When recycle actually means downcycle, then upcycle instead

creamskirt2

Phew that was a busy, hot, wonderful summer full of fun and festivals, camping and campfires, stories and sunshine, fruit picking and friends, kids and kayaks, beaches and buddies, swimming and of course, sewing … can I think of any more? Probably, but you get the gist. In July, I ventured into the world of Facebook live with some video reviews and a rummage of my own wardrobe. I held two events at local charity shops, with a bit more Facebook live. August began with my event at the Pewsey Music Festival where I met lots of wonderful people excited about upcycling. Then I had a few weeks break from blogging and sewing. September is here, the kids are all back at school and I’m itching to get back to some projects.

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I’ve done lots of different things, I feel I have left a few threads unfinished. I also have some ideas for new projects. So, having had a break, I think it’s a good time to take stock and have a look ahead.  I want to reflect on what has worked well, what I’ve enjoyed and invite some feedback so that I can figure out my next steps.

I’m anticipating a random few weeks, I have a couple of events in the diary to prepare for but otherwise I’m planning to tie up those loose threads and catch up on blog posts awaiting.

Next in the diary, some high fashion ….

LFW

 

I’m off to London Fashion Weekend on 24th September, so I want to upcycle something to wear. I have a gorgeous vintage dress I’m going to upcycle, which picks up this seasons winter florals trend. I’ll post some progress photos on Instagram and Facebook in the coming week.

When RECYCLE actually means DOWN-CYCLE

recycle??

This week H&M are promoting once again, their Recycle initiative where you can get a voucher for handing in unwanted clothes. Don’t be fooled into buying more under the illusion that they can recycle unwanted textiles. There are still very few textiles that can be turned into new ones, the processes just don’t exist. If retailers truly wanted to support sustainability, they would encourage consumers to buy better quality and keep clothes for longer … but where’s the profit in that? H&M are however, one of the best of a bad bunch on the high street when it comes to ethics;  they rate as one of the highest when it comes to work practices and the environment and they are at least doing something to encourage awareness of the issues. But a voucher system where people can trade old for new, when there is no way to recycle the old is only adding to the worlds massive pile of unwanted clothes and encouraging people to buy more. That’s not upcycling or recycling .. it’s DOWNCYCLING! 

UPCYCLE instead

With that in mind, here’s a project that will hopefully inspire you to take a left turn to the charity shop rather than the high street. I bought this skirt earlier in the year from The Shaw Trust charity shop in Wantage for £4.50. I love the 70s style and detailing but the waist was too small for me. 

creamskirt

A trusty selfie and I decided I’d shorten the skirt and use the cut-off fabric for a waistband. I like the stitching and buttons at the top of the skirt so I didn’t want to take anything off at the waist.

IMG_1274I unpicked and removed the waistband. It was a vintage M&S, cotton/linen blend so it was well made of good quality natural fibres so it was easy to take apart and good fabric to work with.

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The skirt had a couple of darts and a pleat at each side, I figured I could take out without losing the style. I also opened up the side seams a little and added an insert to give the extra room I needed at the waist, which I topstitched to match the stitching detail already on the skirt.

I like the deep, flat-fronted top section of the skirt so I went for a deep waistband to balance it out. I only had enough cut-off fabric to make one length of waist band so I used an old cotton top for a contrasting inside facing band. I also liked the four buttons stacked at the front opening so I added two more to continue the design. The deep waistband and shorter length gives the skirt a fuller shape but taking the extra pleat and gather out makes it more flattering at the waist so I was pleased with the finished skirt.

creamskirt3a

 

Have a go yourself 

Your favourite skirt that no longer fits need not be given away or discarded onto the landfill pile. Have a go at altering it yourself. If you are new to sewing, there are loads of video tutorials on YouTube. Taking a garment apart is a great way to learn how they are put together, so buy one from a charity shop and have a practice before taking apart your own treasured piece.  If you live near Wantage I’m holding some upcycling classes at The Mix starting in October. The course is not a sewing course and it’s not about producing a perfectly sewn garment, it is about exploring what can be done to re-fashion existing garments. I’m aiming to encourage people to restyle and upcycle secondhand garments rather than buying new. Email me for more information or contact The Mix to book.

Re-fashion Workshop

 

 

the great pewsey upcycling bee

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I had a great day at the Pewsey Music Festival. The sun shone, I did some sewing and met some fantastic people. I spent the day working on my  own spin on the Great British Sewing Bee and called it the Great Pewsey Upcycling Bee. I made a couple of banners from a kaftan I bought at the charity shop. One of them had some extracts from the blog pinned to it and the other advertised my mission for the day using the circle print to look like the Sewing Bee logo.

banners pewsey2

I also took along my rail with some upcycled pieces and some pieces I’ve bought for upcycling, with tags explaining what caught my eye in the charity shop and a sketch of what I plan to do with them.

upcycle rail pewsey

My Great Pewsey Upcycling Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee, each week features a pattern challenge, an upcycling challenge and a showstopper. I adapted this to three different upcycling challenges.

My Pewsey pattern challenge

For my pattern challenge I decided to make a pattern of a cardigan that belonged to my sister. The moths had got to it, she had repaired it a few times but it was really beyond further repair. It was a really unusual style made up of lots of pieces and it was made from stretchy fine wool so it seemed like a suitable challenge. I carefully cut along the seams to separate it into its component pieces, laid them out on pattern paper and pinned down each piece, being careful not to stretch pieces out of shape. Thank goodness I kept one half of the cardigan made-up for reference, it was a confusing pattern with 9 pieces in total.

cardiganpattern1

My Upcycling Challenge

On the Sewing Bee upcycling challenge, they ask the sewers to turn a garment into different one, so I followed this theme with a plan to turn my husbands old shirt into a top for myself.  I had some offcuts from the kaftan I used for the banners so I used them to make the sleeve edge. I still can’t make my mind up whether this works for me, so work stopped at one sleeve and I’ll come back to it another day. I shared some of my inspiration for the design on a tag around the neck.

shirt upcycle

My Showstopper 

For the showstopper, I wanted to create a whole new outfit from my Mum’s old 70s housecoat. I was really pleased with the end result for this one, it rounded off my day really well.

showstopper pewsey

Unlike the Great British Sewing Bee, it was a hot day and a very chilled atmosphere, not a day for rushing around and I didn’t put myself under any time pressure.  So, I will return to the challenges and blog about each of them when I’ve finished, with a few more progress pics. I had a wonderful day, met some great people and made a few lovely connections, I am planning a blog post to respond to some of the questions and the people who came and spoke to me. For now, a massive Thank You to Pewsey for having me and to the festival organiser, Liz Boden for inviting me. To top off my day of sunshine and sewing there was some amazing food and fabulous music by the Doors of Perception and Tankus The Henge. (the Doors being one of my teenage and all time favourite bands .. I felt totally blessed!). I will be going back next year with or without stall.

dorrs pewsey

 

 

Ethical fashion at pewsey music festival

pewsey

So, back from camping I’m excited about the Pewsey Music Festival. I’ve prepared my own spin on the Great British Sewing Bee ….

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My sisters quirky cardi will become a pattern challenge ..

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I’m turning my husband’s old shirt into a women’s top for my Upcycling challenge …

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And my Showstopper, my Mums old housecoat will become a skirt and jacket …

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PLUS, the music looks good too!! Check it out, £10 a ticket and under 12s free.

 

 

Sewing & secondhand: my day at Save the Children

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My second event for the Wantage Summer Festival was at Save the Children on Saturday, once again sharing the love of secondhand shopping and upcycling. This time we decided to share some videos on Facebook.

Video 1: my #haulternative outfit

STC haulternative

#haulternative was originated by an organisation I follow called Fashion Revolution, founded by Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro following the factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. Check out some earlier blog posts for more information about them. Their #haulternative guide for fashion lovers encompasses various aspects of an alternative way to dress and follow fashion trends. I put together my own #haulternative outfit for the day.  Everything I was wearing, except my shoes was #secondhand and in fact, all items were bought in the Save the Children in Wantage. My waistcoat was #vintage Jaeger. My blouse was a #secondhand contemporary #designer bargain; Jaeger again retailing for around £90-100 .. I bought this a few weeks ago for £4. My skirt was #upcycled from the £1 rail, see earlier post for before and after pics. My shoes are an #investmentbuy, high quality, more expensive but I treat them as an investment and I make them last longer. I always buy good shoes but I don’t buy many so I am willing to pay more per pair and they get more comfortable with every wear.

Video 2: Live rummage of the rails of the charity shop

No pics of my live rummage so check out the video on my Facebook page (em.summerscales). I managed to find a Jaeger jacket for £4.50, some Whistles wool shorts for £2.00 and a Ralph Lauren shirt for £4.00.

A couple of friends popped in and we had a rummage together. I shared a few tips for judging the quality of fabric and how well clothes are made and they both left with some bargains.

Vicky entered the changing room laden down with stuff to try on. Just the right attitude for finding some treasures, you have to be willing to try try try and then you develop an eye for what will work for you. It’s not a quick process but it’s a rewarding one. She snapped up this lot, 5 items for …. £7.50 Yes £7.50, that’s not a miss-print!

vicky at STC

This lovely lady is Becky, my fabulous yoga teacher, who has incredible control and poise with that body of hers and then became all self conscience when posing in her new clothes. She came along because she said that she’d always wanted to shop second hand but felt overwhelmed by it and didn’t quite know where to start. So we had a rummage together and I shared some thoughts on how I approach the rails when I’m shopping. We also talked through a few ways to spot a good buy. Then she picked out a gorgeous dress and a skirt, each around £4.00. She left the shop wearing the dress and went off for lunch and an afternoon in Oxford.

becky at STC

I had my rail with me, with a few pieces I’d already upcycled, featured in earlier blog posts. I also shared some design ideas for pieces not yet upcycled. On the tags, I explained why I bought them and what caught my eye and a sketch of what I plan to do with them.

Video 3&4: upcycling live

I had a few projects on the go so I posted a video-demo of each. First, these baggy black trousers, I am taking in at the side seams and at the back as they are too big and balloon-like (not very flattering). I bought these at Save the Children as part of a kaftan set for £3.00.

blacktrews

Next was a Laura Ashley blue gingham skirt. I love the fact that this is blue and pale blue gingham rather than blue and white, it makes it look much more grown up. It was too small and very gathered so I have taken off part of the waistband and let out some of the gathers. My plan is to pleat the front so that it is flat-fronted and more flattering. However, there is so much fabric, I may have to take in the side seams ….look out for another post on the finished upcycle.

sewing at STC

And finally, this slashing technique that a friend sent me on Facebook. This is a very simple upcycle requiring just a pair of scissors and a bit of hand sewing ….. but it is very effective.

sweatshirt

So that was my day at Save the Children. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Check out the videos on my Facebook page facebook.com/em.summerscales and keep in touch if you have a go at any upcycling yourself. If you fancy shopping second hand, just have a go, trust your instinct and be patient. Sometimes there is nothing to be found, but sometimes there are treasures for bargain prices. If things don’t fit, try looking for a local seamstress, it may well still be cheaper but it will also be made to measure your body shape if you have it altered to suit you.

Becky sent me these pics later on in the day, the triumphant pose and smiles totally summed up what I had set out to achieve. #secondhand rules!.

becky

Thank you to all the staff at Save the Children, Wantage. 

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My Facebook live week and livestream plans for sat 16th july at save the children, Wantage

vintage video

So, in preparation for my event tomorrow at Save the children, I have been practicing with Facebook live this week, sharing a couple of my reasons to shop second hand.

Beautiful Vintage 

” I love the history and back story that might be attached to vintage pieces and they are totally unique. I believe clothes reflect a person when they are wearing them and onwards, when they are passed on, they carry an energy with them. Marie Condo asks us whether items spark joy and it’s that energy that can resonate.”

My tip – always keep an eagle eye out for vintage, hold the item, look at the details and go with your gut, does it spark joy?

Contemporary designer and high end bargains

designer video

“There are bargains to be had if you have the patience for 2nd hand shopping. With a designer or high end garment, you can expect better quality fabrics, a better cut, better manufacturing and better finishing … this all means clothes that are more comfortable to wear, more hard wearing and look better for longer.”

My tip – Be patient and get to know your labels; read magazines, even the pages you can’t afford.

It’s been a fun week, my favourite comment on my first livestream was “Expert knowledge with a hint of Acorn Antiques at the end”. Later that day, I was talking to someone about my qualifications and I realised; “I don’t claim to be an expert at all but the knowledge I am sharing is many years of just doing it; shopping second hand and upcycling, collecting projects to be altered and restyled.”

So here’s my timetable of Facebook livestreams for tomorrow;

11am – my #haulternative outfit; I’ll be wearing something vintage, something designer, something upcycled and an investment buy.

11.30 – we’ll have a live rummage of the rails of the charity shop.

12.00 – I’ll share some upcycled pieces and my designs for some things I’ve bought to be upcycled.

12.30 – Upcycling live – I’m going to be doing some sewing and having a go at this slashing technique on a sweatshirt I bought yesterday.

IMG_0069

So join me in person, come and say hello. Or log in to Facebook and catch a livestream or two. Hopefully, I’ll get a couple of volunteers to do my quality quiz, a few test to assess the quality of fabrics and how well clothes are made.

profile1

 

Upcycling on facebook live at save the children

profile1

I’m upcycling again this Saturday. I’m pitching up for a couple of hours at another of my favourite local charity shops, Save the Children. This time, you can also join me on Facebook Live. Once again, I’ll have some upcycled pieces and some 2nd hand treasures with me and we’ll also be having an online rummage through the rails. I’ll have my sewing machine with me and share some tips for upcycling and what to look out for when shopping 2nd hand. Hopefully, I’ll pass on the joy of pre-loved clothes and inspire you to have a go at upcycling something.

A reminder of why I think 2nd hand has an important place in ethical fashion

For me, buying clothes 2nd hand and upcycling is part of an ethical fashion jigsaw, it’s about using what we have rather than buying more and it’s about expressing creativity. As a consumer, I want to dress with a clear conscience and as a fashion designer, I’m looking for a place in an industry whose scale and pace actually turn me off a bit.

The fashion industry is complex and involves long supply chains, there are people working in those chains that are not paid fairly, are not given protection if they are ill or vulnerable and they are often working in unsafe conditions. The environment is suffering too, over half of China’s rivers are polluted and cotton farming uses a huge proportion of the worlds chemical pest control. Precious resources are being used up, it takes 2,720litres of water to make one t-shirt (that’s how much we drink in 3 years)!!

env.people

I appreciate that affordability is a factor but I think these issues are too important to overlook. And I do think that most of us have more clothes than we need, it’s estimated we have £30 billion pounds worth of underused clothes in our wardrobes. Buy more wisely and you buy less.

I love fashion … it’s fun, it’s creative and it’s the expression of me. I used to struggle with ever changing trends but I’ve even grown to enjoy them. They keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting. But I’m determined to have the wardrobe I want without costing a fortune or compromising my ethics. 

This blog is where I bring together the pieces of my ethical fashion jigsaw …

jigsaw

  • wardrobe restyling – knowing what you have, using what you have and buying wisely – planning what you need before going shopping
  • knowing your own body – knowing what suits you means you can avoid impulse buys that you get home and don’t wear
  • I’m looking at brands and, when I do buy new, I’m trying to only use those I can trust. I’m looking at some ethical brands – this week I’m reviewing People Tree. I’m prepared to pay for quality staples and shoes because I wear them lots of times and I’m comfortable with the price per wear.
  • Then if I want something unique or on-trend, I shop second hand and upcycle.

The big impact of buying clothes 2nd hand is on reducing the amount of waste going to landfill or clothes being shipped to developing countries, where they might stifle home industries.

Last November, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  programme called War on Waste showed him stood at the top of a huge pile of 7 tons of clothes, 10 thousand garments and asked people how long they thought it took Britain to throw away that amount of clothes … some answers were way off and nobody was close to the real truth which is 10 minutes! The total is around 350,000 tons, going to landfill every year in the UK, where they slowly decompose releasing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

recycle??

Very few textiles can be recycled into new textiles, only 20% of textiles produced worldwide are recycled each year. H&M recently held a Recycle Week, they asked people to bring in old clothes for money off new ones. They led people to believe that they would be recycled but the technology and processes simply don’t exist for most fabrics. It was just more landfill and contribution to overseas, and a marketing ploy to get people to buy more. It was a really dangerous message and disappointing from H&M, who are generally regarded as one of the more aware high street stores. 

I’ve always bought clothes 2nd hand even before it was for ethical reasons. 

I grew up in the 80s .. my main aim when choosing an outfit was to look different from everyone else and the more creative the better. So I had my Mum and Dads handed down clothes, restyled them, upcycled them. I always raided my Mum’s jumble pile and saved a few items. I could experiment because they hadn’t cost anything so I wasn’t frightened of it going wrong and because I wasn’t frightened it usually worked out ok.

Because of where my relationship with clothes started, I developed a huge sentimentality about clothes, I truly believe I have a relationship with my clothes and I love wearing something that was my Mums or my Dads. It’s romantic but I love the idea of re-inventing a garment with a back story or re-loving something and giving it another life. I feel nothing when I put on a cheap t-shirt, it doesn’t spark joy as Marie Kondo asks.

backstory

Then when I moved to London, I had access to Charity Shops in wealthy and trendy areas, I could pick up vintage and designer clothes that I could never afford to buy new. When I started studying fashion, drafting my own patterns and making more clothes from scratch I really started to appreciate the cut of a garment, the quality of fabric and the details that affect the style of a garment. So I notice where high street stores cut corners on quality and style.

So my plans for the event …. 

I truly believe that one man’s waste is another man’s treasure and there is no greater satisfaction than giving something discarded a new purpose. But how do I do it and what do I look for? I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve developed a keen eye and experience has taught me what to look for. I don’t mind rummaging through the rails but I never expect it to be a quick task. Sometimes I find nothing but other times, I find treasures.

So the best way to tell you is to share with you some items I’ve bought over the years and tell you why I bought them. I’ll be doing this over the next few days here on my blog and also on social media. I’ll have some pieces with me on Saturday that I’ve already upcycled and some I haven’t yet done. I’m hoping for some volunteers to do the quality quiz. We can have a rummage of the rails together and you may even feel inspired to take something and have a go at upcycling yourself. You’ll be able to keep in touch via my 1134 Sewing Club on Facebook. You can check out my post “Secondhand and upcycling at Shaw Trust” to find out what we got up to at the last event.

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second hand clothes & upcycling at shaw trust

Diary of my day at the Shaw Trust, sharing the love of 2nd hand, upcycling and it’s place in my quest for a clear conscience way to dress.

shawtrust1a

So, I pitched up at the Shaw Trust on Wantage Market Place on Saturday. I took along a few things so that I could share this crazy passion for 2nd hand clothes and upcycling.

My rail of reasons to shop 2nd hand … I took along some items from my own wardrobe, which illustrate a few reasons why I think buying 2nd hand is so great. Customers had a browse through my rail and I shared some thoughts on each of my reasons.

 

shawtrust2a

I also took along some pieces I’ve bought to be upcycled, explained what took my eye when I bought them and what I plan to do with them.

shawtrustupcycle

I did some sewing …. I was finishing the upcycle of this skirt I bought in Shaw Trust a couple of weeks ago, I’ll post a few more pics next week.

shaw sewing

I had a go a the Dr Noki t-shirt slashing technique ….. I discovered this technique at the Upcycle project in London and I’ve been itching to have a go. Hoping to post the finished project next week.

shaw dr noki

There was even a quiz …… how to spot good quality fabric and well-made clothes.

shaw3

I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the Shaw Trust, I’ve posted a short video on my Facebook page and on the Wantage Summer Festival page. Spotted a potential project …. ??? crazy or cool, I’m not sure.

shaw jacket

I’m planning to venture into the new world of Facebook Live for the next event on 16th July. I’ll be at Save the Children from 11-1 for some more sewing and upcycling and tips on buying clothes 2nd hand.

 

I’m upcycling at the Shaw Trust on 2 July

flyer2

This Saturday, as part of the Wantage Summer Festival, I’m pitching up for a couple of hours in one of my favourite local charity shops, Shaw Trust. It’s a brilliant charity that helps disabled and disadvantaged people into employment and independent living and it’s where I buy quite a lot of 2nd hand clothes from.

On Saturday, I’m inviting people to drop in. I’ll have some pieces I’ve upcycled with me and some 2nd hand treasures I’ve bought. We can have a rummage of the rails together and I’ll share some tips for upcycling and what to look out for when shopping 2nd hand. Hopefully, I’ll pass on the joy of pre-loved clothes and inspire you to have a go at upcycling something.

I think 2nd hand has an important place in ethical fashion

For me, buying clothes 2nd hand and upcycling is part of an ethical fashion jigsaw, it’s about using what we have rather than buying more and it’s about expressing creativity. As a consumer, I want to dress with a clear conscience and as a fashion designer, I’m looking for a place in an industry whose scale and pace actually turn me off a bit.

The fashion industry is complex and involves long supply chains, there are people working in those chains that are not paid fairly, are not given protection if they are ill or vulnerable and they are often working in unsafe conditions. The environment is suffering too, over half of China’s rivers are polluted and cotton farming uses a huge proportion of the worlds chemical pest control. Precious resources are being used up, it takes 2,720litres of water to make one t-shirt (that’s how much we drink in 3 years)!!

env.people

I appreciate that affordability is a factor but I think these issues are too important to overlook. And I do think that most of us have more clothes than we need, it’s estimated we have £30 billion pounds worth of underused clothes in our wardrobes.

I love fashion … it’s fun, it’s creative and it’s the expression of me. I used to struggle with ever changing trends but I’ve even grown to enjoy them. They keep my wardrobe fresh and interesting. But I’m determined to have the wardrobe I want without costing a fortune or compromising my ethics. 

This blog is where I bring together the pieces of my ethical fashion jigsaw …

jigsaw

  • wardrobe restyling – knowing what you have, using what you have and buying wisely – planning what you need before going shopping
  • knowing your own body – knowing what suits you means you can avoid impulse buys that you get home and don’t wear
  • I’m looking at brands and, when I do buy new, I’m trying to only use those I can trust. I’m looking at some ethical brands. I’m prepared to pay for quality staples and shoes because I wear them lots of times and I’m comfortable with the price per wear.
  • Then if I want something unique or on-trend, I shop second hand and upcycle.

The big impact of buying clothes 2nd hand is on reducing the amount of waste going to landfill or clothes being shipped to developing countries, where they might stifle home industries.

Last November, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  programme called War on Waste showed him stood at the top of a huge pile of 7 tons of clothes, 10 thousand garments and asked people how long they thought it took Britain to throw away that amount of clothes … some answers were way off and nobody was close to the real truth which is 10 minutes! The total is around 350,000 tons, going to landfill every year in the UK, where they slowly decompose releasing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

recycle??

Very few textiles can be recycled into new textiles, only 20% of textiles produced worldwide are recycled each year. H&M recently held a Recycle Week, they asked people to bring in old clothes for money off new ones. They led people to believe that they would be recycled but the technology and processes simply don’t exist for most fabrics. It was just more landfill and contribution to overseas, and a marketing ploy to get people to buy more. It was a really dangerous message and disappointing from H&M, who are generally regarded as one of the more aware high street stores. 

I’ve always bought clothes 2nd hand even before it was for ethical reasons. 

I grew up in the 80s .. my main aim when choosing an outfit was to look different from everyone else and the more creative the better. So I had my Mum and Dads handed down clothes, restyled them, upcycled them. I always raided my Mum’s jumble pile and saved a few items. I could experiment because they hadn’t cost anything so I wasn’t frightened of it going wrong and because I wasn’t frightened it usually worked out ok.

Because of where my relationship with clothes started, I developed a huge sentimentality about clothes, I truly believe I have a relationship with my clothes and I love wearing something that was my Mums or my Dads. It’s romantic but I love the idea of re-inventing a garment with a back story or re-loving something and giving it another life. I feel nothing when I put on a cheap t-shirt, it doesn’t spark joy as Marie Kondo asks.

backstory

 

Then when I moved to London, I had access to Charity Shops in wealthy and trendy areas, I could pick up vintage and designer clothes that I could never afford to buy new. When I started studying fashion, drafting my own patterns and making more clothes from scratch I really started to appreciate the cut of a garment, the quality of fabric and the details that affect the style of a garment. So I notice where high street stores cut corners on quality and style.

So my plans for the event …. 

I truly believe that one man’s waste is another man’s treasure and there is no greater satisfaction than giving something discarded a new purpose. But how do I do it and what do I look for? I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve developed a keen eye and experience has taught me what to look for. I don’t mind rummaging through the rails but I never expect it to be a quick task. Sometimes I find nothing but other times, I find treasures.

So the best way to tell you is to bring along some items I’ve bought over the years and tell you why I bought them. Some I’ve already upcycled, some I’ve restyled, some I didn’t need to do anything with and some I haven’t yet done …. drop in and have a chat. We’ll also have a rummage of the rails together and you may even feel inspired to take something and have a go at upcycling yourself. You’ll be able to keep in touch via my 1134 Sewing Club on Facebook.

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upcycle: tie shirt and pencil skirt

orangegold2

Remember these items from Save the Children? …. I love the colour of the jacket but the style was rather serious and I wanted to make it into something more playful. The skirt is a supermarket skirt but the fabric was cool. I thought a straight skirt would show off the shine and I continued the playful theme with a frill. Not usually my kind of thing but I really enjoyed wearing it to our coffee and blogging event at the Wantage Summer festival.

So a few photos of how I got there ….

orangetieshirt

orangetieshirt2

goldskirt1

goldskirt2

 

Don’t forget to email or message me for tickets to my Ethical Fashion event at Wantage Summer Festival

summerfestflyer2

2nd hand vintage print and 70s detailing

shaw trust2

So many treasures found on my recent visit to Shaw Trust, it’s taken me a few days to decide what to do with them. In fact, I bought the blue dress for upcycling, got it home and discovered it fits perfectly and is lovely as it is. I loved the print of the three shirts, the pleat detail of the skirt and the collar detail on the blue leaf print shirt. And almost all natural fibres … the blue dress is 100% cotton, the cream skirt is cotton/linen blend, the shirts are either cotton or linen blend … they will last and keep their shape for many years to come, great fibres to work with and my skin is happy!smiley-1020193_1920