#Whomadeyourclothes? – Make it yourself

“Who is she wearing?”

Every day the Duchess of Cambridge has stepped out on their tour of New Zealand, this was the first question on the lips of the watching media.

But this question has been given a different meaning as this week as campaigners asked each of us to ask “who made your clothes”, opening up transparancy in the fashion supply chain. Your clothes tell a story about who you are, but there is also a hidden back story.

InsideOutIt is no coincidence that this week marks one year since the collapse of the Rana Tower garment factory in Bangladesh, killing hundreds of workers who were earning pittance whilst working in unsafe conditions. But the campaign set up by Livia Firth and fairtrade business woman Carry Somers was determined to make positive change going forward. The call to ask each of us to tweet a selfie wearing a piece of clothing #insideout, and demand transparency from garment manufacturers, made all of the top 3 spot on twitter trends worldwide on April 24th, which was dubbed Fashion Revolution Day.

It has been recognised that over the last couple of years there has been a massive rise in the numbers of people getting involved in craft and making their own clothes, home accessories… you name it, we’re having a go at making it.

This will give us tracability as far as making garments goes, but you now have much more options in buying fabrics if you want to know where it was woven or grown. Fairtrade Fabric has a wide range available in fat quarters or on the roll. The Fairtrade Foundation gives a basic list of stockists, or a quick web search for Fairtrade cotton fabric will give you more options.

WoolandtheGangAnd for your knitting projects? Well we Love Wool and the Gang, who have a set-up in Turkish garment facories where the offcuts are made into yarn by local women for you to make something new out of. There is a massive range of bases and colours to choose from, with coordinating patterns – and if you are feeling like you want ready-made, then they also have a fashion range.
We’ll be stocking Debbie Bliss EcoBaby Fairtrade organic cotton range in the Make/Do pop-up shop in Nunhead from May-July, so come in and coo over how soft it is…

So go ahead and Make it Yourself #MIY – Enjoy creating a future story using fabric that you know has a positive story behind it.

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#MIY: Sew a quick make-up bag

      MakeupBag1
make do something new this long weekend – or just before it, so you can use your easy-to-sew cosmetics bag to take your bits and bobs on your long weekend break…

Quick, easy and cute. This little drawstring bag has multiple uses, can be adapted to be made in various sizes or fabrics, and also is a perfect little gift when filled with a few cosmetics (or cookies).

This is one little wonder that I keep in my work bag so I can do my make up after cycling to work (it would be a waste of time doing it before cycling as I’d only have to wipe off all those little flies and start again…)

So as I start work again next week after having Bairn #2, I thought a make-up bag refresh was in order. And this is how I did it…

MakeupBag-whatyouneed
{You will need}
– 2 complimentary (or contrasting) fabrics. One for the lining, and one for the outside. If your foundation always leaks, you may choose touse a wipe-clean fabric for the lining. Alternatively, just stick it in the wash every so often… – a ribbon or cord three times the width of your bag.
– scissors
– tape measure or ruler
– about an hour

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Make it Yourself #MIY: Vintage birdcage veil

Make/do something new this weekend… For a wedding guest or Ladies Day at Ascot.

Wedding season will soon be upon us, and if you want to stand out from the other guests then pull a Stella McCartney and sport a smart and retro birdcage veil to match the colour of your dress. You could add it to a pillar box hat or just a clip for simplicity. Also perfect for a day at the races.

VintageVeilCREDJewellery

The birdage veil can be just a token, not even going over the face, or can be the full face length. So choose the length of lace appropriate for what you want. This one covers about half the face.

{Step 1}
So before you get started, this is what you’ll need:

DIYVintageBirdcageVeil
Head down to your local haberdashery, raid Mum’s fabric draw, and hunt around your house for the following:
– A plastic comb – white or clear may be most helpful.
– A piece of netting with wide holes (or whatever you like the look of) about 3-4 times the width of the comb,and whatever ength you’d like (to go from the point in your hair where the comb will be, to the point on your face where the veil finishes)
– 50cm of white ribbon about 1cm diameter
– Some sort of decoration to go over the comb. I used an old broken bracelet I picked up from a fair for about £3. you could use little faux-flowers, or fabric pieces…
– cotton & thread
– scissors

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Tuesday Tips #3: French Seams

French seams in progress

French seams! Wonderful, wonderful French seams. These are an indispensable tool for sheer fabrics or fabrics that fray easily. I like to make summer dresses from 100% cotton in funky prints, and adding French seams in is an elegant way to stop the seams from fraying, particularly if there isn’t room in your two bedroom flat for an overlocker. (sigh – one day…)

If you’re making something out of a sheer fabric like chiffon, voile or tuile, too, a French seam is particularly good, as you don’t want to see an unfinished – or even a finished! – raw seam through your garment. French seams encase any raw edges and give a lovely, neat appearance.

So here’s how you do it. As well as your fabric or garment, your thread and your sewing machine, you will need a ruler, tailor’s chalk, scissors, pins and your iron. Continue reading

This week on the web #2; April Fool’s, Easter Projects & Claire Montgomery

Ooh it’s been an interesting week on the web with lots to distract me from all the stuff I should have been doing! So now I’m going to pass it on to you and cause you some procrastination too… It’s only fair!

Did you spot any good April Fool’s this week? I was so impressed to see the crafters getting in on the joke and loved Deramores’ ‘Hover Yarn’ invention and Love Knitting’s Chamelumen spider spun yarn! Very clever and gave me a giggle!

Deramores' Hover Yarn

Deramores’ Hover Yarn

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Tuesday Tips #2: Casting on, three ways

ball of maize coloured  yarn

I wasn’t really sure what to write about this week. Not that I don’t have any ideas; quite the opposite. Last week’s inspiration came from a conversation I’d had that week, this week no such luck. So where do we start?

To quote from Rodgers and Hammerstein (via the wonderful Dame Julie), let’s start at the very beginning. You have wool, you have needles, now you just need to start knitting. Wait – how? Do I just tie it on to the stick things and have at it?

No. Not quite. Although not far off. You do ‘tie’ the wool to the needles – after all, knitting and crochet are really just a series of rather cunning knots. We call this tying casting on, and this week I’m going to cover three simple, but highly useful methods of casting on. Continue reading