Recent Posts

Pattern Review – Sewing the ‘Ready to Sew’ – Jeanne T Shirt

Pattern Review – Sewing the ‘Ready to Sew’ – Jeanne T Shirt

You might have seen via my Instagram that I recently became an ambassador for Makerist. This is a very exciting opportunity for me as I am being paid to do something I love – sew. As I am being paid these posts are treated as 

How to make more Sustainable Eyewear choices with Retro Spectacle

How to make more Sustainable Eyewear choices with Retro Spectacle

One thing I’ve always wanted to find out more about is sustainable eyewear. So one of the first things people notice about me is my glasses – they are right there on my face. I’ve always worn glasses, it’s one of my main features and 

Top Sustainable denim brands available in Europe

Top Sustainable denim brands available in Europe

Denim is an essential part of most people’s wardrobe. Ask anybody you know, and they will certainly tell you that they own at least a few denim pieces. Whether you stick with a few pairs of jeans or go all out, proper Canadian tuxedo style. It can be a struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for with a lower environmental impact.

However, if you are looking to make your wardrobe more sustainable. Jeans and other denim garments are something you will certainly be looking to buy from a sustainable brand. Why? It takes nearly 1540 gallons of water to produce an average pair of jeans. Pesticides which cotton is treated with pollute the water cycle and present a health hazard to workers. Also the dyes and chemicals used to treat the fabric are about as sustainable as the pesticides.

Thankfully, some brands do better – by choosing organic cotton, making use of recycled fabrics, limiting the use of chemicals during manufacturing and many other methods. I’ve gathered a few of my personal favourites available in Europe. Which you will surely love as much as I do.

Nudie Jeans

Flat shot of susatainable nudie jeans

You’ll rarely see as much detail and transparency on the sustainability of a brand as you’ll see on the Nudie Jeans website. From the materials they use, through their impact on several environmental factors. To individual reports on their sustainable performance in the past year. You could spend hours reading up all about their journey towards becoming one of the most sustainable denim brands in the world!

So, let me summarise it all for you. The majority (94%) of materials used to craft their jeans are made from organic, recycled or Fair-Trade cotton. They go against the fast fashion trend and create jeans meant to last a lifetime. And offer free lifetime repairs on all pairs. What if your old pair doesn’t fit anymore? They’ll give you 20% off your next pair if you send it back to them. Because of this trade in scheme, they then offer the pre-loved pairs at a lower price in a separate section of their website. My favourites are these skinny black jeans, which I’ve just worn to death!

MUD Jeans

Mud jeans ethical denim brand

MUD Jeans started with a simple mission – to take something we all wear regularly and make it sustainable. Having worked within the fashion industry for 30 years, the founder Bert van Son founded the sustainable denim company in an effort to make fashion less demanding of the environment and the people involved in the production process.

MUD Jeans will help you reduce your impact on the environment by a lot! Every pair of their jeans takes 127 gallons of water to produce – compared to the industry average of 1,540 gallons! The whole company is completely carbon neutral, offsetting the average 15.7lbs of CO2 emissions per pair (which is 69% less than the industry standard). Their fabrics are made from 40% of recycled denim which has been saved from the landfill. Giving it a new life. Any chemicals still used in their production process are non-toxic and Nordic Swan Ecolabel certified. Mud Jeans even sell off their second hand jeans which is where I got this brilliant pale denim pair. They looked as good as new!

People Tree

People tree denim wide legjeans

There is a reason why People Tree is one of the best-known sustainable fashion brands in the world. They offer a variety of high-quality garments which will last you a long time. Among other clothing, you’ll find plenty of denim in their range – starting with the classic pair of jeans but adding some unique items into their collections, such as denim coats and dresses. All of their sustainable denim is made from certified organic cotton.

Ruby Rose is sustainable denim jeans

People Tree only uses natural materials (or fabrics such as lyocell, following closed-loop processes) and their cotton is always GOTS certified organic. They also implement a variety of techniques for water conservation, such as rainwater collection or water recycling. People Tree only collaborate with farmers and factories with the same set of principles as their company. They have become pioneers of high-standard working conditions in developing countries. Giving people living there a job that’s actually going to benefit them. I have these stunning wide leg jeans is classic blue denim.

ELV Denim

ELV denim is a zero waste sustainable denim company saving jeans from going to the landfill. They source old denim from vintage warehouses around the UK and transform them into new pieces for your wardrobe. All the water needed is that which is used to wash the old denim – which adds up to just 1.5 gallons (compared to the 1,540 gallons needed to make a new pair). The pieces are then quality-checked and transformed into new jeans in their atelier in London.

Because they use pre-loved fabrics, ELV Denim has developed a signature style, with many of their jeans being made from darker and lighter panels. However, you’ll also find solid-colour pieces in their collection. Aside from the classic pair of jeans, you can also find jackets and shorts on their website.

Buy Secondhand

Secondhand thrifted Levi's jeans

Of course another super sustainable way to get great denim is to buy secondhand. Charity and thrift shops have some amazing vintage pieces often have better craftsmanship in comparison to newer fast fashion brands. Also with eBay and Depop, it’s even easier to buy online – my top tip is go by your body measurements rather than the stated size. I got these amazing vintage Levis, from a charity shop.

Have you heard of these amazing slow fashion companies before? Have you tried their sustainable denim? If you have, leave a comment below, to share your experience with me and others!

Please subscribe to my blog up on the right, you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support

Thanks

Ruby

Sewing with Hemp – A self drafted Skirt

Sewing with Hemp – A self drafted Skirt

I created my own pattern for self-drafted shorts many years ago. But have recently adjusted it to add a bit more volume with pleats and extra length. However, as I’m sure you can see from the photos, it didn’t exactly go to plan. The Hemp 

Sewing – The Pietra Shorts

Sewing – The Pietra Shorts

As soon as I came across Good Fabric on Instagram, I knew we were a match made in heaven. An online fabric shop that only stock sustainable fabrics and patterns from small pattern designers – absolutely perfect. Good fabric has a growing selection of Tencel’s, 

Sustainable fabric spotlight: Hemp Fabric and its environmental impact

Sustainable fabric spotlight: Hemp Fabric and its environmental impact

Hemp clothing has recently been gaining a lot of popularity in the west. Once a fabric for the hippies among us, hemp has been going mainstream, popularised by sustainable fashion blogs and influencers. However, let’s not forget that in many other non-western countries, hemp fabric is nothing new and people there have been reaping the benefits of this sustainable fabric for centuries.

This article is part of a new series on the Ruby Rose Sews blog, called Sustainable fabric spotlight. Within it, I will introduce a sustainable fabric every other week and talk about the good and the bad of it.

hemp textural fabrics

Where does hemp fabric come from?

In many places, the cultivation of hemp (or cannabis) has been restricted for a long time, due to the connection between the cannabis plant and its psychoactive qualities. However, as farmers have been planting cannabis for hundreds of years, some were looking for its psychoactive effects, while others paid attention to the strength of the fibre. Due to this, the cannabis plant used to create hemp fabric nowadays actually contains very little THC compared to the psychoactive kind.

So what’s the problem and why aren’t we all wearing hemp yet? Much of the legislation in the world does not distinguish between the two kinds of cannabis, and so the kind planted for its fibres is often confused with the THC-rich variation. For this reason, we are not taking as much advantage of this fabric as we could be. Let’s look more in-depth into why that is such a shame.

hemp fabric swirl

Sewing with hemp fabric

Hemp is a really versatile fibre and can be made into all sorts of different fabrics and textures. But it is mostly closely linked to linen and is a great alternative for linen in any garment. It drapes well, is natural and breathable as well as being very strong. Like linen it does unravel when cut so always best to finish the edges with an overlocker or serger. I’m trying to source some hemp fabric for my next project, so watch this space!

I’ve found some beautiful hemp fabrics at The Hemp Shop, with a selection of hemp linens, silks and denims -it’s one of the best UK suppliers I have found.

loose texture hemp

The pros of using hemp…

Let me preface this by saying that hemp can be used for many more purposes other than clothing production: as a protein-rich health food, or for the production of biodegradable plastics and biofuels. Now let’s talk about the benefits of using it to create one of the most sustainable fabrics. Because if I were to summarise all the purposes for which this plant can be used, you would still be reading this article tomorrow.

The amazing thing about hemp fabric is that its production is not releasing any toxins into the environment and it does not pollute the Earth in any way during its lifecycle. It is very resilient, grows quickly and does not rely on large amounts of water. As a result of this great resilience, the plants do not need to be treated with pesticides. On the contrary, they actually nourish the soil.

As hemp has been bred for centuries with the strength of fibres in mind, this is one of the biggest advantages of hemp clothing. It does not stretch out, keeps its shape and does not rip easily. Hemp can be made into more delicate fabrics, as well as heavy-duty clothing. It is the perfect material to wear during summertime since it absorbs sweat and protects your skin from UV rays.

…and very few cons!

Are there even any cons to hemp fabric? Well, there are some, but very few. Firstly, it is often mixed with cotton, which affects its potential to be recycled. However, since both hemp and cotton are biodegradable, this does not present too much of a problem.

Another small con is the cost, which can also be resolved. Hemp does not inherently cost more to produce than cotton, but there are some factors driving the price up. One of these is the scale of production, which is minimal compared to fabric giants like cotton. Some retailers also charge higher prices for hemp, since it is something new and trendy in the west. However, as we all wear more hemp clothing and normalize the use of the cannabis plant for fibre-making, the price is due to drop soon.

We have started off the Sustainable fabric spotlight series on a high note with hemp. With very little cons, there is a lot of reasons to love this sustainable fabric. Has anyone made anything with Hemp fabric? Let me know in the comments!

Please subscribe to my blog up on the right, you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support

Thanks for reading

Ruby

Pattern Testing – The Adele Apron Dress

Pattern Testing – The Adele Apron Dress

The Adele Apron dress was love at first sight. You know when you see a pattern and want to make it immediately, well I fell hard for the Adele Apron Dress. As soon as Alice and Co Patterns posted that they needed pattern testers I 

Good Fabric – Your New Favourite Fabric Store

Good Fabric – Your New Favourite Fabric Store

As you’ve probably seen from my more recent blog posts, I am trying to concentrate more on being sustainable with my sewing. Sewing in general is much more sustainable than purchasing new for many reasons: • You know the supply chain • You know know 

Sewing – The Wilder Gown

Sewing – The Wilder Gown

The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company was the dress of 2019, so I’m quite late to the party. It’s been on my radar for a while but just haven’t had the right fabric…until now! I was recently contacted by Fabric Godmother, one of my favourite fabric sellers, and coincidentally also in Brighton. They were launching their second collection of printed fabrics, and Josie offered to send me some to test out. I could make a beautiful garment of my choice and send her promotional photos.

There were a few different prints to choose from, you can see them all on The Fabric Godmother website. They are all viscose, which is a dream to work with. You can read here about a self-drafted button up dress I made with viscose. The prints are designed in collaboration with the Print Pattern Archive, so they are reimagining’s of vintage prints.

In the end I couldn’t make up my mind, so picked a top three and let Josie choose. I ended up with this stunning Luna Trees print, which I think was my favourite anyway. This is a viscose lawn which is fine with a tight weave and its super soft and luxurious.

Wilder Gown Process

As I was being sent fabric with such a gorgeous print and wanted to choose a pattern that would really showcase it. To do this, I wanted something big without too many panels or pattern pieces that would mean the print ended up getting cut up. I decided on the Wilder Gown.

When researching patterns, I like to turn to Instagram and search the hashtags to see all the different versions people have made. It is often more inspiring than the picture or line drawing on the pattern. The #wildergown selection is vast, it’s amazing to see what everyone has made.

As this is generally quite an oversized dress, I decided to just start with a size XS as I didn’t want to be too swamped. To check the fit I decided it was best to make a toile, but just of the bodice, as the skirt didn’t need fitting. The XS was perfect, as the neck is drawstring it aids the fitting of the whole garment, by pulling in the shoulders.

It’s a lovely simple pattern, once I read the instructions! But due to the drawstring neckline and raglan sleeve construction it appears more complicated than it is. When just viewing the pattern pieces I couldn’t understand how it all went together at all.

Ruby Rose posing with maxi dress is blue purple and green

Luckily its quite simple, sewing the open front neck slit, front sleeves, back bodice and then the side seams. Once the bodice is constructed, the neck is turned and a section to create a ruffle and a channel for the tie is stitched. I used the elastic threading tools I recently bought to thread the tie and it made it so much easier to do!

Once the bodice was fully constructed the skirt panels are gathered and attached. Using the widest stitch on my machine I sewed one stitch line inside the seam allowance and one outside, then gently pulled to gather. By measuring and pinning the skirt tube to my table I was able to even out the gathers to the perfect fit and carefully ease as I sewed it on. Repeat for the second tier, hem and we’re done! For the hem I ended up taking it up a bit more than the pattern suggests. This suited me better.

Neck tie on drawstring dress

Adjustments

Not exactly adjustments, but changes I made to the pattern cutting out when making. Firstly, the Wilder Gown calls for a two piece tie to thread through the neck. I ignored the pattern pieces and just cut a strip the width of the fabric so I didn’t have to attach two pieces.

Similar for the tiers, the top tier called for two panels and the bottom tier called for three. Instead of using the pattern pieces I just measured them and instead of cutting two, I just used the width of the fabric, 142cm, and used one large panel for the top tier. For the lower tier I added another panel of 76cm to the width.

By doing this and not using the pattern pieces, I reduced the volume slightly and also saved fabric, I hate wasting such beautiful fabric. This meant I managed to get the dress out of 2 -2.5 meters instead of 3.

Ruby Rose wearing wilder gown pattern with hands in hair

Would I make another Wilder Gown?

When I was making it, I started to doubt myself, worrying a maxi wouldn’t suit me. But as soon as I finished it and put it on, I loved it. Turns out a giant tent dress is what I’d been missing all this time! So, I will definitely be making again. I might even try a shorter version.

Be sure to check out all the lovely fabrics from Fabric Godmother, Diary of a Chain Stitcher has written a blog about the beautiful pink Jackie print.

Please subscribe to my blog up on the right, you’ll then get not so regular updates from me. It really helps me create great content; I can’t do it without your support

Thanks for reading

Ruby

Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

Sewing The Basic Instinct Tee

This month I have mostly been sewing, The Basic Instinct Tee. During lockdown I have started to realise that I need more relaxed comfy clothes. I realised that I always made more complicated clothing and hadn’t really tried any basics. I decided a good starting 

BIPOC Sewing businesses to support in the UK

BIPOC Sewing businesses to support in the UK

If like me you are struggling at how you can continue to support the BIPOC community on an everyday basis,. Hopefully this blog post is for you. I have compiled a list of Black owned sewing businesses, so I can make more conscience decisions to 

Top 5 sustainable underwear brands in Europe

Top 5 sustainable underwear brands in Europe

Where can I find sustainable underwear that will last and doesn’t cost the earth? Whether you are a long-time slow fashion enthusiast or a complete sustainability newbie, you have probably asked yourself this question. Finding good-quality ethical underwear can be a challenge and with this article, I hope to simplify it for you. These are my top 5 sustainable underwear brands, which I’m sure you will love as much as I do.

Organic Basics

girl adjusting organic basics sports bra

Organic Basics is one of the better-established brand names in the slow fashion community, for a good reason! To lower their impact on the environment, they choose more sustainable fabrics (such as organic cotton, tencel lyocell and recycled materials). They make their clothing in factories working on lowering their environmental impact and finally, design clothes that will last. If you are looking for super comfortable, timeless and simple sustainable underwear that you can wear under anything, Organic Basics are the way to go! I also wrote a full article about Organic Basics – Sustainable Fashion, so make sure to check it out.

For an exclusive 10% discount use my code RUBYROSEOB3

Brighton Lace

Brighton lace ruby rose underwear with plant

If basics are not for you and you would rather wear sexier, lacy underwear, look no further than Brighton Lace. They offer a range of beautiful lace and cashmere pieces, as well as some cotton essentials with lace details. Who said that sustainable underwear could not be fun? I certainly did not! What’s more, all their garments are crafted following the principles of slow fashion by a small team of seamstresses in Brighton, which not only shows the high ethical standard of the company but also lowers their carbon footprint.

WUKA

WUKA sustainable underwear period pants plastic free ruby rose

That time of the month? Ditch unsustainable tampons and pads, WUKA period pants are here to stay. They fully substitute any other period products, just throw them in the wash when you are done and you’re good to go. WUKA is on a mission to lower the environmental impact of periods and reduce the mountains of single-use sanitary product waste. They also empower and represent women of all shapes, sizes and skin colors and make periods a little bit easier to deal with.

For an exclusive 10% discount use my code WUKA-RUBY10

Stripe & Stare

If a pop of fun and color is what your sustainable underwear drawer needs, you will find what you are looking for at Stripe & Stare. Their knickers are made of a biodegradable, water-saving, man-made material produced from wood pulp from sustainable tree farms. They are cute, breathable and bring comfort to the next level. Stripe & Stare make their sustainable underwear in a closely monitored factory in China – you can have a look inside on their website!

For an exclusive 10% discount use my code RUBY10

ColieCo Lingerie

Ruby rose underwear colieco lingerie

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun and patterned, check out ColieCo Lingerie. Using reclaimed and deadstock fabric as well as sustainable sourced materials ColieCo create beautiful pieces. All crafted to order in a small studio in Portual whats not to love? You can also read my full review ColieCo Lingerie – Ethical Fashion

Have you heard of these amazing slow fashion companies before? Have you tried their sustainable underwear? If you have, leave a comment below, to share your experience with me and others!

For further reading check out Jess Rigg’s review of sustainable underwear brands.

Pattern Testing – The Tulia Tee

Pattern Testing – The Tulia Tee

I recently took part in the testing process for Sewing Patterns by Masin for the launch of her new pattern, the Tulia Tee. This is a unisex jersey t-shirt with an oversized fit. It only has one view in the pattern but is open for 

Sewing with Wool – Making a Basic Skirt

Sewing with Wool – Making a Basic Skirt

So, before the lockdown happened, I had planned to make the perfect Spring work skirt. I have quite an active job, I am mostly on my feet and don’t get much time to sit down. I’m constantly moving about the studio and therefore need to 

Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution Week

Fashion Revolution week is a very important date in the calendar for sustainable fashion. Before I started to concentrate on a more sustainable ethical lifestyle, I didn’t give much thought to where my clothing came from. Clothes just came from Topshop and H & M and that was fine. It was only when I decided to dig deeper that I discovered Fashion Revolution. Its one of the main reasons I started to make my own clothing.

Fast fashion isn't free. Someone, somewhere is paying

What is Fashion Revolution?

Fashion Revolution is a group of people from all around the world striving to change the way clothing is produced, imported, marketed and sold. They believe that the industry needs to care more about the workers involved and the whole supply chain. It is a movement that runs all year but this week we can help celebrate, support and grow the movement. They have a charity The Fashion Revolution Foundation that helps educate people on their cause.

There is no beauty without truth and there is no truth without transparency

How did it start?

Fashion Revolution week started on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse on 24th April 2013. The Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed and killed 1138 people and injured many, many more. This highlighted the terrible and totally preventable working conditions that garments workers, many of them young women are forced to work under. The problems with the buildings structure was well know and reported. But the demand from global brands to produce garments was too big and the conditions remained.

Brands involved

Many of the brands involved are part of the UK and US high street, a few are listed below. It has now been 7 years since this disaster, and which, if any, of these companies have made significant changes?

Benetton

Primark

Mango

Matalan

BonMarche

JC Penney

Many of these companies have yet to contribute you substantially to any compensation fund. Luckily other non-involved brands have stepped up to help.

Ruby holding sustainable fashion poster "I made my clothes" Fashion Revolution

Why do we need a Fashion Revolution?

We need to be thinking more about who made our clothes, where did they make them, how much did they get paid and what their lives are like. A lot goes into the garment making process and the journey they go through before they reach you. Cotton pickers, fabric producers and weavers, dyers, sewers, packers, testers and more. If brands aren’t more transparent with every aspect of the supply chain, how will we know what’s going on. I wrote a post recently about the Organic Basics 2019 impact report. They are particularly transparent with where the garments are made and what the workers are paid. This should be the benchmark for all brands to aim for.

As consumers, we have so much power to change the qorld by just being careful in what we buy

What can you do?

Luckily for you there is plenty of ways to support the Fashion Rev movement in your everyday life, not just during Fashion Revolution Week. You can show support with your choices and your purchases, only buying from trasparent brands. If this doesnt fit into your budget buying second hand is a brilliant way to give life into clothing.

Your voice is very important. You can use your voice to reach out to brands and tell them that they must change. Fahion Revolution are asking you to email, tweet and take to Instagram to ask brands #whomademyclothes Head over to the Fashion Rev website to join the revolution, they have so many resources available to help you.

Feel free to Pin or share these quote posters I have made.

Let me know what you’ll be doing here in the comments or subscribe on the right to stay up to date

Ruby x

Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps with Georganics

Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps with Georganics

Creating a zero waste bathroom is a new mission in my life. While on my sustainability journey I have mostly been concentrating on my clothing and fashion in general. But sustainability goes so much further than that! I realised it needed to apply to my 

Pattern Testing – The Pomona Pants

Pattern Testing – The Pomona Pants

I was recently asked to be part of the pattern testing process for Anna Allen Clothing’s latest garment – the Pomona Pants. A versatile pattern that comes with 3 different views, shorts, wide trousers and tapered trousers. I love Anna Allen’s patterns, they are just 

Colieco Lingerie – Ethical Fashion

Colieco Lingerie – Ethical Fashion

This week I am focusing on one of my favourite ethical fashion brands, Colieco Lingerie. A bit of a different blog post, it’s me in my undies!!

Sadly our holiday to Tenerife was cancelled because of the Corona Virus, I was hoping to show this beautiful set off there and wear it as a bikini. Therefore, I’ve got to show it off here instead!

I’ve been following Nicole and her brand Colieco Lingerie for sometime so I was super flattered and excited when she reached out to me and wanted to gift me a set to share on my Instagram. As I was allowed to choose anything I liked and it was quite a hard task.

Lingerie and roses

Fabrics

As an Ethical fashion brand Colieco Lingerie use sustainable fabric either low-carbon material, or is reclaimed from industry dead stock, line-ends or off-cuts otherwise destined for landfill. So many of the prints are limited edition or ends of rolls. This means you never know when they’ll be gone for good, so you need to order fast! As soon as I saw the beautiful Rose print fabric, Rose Noir, I knew it was the one for me. Anything red or rosy I instantly fall in love with, its in my name, Ruby Rose!

Another beautiful fabric they use is 100% sustainable bamboo silk manufactured in a closed-loop system and carries OEKO-TEX certification, meaning that it is guaranteed free from harmful substances.

Closed Loop Systems

Closed loop systems are made use a lot fewer toxic chemicals, and the chemicals that are used as retained in the loop and used again and again in the system to create more fabric. This means the chemicals don’t get released into our environment. Win, win. Look out for sustainable fabrics like this when you’re shopping. More information about the fabric Colieco Lingerie use can be found here.

lingerie flatlay image

Manufacturing

Another great thing that keeps Colieco Lingerie a sustainable brand is their manufacture process. Everything is made to order in their small studio in Portugal. I just sent over my measurements and received this perfectly fitting set. Totally unique to me! It feels so luxurious and the quality and contruction is amazing.

You can check out their whole collection here

Please note, I was gifted this set in exchange for an Instagram post. The choice to write this blog post was all my own. You can find links to my favourite brands on my Resources page

Thanks for reading

Ruby x

Sewing – Demeter Dress

Sewing – Demeter Dress

This week I have been making a Demeter Dress for my summer holiday wardrobe, as I am off to Tenerife next week. Depending on virus outbreaks, but lets not think about that! I picked up this beautiful mustard cheetah viscose lawn from the fabric godmother 

Sewing Self-Drafted Dress

Sewing Self-Drafted Dress

I thought today I would share one of my favourite and definitely most popular makes to date. This is a self-drafted dress I made in collaboration with Minerva. This was my first make for Minerva who kindly gifted me the fabric in exchange for a