Recent Posts

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. 

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, 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.

Ruby Rose shorts with hand in pocket

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!

Details of pietra pants shorts version

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.

ruby rose bum back view of pietra shorts

Adjustments

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.

Ruby rose wearing pietra 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.

close up hand in pocket

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

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 

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 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…

pale blue tencel

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. 

printed organic cotton

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. 

good fabric leopard fabric

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. 

merchant and mills yellow fabric

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.

organic floral cotton

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. 

woman in leopard top

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. 

I now want to make Maddie Skirt by Tessuti in Urban Leo Tropic. Too many sewing plans

Little girl in leopard dress

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…

good fabric tencel fabric

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

Thanks for reading

Ruby x

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 

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 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.

Sister Mintaka

Sister Mintaka BIPOC owned sewing business

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

Atelier Brunette LENZING™ ECOVERO™ sustainable fabric

Cloth and Candy

Cloth and Candy fabric shop

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.

Cloth candy organic cotton rise and shine

Paper Theory Patterns

Paper theory Pattern BIPOC sewing business

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.

Paper Theory Kabuki tee

Pigeon Wishes

Pigeon wishes Black owned sewing business

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!

Pigeon wishes buttons and sewing equipment

Selvedge and Bolts

Selvedge and Bolts Black owned business sewing

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.

My pick is this lovely I am a Field Italian linen, imagine a demeter dress made from this!

Italian field linen selvedge and bolts

Ocean by the Sea

Ocean by the sea yarns botanically dyed

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!

Beach comber botanically dyed blue yarn

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

Thanks For reading

Ruby x

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 

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 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.

close up detail shot of wool skirt hand in pocket

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.

girl with hands in pockets

Top Tips for sewing with wool:

Pre wash

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.

Careful Pressing

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.

Ruby adjusting sleeves, turquoise jumper and monochrome wool skirt

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

Ruby x

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 

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 my aesthetic, relaxed styles that always have different views and are easy to hack. You can read the previous blog post here featuring the Demeter Dress, which I also helped test.

Pomona Pants shorts

Pattern Testing

I feel like my sewing has generally improved so much due to testing patterns, I have to read the instructions carefully and follow along step by step.

When I agreed to test the pattern I had a holiday planned for the end of the week, which meant I had limited time to get the pattern made up and reviewed for Anna. I decided to make the shorts version so I’d have something new to wear on holiday. But of course with Corvid 19 my holiday was cancelled but I have a lovely pair of isolation shorts to wear!

Ruby Rose wearing Pomona shorts

Pomona Pants Process

As the Pomona Pants pattern has an elasticated waist Anna advised we use the measurement chart and pick the size based on hip size, as our widest part still needs to fit through the waist, which stretches to the same size as the hips. So I decided on a standard US size 6, as generally my hips are a bit larger and my waist slimmer than average.

I chose to use this lovely vintage fabric that my mum found in the back of a cupboard. Because I was in a rush due to my booked holiday I decided to skip making a toile and start straight on the final version. I had so much fabric if it failed completely I had loads more. This pattern is a simple one, as it has no side seams and a grown on waistband it is just one main pattern piece and then a piece for the pocket. Therefore it’s a pretty quick make, and I completed it in under 2 hours. I love the run and fell style seams.

Vintage fabrics shorts back view

Adjustments

So the size 6 called for 30 inches of elastic, I sewed the waistband and formed a casing for the elastic. I then fed the elastic through using a safety pin to create something to grip as I passed it through. I have also been recommended this tool for thread elastic and ribbons available here

Once threaded I pinned it together and tried it on. I then decided to take the elastic in and ended up taking about 3 inches out of it and now they fit perfectly.

One thing I would say is that as there are no side seams, if you needed to make your own adjustments it would be a little trickier as taking in the inner seam is harder to do without messing up the crotch.

Pattern testing Pomona pants

Would I make them again?

One of the design features I particularly like are the fake run and fell seams that have the 2 lines of top stitching. This looks great but the busy fabric I chose means it is lost. I’d like to make a version in plain fabric to really showcase this detail. Maybe a denim version with jeans style topstitching.

I’d also like to try the trousers version, Anna Allen made a beautiful canvas version of the tapered trousers here. Also a lovely silk version here. The pattern is avaialble now, you can purchase it on Anna Allen’s Website

I’d love to here if any of you make the Pomona Pants or Shorts – send me links in the comments

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

Thanks For reading

Ruby

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 

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 blog post on their website. This is just a summary of the self-drafted dress blog and the full blog can be found here.

I am used to working with cheaper fabrics, fabrics I’ve acquired over time and bargain basement cottons. As a result the chance to work with this stunning Atelier Brunette viscose was a real treat. It feels really luxurious and drapes and flows beautifully. You can find it here on the Minerva website. Available in 3 colourways

It is debateable if viscose is a sustainable fabric, as it is made from natural fibres and is plant based, made from wood pulp, which is a renewable source. But like many fabrics it uses a lot of water and chemicals. Above all during the manufacturing process. However making your own garments on a smaller scale is always more sustainable than buying from fast fashion shops.

This dress is self-drafted loosely based off a garment I own but with many changed with sleeves added and the neckline changed. I also added a button closure and a skirt, so by the end of the drafting it was completely different.

The making of this went like a dream and the fabric sewed beautifully. For the rest of the blog head over to Minerva here

Let me know what you think in the comments below or over on teh Minerva website.

In the future I’m going to share more summaries of my Minerva projects. Comprehensive blogs will always be on the Minerva site.

Here is another Minerva summary, Striped shorts

Thanks for reading

Rx

Organic Basics – Sustainable Fashion

Organic Basics – Sustainable Fashion

Today I’m going to be chatting about one of my favourite sustainable fashion brands, Organic Basics. As you know I make a lot of my own clothes but underwear is something I have to buy, Organic Basics is so well engineered and made so I 

Pattern Testing – The Dayo Blouse

Pattern Testing – The Dayo Blouse

This week I have been lucky enough to test the new Dayo Blouse pattern for Sewing Patterns by Masin. As soon as I saw the shout-out on Instagram asking for testers I jumped at the chance. She is fairly new pattern designer, but she already