When I signed up for The Fold Line's amazing online Sewing Weekender event I knew I wanted to utilise the rare occasion of a whole weekend dedicated sewing time to one large project I have wanted to complete for ages.
Despite having a large UFO to finish ( The Wardrobe By Me Cocoon Coat - more on that later! ) I went with the Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patters because I literally have SO many of these saved from instagram for inspiration and I knew I would love it as a garment, especially as a throw over in the transition seasons.
I had in my mind a bright mustard yellow one and hunted and hunted for the right, affordable fabric (tricky when coating is so pricey). I found this fab one from Minerva but when it came it was much more ochre in tone and i have to say I was a bit disappointed when it arrived.
The Sapporo Coat is a total legend on the indie sewing scene and I was keen to see if it live up the hype... I was not disappointed! It was my first foray into coat making for myself having only ever done some soft tailoring for clients during my bridal days, and I learnt quite a bit, the bagging out of a lining is totally magic!
Getting started was hard in itself because the boucle weave is so loose the fabric was horribly unstable. I ended up taping a bed sheet to my cutting table so that I could increase friction and stop the slipping about which worked quite well. I cut a size 2 which was a size smaller than my measurements ( UK 10 - 12 ) and the fit in the end was wonderful. The amazing lining you can see below was a bargain at £5 a metre from Fabworks Mill Shop
The fray factor was a HUGE concern when it came to removing pattern pieces and stitching so in the end I heavily pinned all the pieces and then carefully removed the pins one edge at a time while pressing on iron on interfacing onto each seam. I did this with scraps I had left over from scrubs making so it is not a pretty effort but it did the trick when it came to assembling. You can see from the seams how serious the fray situation was!
Assembly wise there was nothing that was tricky or hard to understand, and you can see from the birdseye view how the assembled coat looked on the inside with all the interfaced edges.
It's really worth thinking out of the box with fabrics if they present you with a challenge - these tools are in our arsenal for a reason. My problem: unstable fabric - my solution: stabilise it - my tool: fusible stable interfacing. It worked a treat and the finish is clean and crisp and lovely!
Christo and I did a proper shoot for this coat and the huge number of other garments I've made since Feb one very windy day last month, and I'll share the pics for that in another post but here's a teaser - I feel so glamorous and snug in this coat and I literally want to make a thousand more to accompany the many Zadie Jumpsuits I have in my head
At the start of this year I committed to not buying any new clothes year if I could possibly make them myself. I wanted to use my sewing skills to be more intentional in my wardrobe, being aware that if I was spending money on fabric and pattern and then spending significant time on creating the garment, then the investment would be bigger and therefore the hope would be that what I make would last longer.
I made a holiday wardrobe in a very short space of time before my trip to Marrakesh in February ( just pre Pandemic mayhem ) and then Covid hit, and I got consumed by Cornwall Scrubs and somehow blogging about it all just wasn't on my radar.
But here we are 5 months later, and I'm starting to think about what i have achieved this year as we make our way to Autumn and a wardrobe transition once again.
By far and away my most favourite pattern of my holiday wardrobe was the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory which I made in a heavyish weight denim which I found very cheaply on Ebay, many moons ago.
I read so many reviews about this as I didn't have time to make a muslin first and in general I decided I needed to lengthen the bodice by two inches and reduce the rise by one and on the whole I am just so thrilled with this make. I feel amazing in it, and always get compliments and the Zadie Love has spread like wildfire through the sewists in my lovely sewing community Kernow Sewcial ( come join us it's free and so much fun!! ) and I even made one in Ankara as part of the August Get Set Sew Challenge for my little girls 2nd Birthday. Which I will share in a blog post another day!
The only thing I would change for next time is the leg length... I would like this to be more wearable in the winter and I hope to make one in Corduroy for the colder months once I have got through the massive backlog of sewing I am looking at as I type! Oh and there is an odd bump on the wrap point that I think needs grading out.
I sized down by two sizes I think as it is very loose fitting in terms of ease, and I also took an extra 2 inches out of each leg to reduce the fullness as I wanted the legs to be slightly more streamlined
I would recommend this pattern for anyone - it's clearly illustrated and the instructions are great and the fit is spot on. It is such a flattering and comfy garment and totally feels like pyjamas disguised as clothes!
If you haven't caught my live in Kernow Sewcial earlier, here it is, #getsetsewaugust challenge is to make a Sweatshirt!
There's a lot of info in my live so do watch it back, but in a nutshell it doesn't have to specifically be a sweatshirt - it could be a hoody, or an oversized boxy sweater, or a jumper dress... it could be for you, your partner, your child or grandchild your neighbour, your mate, your dog! I just want you to have a go at working with a more stable stretch fabric like a french terry or a sweat-shirting, maybe add a ribbing neckline or cuff, see how it feels.
You don't have to buy anything for this, you can repurpose an old sweatshirt and chop it up if you like, have a go at your own 're-invention' challenge.
I will upload the information sheet to the files but the key thing you need to know is:
You will need a use a ball point or stretch needle....
Also this is a great opportunity to try a twin needle for some of these patterns where it might be appropriate - they're so fun!
As with last month I have put together a pinterest board with a whole array of pattern options for you to suit all tastes and skills and budgets, including some kids patterns. If you know of a good pattern and its not on there, link it below this post when I share it and I'll add it in.
I have a 2 year old who is, right now at 11 o clock at night going completely nuts and insisting I sing sleepy bunnies so she can dance, while making siren noises and demanding peppa pig, so needless to say I am somewhat behind this evening....
Get, Set, Sew!!!! August has Landed
So here it is! The first if the new series of monthly challenges in Kernow Sewcial designed to help give us a bit of focus, try something new, and push us out of our comfort zones in some cases to just give us a boot up the back side to make a project that’s been in the pile for an awfully long time!
There is no pressure are all, take part of you want to, have fun with it, don’t worry about time challenges or perfection. I really don’t this want to cause anyone any stress at all... it’s supposed to be fun!
This first challenge was prompted by the fab weekend we had online with The Sewing Weekender... there is an info sheet in the files with everything you need to know including fabric suppliers and things to look out for! If you buy a full 6yd length you will need to remove the horrible sticker first (there is a link to a video showing you how in there too!)
Your challenge this month is to have a go with one of the most uplifting and easy to sew fabrics there is - Ankara. A dress, a jumpsuit, a makeup bag, even just a simple scrunch - just have a go! Also known as Dutch or African Wax fabric it was made by the Dutch originally for the Indonesian market but has become synonymous with the countries and dress of West Africa.
Super stable, in a multitude of incredible and often very quirky designs, it comes in 100% cotton and sews up beautifully. As it is so stable and 100% cotton you can use it for pretty much anything so if dressmaking isn’t your think or your budget is tight, grab a fat quarter or two and make a zip pouch or cushion cover, the important thing is to have a go, and try something a bit different! It comes in 6 yard lengths, is a slightly narrower width than normal and is lovely to sew.
You can zigger or overlock or pink the seams.
You can find out all about it in this fab video by former GBSB winner Juliet Uzor
Things to watch out for: It comes with a sticky label on it which needs removing carefully ( and can’t just be peeled of ) Watch this video before you do anything else… !!! Some retailers sell poly/cotton mixes - these aren’t great quality and are not nice to wear…. Make sure you buy 100% cotton!
Fabrics by Tolumi
Diligent Hands Fabrics
House of Zabadi
African Textile Store
Share what you’re doing, progress, cutting etc. Ask questions! share your finished make with the hashtags #getsetsewJuly and I will pick a participant or two for a little treat at the end. It is however NOT a competition just something to give focus and encourage you to try something new...
If you’re not into dressmaking just grab a fat quarter and make something, ANYTHING! Here are some ideas you can make just from scraps:
Childs sun hat
Are you in? Are you excited? Stuck? Nervous! We’re all in this together... I’ll share some Inspiration over the next few days
Get, set... SEW
You will need:
Cotton fabric from the outer and lining in a high thread count, high quality cotton, with minimal shrink (less than 5%) or pre-shrunk at 60% before use. 100% cotton twill sateen is ideal for the lining, the kind you line curtains with.
5 - 6mm elastic (6 or 8 cord woven is ideal) - 2 x 20 cm for ear elastics or 1 x 60 cm for head straps
Rouleaux maker or safety pin to thread the elastic
Silcone or other type of toggle
Construction is ever so simple but to help you along I videoed this quick tutorial which talks you through how to use my pattern to make a face covering with / without a filter pocket and with either ear elastics or head straps depending on your preference and length of wearing.
Long term use with ear elastics can cause skin irritation and unless you specifically know you will be wearing for short periods or to go to the hair dresser I would strongly advice the head straps for secure fit and long term comfort!
Good luck and let me know how you get on!
Why not share your face coverings in my Facebook group Kernow Sewcial? We're a lovely supportive and buzzy bunch of sewing enthusiasts.... come and join us! Don't forget to tag me @Starttostitch if you're an insta fan like me :)
Oh and below the tutorial is the small print on face coverings and recommendations for care as well as suppliers for components.
The small print:
A cloth face covering is not PPE. They are not intended for the personal protection of the wearer – they are designed to prevent people who have COVID-19, but might not know it, from spreading it to others. In simple terms, if I wear one I protect you, if you wear one you protect me. Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing or washing your hands regularly – and they need to complement these behaviours.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Try not to touch your face, or the face covering while you are wearing it. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched. Regular household cleaner works fine. After wearing them store your worn face covering in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash it.
The elastic in this face covering design can be repositioned to make it comfortable for you. You may find that the top elastic sits best over the crown of your head (or hooked above a ponytail if you have one) with the lower elastic sitting around the back of your neck.
To help with fitting on smaller heads, I suggest the use of a toggle which on my face coverings has been attached to the top elastic so that the mask can be tightened securely. I suggest that you remove this before washing to save potential clogging of your washing machine... You can buy theme here
All you need to remove and replace the toggle is a hair pin and a more in depth demo can be found here
Detailed information on the care of cloth face coverings can be found at the American Center for Disease Control here
There are some commissions that come along that I would never have imagined making when I started to sew seriously as a teen and 700 + cloth face coverings with a very tight turnaround during a global pandemic for the iconic Cornish brand, Seasalt is one of those commissions! It has been great to get my teeth into something that is so useful to people, and in such lush fabrics too!
Getting a decent fit is critical on a face covering which is going to be worn all day everyday whilst serving customers and running a store, and we worked hard to create a shape which is comfortable, adjustable and fit for purpose, whilst remaining stylish and true to the brand which it represents.
In order to give the widest possible options for fit across face shapes and head sizes, we decided to use a nifty silicone toggle to take up any elastic slack for smaller faces. It is super easy to attach and remove but must be removed before washing. A hairpin is provided in each pack of face coverings in order to do this.
Watch this video for a quick demo of how to do this.
You can see on these photos of my colleague Adele (right) wearing the face covering how there is slack in the top strap, whilst the same face covering on me (left) is a tight fit with no slack.
Only a week ago we were prototyping and developing the pattern, and now we are about to hand over the first 500. In that time we have also sourced and sampled a series of bits for the construction as well as designing the packaging for them. There have been some long hours put in, but i do love batch making, the process, the rhythm of it and there is something so satisfying about a large quantity of identical items that have all come off my cutting table, packaged up and ready to go!
And all this has been going on while I've been launching the next group of intermediate sewers in the new on-line course format in this Corona virus age.
When researching this project I tried and tested so many patterns but all of the unisex fit face coverings were too big on a female face. So with a little bit of a tweaking I arrived at the one in the photo's above. So, when this commission is complete I will add the pattern to my website so that if you are in need of a cloth face coverings for going to the post office or what-not, you can make your own at home.
I'll share it into Kernow Sewcial which has become such a buzzy social sewing group through all this isolation and has kept us all together and chatting - do pop in and join us if you're not in there already!
DISCLAIMER: Wearing a Face Covering
A cloth face covering is NOT PPE. They are not intended for the personal protection of the wearer – they are designed to prevent people who have COVID-19, but might not know it, from spreading it to others. In simple terms, if I wear one I protect you, if you wear one you protect me.
A cloth face covering can be very simple. The important thing is that it should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing or washing your hands regularly – and they need to complement these behaviours. Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Try not to touch your face, or the face covering while you are wearing it.
Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched. Regular household cleaner works fine.
After wearing them store your worn face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them. You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal laundry detergent. It does not need to be a hot wash ( though your mask can be washed up to 60 degrees) , it’s the detergent which destroys the virus. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html)
I have been focussing so much on scrubs just lately that my personal sewing has taken a back seat. After a particularly frenetic and challenging week last week I decided to bust out this pattern which has been floating around on my cutting table un-made for the last month along with a length of super bright acid yellow leopard print chambray that I bought from Guthrie Ghani.
I discovered this pattern when one of my lovely Kernow Sewcial members shared it early on in the groups beginning not long after lockdown began. I knew it was the right pattern for the fabric and so this dress began to take shape.
Having stay stitched the neck line the neck facing was pretty easy to attach as you would any facing ( and strangely similar to scrubs actually ), but I couldn't see any mention in the pattern instructions to under stitch the facing. This is where you fold the facing out again and stitch it around the inside of the neckline to the seam allowance beneath which stops it popping up or poking out annoyingly around your neckline once you are wearing your garment.
Again this is pretty common practise and I was surprised it wasn't noted. Especially since the pattern is listed as a beginners pattern.
I also did a little stitching of the bottom of the facing into the seam allowances down the centre front to hold it in place. I did think about doing away with this seam as it is utterly pointless except as a design feature and I decided that with this fabric the seam could work well to break up the busy-ness of the pattern a bit. I thought I'd flat fell this seam for extra detail but life is very very time short at the moment and I was on borrowed time as it was so just pressed it open. I you do cut your dress on the fold and remove this seam you won't have anywhere to anchor your facing but if you've under stitched that shouldn't matter. I did a quick stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seam too for extra facing security!
Speaking of under stitching the other place I decided to do that was inside the pocket backs having stitched them in - again I wanted to ensure that they lay nice and flat inside the dress and don't wiggle their way out if I'm wearing it and don't have anything in there to weight them down... I found the instructions very ambiguous when it came to the seam allowance of the pocket bags but I followed my instinct a bit and it seemed to work. Again the pockets are very similar in construction to the scrubs pockets, but the under stitching definitely makes for the smooth finish at the pocket opening and is an extra step well worth doing.
Finally, I added some cuffs to the sleeves to give the whole dress a bit more architecture. I cut a folded strip the length of the arm hole plus one cm ( so the circumference of the arm hole plus 2 cm in total ). Folding it in half width ways and right sides together I stitched down the short edge at a 1cm seam allowance. I pressed the seam open and the folded the strip in half along the length to make a cuff that is the same length as the arm hole, and pressed again.
I put the cuff into the arm hole and pinned so the right side of the cuff faced the wrong side of the dress, and stitched around the opening. I then folded the cuff back in half to encase the raw edges, turned under by a cm and then top stitched very very close to the original seam line. I was then able to turn this cuff up to cover the stitch line and to provide the sharper sleeve edge shape that I had envisioned when I made this dress.
And there you have it! I was expecting it to take me 2 hours, it took me well over 3, but I am really pleased with the finished result...
It will be a lovely cool to wear but smart and unusual dress to wear when the weather gets really warm, and if the pubs and bars of Cornwall ever open again, to enjoy a gin and tonic overlooking our local beach on Midsummers day.
I have ordered some sweat-shirting to make a version for winter, but I'm in two minds as I'm not sure the style is as flattering on me as I'd like, and sweat-shirting will make it bulkier, but i certainly love this one for summer sun, and have a while before I have to start thinking about winter clothes thank goodness!
Have you made this dress? If so how did you find the pattern?
Well, I have to say this lockdown has not panned out the way I intended! 6 weeks ago I was loading up the car with DIY materials to get jobs done in the house, looking over my UFO pile and going through my stash to match patterns to make.
But 4 weeks ago, having volunteered to co-ordinate the Cornwall effort for the nationwide For the Love of Scrubs group - an initiative set up by the amazing nurse Ashleigh Lindsell who had a vision for sewists to help her and her colleagues make scrubs for the NHS, I set up a local facebook group called Cornwall Scrubs with Sam Lanyon of CoVisor.
The aim was to attempt (I now see rather ambitiously) a Cornwall wide effort to plug the gap in supply for Scrubs for our NHS and other Health Care Workers in the county who struggle I think more than most due to our widely spread population and low economy and financial support..
When we began we all thought, somewhat naively perhaps, that if we made 200 sets of scrubs, we would have done a good thing. But from the moment the group went live, we were overwhelmed in every sense of the word. We spent the first 5 days solidly fielding messages. our phones pinged off the hook. The support and the suggestions came flooding in, everyone wanting to help, or donate, or find out how to get involved... Care-workers requesting, hospitals requesting, GP's, community nurses, the list went on.
W H A T. A. R O L L E R C O A S T E R ! !
Pretty quickly we knew we needed a system to organise all of this. We had a major hiccup on day 3 when the volunteer who had offered to collate all the sewing volunteers for us just ran for the hills in the overwhelm, and I don't blame her because we were ALL wondering what on earth we'd got ourselves in to. It was a difficult 24 hours as so many people got frustrated with us not having a plan set up right there and then but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we ended up with an incredible volunteer building a bespoke database solution which now tracks pipeline against production and helps us match to orders as well as the all important stuff of keeping our volunteers data totally GDPR compliant. Jen - you are completely amazing and we are so grateful.
It also became apparent quite soon that we needed a secure and organised way to log the requests for scrubs. As registering volunteers was a priority at the time Adele stepped up to the task, set up our email inbox and kept a spreadsheet of all the requested items. We started to realise after a week that our initial aim was way off-beam as we had over 800 items requested and it was raising daily... so it was a relief to be able to get the website to be able to take these request automatically - another bit of technical wizardry from Jen that I will never understand!
Speaking of teams - a key part of our pipeline was to put our registered volunteers into teams with allocated co-ordinators so we could start to manage the flow of messages through a cascade system of communication, create little micro groups and get things made to the right spec as quickly as possible. In among that we built in a first round of quality control ( really important for garments being made for a hospital or health care setting ) and a second round of QC takes place when completed items are back at the hub. There was a HUGE amount of work that went into pulling these teams together and managing the roll out of that system and special thanks go to Rosy and Kathy for their incredible work. It was literally days and days and it is, like the other bits, a completely crucial cog in the machinery.
We have had so many request to volunteer that even with the brilliant system of teams in each region we needed to pause on taking new ones. We simply couldn't cope with the relentless demand in messages and questions and we needed to get the pipeline up and working before we could integrate new ones! And along with the teams in the community we built a team of professional sewists with industrial capability. Some have brilliant cutting facilities, others have volunteered their furloughed machinists to use the factory floor, others are wiling to hand cut the odd sizes that won't work on the professional cutting systems and together this strategy is helping us to get to the point where we can cut and manufacture around 400 pieces in an overlapping two week cycle... For only 4 weeks in, to be at a point where we can even imagine this, is rather splendid! There are 27 team leaders working with Rosy and the admin team, and they're all fabulous. Together our community teams and our professionals, are making miracles happen in the land of scrubs.
We dearly wish we could say yes to everyone that has come forward, but there simply isn't enough of the funded materials to go around and keep everyone happy ALL of the time, and so those unable to get on the active list have been beavering away making caps and bags out of donated, self funded and re-purposed materials, and crucially making self-funded scrubs to our very particular spec from the kits being made up by the three Cornish sewing businesses who have been discounting them for us - Truro Fabrics, Sew and Fabric and Threads.
Our group now has over 2000 members with new people joining us every day and a constant stream of messages and questions. We have worked extremely hard to make sure that everything in the group is clearly communicated and easily found but despite that the enquiries have flowed pretty thick and fast. Tammy is our admin in charge of the group, and she has worked many hours a day replying to each and every message and fielding enquiries so that we can get on with our individual responsibilities. Sadly, at times, this has involved some messages that perhaps didn't translate so well in the written word ( to put it nicely ) and this is draining when we are all breaking ourselves to get the job done. It's sad that people feel they have to be unkind to get their point across. Thankfully this is the absolute minority, but a great shame none the less, as we are ALL volunteers giving our time freely to make this happen.
When you set up an initiative like this there is a LOT of stuff to consider, it's not just the comm's and the funding, but it's things like risk assessing and policy, writing things up and tracking where you're at and what you've done. Emma came forward with a huge amount of experience in project management and just flew at all these things that needed to be done, policies and the like. She has been wonderful working late into the night around her other work and her son to get these bits done for us.
And let's not forget the financial processes and just day to day admin of the thing! Karen has been our star player acting as our secretary running errands, sending thank you notes, and just generally picking up the sticks we drop as we frantically try to keep on top of our own workload to keep the wheels on the scrubs machine turning.
There are so many considerations when trying to manufacture at this scale, not least of all the need for a robust and fool proof pattern. All of my professional experience has been bespoke and one-off makes for bridal wear and costume mainly. Nearly every pattern I have ever drafted has used a couture technique called draping, perfectly suited to creating bespoke garments for individual clients. My knowledge of the manufacturing industry goes as far as bridal really only, and although I know my way around a pattern and can draft simple shapes using flat cutting techniques, my skills and training as a designer have far outweighed my skills as a flat patterncutter. Professional pattern cutters have an acute eye for detail and truly understand the science of drafting as well as construction and this is where wonderful Helen came in. Helen's professional experience as a cutter has been invaluable in this process as she was able to bring together the mish mash of open source patterns we had found into one slick and multi-size unisex pattern, fixing errors and producing a super step by step guide to help our sewists. Her partner Will helped her with the CAD element and between them they have really helped us ensure that our production is high spec and consistent.
All of this work needs funds, and we are thrilled that in these 4 (how is it only 4!) short weeks we have raised over £20,000 to fund much needed materials, threads and other haberdashery. It is a phenomenal sum and I think a huge part of our success there is thanks to the super duper company who are volunteering their expertise to help raise our profile through social media The Social Giraffe. They have diligently updated our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds and shouted out loud about our donors and volunteers and these outlets have become a real celebration of all things Cornwall Scrubs.
Along the way we have met a number of significant challenges which have delayed our ambitions, and sometimes plunged us into total despair. This whole project has been so much bigger than we ever imagined, on every level, and the man power required to make it happen is off. The. Scale. As a team of admins we have pulled a relentless schedule of very very long hours and the last 4 weeks have gone by in a total blur. I am frequently still replying to messages or calculating yardages and cutting schedules until gone one am and I will admit at times it has all felt way too much. I am writing this at near midnight as its the first chance I have had, and in the middle of scrubs and homeschooling and day to day life, I am still trying to keep both of my businesses alive and kicking. In combination with all the other emotions that we are all feeling during this strange time, it has on occasion really got the better of me... throw a teething toddler into the mix with the late nights and it really is a heady combination and a recipe for some very low moments!
There is one other person though who, for me, is the absolute unsung hero of this. When I have had relentless days of zooms and messages and admin and delivering and haven't laid eyes on my kids from 7 am to the following day, he has held the fort. He has cooked nearly every meal, done nearly every bed time, managed most of the homeschooling. He has built dens. he put up with most of our Easter weekend being consumed by the Scrubs effort, He has made tea. He has poured gin, a LOT of gin. He has changed nappies, put the baby down for naps, and built garden furniture while she does. He has done the laundry, and the cleaning. When I've been sobbing in the kitchen from the enormity of the task ahead of us, he has told me I can do it, and it is needed, and that we all must do our part. He is my absolute rock and the best Daddy ever to our beautiful bonnie and utterly exhausting girls. He has even videoed a 'how to make your scrubs' tutorial for me (you can watch it here) when I'm quite certain he never wants to hear the word scrubs ever again! I can't blame him.
Thank you Christo, thank you.
Cornwall Scrubbers, you are family! It all felt impossible at the start, some times it still does, but we are all in this together.
Let's have a blooming great big party when this whole thing is over! Promise?!
I keep thinking about the war, and how when it was over the streets were lined with parties. There is something so cruel about being kept from our loved ones for an indeterminate period of time, but it is a marathon, not a sprint, and I fear it will be a while before we are able to come together again.
With all that in mind, one of the things that I know will help me is to focus on the time to come, when all this is over. There will be parties! There will be celebrations. Let's line the streets with bunting!
So I put this video tutorial together for you for FREE - it includes everything you need to make as many metres of bunting as you wish. It's the perfect scrap bunting activity, and the IDEAL thing for those of you who are a bit rusty on their machines and want a little easy way to get stitching again. I hope it will give you something to focus on as we all navigate this strange time within the safety of our homes. We are all #isewlated but we are not alone!
If you take up the challenge don't forget to use the hashtag #isewlationbuntingchallenge and let me know how awesome it all looks strung up in celebration!
Ok, so I'm about 5 weeks too late to announce my big plans for 2020 but honestly this year has run away with me already! I've been setting a new group of beginners free on their sewing machines, and making some plans for future classes and courses - too many plans! And not enough time!
Earlier this month I was invited to Mylor Yacht Club to talk to the ladies there about sewing, learning to sew, and the fight against fast fashion, and it was a brilliant place to share my personal objectives for my sewing activity this year...
The slide below from my presentation gives you some stat's as to why it is so important to pay attention to our clothes and textiles buying habits...
In the past I have bought things from Primark and the supermarket chains, as a quick pick me up, or in their sales, because I've fancied a bit fo a wardrobe lift. I have never just thrown clothes away, I always send things to charity, but at least two black bags of stuff go to charity from our house every year, and that is with extremely limited buying ( we are a family of four... ) as I we have more important things to spend on most of the time!
I really got thinking about this towards the end of last year ... Where I live in Cornwall in the UK we are culturally extremely aware of environmental impact, surrounded as we are by sea on three sides, incredible natural landscapes and all living very outdoors lifestyles. We see on a daily basis the impact of plastics and other waste on our beaches. I am so proud to live in a place where every business is making sustained and concerted efforts to improve their environmental foot print, and cluster of villages where I live is home to environmental campaigners and leaders of textile sustainability Surfers Against Sewage and FinisterreUK. I can't escape it!
With a background in fashion design I have always loved clothes, and their ability to shape my mood for a day, but my budget in recent years hasn't allowed me to be much more than vaguely functional in my dress sense, and I really wanted to change that this year, now that the baby producing days are over, and I can start to remember who I was before the girls arrived in my life!
So for me 2020 will be the year of of the memade wardrobe.
I have set myself a rule:
What I have found already is having this rule is really really making me consider what I make - my time is so limited, and so if I'm going to spend time making something, I really have to either want it or NEED it, which in turn is ensuring that I am creating items which will surely have longevity in my wardrobe...
In addition I want to be more environmental in my fabric purchasing - I'm a huge van of viscose, a fabric made as a by product of the wood industry. Its production does use up a lot of water, but it is made from otherwise wasted materials as far as I know. Bamboo is the most sustainable and wonderful fabric ever, but it is expensive!
I'll do a blog post later in the year on more sustainable and environmental fabrics, but for now, I'll stick with using up my stash, buying viscose when I can - and keeping my eyes peeled for bamboo that is an affordable price point for me!
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!