There’s something wonderful about having a house full of fresh green plants.
I used to love having a beautiful bunch of flowers in my living room. Unfortunately the cost of fresh flowers every week was becoming too much so I had to have a rethink. Then I discovered houseplants and I was hooked! These lovely plants bring the fresh feel to the indoors like flowers but live much longer than just a few days. I gathered all my houseplants and chose three that varied in colour and shape.
Let’s get drawing
I knew that I wanted to create a bold print design. The lush colours of the houseplants jumped out at me and I wanted to replicate that. For that reason I decided to use oil pastels. I love working with oil pastels as the layers of colours can be blended to get really rich tones.
I wanted this print to be as colourful as possible so I made sure to draw the plant pots too. It was fun recreating the woven effect of this plant holder.
Before drawing this houseplant I had never noticed quite how many different tones it had in its leaves. I used a wide range of different greens, browns and yellows to mimic the patches.
The soil was a difficult texture to work out. I wanted to make sure it looked different to the smooth ceramic pot so used different shades of brown in little dabs. Layering up the various tones worked quite well and I’m happy with the effect it created.
From paper to screen
Once I’d completed the drawings it was time to scan them into the computer. Because oil pastel drawings are really bold the sketches didn’t take too much digital cleaning up. I wasn’t sure how I wanted the print to look but when I lined all the houseplants up to think about it I thought that it worked really well! I spent a short time nudging each plant a few millimetres this way and that until I was happy with the spacing of them and then the design was finished.
If you love the new houseplants print then good news! There are already a few items in the shop featuring this fab design with more coming very soon.
After the crazy Christmas season stock levels were looking a bit low. That could only mean one thing – time to order more fabric! I always like to spend January designing new prints so once I had a collection ready to go I put in the fabric order. If you don’t know anything about the pattern design and fabric printing process check out the about page. The first new print to be released was the sea turtles design which you can read about here.
With so many new items being made I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick list of what’s coming up in the next month. Lots of items are being restocked too so if there’s anything out of stock on the website don’t forget to sign up for product alerts on the product page. If you spot something on the list that you would like just let me know!
Reusable makeup remover pads
The reusable makeup remover pads were hugely popular over Christmas – I couldn’t make them fast enough! They’re really pretty and they’re kind to the planet too. Here’s a list of the new makeup pads coming soon:
Turtles Houseplants Bluebells Chickens Unicorns Apples Giraffes
Plus lots more extras of the favourites already on the website too!
The pencil cases were another firm favourite over the festive period. Their handy size means they can be used for all sorts of purposes. A handbag makeup bag, a travel sewing kit, or even a teabag pouch.
If you’ve not heard about beeswax wraps yet check out my post about them here. These are a super easy way to start your journey towards less single use plastic. A lot of the fabric allocated for these was just to make sure stock levels are topped up but there were a few new ones too.
Bluebells Turtles Houseplants
Wash bags are another product that are super versatile. Being made with water resistant fabric means they can be used for a whole host of reasons.
It’s great having the water resistant fabric for the aprons. It’s just so much easier to have a wipe clean apron if you’re a messy chef! A few of these completely sold out over Christmas so it was time for a restock.
At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.
Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!
To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)
Step 1: Drawings
I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.
Step 2: Digital print design
Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character.
I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.
Step 3: Making
When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items.
With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.
Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!
After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.
Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.
Step 4: Packaging
I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!
Step 5: Photography
Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.
Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!
I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.
The summer holidays are here so it’s time to jet off somewhere fabulous.
Swimming costume? Check. Plane tickets? Check. Passport? Check. But have you got a fantastic cover for your passport? If not, read on…
Passport covers not only look super pretty, they are also really handy. If you’re carrying your whole family’s passports, it’s so much easier to work out who’s is who’s at a quick glance. If everyone has a different passport case, it makes passport control a much simpler ordeal.
Even if you’ve just got your own passport to look after, having a snazzy holder makes it so much easier to find in your bag. No more “oh my goodness where is my passport” panic.
As well as making them look pretty and easy to spot, passport cases help to protect your passport. The passport covers are reinforced with interfacing to give them strength. This gives an extra layer of protection and helps to stop your passport getting crumpled.
If nothing else, buying a passport wallet will get you thinking about your next holiday! Where will your new passport cover take you?
Don’t forget to take a photo of your new passport cover while you’re on holiday. Upload it to social media and tag @drawnbyrhiannon and you could win a £10 gift voucher!
Take a look at the full range of passport holders here.
I get inspiration from all over the place but for this particular print design it was this sassy sheep that started it all off.
I spotted this fabulous creature on a trip to Sewerby Hall. After calling the sheep to see if I could get it to look at me for a photo, it gave me this look. The character in its face was brilliant and I knew I wanted to make it in to a print design.
For sketching the sheep I chose to work in pencil. This gave me the ability to create a fluffy outline but also focus in on the character of the face.
The shape was surprisingly tricky to get right as the sheep was just so poofy. When I was eventually happy with the outline, I scanned it in to the computer.
Sometimes pencil drawings can be a real pain to manipulate digitally as the soft pencil marks don’t scan in well. Thankfully the sketch was bold enough that the computer could pick up all the small details. With a little bit of cleaning up the sheep was ready for colouring.
I wanted to create the feel of the wonderfully textured fur. To begin with I digitally coloured layers of different shades of creams and greys to get a base. I then took snippets of fur from the original photo and blended them in to the base colour to achieve the textured look. This is quite a difficult process as it’s important to get the balance of colour and shading just right to make it look realistic and not too computerised.
Finally it was time to assemble the design.
Creating the final sheep print
Similar to the cow print, I knew I wanted the sheep arranged in clusters to look like a flock. By scaling, rotating and skewing them, I made little family groups of sheep. Once I was happy with the layout, I worked on the background colour.
I always start every print design with a white background to check that I’m sure on the layout. Sometimes I keep the white background but I didn’t think this worked well with the sheep.
Next I tried it with a warmer yellow cream colour which I thought was more successful. The sheep stood out from the background colour better than on the white.
Finally I tried a green background with tufts of grass to look like a field. Picking the right shade of green is always a difficult task but I’m really pleased with the one I chose here and I think this colourway is my favourite.
Let me know what you think of the new sheep print design by commenting below!
Sheep in the wild
You can find the sheep print design featured on the following products available to buy now from my shop.
All the drawing, fabric designing, sewing and photographing is done by me in my north east studio.
I’m not a fan of long commutes so I love that my studio is just 10 seconds from my living room. When I moved in, the building in the garden was split down the middle, half a shed and half a playroom. The first thing I did (when it had stopped snowing… remember the glorious beast from the east?) was have the building completely renovated – the middle wall was ripped out, the walls and ceiling were lined with cosy insulation, and proper electricity was wired through to make sure the industrial sewing machine would run properly.
The studio is the perfect size to fit everything in. Check out the video below for a quick whizz round tour.
So let’s break it down a bit!
The studio drawing table
Every fabric I design starts with my hand drawing which I draw right at this table here (unless it’s absolutely freezing, then I resort to the sitting-by-the-fire-under-several-blankets style of drawing)
As you can see, this is also where I keep all my scissors plus my domestic sewing machine and overlocker. I’ve written a blog post about my top 10 tools and tips for anyone interested in sewing which you can check out here.
The crafting cupboard
In the big cupboard next to the drawing table, there are all sorts of bits and pieces! I have a drawer for paints, a drawer for pens and pencils, then all the threads, buttons, ribbons and extras that I could possibly need for sewing. The last owners of my house very kindly left this super useful cupboard in the bathroom so I re-purposed it for the studio.
Once I’ve finished my drawing, I then scan it in to the computer and turn it in to a digital print design. This is the only part I don’t do in the studio as my internet doesn’t stretch that far.
The fabric store
Once the fabric has returned from the printers it’s time to get making. This is where this cupboard comes in. I bought this tallboy from Oxfam when I moved in to my flat in Southampton and it’s one of those fantastic pieces of furniture that can be used for all sorts of things.
It’s a bit of an organised chaos situation but it makes sense to me! The top shelf holds any excess printed fabric that I need to get round to making in to something. It also holds the plain cotton lining fabrics that I use for items like the coin purses, makeup bags, and passport covers. (Check them out here) The middle shelf houses all the specialist fabrics like interfacing, towelling, fusible fleecing and insulating fabric. There’s also a stack of printed fabric (not designed by me) that I have bought to make in to clothes. I have about 6 dresses in the pipeline, it’s just finding the time to make them!
Dressmaking in the studio
Speaking of dress making, here’s a quick shot of the corner of the studio. This holds my fabulous dressmaker’s dummy and all my tape measures (forever losing these so you can never have enough)
I also have a selection of design books covering everything from creative garment construction and printmaking, to typography and packaging design. When I lived in Southampton I would take a day trip to Salisbury as there is a fantastic bookshop there that sells all sorts of really specialist books really cheaply!
Time to get sewing
After that quick sidetrack it’s back to the making process. I used to use the domestic sewing machine that you saw earlier but, bless its little heart, it was not designed for the volume of sewing I do these days. When my studio was being renovated, I searched high and low for an industrial sewing machine to take over the main sewing duties. I was lucky to find this beauty not too far from me which used to be used in the Barbour factory.
This beast powers through everything and never gives up, even when I’m sewing through 8 layers of thick fabric.
An important part of the sewing process is ironing. Pressing seams ensures they lie flat and gives the completed item a better finish.
The final stages
Once the items are sewn and pressed, it’s time to photograph them.
I’m lucky to have lots of big windows in the studio so the daylight helps a lot. I also use a daylight lamp (the one sat on the industrial sewing machine table) to help on gloomier days.
Just a little side note for eagle-eyed readers; the robin on the notice board was the first thing I ever screen printed when I was at university. It forms the base for the robin print which is still popular to this day!
And just in case you were wondering, the cupboard that I take the photos on holds all my packaging supplies for sending orders out to you lovely people! I recently changed to cardboard mailing boxes to be more eco friendly which fit nicely on this shelf. The bigger ones had to sit next to the cupboard as they are HUGE when they’re not folded in box form. This was another cupboard that was very kindly left by the previous owners in the bathroom. Much more handy in my studio though!
Off to market
Finally when everything is photographed and listed on the website, it’s time to go to market.
This shelving unit here holds all the props and accessories needed for my market stall. It adds up to quite a lot of equipment! This is all carefully planned out before each market to make sure I’m happy with the layout before I go.
With the cow drawing scanned into the computer, it’s time to add colour to the print design.
For this print design, I decided to colour the cow drawing digitally using layers of photographs. I photographed different angles of the cows to get sections of their fur. Next I took a look at the colours of the cow to see which areas needed to be lighter or darker. By doing this I was able to cut different pieces out of the photos to use in different areas. Then it was a case of layering the different pieces and blending them to create a smooth coverage of fur. Take a look at this video to see all the layers that went in to colouring the cow.
The final step
Once the cow had its fur it was time to create the print design. I had a vague idea in mind of how I wanted the print to look which really helped. Quite often I’m not sure what I want the finished print to look like so it takes longer to create because I don’t have a base to start from. For this design, I had the idea to have the cows in clusters, as if they were scattered about a field. First of all, the cows were grouped in to small groups of twos and threes. Also some cows were rotated and resized to give some variety to the print.
And here’s the finished print design! What do you think? Do you prefer the cream or the green background?
Earlier this week I sent off the files to the fabric printer so new fabric is imminent! Using the cow fabric I will be making a coin purse, a passport cover and a wash bag. If you would like to reserve any of these items, just let me know!
If money is still a bit tight after Christmas but you’re in need of a treat, how about some hair accessories? At just £3.50 each, they’re the perfect little treat to help with the January blues.
Scrunchies are brilliant for anyone with longer hair. As well as being pretty, they hold your hairstyle in place better than bobbles. They’re also much kinder to your hair so they’re less likely to pull. Available in a wide range of prints, there’s something for everyone! Take a look at all the scrunchies here.
If scrunchies aren’t your thing, how about hair bows? They measure about 3 inches wide so are the perfect size for any hairstyle. These feature either crocodile clips or barrette clips on the back which are both great at gripping hair. No more bows sliding down and dropping out! These hair bows are great for anyone, no matter how long or short your hair is. Take a look at all the available hair bows here.
Even better, you can buy any 2 scrunchies or bows for just £6! You can pick 2 scrunchies, 2 bows, or 1 of each! Whether you’re a fan of bees, flamingos or dinosaurs, beach huts, chickens or unicorns, there really is something for everyone. These are just some of the designs available but there are so many more different prints to choose from. Take a look at the full range of hair accessories by clicking here.
So forget about how cold and miserable it is and brighten your day with a super colourful hair accessory. Only 1 of each design available so be quick!Would you like to see more hair accessories? Maybe some headbands? Let me know by leaving a reply at the bottom of the page.
It’s that time again when new fabric is on its way!
After a super fantastic festive period, it’s time to restock on lots of items. New fabric here we come! The beeswax wraps have now completely sold out so I’ll be making a HUGE new batch of those, but what else would you like to see?
I’ve designed lots of new prints in the new year so I’m really excited to see those on fabric. Have you seen the panda print and banana print yet?
With summer holidays on the horizon I’m planning on making a whole new range of passport covers. What designs would you like to see on the passport covers? So far I have planned bees, blue tits, bananas, sheep, cows, pandas, kingfishers, rabbits, ladybirds and giraffes. Are there any other prints you’d like on them? Let me know by commenting below!
Another best seller at Christmas was the fabulous reusable makeup remover pads. These completely sold out at the Christmas markets so I’m going to make a big new batch of these too. What designs would you like to see on the makeup pads? Let me know!
And of course there will be more of your favourites like coin purses, makeup bags and aprons. Anything else you’d like to request? Just let me know! New fabric will be ordered on Friday so don’t miss out.