I’ve been putting it off making underwear for the longest time. To me it always seemed a bit fiddly and complicated. But I wear underwear everyday, as I’m sure most people do, its such a necessity. So I decided it was important to learn and …
This year Christmas and New Year were so up in the air. I wanted to make myself a fun party dress to wear, even though there were no parties to go to! I decided that as Makerist has such a great selection of dress patterns …
Merry Christmas everyone, you’re in your quiet boxing day slump…recovering from the big day. Time to treat yourself! Makerist is having a big 2 dollar sale, where so many of their patterns are just 2 dollars! The sale runs from Dec 26-30th. It’s a brilliant time to get your hands on some of your favourite patterns for a bargain price. Here’s the main sale page for you to take a look at.
I’ve selected some of my favourites to share with you guys, let me know what you think:
This pinafore dress by Bloem Linen is just so simple and lovely, maybe more of a spring pattern – but perfect layered over some knitwear in the colder months.
The Marius shorts by Ma Petite Fabrique are just lovely, I love the cute frill on the main pic. But this pattern comes with 8 different versions, all that for just 2 dollars in the sale!
The Leona Dress looks lovely, especially in this velvet. I’m already making this pattern, it would have been my Christmas/New Years party dress – but I’m just going to party at home with it on! I’m also planning on layering it with some knitwear and wearing it as an everyday dress. I think that with 2020 turning out the way it is, we need to wear our clothes differently. Sometimes more formal dressy dresses can be worn everyday with boots and jumpers, and I’m totally okay with that.
The Florence blouse is by Size Me Patterns a new designer for Makerist so I’m happy to see them in the 2 dollar sale and cant wait for you to try our their patterns. They all look lovely. I love the shirring detail on the cuffs.
Another blouse that I’ve had my eye on for a while is the Jolanda blouse by Atelier Vicolo N.6. I love the top bib section with the frill and I think this would look amazing hacked into a dress!
My next pick is the Virginia Bag, I’m actually part way through making this one. This is the perfect project bag for me, I always have a different sewing project on the go. When restrictions allowed me I would travel to and from my parent house to sew with my mum. This bag has 3D pockets and an adjustable strap, a leveled up tote bag!
One of my new year sewing goals is underwear, it’s something I wear every day. It really is the ultimate basic! If 2020 has taught me anything, its about being comfy, and what’s more comfortable than the big pants! These high waisted knickers looks lovely, again by Fitiyoo. So versatile and the different panels would allow you to add inserts of lace or mesh. A perfect scrap busting project.
These are just a really small selection of patterns from the sale, you can check out everything here, Makerist 2 dollar sale.
What are your favourites?
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As my second Makerist project I decided to make myself the Lenaline – Alex Sweat but as an autumn jumper. So this was quite an exciting make for me and something that I might not have even attempted last year. This year I have been …
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 …
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 can make or break an outfit. I’ve tried contact lenses but my face just doesn’t look right, I just love wearing glasses.
The same as clothing, the styles of glasses change over time. You won’t wear the same pair of glasses forever – even if they are long lasting and good quality. Your fashion sense changes as you grow up. But the same as clothing, glasses fashion is becoming more circular, with styles of the past coming back into fashion again.
That is when I discovered Retro Spectacle, they take vintage, second hand and deadstock glasses frames – refurbish them if needed and then fit them with new prescription or sunglasses lenses. They have so many beautiful styles, and some really unique quirky frames, it really is the answer to sustainable eyewear.
I caught up with Charlotte from Retro Spectacle to find out more about the brand and its sustainable practices:
Tell me a bit about your background?
I am a qualified optician and have been in the industry for over 12 years. I have worked in high street stores & independent practices, which has given me a wealth of knowledge and experience
What made you want to start Retro Spectacle?
A trip to Amsterdam, sat by the canal having a beer I said the dreaded words “I’ve had a an idea”. Twenty minutes later the URL was purchased and Retro Spectacle was born. That was back in 2016 and now in 2020 the business has grown and I have been able to commit myself full time to Retro Spectacle.
How important is sustainability to you and your brand?
Sustainability is a massive part of our brand. Fast fashion exists within the eyewear sector and this is something that needs to be acknowledged, more so than just creating an “Eco” range. Eyesight is precious as are the glasses that aid it. I feel that that ethos has been lost in translation over the years. People are encouraged to “buy one get one free” and many mass produced frames are poor quality not designed to last. Vintage frames were built to stand the test of time. Many of the frames were hand made by craftsmen in the UK and Europe. Vintage stock has already created a carbon footprint so why not make the most of stylish, high quality frames! Most of our stock is ‘new old stock’ but we also up-cycle frames, refurbishing and giving them a new lease of life.
Where do you source your glasses from?
I have sourced glasses from all over the world, there are no rules when finding vintage stock and it’s impossible to know if or when you maybe able to acquire the same frame again. This makes every frame even more special and desirable.
Do you think that circular fashion trends play a big part in your business?
Yes absolutely, who would have thought Deirdre Barlow frames would come back to be the height of fashion. The vast majority of frames you see on the high street today (and from large global brands) take inspiration, (in some cases to the nth degree) from the past, we’re just lucky enough to have the originals.
What style of frames have been most popular? A surprise seller?
Gucci 2106 has been a popular model. We have a few colours and sizes available and due to the oversized shape of the frames it doubles great as glasses or sunglasses.
For the guys the Elite Maurice is a winner. Strong and distinctive and very durable vintage frames.
Which are your favourite Frames?Crikey, that is a tough one. I have had so many frames come and go.
Emilio Pucci is an astonishing rare vintage frame. A Pucci family member actually got in touch about the frame, which was amazing.
Zoe by Brulimar is a fabulous 80’s style
Finally, I’d have to say Aviator’s in general can look great on men and women, evidenced by our super gorgeous customer Jo sporting the Carrera 5321’s.
Charlotte gifted me these frames, luckily I was able to try on a few different styles before lockdown, and it was a really hard choice! Overall I think that as glasses are a necessity for me, so the most sustainable eyewear choice is Retro Spectacle.
Retrospectacle have given readers of Ruby Rose Sews an exclusive 15% discount code just add RETRORUBY at the Checkout!
If you haven’t already…head over to Retro Spectacle and take a look.
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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. …
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, Organic Cottons, Ecovero and many more. They’ve even recently added some sport and swim fabrics and denim. I reached out to Polina immediately to propose a collaboration, and here we are!
There were so many beautifully curated fabrics to choose from. Then Polina suggested I make a pattern from her selection too. Of course I chose the Pietra shorts from Closet Core Patterns. I then decided to play with colour blocking in the pockets due to the panelling of the pattern pieces. I chose these two beautiful Tencel fabrics in Rust and Golden Tan.
The Pietra Shorts Process
I’ve probably made shorts more than any other item of clothing – I can make a basic shorts pattern with my eyes closed. But looking at the Pietra shorts pattern pieces I truly had no clue. I had a read through the instructions and it all started to become clear.
Working with Tencel is very similar to working with viscose. This particular Tencel has a sheen to it and is quite slippy – so lots of pins are needed.
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 #pietrapants selection is vast, it’s amazing to see what everyone has made. I was particularly inspired by this pair by Sewing for Dais. The beautiful red colour made me realise I needed some red shorts too!
I particularly like the pocket construction; one large pattern piece is folded up to make both the side panel and the pocket bag. Once that was complete and sewn to the top side panel and centre front it started to look more like a shorts pattern I could recognise. The facing on the front is sewn in before the back is sewn to the front. This leaves the back waistband taller ready to fold down and encase the elastic.
The next step I found really fiddly – I’m not sure if there would be a better way to construct the elastic casing and insert it. If there is someone let me know as I had to unpick it at least 3 times. Also, where the elastic is sewn to the side seam is quite bulky. But I eventually managed it. I think they were worth the fiddle.
I then decided to finish by sewing a few lines of stitching over the elastic – because I like the way it looks. The Pietra shorts turned out really well, the sustainable tencel really elevates them.
After inserting the elastic in the back waistband, I used a safety pin to tack it in place to try it on – It was still very loose and so I had to reduce the elastic considerably. I think I may have lost weight from all my lockdown cycling. This meant that they are quite hard to take on and off the elastic only expands to be just wide enough for my hips. It could be my waist to hips ratio, I have a 10-inch difference. So if you have a big difference, I don’t recommend this pattern. – Since writing this I have been informed that Closet Core have made a hack for this. Head over to their blog to find out how to add a side zipper.
I also turned up the hem less than recommended, after making my Anna Allen – Pomona shorts I realised how much I like a longer pair of shorts.
Would I make another Pair?
Although I do like the finished result, like I said above they are hard to get on. So, I think I would add a zip instead. Also, this pattern has a trouser version that I’d be keen to try.
Head over to Good Fabric to see all the lovely sustainable fabrics they stock.
I have also compiled an interview with Polina from Good fabric – Your new favourite fabric store.
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
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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 …
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 garments workers haven’t been exploited in the making process
• The garment hasn’t travelled all over the world racking up CO2 emissions.
• There’s a lot less waste as any scraps will often be repurposed.
The one thing that can be more sustainable is the fabric you use, that’s where Good Fabric comes in. Selling a wide range of ethically sourced, eco dyed and GOTS certified fabric, they are proving that fabrics and trims that don’t cost the earth (literally).
I caught up with Polina, the owner of Good Fabric and was pleased to find out how well our views on sustainability and the supply chain in fashion aligned. It was great to have a chat to find out more about what is sure to be my favourite new shop…
Tell me a bit about your background, have you always sewn?
I have worked as product developer and production manager in the fashion industry for the last 12 years. I worked for brands like Anya Hindmarch, Ted Baker, Galvan London and Missoma. My background is most definitely fashion but I only started sewing this January 2020, so less than 6 months ago. Sewing has come very naturally to me, in my job I would work with factories on construction of items and tell/advise comments, so I understood how to make an item just never made one myself before. Last Christmas for some reason, I just decided to go for a sewing class in my local Southfields, South West London and as they say I was hooked.
What made you decide to start Good Fabric?
I have been made redundant from two or my last jobs, one was during maternity leave and one was recently due to Covid. I also have a 3-year-old daughter Emily, I am one of those lucky people that actually have enjoyed unemployment/lockdown and being at home with my daughter. The thought of going back to work, commuting in the morning, having to run to and from nursery did not appeal to me at all. At the same time, all my friends and colleagues were suggesting that I should start my own brand, since I have contacts in the industry and can actually now sew myself. So, combination of redundancy, friends support and the idea of being my own boss, made me sit down and think. What can I do that will allow me to use my skill, enjoy my work and be related to my hobby and most importantly have the flexibility of being with my daughter? Good Fabric has made perfect sense to me as it answered all my needs, wishes and desires.
Have you always had an interest in sustainability?
Yes and no. In my work I used to travel to China, Italy, France and UK to factories, so I know first-hand what a good or bad factory looks like, seen where the workers eat and sleep and met the people who actually make our clothes. What stuck with me, is that even though these good factories have all the right certifications and are deemed as safe and ethical places to work, I personally would never work or live like this, as this is below what I deem as acceptable living standard despite that there is a piece of paper that states otherwise. I suppose this exposure made me cynic when it comes to sustainability in fashion. So, when I see all these green initiatives by big brands, I simply do not buy into this as nothing can be produced that cheaply without someone being hurt in the supply chain.
My work, has been one of few influences on my journey to sustainability, but I would like to share two more thoughts that have made a very big impact on me:
1) I was listening to a lot of podcasts in my way to work and once I listed to an episode with EcoAge Livia Firth. My takeaway from this episode was that we all should ask a question when shopping – will I wear this item more than 30 times, if not, it should not be bought. This has made such perfect sense, and then when I looked at my own wardrobe, I found that most have been worn less than 30 times and some still had tags on this. This is shocking, so from that thought, I decided to make a challenge for myself – not buy any clothes for 1 year. I believe one way to resolve the over consumerism, is to reduce the demand. Once you reduced the demand, you reduce the supply, so this is my very small contribution to reducing the demand for fast fashion.
2) Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison – I think I was crying reading this book. It focuses on the aftermath of Rana Plaza disaster. There was a sentence said by a representative of a brand that produced in Rana Plaza: the biggest lie we tell ourselves is that our supply chain is free of abuse. So, when I see a green initiative by Primark or H&M – I always wonder if people who work for these brands actually believe in this or are they lying to themselves. again, that’s cynical me. I don’t want to dissect all the good work that brands also do.
So, as you probably have guessed my interest in sustainability is focused on the people who make our clothes.
I suppose on some subconscious level, me making my own clothes allows me to rest assure that it was free of human abuse.
Sustainability is a journey and I know I haven’t even scratched the surface, but step in the right direction is a great step. Conversations like these and platforms like yours, are all part of the learning process.
How do you check the sustainability of Good Fabric?
For each of my fabric that is stocked in Good Fabric, I have a separate tab that refers to its green credentials. All my fabrics come with either OEKO-TEX or GOTS certificate, sometime both. I also have 2 amazing quality Tencel and Ecovero.
These are the 4 standards that I accept at Good Fabric. I also want to stay away from polyester and nylon fabrics, but I do have Lycra fabric which is polyester. The only reason I made an exemption for this supplier is because it does carry OEKO -TEX certification and is produced in the factory that has implemented GOTS certified processes.
One of the very big issues in fashion industry is the lack transparency, so ability to trace all of the supply chain back to the fields where for example cotton was grown is virtually impossible, at least for end consumer. For this reason, I chose suppliers whose big focus is sustainability and whose company ethos is embedded in sustainable practices.
What’s your favourite fabric you stock, and what would you make with it?
Oh, this is probably the most difficult question, I change my mind on a daily basis. I love Urban Leo print in Sorbet by Mind the Maker. It is made in Ecovero viscose. I like to purchase 3-4 meters; in this case I can make an outfit for me and matching outfit for my daughter. See pics of my wearing Florence Top by Merchant & Mills. Emily is wearing Mabel Tiered Dress by Liberty Patterns.
You have a great range of patterns too, how do you select which ones to stock?
Thank you, I am glad you like them.
When I look for sewing pattern myself, I felt very overwhelmed by the choice, there is too much choice out there. So, I try and pick only my favourite patterns, the ones I would buy and make myself. I also want to point our Papercut Patterns from New Zealand. Their patterns are printed on fully recyclable paper, but more importantly their company ethos is very much aligned with mine and I love them even more for that.
What do you see in the Future of Good Fabric?
I have a lot of ideas or how to grow the business, I would love to print my own fabric and work with illustrators in the UK on print and patterns, I also love the idea of making sustainable trims such as bias binding and labels. But I suppose these are a bit of long-term plans.
This year I am focusing on getting my supplier base right and expanding my product offer.
Come next year, who knows, sky is the limit…
If you haven’t already…head over to Good Fabric and take a look.
If you enjoyed this, please subscribe to my blog , 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
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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 …
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 buy from them, when purchasing my fabrics, patterns and general sewing supplies. I usually end up buying from the same few shops, so this research project was really informative. It helped me to not only find great new businesses, but also knowing that maybe in my own small way I could help.
Already a favourite of mine, not only a BIPOC owned sewing business, but women owned too which for me is an added bonus. Sister Mintaka picks some of the most beautiful dressmaking fabrics and has eclectic tastes. She also stocks patterns and haberdashery. As a seamstress herself you can head over to the Sister Mintaka Instagram and get inspiration from some of the pieces, she has made with the fabrics she stocks.
My pick is this amazing Atelier Brunette Lenzing™ Ecovero™ viscose fabric, for its beauty and eco credintials
Cloth and Candy
This is a new discovery to me, but I’m sure many of you have already heard of Cloth and Candy. This POC owned business stocks beautiful whimsical cotton fabrics and there is a whole section of organic cottons which I’m excited to purchase. They do sell in fat quarters so take into account when ordering.
My pick is this amazing Rise and Shine organic cotton linen mix. Its out of stock at the moment but fingers crossed it comes back.
Paper Theory Patterns
Another favourite of mine and coincidentally a POC and women owned sewing business, Paper Theory Patterns make some of the most covetable patterns out there. The Zadie jumpsuit is iconic and they even have a free Stevie Knicker PDF pattern to get you started. Tara the creator of Paper Theory is a big supporter of the slow fashion movement which really resonates with me.
My pick is the Kabuki tee, just look at those stunning seam lines.
This BIPOC owned sewing business is more of a wholesaler, but great for those starting a brand and looking for small minimum quantities, starting as low as 15 meters. Meg the founder of Pigeon Wishes concentrates of sustainable natural fibre fabrics made from closed loop systems that are biodegradable. Also their recently sold out button collection is just too beautiful, can’t wait for more to be available.
My pick is of course any of the beautiful buttons!
Selvedge and Bolts
This BIPOC sewing business stocks some amazing bright prints and designs. Dibs, the owner, started Selvedge and Bolts because of her love of bright bold prints and textures. Her immaculate taste shows throughout her stock of dressmaking fabrics. She even has ex designer stock so you can make one of a kind pieces to really stand out.
Ocean by the Sea
A special shout out to Ocean by the Sea for her stunning botanically dyed yarns. Although I don’t knit, I’ve got to appreciate these eco dyes and the beautiful subtle colours that are created using just flowers and plants. Not only that but her Instagram is full of inspiring imagery and beautiful poetry, such a relaxing place to be.
My pick is this beautiful beach comber fleck yarn, makes me want to take up knitting!
I know this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to amazing BIPOC owned sewing businesses. Do you have any suggestions? Or are you the owner of a BIPOC business and want to be included leave you details below.
Be sure to 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
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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 …
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 be able to carry equipment with me.
I decided that I wanted to make a skirt that looked neat, stylish and smart but was also super practical. So, of course this means…BIG POCKETS.
I recently started blogging for Fabric Guys and I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful wool fabric in exchange for a blog post. Fabric guys have been selling beautiful hand-picked fabrics for many years. They have a brilliant selection, and there prices are really reasonable.
The wool fabric is great because the wrong side was just as beautiful as the right side, which gave me lots of options for creating a garment.
Top Tips for sewing with wool:
Wool often shrinks, so as with most projects it is best to prewash your fabric. Choose either a wool cycle or 30 degree. Whatever you’d be washing the garment on.
Overlock the edge
When working with a woven wool like this one it does have a tendency to fray, so overlock the edges. If you think that this will make the garment too bulky, try using pinking shears.
Mark darts with threads
Due to the larger weave often chalk wont show up so well. Also pins can fall out of the looser weave. So a few contrasting threads work perfectly.
Press with lots of steam, but put something between the hot iron and the fabric as if its too hot you can end up woth shiny marks.
Use a longer stitch length
Set your machine to 2.5-3 to get it more easily through your machine and so it doesn’t bunch up.
This is just a summary of my main blog post over on the Fabric Guys website, so head on over to find out more tips for sewing with wool. Also details of how the skirt was sewn.
At the end I say I can’t wait to wear it to work, but now, I can’t wait to wear it at home!
Check out another of my skirt sewing projects, the SewDIY Nita wrap skirt.
Thanks for reading
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 …
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 …