Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Goal

Well, hello! Here we are at the beginning of a new year, with a new resolution and a new blog especially to chart its progress. For any of you that have read my other blog you may remember a post on how impacted I was by Lucy Siegle's book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World?  For anyone else, let me get you up to speed...

TDF is basically an expose of the global fashion industry, and its appalling environmental and humanitarian cost. What I really liked about it though was how attractive and feasible the author made alternatives to the high street / local mall seem. As someone who loves fashion and clothes herself, she totally gets the appeal of a gorgeous garment, but maintains it's completely possible to have one without damaging the environment or exploiting the poor. In a nutshell, you can be ethical without being a hessian-wearing, dreadlock-sporting hermit. (Unless that's your thing, of course...) To which I say, hurrah!

So to the resolution. I'm resolved for the duration of 2013 to either:

1. Make my own clothes.
2. Refashion clothes out of old ones.
3. Buy secondhand.
4. Buy from eco/ethical businesses (and aren't there just so many out there! Thanks, Peppermint magazine...)

I think its doable! In fact, over the last two weeks or so as I've been trawling the internet for inspiration, I've been amazed at how many people are doing just that. (I had no idea there even were sewing blogs!) So, I'm feeling excited and motivated by the prospect.

I thought I'd start off by posting the refashion I did right after reading the book. This was a bit of an experiment to see if it the idea worked. I haven't done much sewing for myself, mainly because it's so much easier to fit other people, but it seemed to work alright. Here's before:

A-line skirt in a tweedy kind of fabric. With a bit of creative cutting it became this:

(Sorry, that's an Instagram photo - won't use those in future :/ )

This was a modified version of Burda 7494. Unlike the pattern, each front here is actually a single piece, with a dart running the whole way down - there simply wasn't enough fabric to fit two front pieces. Sleeve length and volume had to be sacrificed a little too, but I thought these half sleeves continued the line of the garment well enough. Discovered when I came to do the buttonholes that my machine couldn't make them large enough. At some stage I'll actually try and master other buttonhole techniques but in the meantime a ribbon loop (using the trim that was around the skirt's waistband) did the trick.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THIS:  Refashioning involves a lot of problem solving! Also, I need to be selective in what I choose to refashion if it's for me: yes, there was enough fabric in the original (just...), and yes, I'm happy with the finished piece. Only thing is - I don't actually like wearing pink....I'll have to find a home for it with someone else who's pink-compatible.

I had a play around with the scraps too. There were just enough to feel wrong about just throwing them out, but none were really big enough to do anything substantial with. So... here's Scrap Option One:

Covered button hair elastics. I may not wear pink, but my girl does! I tried three different sizes (2.5cm, 3cm, 3.5cm) and I think I prefer the medium one. Depends on the hairstyle though, I guess. The smallest one might look better with a thinner elastic too.

Scrap Option Two I'm of two minds about:

Fabric flower brooch. I think the idea's there, but I'll keep playing around with the pattern. Maybe it's the little crochet flower in the middle that's bothering me...

Anyhow, I'm going to chalk this one up as a success. And I think this challenge is going to be fun!

Have a wonderful week :)


  1. This is so wonderful. So proud of your efforts to make a change, vben if only one small stitch at a time. xxx

    1. Even in my language is spelt vben.. Dyslexic fingers. Grrr

    2. Thanks Chezzie! I'm pretty excited about this... oxo