Sunday, 15 November 2015
So it is three weeks until my Christmas shindig and my beloved Bernina 1008 is under the weather! No matter what I do, she is having none of it.
Everytime I stitch, the tension isn't right and this occurs...
Things i have tried;
Leaving her alone for a few days
I am all out of ideas now, other than to take her to a dealer for a proper service and borrowing my mums machine to finish my dress in the meantime!!
Saturday, 14 November 2015
My Great Aunt Freda passed away recently, leaving behind a wardrobe of hand knitted cardigans, jumpers and waistcoats - and the odd skirt too. She was a very neat knitter, making things for herself and her siblings, often in matching colour ways and with thoughtful details. I remember her once trying to teach me to knit, but with little success (it was a few years before I finally got the hang of it) as I watched her in awe merrily knitting away.
Freda kindly gave me two skirt suits in orange and pink, knitted by herself, to unpick so I could re-use the yarn. But instead I cut them up and used them in what was possibly my first upcycling project at college. I feel a bit bad about it now seeing as they were so well made, but it did help start my interest in recycling. I still have some bits leftover, and found a matching jumper made by Freda, which I plan to keep as a memento of her. It doesn't fit me at all, but I wouldn't expect it to, as Freda's knitwear was made to suit her own shape and very much her own style. And that's what's so amazing about knitting. It's very personal as you can make your own patterns to suit you, much like you can with sewing.
Maybe one day my wardrobe will be as full of hand knits as Freda's. I better get knitting!
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Saturday, 24 October 2015
|All images are borrowed from the wonderful|
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Calling myself an ethical fashion and knitwear designer, alot of people assume I make all my own clothes and I wish I could but really don't have time. I hardly ever step into a real shop and make a purchase (I'm usually just looking for research purposes) and feel uncomfortable for different reasons. Always looking at where things are made and from what, I wonder who made it and how it got there. I'm not going to give you a lecture on the virtues of ethical fashion because more than likely you are already a charity/vintage shopper if you are following this blog. So instead I'm sharing a few of my own experiences of trying to shop more ethically.
These are vital for shopping on a budget. I look out for quality fabrics and items I know I can wear with little alteration. Majorly avoid Primark items as they just won't last, even if they are cheap, they were cheap to start with! Also, if you have the time, rummaging in charity shops can be great fun - you never know what you will find.
Vintage shops and fairs
Not just nice places to be, vintage shops and fairs are very good for unique pieces that cost a bit more but will guarantee something special. Much more fun than normal shops!
It's encouraging to see more high street brands rethinking their products and using organic cotton, fairtrade and recycled fabrics. Though they are few and far between and alot more needs to be done with working practices and welfare standards. There are of course brands like People Tree which create really wearable and affordable ethical fashion, with designs that I really like. I'm sure to check out their collections to reassure me the fashion industry is progressing.
Sewing and knitting
Make your own, repair what you've got and alter what you can (or ask someone very nice to help you!) When I do make time to sew or knit something for myself I still get excited about wearing it. Just remember that things take time and 'slow fashion' is the way forward!
Thank you for reading. Be sure to keep up to date with the Toile Together gang!
Monday, 19 October 2015
Currently on my mannequin is an Aster Blouse, a pattern by Colette. This is the second pattern I have tried, having previously made a couple of Sorbetto tops (a free pattern with a lot of room for creativity).
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Monday, 12 October 2015
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
A couple of friends moved house last year and asked me to make them some curtains for their bedroom and living room. I don't often get projects like this, so although I had to brush up on my curtain making skills, it has made a nice change. Here's a peak at the almost finished pair for the living room.
At the other end of the spectrum, and quite different from sewing seemingly enormous curtains, I've been piecing together knitwear from second hand knits and my own handknitting using a variety of sustainable and reclaimed wools, incuding some lovely Cornish wool. Here's a little peak of that too...
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Monday, 5 October 2015
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
How I got into sewing: I first started sewing when I was a teenager and went on to study textiles and fashion at college. At university I studied knitted textiles, specialising in knitwear design, a skill I had always wanted to learn and one that was a great challenge for me.
Inspirations/Muse: Having spent some time working for pioneering ethical fashion brand From Somewhere, I decided to pursue my dream of having my own clothing line and set up Grandma Chic. Orsola de Castro, founder of From Somewhere, has remained a great inspiration to me and I am always eager to see her latest collections and collaborations.
When I started sewing, I had no real interest in contemporary fashion, but I was fascinated by garment construction and very keen to learn the skills needed to produce well made and beautifully finished garments, just like the ones I’d seen in museum collections (I always loved fashions of the past). Discovering the world of ethical fashion was very exciting, opening up new challenges and gave fashion a purpose for me.
What I love and don't love about sewing: It’s very hard to make the same garment more than once, which I really like. Though when you come across a beautiful fabric or yarn and you’ve only got a certain amount it can be frustrating knowing that your mistakes will be hard to fix and the design requires alot more thought. On the other hand, it makes that item more precious and valuable, and made with a little more love too.
Favourite garment I have made/designed: My favourite garment I’ve made is an a-line skirt made from a fabric offcut that belonged to my Grandma. It has an extra panel added as the fabric was only just big enough and I believe it was once the hem of a dress worn by her. It was made more special by the discovery of a photograph of her wearing the dress from which the offcut came, and I will always treasure it for this reason. Grandma Chic was partly inspired by her and her unique style.
Where to find me:
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Name of Brand: I'll get back to you...
Location: Based in and around Birmingham
How did I get into sewing: I wanted to be a badass artist for a while but I soon came to realize the most exciting part of a project was balancing multiple elements and stages, all coming together to form a magnificent crescendo. Art was, for me anyway, pretty one dimensional in terms of outcome. It's way too personal to turn into a career for myself. That's where I discovered fashion design, followed it up at college/uni and have been in love with the process ever since. However, its no secret with me that I am a square peg in a round hole. I love what I do but really dislike the industry where my work "should" sit, so I just simply don't strive to fulfill those expectations. Call me a kind of outsider designer if you will.
Inspirations/Muse: Gender, traditional men's tailoring/design and vintage style women's undergarments. My muses would include spectacular people like, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Prince, Courtney Act and a few more I'm certain will crop up.
What I love about Sewing: That buzz you get when a final photshoot loops right back round to the dodgy doodle you did in a notebook. That completion of a vision. I find the design process pretty torturous, so the only reward for that is total success of the original inspiration without losing it's truth. And pattern cutting, I pretty much love getting stuck into that. Ooooo and fabric, I go ape shit for fabric.
What I don't like about sewing: We all agreed on unpicking...but I pretty much hate not having enough tables to spread my stuff obnoxiously all over. I need all of my stuff out all at the same time so I can see it but I really don't like mess...try handling that for a day :P Also, having to explain myself to people who just don't get the design process, or art, or anything of creative value! :D
Favourite Garment made/designed: So far, my red dress. It makes me feel gooey on the inside.
Where can we find you:
Facebook , Twitter apparently, My personal blog, Pinterest, Instagram and Toile Together's facebook page.