We were first introduced to Shelley when our printed Como fabric appeared in our Instagram feed looking enviable in a garment.
The delightful Shelley has been sharing her experiences via social media as she explores the process of designing her own fabric and tailoring her own clothing.
Shelley has created outfits that make us gasp and wish they were hanging in our closet. Under the instagram name of m_o_l_l_y_m_o_l_l_y, Shelley carefully documents her pattern journey and sewing passion. It is a joy to follow on as she creates a new dress, skirt or top and shares her insight into the successes and failures of a pattern or garment, reviewing improvements in order to step closer to the end goal of the perfect piece.
It is inspiring to see the growth in the maker revolution and a return to slow and careful fashion. We asked Shelley about her process and style.
Tell us how you got started on the journey of producing your own clothing?
I started making my own clothes after moving to Melbourne and missing my tailor. I didn’t have anyone to do my alterations anymore and decided to experiment. It started with hemming pants, making simple dresses, then discovering that pants fitting is an artform. My interest grew to a hobby with pattern drafting classes that have been invaluable to making garments fit well. Finally, in a moment of insomnia I dreamt of fabric covered in fish drawings that just needed to make it out of my head and into reality. This brought me to do a short course in surface design and to Next State.
How would you describe your style
I like well executed simplicity and often repeat and iterate. Simple box tops with cropped wide leg or tapered trousers, boxy layerable jackets, with a liberal use of colour and simple print.
What does slow fashion mean to you?
Slow fashion means thinking about how many wears a garment will get, and what I do with test prints as I iterate designs. My wardrobe is made for versatility instead of occasion with individual elements able to be dressed up or down. When I choose fabric to print and sewing patterns to make, I consider how what I’m making will fit with other shapes and colours and whether they’ll date easily. I prefer natural fibres so garments can break down at the end of their life, and my friends are increasingly the recipients of baby pants and tea towels made from test prints.
When designing a print how do you approach a concept?
I’m drawn to small details in the world, like the flooring in the Tokyo Subway and breeze-blocks in coastal architecture. I start with the shapes that emerge from these and find a matching theme in the collection of palettes I’m forever capturing, ranging from clouds over the ocean to raspberry jelly. I enjoy working this way because it makes my work meaningful to me personally. I love that when I wear a garment with my own print, I’m wearing a little story.
Your prints make a big impact using simple shapes and lines, what drives this aesthetic.
My prints share the aesthetic of my clothing and are made of simple elements that can be worn with other items. I love being bright and bold but also aspire to add versatility to my wardrobe, I do this by using a limited palette and simple shapes. I also have a significant design constraint that’s unusual for someone who enjoys making their own prints – I can’t draw!
In your sewing and print design journey what words of wisdom would you like to impart on us.
Be curious and have a go. Understanding the “why” and seeking inspiration from the world around you will help you find your own compass.