Designer Inspiration: Orla Kiely

Do you ever look to designers for your sewing/ making inspiration? I do a little bit, mainly through Pinterest, which I love. As any of you that like the 60s, as I do, I’m sure you love Orla Kiely. I like her 60s colour palettes and the shapes on her designs. I feel like some of the stuff was everywhere for a while, but I like her clothing designs, so I thought I’d share some here for your sartorial inspiration.

I love the dresses particularly. This bird fabric is soooo cute and I like the plain white sleeves and yoke. I’ve been really drawn to tops and dresses with contrast sleeves and yoke/ neckline, especially with raglan sleeves. I reckon this would be totally re-creatable. Maybe with Colette’s Moneta pattern, which I just so happen to already have in my stash!

Orla Kiely Bluebird & Blackbird T-Shirt Dress blueI like the simple shape of this one, and the piping/ binding makes it a bit more interesting than it otherwise would be. The print has tiny hearts all over it too, which is sweet.Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Organza Stripe Dress sky I like plain styles of dress, made with interesting fabric, so I love the below dress (which also comes in blue, but pretty much this whole page would have been blue, so I saved the red version instead!). This is the same hearty fabric as above, but in red (obvs). I reckon Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress could recreate this dress. Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Side Pleat Dress poppy

This shirt dress style dress is pretty cute too, and the fabric has tiny shoes all over it! I like the collar, and the waist band has gathers on the bodice as well as the skirt, so it would have a cinched in waist even without a belt.

Orla Kiely Resort Collection Ditsy Shoe Pleated Dress slateThis navy dress with the cut-out neckline is really lovely. I like that this one has pockets too!  Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Heart Cut Out Dress midnightThis blue dress might be my favourite. Plus it comes in yellow! I think the Emery could be a good base for this dress, too. If I sized up, to give it the loose fitting style and didn’t gather/pleat the skirt across the front and added little cuffs to the sleeves, I think I’d have a pretty good version of this.  Orla Kiely Slub Silk Tunic skyThis skirt is the same hearty fabric as in the dresses above, and is it me, or does this look a lot like Tilly’s new pattern, The Arielle Skirt? Orla Kiely Busy Bee Print Skirt sky

This is a pretty basic pencil skirt, and there must be a million pencil skirt patterns, but I really like the fabric. I’m planning a pink pencil skirt myself, though not in this baby pink kind of shade, more of a brighter, obnoxious pink! Orla Kiely Flower Spot Jacquard Skirt coral

This t shirt is right up my alley – contrast sleeves and neck binding. I’m not totally sold on the fabric, but it’s quite sweet. Orla Kiely Daisy Gingham Top pebble

I like this little jumper too, the collar is sweet and it’s pretty much smack in the middle of the colours I wear all the time! I’m never totally sold on short-sleeved jumpers, though. Does anyone else ever think if it’s warm enough to have bare arms, then you’re going to get hot in a jumper? Anyone?Orla Kiely Flower Jacquard Top navy How amazing is this sweatshirt? I don’t think it’s one I would copy as I wouldn’t do it this well, but I like the idea of a kind of plain top with some amazing decoration on. Maybe I’ll have a go at some applique on my clothes. Orla Kiely Resort Collection Sixties Lady Intarsia Sweater grey and navyI’m also a sucker for a good mug. I would have loads of them if I had the space……wait, I do have loads. I would have even more! Also, I’m getting to the age where I want nice kitchen wear and not just the stuff I can afford. Maybe I’ll save up for some Orla Kiely crockery?Orla Kiely Henny Hen mug mustardOrla Kiely 60s Stem Mug blueOrla Kiely Acorn Cup yellowWould you ever copy a designer/ ready to wear garment? I always think I will, but I haven’t yet. Maybe one day, when I’ve sewn ALL the things on my list!

All pictures are from the Orla Kiely website.

The Fara Workshop

When I decided to change my blog – well, start (yet another) new one – I had a few posts that I knew I wanted to write, when I was just going to focus on crafting and clothes. And one of those was about the Fara Workshop. The Fara Workshop is linked to the Fara Charity, which has lots of charity shops around London and works to transform the lives of some of Romania’s poorest and most vulnerable children and young people.

Their mission says: ” A contemporary hand crafted collection of entirely one off clothing and accessories will be designed and made in store at our onsite workshop. Our mission is to transform clothing and fabrics that have been generously donated to FARA charity shops, incorporating a variety of processes and techniques reworking them into a fabulous collection of wearable delights.” (from their facebook page)

Fara Workshop 9
I discovered them by accident, wandering around Islington when I was doing practice walks for a marathon walk I did back in September (yes, I walked 26 miles around London!). I immediately fell in love with their reworked fashions. As someone who enjoys a refashion or two, I found the way they reuse fabric and clothes donated to Fara to make new, modern, fashionable garments.

Fara Workshop 10(source)

Fara Workshop 5

Fara Workshop 14

The way they colour block and use the fabrics is amazing – I hope I can one day learn to use fabric in the same way!

One of my favourite things they have made is the Susan Coat – all the patterns were designed and made in the workshop.

Fara Workshop 6(source)


Fara Workshop 7(source)

Aren’t they amazing!? I definitely want to make a coat like this – especially the mustard one.

Every month on a Thursday evening, they run a sale night – I guess to clear out some of the stock they can’t transform.

Fara Workshop 8After months of trying to make it to one of their sale nights, I finally made it to one. I decided to only spend £10 on the smaller bag – I could easily have got the larger bag,  but I felt like I would have been taking things for the sake of filling the bag, and that’s not really the ethos of the workshop – it’s more about being mindful of our clothing consumption. I got 4 garments in my £10 bag, including a coat!

A blue and gold skirt, with a lining in electric blue. It’s a few sizes too big.

A wooly tartan skirt, mainly green. This has a broken zip and is several sizes too big.

I picked up this large…..interestingly shaped blue and white stripey dress mostly for the lolz. And to see if I can make it into something even vaguely wearable!

Fara-stripey-dress-1And I got this coat! It has ugly faux fur cuffs which are falling off and the lining is definitely past its best. I’m thinking of making this into a Susan-style coat, possibly with contrast sleeves. And a new lining.

Last week sadly The Fara Workshop announced that they are closing at the end of February. Their profits all go back to the Fara charity, but the workshop isn’t financially viable any more. They do say they will be producing a clothing line – so fingers crossed the clothes will still be available, just not from a concrete shop.