Slow fashion October

roald dahl

October is #slowfashionoctober

Slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy better-quality items less often. When purchases are made, they’re environmentally and ethically conscious rather than trend-driven. The garments are durable and lend themselves to repairs, not disposal. Slow fashion is also transparent: Buyers know where their clothes are coming from, and items are often handmade by artisans.

Consider it the “farm to table” of the fashion world.

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I have been concerned for a long time about the ethics of fast fashion, firstly my concern over the sprays used on crops and pollutants pumped into the water, secondly the people who make them, especially after the Rana Plaza disaster brought the horrific working conditions to light.  During the summer after being made redundant I took a course called ‘who made my clothes‘, this helped teach me how to discover exactly who had made my clothes and also where the fabrics came from.  It brought up some interesting issues and also challenged those of us who took the course to do research and share what we found.  Some of the companies I wrote to were brilliant, Community Clothing for instance could tell me where the denim fabric came from and the factory who made it.  Me and Em were able to tell me what country the item was made in and the country of origin of the yarns used, Uniqlo didn’t respond to any emails, facebook or twitter questions.

image top left from Ray Stitch and bottom Celia Pym

I have been passionate about buying British quality products for may years and this has now started to become easier, making my own clothes as well helped – slowing consumption.  Although when buying fabrics, it is the fabric content that lead me, be that wool, cotton, linen or mixed fibres.  Thinking cotton was better than viscose or another man-made fibre, not thinking of who grew the fibres, processed them etc.

Slow-fashion-October-weeks

My goal for this month is to repair and darn a few things, replace a zip in a pair of jeans for my daughter – maybe even teach her how to!  Having said that I’ve never replaced a zip in a pair of jeans.  Go though my wardrobe and if I’ve not worn something, see if it can be altered so I will wear it or donate to charity.  I also have an idea to make a few things, work load dependant.

Are you going to take part in #slowfashionoctober ?  If you’d like to read more about it, pop over to Fringe Association and not just a label.  If you’d like to learn more about slow fashion and more about the impact of fast fashion on people and out planet there are some good resources, this film by Thread is worth watching, as is The true cost.

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wash bag – a little jungle fun

At the festival of Quilts in August, my daughter fell in love with this adorable quilting cotton at the Sew Hot stand.  So while buying some outback wife barkcloth for a dress for me, we bought a fat quarter of Bwindi Forest Moutain gorilla in green designed by Katy Tanis for Blend fabrics.  Miss T had decided she wanted a washbag for a university field trip, it needed to have a water proof lining and be large enough to hold all her lotions and potions.  After some thought she drew a shape and asked me to make it, initally I made a calico toile, added a 3 inch gusset and enlarged the shape by 2 inches all around.  This proved to be massive and I cut the inclease to 1 inch – inches easier as I am waiting for my new reading specs to arrive!

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I used a water proof fabric I had from my old job, after we cleared the studio – no idea what it is – would have been used to make snow boarding clothes many years ago.  To begin with I quilted the whole fat quarter quite heaverly and then cut out my pieces.  The gusset was cut and I inserted the zip before constructing the bag.  The lining as handsewn in afterwards, as I found that the quickest and easiest way.

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Delighted with how it worked and Ms T loves it.

 

Criss Cross Quilt

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I managed to get this quilt made quite quickly given all the work I have on at the moment.  It’s heading to my cousin who is recovering from surgery due to a horrible cancer.  Now she has recovered from the initial surgery, the chemo has begun and I thought a quilt would be something she could curl up under and give some comfort and give her a hug from me even though we live so far apart.

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The main fabrics I bought from Janet Claire at The Festival of Quilts, blues are A’s favorite colours to wear and Janet’s fabrics are so lovely – so from a 10′ layer cake of Aubade and a solid dark blue from Doughty’s also bought at FoQ.  After a little indecision,  I chopped into each square and went from there.

Once the quilt top was made I added a border to 2 sides, just to make it a little larger and then found a great cross hatch fabric at Fabrics Galore for the backing.  For the quilting I decided to follow one of the cross lines and ended up using washi tape to have a line to follow.  Five lines of stitching, to mirror the five rows or squares width.  Once I had finished I hand embroiderd a qulit lable and now just need to post it off.

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Land Girls

Over the past few weeks I have been working on a costume commission, the dungarees are a pattern based on an original Land Girl overalls.  While sewing I’ve also been watching/listerning to Land Girls on Netflix.

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The pattern I chose has a wonderful story attached, it came from Violet Florence Page’s pattern collection found in a garage in New South Wales – well worth a read.  I will review the pattern at the end of September when I can show the full outfit finished and worn by the actress who commissioned it.

land girl doll

image source

With war looming ever closer, the British government who wanted to increase the amount of food grown within Britain reformed he land girls in June 1939.  The majority of land girls were already living in the countryside, although over 1/3 came from large cities – must have been quite a shock for some of them and a breath of fresh air.  Lady Denman was their honorary leader, she had been a suffragette and was also the first president of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

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women’s land army statue at Alrewas, Staffordshire

Truely amazing band of women.

Autumnal sewing plans

Over the past weeks there have been some great sewing pattern offers, my daughter & I have been busy ordering quite a few.  T has chosen mainly Gertie’s Butterick patterns, can’t wait to start on these patterns – a more grown up look for Miss T and perfect for a 21 year old.   She also chose a fun Simplicity 2172, for Comic Con and Vogue 1484 for a party.  We both loved Butterick 6094 in the sheath dress version.

simplicity 8242

For me, I’m planning Simplicity 8242, I loved the fitted jacket and skirt – may alter the cuffs a little. Vogue 8146 is a fab sheath dress and perfect for autumn/winter and so easy to wear.  I found some wonderful vintage inspired barkcloth designed by Cathi Bessell-Browne of Gertrude Made, at the Festival of Quilts and this will become a rose dress by Sew La Di Da – a perfect party dress.

vogue 8146

Another pattern I’m going to try is a Japanese brand M patterns, I bought this from Etsy and hope to use a boiled wool – although I have no idea of what fabrics are suggested as I can’t read Japanese.  If you can, do please comment!

 

I also have downloaded a few free PDF patterns, the 1st was free when I signed up to How to do fashion’s newsletter.  I found Nanna’s patterns at Backstitch and really like her designs.  And also have 2 Hot patterns, a bag and teddy (perfect for a hot winter holiday), I found these at Fabric.com.  Its quite a list and timewise I’m not too sure when this will all get made, Miss T’s are a priority given Comic Con is in October.  What are your sewing plans for the Autumn?

 

working on toile’s

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks, life is up and down.  I have just been made redundant from work along with the whole team, it has been a roller coaster of emotions as it came out of the blue in many respects.  The whole process of consultation had made me think, evaluate and I have decided to start working for myself, hense the silence here.  Have a few projects planned, more of those tomorrow.

The utility Coat : a review

the utility coat main

The Utility Coat, image for The Maker’s Atelier

With all the rain we have been having I needed to get my new raincoat made.  I found some fabulous fabric at The Cloth House warehouse sale, its cotton both sides with rubber sandwiched between, perfect for wet weather dog walking.  The Utility Coat has 2 styles, round neck and hooded, I decided on the hooded version.

the utility coat line drawing

Pattern: The Utility Coat by The maker’s Atelier.

Fabrics: cotton & rubber waterproof fabric.

Notions: Gutermann thread, pins, elastic cord, snap fasteners, eyelets, cord lock and 12/80 sharps sewing machine needles.

Pattern Sizing:  12

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Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?  yes, minus the pockets.

What did you like or dislike about the pattern? I like the simple, well explained, clear instructions.

Did I make any pattern alterations or design changes? I made the parker style alterations, as explained over on The Maker’s Atelier journal.  I bound most of the seams with ready made bias binding and when I ran out overlocked the seams.  Next time I will make my own bias binding, that way I won’t run out.

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Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Yes, I’ll defiantly make another as the pattern is a dream to sew, maybe next time I’ll make it in Parachute silk as suggested in the pattern.

Conclusion: Wonderful, easy to wear coat.  It took me a few days, dipping in and out – I would have made it in a day if I’d had the time to sit sewing.

I bought the pattern, all fabrics & notions and my opinions are my own.

The Curlew Dress review

I bought the Merchant & Mills Workbook when it was first published and have been looking through over time, just not got down to sewing a pattern from it.  Finally I decided to try the Curlew dress [photographed above] when I found a lovely inky blue linen at Fabrics Galore.  It’s a bias cut dress, with skinny sleeves and a curved waist seam on the back.  There is also a curlew top and sleeveless T-shirt included, the sleeveless top has  different pattern pieces and the top is that combined with the dress sleeves.

the curlew dress from Merchant & Mills workbook

Pattern: The Curlew Dress

Fabrics:  Pure linen from Fabrics Galore

Pattern description: ‘A bias-cut dress is sexy.  It will drape, flow ad flute as it moves with your body, skimming your curves to make you feel like a screen siren.’

Pattern Sizing:  I cut out the  size 12 and could have dropped a size on the top and sleeves for a more fitted look.  Overall the fit is good.

Did it look like the photo/line drawing on the pattern once finished?  Yes, pretty much.

What did you like or dislike about the pattern?  It was fairly quick to trace off the pattern and construction wise I did it my way.  Starting with the bust darts, joining the back pieces together and then the front & back st the shoulder seams.  I put the sleeves in flat and then sew up the arm and side of the dress.

Did I make  any pattern alterations or design changes?  The only changes I made were for fitting.  The sleeve ballooned at the back armhole when I tried the finished dress on, so I altered the sleeves at the armhole and also had to make alterations to the bust darts as it was very baggy and odd looking.

Would I sew it again or recommend to others?  Not sure I’d make it again as it does swallow a lot of fabric 3m in total.

Conclusion:  Overall I am happy with the dress, whether I wear it a lot – the jury’s out on that.  Below is me, twirling!

all the black and white images are form the Merchant & Mills workbook.

La Maison Victor – a review

la maison victor issue 1 summer

Fo my first post here, I thought I’d share a brand new magazine to us in the UK – La Maison Victor.  It is a Dutch magazine and just launched in English – I found my copy in Waitrose.  It has a lovely modern look to it, with 8 full size patterns included and full instructions that are really well layed out and include helpful diagrams.

la maison victor patterns issue 1

The patterns include the Flo dress, that I love and plan to sew.

Flo Dress La Maison Victor

As well as simple little drawstring trousers for a child, cute cropped jumper to knit, in fact items for a whole family.  It is a refreshing change to some of the magazine available at the moment as the makes vary in experience and are graded with little houses from 1 -4 and the adult ladies sizing going from a 4 – 22.  And if you haven’t found it yet and would like a quick flip though, here is a clip I found from La Maison Victor over on YouTube.


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