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Development of a dress

Let’s take a peek into work in progress, shall we ?


step 1

Werkleray is not existing yet, even not on plan. We’re back from Copenhagen at the end of June and start summer vacation with kids at home. It’s sunny, we spend a lot of time outside in the garden and go to the local garden nursery to get inspired (me), play (kids), and get some new seedlings for our garden. There’s a small café corner too, where I can spend a couple of quiet minutes sketching while kids are playing in the shop’s playground. I have always been inspired by flowers. Sketchbook gets filled, our garden too. At some point I get back to the handprinting idea: the sketches have to make their way out there, leave my sketchbook and find an application. Soon there’s the confirmation of participation in an upcoming trade fair. Time to formalize my until now random creative projects and find a path, time to boil down “sketching things” and “making stuff” to a label.

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step 2

Summer vacation in full swing, and I’m searching for a name, for product lines, for products, what is feasible, how to create the visual coherence, to find a flow between all the ideas coming up. Trade fair is coming in five weeks, time to start to work quickly: brand name, logo, homepage, making use of my previous work in illustrating and publishing, supplies, production planning, marketing, making stationery and sewing, prepping for stand building – I will have to check it all off from the middle August until September 26th, the Kädentaitomessut 2016 in Helsinki.

The daisy motif came pretty quickly on paper, and carving was a piece of a cake too, the test print on fabric turned out  not bad, worth exploring and developping. The start is good, I need some more ideas for patterns in different repeats and to hone the product line.


step 3

What comes next ? I spent almost an entire weekend drawing, copying, cutting and pasting, arranging and rearranging different flower sketches. A daisy motif was born easily and was accepted without significant remakes. To make another one, the dahlia, I had to spend almost four days making sketching and rejecting because it didn’t feel right: too pretty, too floral, not abstract enough, not simple enough, too decorative, too dense, too airy, only useful for a particular project, but not for the whole line. At that moment I somehow feel like what is coming together: product ideas, mind maps.

Dresses is one of the product ideas. First it would be a definitely useful piece in my collection (like more useful than a cushion cover or a pouch), and it brings in other shape than rectangle. But I still have no clear idea how exactly I will make them „special“, recognisable as WERKLERAY products. There’s too much place to print for a basic repeat, and I already have basic repeats,  I have to think about feasibility and efficiency, and variation, and stick to a leitmotif with development potential to not get bored while making. A couple of trials failed. It’s not bad either, but it feels not quite fitting in, there’s no flow.


step 4

Accidentally there’s a cut piece of a dress lying on a table, a page full of layout sketches and a swatch from a print for cushion. Because I loved the color of fabric for dresses (which I bought without having a clear idea), I mixed the same shade of warm light red for cushion cover test print. It turned out great: I found the start color for my handprinted thanks to that dress fabric, but I still have no idea now to process it into dresses.

The light bulb turns on as I see those pieces: the dress front and the swatch together: the swatch turns into a pocket option. I would like a clean finish, so I have to fully line the pockets, but the idea of an AADA dress is there ! It’s different from other pieces, yet it belongs to the family in a good way. It’ll take time but that’s how it has to be done.



There was a small edition of a dozen of them at the trade fair, and I still have a couple more of them left currently available in the shop (click here). If you need a custom color or size, drop us an email at We shall be glad to hear from you !


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