Thursday, 31 July 2014

Second hand IS always best!

Hello Dear Reader,

Oh I say, didn't we all have a lot of chit chat about making our own clothes. Personally, I would love to walk into a charity shop and pick up clothes that fit me straight off. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I have plenty of clothes that I wear on a regular basis and no one would know they are second hand. I wear them to work or at home. I often buy clothes just to cut them up to make quilts. I keep my eyes peeled for pyjamas and cut them up to make quilts. Sometimes, I back quilts in flannel so they don't slip off and have a warm side that can be snuggled underneath.

My local charity shop often has a sale day where all men's shirts or all skirts, or in this case, all pyjamas are £1. I pointed out that the top was just half the set and got what you can see above for £1.50. It takes no time at all to cut them into component parts, I just rip along the seam. I want square pieces and you'll see why below.

There is a tiny bit of waste (apologies for my old comfy slippers!) and I keep this to burn in my stove.

I even keep the piping ribbons and again, you'll see why if you keep reading.

Here's the pyjama top, cut into squares and it becomes a total piece almost one metre square. In 'old money' a yard. Not bad for 50p! I hope this adds credibility that second hand is always best.

So I have one yard of cup cake fabric and three yards (a lot more fabric in the bottoms than the tops) of soft flannel monkey fabric to use for quilt backing. If you make quilts for your children, anyone else's and especially for a baby gift as some we know is always having a baby, then there is nothing nicer than a soft flannel quilt.

It doesn't matter what you buy second hand, whether it's your clothes, your furniture or as most of us do your car it's always the best way to buy. 

There was a bit of a discussion yesterday about the cost of making clothes. Firstly, I would always advocate buying second hand if you can as recycling, passing clothes on and making good is the best for our pockets and the planet. I wouldn't think there is anyway more ethical to clothe ourselves or provide for ourselves than making do and mending or just using something again and again.

 If, like me, you're an odd size then you might want to have a go at making clothes. I was suggesting that homemade is better if that's an option for you because you'll get something made to your size. Lots of cheap clothing has cost someone something somewhere, in some cases an individual's health and well being. But let me make this very clear, if you've got children to clothe and can't find what you need in charity shops or find that charity shops are too expensive then take a look at ebay for clothes bundles, at Gumtree, in your local paper, on the notice board at school, nursery, church or playgroup. Swap with friends or if you have to because that's your budget and that's what suits you, clothe your kids from discount stores because children keep growing and need clothes!

Over to you Dear Reader, who agrees that second hand is always best and is ethical because you're reusing, saving the planet and keeping clothes out of landfill? Also, who else quilts from old clothes?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Make your own clothes?

Hello Dear Reader,

I do not profess to be a good dressmaker, but I am improving. I have kept the first quilt I ever made as a reminder of where I've come from. It's not perfect but it's colourful. I have done the same with the first dress I made. It didn't fit well. I did learn a lot.

  1. Read the instructions carefully.
  2. Check the patterns sizing.
  3. Check and use the correct seam allowance.
  4. Add extra to the hem/length or shorten accordingly.
  5. Work carefully methodically; it's not a race and you are not on the Great British Sewing Bee.
  6. Start with thrifted fabric, such as a second hand duvet cover and use that as a practise. Then, when the fit is right and you can follow the pattern, then make the skirt/blouse or onesie for real.
  7. Sewing patterns are expensive, use them over and over and they will be worth every penny.

I also spent too much time looking for the right parts of a pattern when I use it the next time. This time, I've divided them into the skirt bits and the blouse bits! I'm going to practise the skirt on some fabric I picked up at a jumble sale for 50p and I shall practise the blouse on some sheet fabric. They might turn out good enough to wear but I may have to adjust the fit. I've measured myself and know neither patterns are long enough for my lankyness and I will adjust them by and extra 1.5 inches.

It's easy to think that we can all just pop into the bargain retailers and buy clothes but they don't last, certainly don't fit me very well and I don't like the idea of throw away fashion. I actually want something of quality that lasts. I hope to have a couple of winter skirts made and some blouses that I could wear at work or with jeans at the weekend. I would love to be able to afford to go out and shop ethically and even better to buy British made clothes. I have a few very well made British items and I wear them over and over as they cost a lot. However, the people who made them are safe, paid properly, can be in a union, entitled to sick pay, maternity pay and a pension. Until, I can add to my wardrobe without doing something unethical, I'm going to keep trying to improve my dressmaking. Some of my loveliest pieces of clothing have that magical label inside "St. Michael" and say made in Britain on them! Of  course, I found most of them in charity shops but they are certainly better made than clothes I could buy cheaply today.

Over to you Dear Reader, who else would like to have a go at making their own clothes? Who else tries their best on an ever shrinking budget to shop ethically for clothes? What about readers from other countries? Are you wearing clothes made in India or China or does your country still have a manufacturing base?

To help you look that little bit more lovely, not that you possibly could, enter the giveaway to win some lovely smellies and the most stunning dusky pink scarf. Please check that you read the T&Cs and check on Friday morning to see if you have won as you'll need to email me your address straight away.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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