general, panels -

Behind the Seams: Pirate Collection

Behind the Seams: Pirate Collection

Here is a little of the back story behind the Pirate panel!

Straight after we released the ninja panel, we started working on the pirate panel.. yep, more than 18 months ago!!  

We had some criteria that included a sexy Johnny Depp style pirate and an octopus/kraken co-ord which would work for all ages and genders.

Steph likes to humour me by sending me naked sketches as a starting point. 

Then she gives me a version with clothes!

I thought he was pretty cool but Steph wasn't happy with the perspective so she went back to the drawing board. 

Then she got artist's block and worked on some other stuff instead like the fairy, reindeer, Alice and dandelion bunny collections!  It wasn't the right time to keep working on boys stuff anyway as it was the end of Summer at this point. 

She pitched a couple of new concepts a few months later, but I wasn't feeling it as much as the last one. 

This one in particular made me LOL... A LOT (OMG the tears)!!!!

Gnarly dude!

Back to working on some other stuff that you haven't seen yet for a little while. ;) 

Something I really wanted us (Steph - ha ha!) to play with for something different was a fully illustrated panel (rather than an image on a solid background).  This has a few complexities in addition to being a heap more work.  Large and small panels are different dimensions and the artwork needs to work for both.  The panel needs to work across a range of different patterns as well which is tested at various points in the design process.

Steph wanted to give this panel a bit of a comic book vibe and used this image for a bit of inspiration. 

This was the next version which combined bits and pieces from earlier drafts. 

Then we worked on sizing for the rashie panel and dresses. 

We actually had a 2am/4am messenger conversation working on the maths to make the panels work.  My maths is actually pretty impressive at 4am I must say (and only slightly incorrect)!

Steph asked me for some colour inspo, so I sent these through. 

We dropped the colours in roughly to see how they would work together. 

He looked a bit cranky and sad so we tweaked to give him more of a sexy smirk! 

Then onto the finished line work. 

Which was challenging....!!

And starting to colour... 

First 'finished' draft compared back with rashie panel to check sizing....

We tried a few different sky options because I felt the light grey was too light.  The black worked best for co-ords and because it is more versatile for being able to use a range of solids with it. 

I got Steph to put some more shading and definition into the tentacles to make them pop more. 

Then she got started on the co-ords. 

Then I print out and start playing with scale of the co-ordinates.

I also drop them into different patterns in various sizes to find something that works well across them all. 

This is an example of where I have played with the scale in relation to the panel and dropped them into the squad togs to see how they would look. 

At this point we get samples printed and make necessary tweaks.  

Once we are at a point where the samples are what we want, I do an initial print run ahead of the release and send out to the inspiration team to make into garments to give you an idea of how the co-ordinates work together and for you to be able to see the scale on an actual garment. 

* There are actually about 1000 more steps than you have seen above... so much work, but we didn't want to bore you, so you got the condensed version!! *

We hope you enjoy the Pirate collection!


As a side note, this is why Steph and I get along as well as we do...  She calls me boss and doesn't get annoyed at me (to my face) when I get her to rework stuff 12173 times until I am happy! 


  • Rhondah Gillespie

    Please don’t ever think it is boring to us folk out here in sewing land, I find it not only interesting but fascinating at how much work you guys put into one design, I enjoy reading these “behind the scenes” stories. I certainly have a great appreciation and am a little in awe of what you have to do to produce not only the panel but the sister fabrics. Thanks to you and all your behind the scenes people.

  • Cathie

    That’s so awesome to read through. Well done to you both.

  • Sam Gibson

    Love it! You two make an amazing team.

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