding it really difficult to understand how to do this, but we eventually pinpointed that looking at how gender neutral clothing challenges the social construction of gender is acceptable to use as my argument.

Self Reflective Statement

I have found this project very interesting and I have enjoyed being able to develop my style as a textile designer. Designing for children’s clothes has been a fun and exciting challenge for me, and I would definitely be interested in taking this further in my textiles career. I was interested and motivated with my brief throughout both terms, and I think I gained a lot from doing this project.

Through experimentation in my sketchbook and using digital skills I have found collage to be the most successful technique for me, which I didn’t expect as I haven’t done much collage work before. I especially enjoyed creating designs on paper and then scanning them and using Photoshop and Illustrator to edit them and create patterns. I think this technique created professional and exciting designs.

In my final collection I am happy with each design but on reflection I think some of the designs don’t quite fit in with the rest. For example the blue raindrop print is very bold and dark compared to the rest of my designs, which I think makes it stand out as too different from the others. I think for summative I would like to slightly tweak some colours and layouts for the designs to ensure the whole collection works together. For example, potentially making a few motifs on patterns smaller and more spaced out, as a lot of my designs are quite large and busy. I realised this once I considered how large the motifs on my digital designs would actually be once printed onto A3 paper. I think this might help to create a bit more variation in my samples, as it could do with some more simple designs. I found it hard to decide on background colours for my designs. For each design I always tested variations of colours to use as a background but I always felt that a white background looked best. In the end I decided to put a grey texture behind some of my designs as I thought it would be odd for all of my designs to have plain white backgrounds. I like the texture but the grey has printed a bit dark and distracts from the rest of the design. I think the backgrounds of my designs is definitely something that could improve, so I would like to experiment more with this next term. I also think I could add some small areas of hand stitching to a few of my designs in order for them to be more tactile. I didn’t have time to do this by the deadline but it would finish off some designs nicely. I think my collection suits my chosen company Mini Boden’s style, as they are fun and bold prints. I found in my research that Mini Boden has a quirky and imaginative style, which my gardening theme captures. Most of their clothing involves bright colours and repeat prints, which I have tried to create in my work.

The collection successfully captures my ‘Garden & Grow’ theme, although I didn’t include all of the initial imagery that I was planning to. I was considering including monsters in the garden as part of my theme, but decided against it and felt that gardening animals might work better. I did try some drawings of gardening badgers and other animals but I didn’t end up with any that I thought would actually work in a final print. I think this was because I was using collage style motifs for all of my designs, but the gardening animals looked much better drawn with colour pencils than collaged. I found this when I tried a heat press collage of a badger, it just looked a bit awkward and clunky. I decided the imagery for my final samples based on what worked best in my style and what was most successful in patterns and repeats.

I am happy with my chosen colour palette as it reflects the colours you would see in the garden in summertime, but it isn’t too garish. It is relevant that the colours I have used are linked to summer, as my collection is for Spring/Summer 2019. I also chose my colour palette based on upcoming trends on WGSN. As the collection is gender neutral I have tried to avoid using large amounts of heavily gendered colours like pink and blue. In the second term I decided to slightly alter my colours as I felt that some were slightly too dull when I was using them in my digital designs. I also added in a navy blue colour as I ended up using more blue than originally planned in my designs. My designs have a clear flow due to the similar colour palettes, especially my three coordinating samples. The colour palette links the whole collection together and creates a professional look to my designs.

My collection is gender neutral for 2-4 year olds and for S/S 19. I think the collection works as gender neutral, the prints could be suitable for either girls or boys and I think parents would enjoy having more options to choose from for their child when shopping. I have chosen fabrics that are soft, comfortable and washable as this is important for children’s clothing. For example: polyester suede, bamboo jersey, cotton jersey, poly-cotton and cotton satin. I have done this as parents will be more interested in buying clothes made from fabrics with these characteristics as they know that children will be playing and getting messy in them. I have designed my prints based on the age range of 2-4 year old children, so I have made them fun, bright and cute so that it would be the kind of clothing a parent would like their child to wear.

I have chosen to put small headers on my final samples and have printed them A3 size. I chose A3 as I thought this would be most suitable to view my designs with a vision of them being put onto clothing. In order to be professional with my presentation I have printed small labels which I have stuck onto the back of each sample. The labels contain my name, theme name, fabric choice for the design and the name of the design. For my paper prints, I have stuck a small sample of the fabric I would print it onto on the back above the label. This has worked well as the information is there but not distracting from the appearance of my final 12 samples. Unfortunately although I emailed my final digital designs to the Print Studio on Wednesday night, they were not printed for the deadline today. This was frustrating as I ensured I had everything ready by Thursday at the latest so that I knew it would all be ready for today. In the end I printed the designs myself in the library and they came out better quality than I expected. Luckily I was prepared for the deadline and had everything else completed, so it ended up not being too much of a problem. This has taught me to always be prepared for not everything to go to plan!

Overall I am pleased with my final collection and proud of the work I have done. Apart from a few changes I think I have successfully followed my set brief and created a fun collection of designs for children’s clothing that would fit well into Mini Boden’s aesthetic.

Printing Heat Transfer Designs


On Tuesday I printed my tomato collage onto polyester suede in the heat press. It came out really well, and the colours are mostly as I expected them to be except for a few bright pink sections. Altogether I think the print works well, it’s bright and fun which is great for kid’s clothing. I also think the polyester suede is a suitable fabric for children’s clothing as it is soft and slightly stretchy, so it will be comfortable to wear.



I also printed my sunflower collage onto polyester suede. This also came out well, the design is clear and I’m happy with the colours. I think I could have done the text slightly bigger and thicker for it to stand out more on the print. The design could have also worked well with no text and more leaves with snails on. I would like to add hand stitch to the centre of the sunflower if I have time, as this will add texture and make the fabric more tactile.



Today I printed another heat transfer design that I had cut out using a scalpel. I did a test to see if it would work using an iron and it did, so I printed my design onto fabric by slowly ironing each section until it was bright enough. This worked really well and was ideal as I was working from home today. I used a mixture of blue, slate and navy ink colours and they have come out just as I wanted. I think the cut out stencil effect has worked really well for this design.


Heat Press – Final Designs

On Friday in preparation for collaging my final heatpress designs I painted lots of sheets of paper with the heat press inks. I did this so that I could start collaging my final designs over the week in advance ready for Thursday. This means I will be ready on Thursday to print them straight onto my fabric. I mixed the heat press inks to match my colour palette. I tried to paint variations and textures in the colours so that the collages aren’t too flat.
Today I started collaging with the heat transfer ink paper. I started off with a tomato design, I have drawn this motif and collaged it in my sketchbook already so I knew that I was happy to use it as a final design.
I have done the heat press design as a croquis, it isn’t an accurate repeat but it implies that the pattern continues on from the edge of the paper. I have chosen to do my final designs A3 size as I think this will show of my designs well, whereas A4 would be too small.


I have also started a big sunflower collage. I am going to include cut out text saying ‘sun flower’ to go to go with this design. The sunflower design is a motif on its own rather than a repeat pattern. I have chosen to do this as a lot of my other designs will be repeats, so I wanted to create some variation in my layouts. This kind of design could work well as a motif on a tshirt.