Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I have discovered these fantastic products made by a charity called Bottletop. Not only do they make amazing things, but all the proceeds fund a number projects educating teenagers across the world about delicate health issues such as HIV/AIDS, unplanned teen pregnancy, drug abuse and gender equality. 

Also the making of the bags helps people living in the slums in Brazil earn money by collecting ring pulls from old cans and selling them to the people who have learned to make the bags and other accessories from these recycled bottle tops, it seems everyone benefits from this scheme, at every stage. Including us, as we get to buy these fantastic accessories! I have a few items made by bottle top and they are just fantastic! I have never seen anything thing else like them, I love it. 


Friday, 15 April 2011

Lost and found

I know this isn't fashion, but its too good not to share. I came across this fantastic little house, complete with a conker door knocker! It was in some allotments in Bath. I just love it. It just shows what you can achieve with old materials that have lost their original purpose. I don't see why you can't apply this to fashion, as long as you apply some good thought into it, any thing can be made into something beautiful and fantastic.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Jeans Dress

This is a great way to use up an old pair of jeans, and once you know how, it is pretty easy, so you’ll be turning your hand to all manor of different trousers to create a great dress.

1. Hold up the waist of the jeans to the top of your bust and mark how long you would like your dress to be. Cut along this line, its always better to leave it a bit longer so you can cut more off later, rather than it being too short. Keep hold of the off cuts for later.                                   
2. Cut the leg open all the way up the inside seam, make sure you leave the original stitching on the front edge.
3. Turn your jeans over to the back, and cut along the seam from the crotch until you get to the bottom of the pockets, then place one side over the other to make it flat. Pin this in place. Do the same on the front, cut up to the zip.
4. Take one of the leg off cuts, and cut along one of the seams to create a flat piece of fabric.

5. Place this behind the front slit in the front and pin in place.

6. Do the same on the back with the other piece of denim, or you can use a different fabric to fill these areas.
7. Try on the dress whilst it is pinned before you stitch it and make sure it fits and hangs right, adjust if necessary and then stitch up all the pinned seams.

8. Once it is all stitched your dress is ready! If you want straps you can use an old tie, scarf, belt or scrap of fabric. Thread it through the back belt strap and then tie the two ends to the two front belt straps.

Swap Shop

Every few months get together with some friends, everyone has to bring at least one garment that they are willing to give away. Not only is it a great time to have a good natter with some friends you can gain some great clothes from it, and there is no need to spend a penny! The more clothes you are all willing to bring the more choice you will all have and the more goodies you can all take home. Also get your friends to bring another friend, you can meet more people, share more clothes and have more fun! Perfect.

Button Necklace

This necklace can use up any scraps of material you have lying around, and make these pieces into something beautiful. All you need to get is some self-cover buttons; these are the buttons that you can cover with your own fabric. You’ll need piece of robust card, and some ribbon, or a strip of material.

1.Cut a crescent shape out of card, if it is thin card then double it up a few times.       

2.With a pair of pliers remove the hoop that you would normally use to sew the button onto something. This way you can glue the buttons flat onto the card.   

3.Cover around twenty buttons, or how ever many will fit on your
card shape. The thicker the fabric is the harder it is to cover the buttons, so just bear that in mind when picking your fabric.     

4.Using your card shape as a template cut out two moon shapes from your fabric, one slightly bigger so that you can wrap the edges around the edge of the card.    

5.Thinly spread a small amount of glue on one side of the card and stick the larger piece of fabric onto the card, fold the edges round and glue them neatly to the back.   

6.Measure 90cm of ribbon and cut this in half, glue one end of each strip onto the back of your card to create the straps of the necklace.     
7.Glue the other piece of fabric onto the back of the card to cover up all the messy edges.                                                                                                                                        8.Arrange your buttons on your fabric covered card, once you are happy with the arrangement glue the buttons in place, let it dry and your necklace is ready to go!

Fabric Necklace

This is a super simple trick to jazzing up an old chunky bead necklace or if you have a lonely silk scarf that is gathering dust at the back of your knicker drawer, get them out and make something beautiful. All you need is some fairly chunky beads, or even some marbles, and some pretty fabric.

1.Gather around twenty-five beads or marbles measuring at least 1cm, this should make a necklace that will fit over your head so that no fastenings are required.

2.You will need a strip of pretty fabric measuring at least 2m in length and 10cm wide, it needs to be reasonably thin, so thin cottons or silks are best. If you have a square of fabric, cut it into lots of strips and sew together to make one long strip, making sure the seams are on the wrong side of the fabric.

3.Tie a knot 5cm down from one end of your strip, place your bead in the fabric by the knot and twist it around the bead and tie another knot as close to the bead as possible. Keep doing this until all your beads are in place.

4.Once you have tied all of your beads in just tie the two ends of fabric together to create your necklace, and if you have any excess, simply trim it once you have tied the knot. 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

How many ways can you wear a shirt?

Your wardrobe has far more potential than you think; one simple garment like a shirt can become a multitude of other garments. Here are just a few, I challenge you to experiment and find new discoveries within your own wardrobe. This will save you money, and the world! You can create so many new looks with what you already have.

Wrap the collar of your shirt across your back and under your arms and do up the buttons of the shirt down the front, then get the sleeves and use them as halter neck straps and tie them in a knot at the back of your neck.

As before wrap the collar of the shirt across your back and button up the front, and then tie the arms under your bust.

Wrap the collar of the shirt across your bust this time and do up the buttons at the back, then tie the arms at the back to pull in the waist.

Again, wrap the collar across your bust and do the buttons up at the back, and then use the sleeves to create a halter neck.

Put the shirt on over your shoulders but don't put your arms through the sleeves, do up a few buttons and then tie the sleeves in a loose knot around your neck. 

Hold the shirt out by the sleeves and just wrap over the bust and tie at the back.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Upsidedown Jacket

 Here is a simple way to completely reinvent an old jacket, by wearing it upside down creates a fantastic collar, and a wonderful fitted waist. Make sure it has a nice lining, and you're ready to go. 
Firstly you need to unpick the sleeves.
Then you may need to stitch in some darts around the arm holes, as you will see that when you put the jacket on upside down there are little bits that bag out, so you just need to stitch these up to create a flatter finish on the back. The best place to stitch these darts is on the already existing shoulder seam, do it so that you stitch on the inside, so that when you turn it the right way out you can't notice it. Its always best to keep pinning it and trying it on before you finally stitch it.
Once you have stitched in the darts, you need to cut the sleeves to fit the arm holes because you have made them slightly smaller by sewing the darts. Then pin them in place and keep trying on the jacket to make sure the sleeves fit right, once you are happy stitch them on, making sure the rough edges are on the inside of the jacket.

And then you're done! 

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Shirt Skirt

Why just wear a shirt in one way? that's so last year darling!

Here I have made a skirt out of two shirts buttoned together. Its so simple.

 To make the rosettes out of the sleeves is very simple, all you need to do is...

tie a double knot

wrap round one sleeve

wrap other sleeve round and fasten

Be an eco fashionista!

Over the next few weeks I will be showing you how to become more eco friendly in what you wear, and not sacrifice your style! 

Firstly, we must all take full advantage of what we already have in our wardrobe. We all have some hidden treasures that have been collecting dust, brush them off and get them out! And if you feel they just aren't you any more, there are so many things you can do to make them beautiful again, breathe a new life into them, and make them into something you are proud to wear.

Here I have taken an old waistcoat of mine, and customized it into something utterly unique. It isn't complicated, anyone can do this. So why not give it a go!

I chose this waistcoat because I hardly wear it, its a pale colour so any stitching I do on it will show up nicely, it also has a great lining, so I can play with that a bit too, you need to be confident and be prepared to cut into your garment, really take advantage of great linings or fastenings.

 So here I have cut away one section of the outer fabric to reveal the fabulous lining, and then sewed it back up using a wavy stitch on my sewing machine. Its great to play with the different stitches that you have available on your machine, because you can create great effects with minimum effort!

Using free machine embroidery, which is were you take the foot off the sewing machine, meaning that you are free to stitch any which way you like, you can use the needle and thread like a pen, making a continuous line drawing, it takes some practice, you must always keep the fabric taught, if you can its best to put it into a embroidery hoop if you are working on a larger area, and be careful,  try not to stitch your fingers! As you can see I have free machine embroidered some leaves onto these straps.
Its great to add other  fastenings and trimmings to your garment. Here I took the edging from an old pillowcase and stitched it on using another great stitch on my sewing machine. Replacing the odd button with different colour or style of button is a great way to jazz up an old garment. 

If you aren't a savvy on the sewing machine or just don't want to do machine embroidery, then just a simple straight stitch can give you a great effect. That's what I have done here, do what ever you feel confident with, just enjoy it and don't be afraid to go for it, if it doesn't work out, you can always unpick it!

Here I had to unpick the seam and slip this piece of lace in that I had lying around from an old table cloth, and then sew the seam back up, this is my favorite part, and it looks like it has always been there.

So have some fun, and if you don't feel like laying into any of your own clothes just yet, charity shops are a great place to find some hidden gems, older clothes are more often better made, and have the more elaborate linings which you can have great fun with. You can try unpicking a sleeve or something, turning it inside out and stitching it back on, if you have a really fabulous lining you want to show off. The possibilities are endless, the more adventurous you are, the more likely you will make new discoveries and end up with a very special garment.

So now I have a lovely waistcoat that I  wear much more often, something completely unique and I'm proud to wear, the number of compliments I receive from it is surprising, and makes me feel a great sense of achievement to know that I have had a part in creating this garment. Also it has cost nothing, it has saved me buying a new one, and made better use of something old that was being neglected. I encourage you to do the same, have a rummage through your wardrobe and find something to become proud of.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

H&M Conscious Collection

H&M are stepping up to the mark and releasing their new 'Conscious Collection'. A collection that incorporates eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel, and recycled polyester. This is not just a one off collection, it will be a new line that they will keep going. The pieces are very pretty and feminine, a huge contrast to the shapeless unappealing organic cotton t-shits that we see in some high street shops, as their attempt to 'do their bit'. The whole collection is coloured white and natural ivory, no need for harsh chemical dyes with these fresh summer outfits. This is a great start to encourage other brands to do the same, as competition arises and more and more people are buying ethical clothing not just because it is ethical but because it is fashionable too!

But is this enough? are they just trying to bail out saying they have an eco collection to distract us from the fact that they are selling hundreds of other garments which are not eco. Surely if they can create an eco collection can't they make the rest of their collections organic and eco friendly too? Or will this affect their profits to much...?