Thursday, 18 November 2010

New Labour, New Danger

(N.B. I’m afraid you’ll probably only get my witty post title if you were in the UK and vaguely politically aware during the election campaign of 1997. Anyways...)

I GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To be more precise, I got another job. As you may already know, my first job after moving back to UK was in a patisserie. When it became obvious that it was terrible and I wouldn’t be sticking round for long, I did a cursory internet search and found advertised the job of my dreams happily based just 20mins walk from my flat. I was involved in the interview process when I wrote my Ladies in Waiting post, not knowing if the potential job would pan out or if I would be shortly rejoining the ranks of my waitressing sisters. Well, at the end of the process, 15 candidates became one employee, and thank the God of fabric, that was me! I have been there for two whole weeks tomorrow and feel safe enough now to divulge....

Ok, I haven’t mentioned the best bit, it’s a sewing job!!!!!!!! An ethical sewing job! Yes, really. I now work for the charity TRAID which run a chain of charity shops around London. The shops sell second hand clothing donated by the public collected in donation banks across the. The garments which can’t be sold for whatever reason, and also donated lengths of fabric and seconds stuff donated from the retail clothing industry, get sent down to a workshop (where I work) to be sorted and then recreated and refashioned into new garments which are on sale in the flagship Camden branch under the label TraidRemade. Some special pieces are also available on this site. Everything that isn’t appropriate to be refashioned, plus all scraps generated from the creation process, then get sold on as rag to be reused in other forms or pulped and made into products like fleece and sofa fillings etc.

I work with a lovely creative lady and a small dog called Piglet to produce garments which will hopefully get sold therefore giving unwanted garments a new life and generating funds to help combat poverty. Did I mention I get to sew? All day? With creative imput too? SO exciting.

‘So where’s the danger, Zo?’, I hear you ask. Umm, are you mental?! I spend all day with easy access to refashionable garments and lengths of donated fabric, a lot of which could be mine for a small donation to the ‘Karma tin’ which goes to the charity. Plus the refashioning ideas that are being batted about and put into covetable effect have already resulted in ‘Oh, I’ll just cut one for me too....’, which is how this top came to pass. I have already gained two big bags full of clothing and fabric that is now mine, and this is only Week Two.

You may be all, ‘Ah! So that’s why Zoe is back on the refashioning tip!’ I can’t deny that my new employment has brought the value in refashioning and its endless possibilities firmly back to the forefront of my mind. I’m so excited to learn new sewing methods and construction tips. But I’m going to have to enact some serious self discipline to avoid a tidal wave of new garments and fabric pieces drowning us in our tiny flat.

Back to the top seen here. The pattern was based on one I drafted for myself yonks ago from a well-fitting T-shirt and the gathered sleeve head pattern piece from the Sew U: Home Stretch book. For my own version, I used a men’s sweatshirt instead of the T-shirts used for the ones I made for the range to keep me warmer. The collar is the same however, and used to be men’s shirts. The two buttons I bought in San Francisco a few years ago and I think they bring a touch more femininity to what is basically a sweatshirt.

I don’t think I am allowed to show you what I create at work for the range, but any useful tips and tricks I glean and variations I create for myself will definitely be shared. Happy refashioning people.

48 comments:

jessica said...

VERY exciting!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a dream job!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Zoe, that's great news!
And with work so close to home you'll get to save dosh on bus-fares & get healthy too (40mins walking per day ;) ).

Re: the buying stuff from work - maybe after your inital glut/shock at finding yourseld working in recycled-fabric nirvana you could ration yourself to "X" items per week?

And, re: sowing us your work - if any of your handy work ends up on their website, maybe you could ask head office if it's okay to link to those items on your blog? A) you get to showcase your handywork and B) your employers are pretty likely to get another item sold (from all the people looking to buy their stuff). Sounds like a win-win to me :)

yoshimi said...

Congratulations! This is so exciting. I'm very happy for you, and I'm also sure that you are the best creative person for the job!

Clare said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! I hope you love the new job - good to know unusable donated items get recycled in other ways and hope to see Traid in the Midlands too.
[btw - witty post title fully appreciated and instantly recognised - I'm apolitical but isn't it creepy how slogans like that worm their way into your subconscious so quickly?]

Gail said...

great news for you and well done on your lovely top.

Darci said...

That job sounds AMAZING. It would be SO fun to play "refashionista" all day! For money! I'm glad we readers get to benefit, too. :)

Woo hoo for you!! Congratulations!

rubyslippers_86 said...

congratulations, sounds like a lot of fun!
I really love the top, the little peter pan collar is so sweet :-)

nicole
www.rubyslippersvintage.blogspot.com

Tasia said...

Congrats!! Sounds like an exciting job, where you can not only use your talents but also a job that echoes your beliefs and values. Awesome!!

Carolyn said...

Ultra cute top. I love the touches of subtle warm colours on the black background.
And congratulations on the new job! You are the ideal person for that line of work!

jen said...

hey, congrats!! that has got to be so fun aaand a dog?! yes! your top is adorable, can't wait to see what else you bring home from the shop!

katherine h said...

Going green with envy here...I didn't even know that jobs like that existed.

Carlotta said...

Congratulations, I can hardly imagine a job better suited to the girl behind this blog.

This top is lovely. Isn't it a bit difficult to sew a woven fabric with a knit fabric? I haven't tried to sew any knits yet, but I bought the build by Wendy book a while ago, and would be curious to know...

Sølvi said...

Congratulations!!! That is great news, and I´m so happy for you. That must be the best job I´ve ever hear of. Sounds fantastic. Good luck!

And that top is ridiculously cute. Nice!

Dora said...

Yay, congratulations! The job sounds fabulous.

Swirlyarts said...

I love the Traid shops and go whenever I am in London (which isn't very often I must admit!) Congrats on the job!

Tamsin said...

This sounds perfect for you. Hope you continue to enjoy it and can control they urge to bring most of it home!

Kitty Hawk said...

Congrats on the new job! There was a sort of 'click' reading your post when you mentioned TRAID; ah yes, of course, where else would such sewing ingenuity and creativity find itself a happy (I hope!) home?! From the outside, at least, it comes across as a very cool organisation.

Darn. Now Brighton becomes doubly dangerous to my purse...

Roobeedoo said...

You lucky lucky girl! That is a dream job, it really is!

Law said...

Congrats! Hi Zoe, I'm a beginner sewer also living in Brighton. I have recently discovered the world of sewing blogs, and find them very inspirational! There used to be Traid branch in Brighton, but it has dissapeared. Do you know if has gone completely or just moved? It was such a great shop!

Catherine said...

Oh my goodness I love TRAID! I am currently learning to sew by re-fashioning what I already have (and a few carboot finds my mum sends me from Essex). That is TOTALLY my dream job!!!!! Well done you! All the very best for the future.

Minnado said...

What a dream job for you - congratulations. And walkable too...I am loving the top with peter pan collar, using sweatshirts is a great idea especially as it's gettign so cold now.

sewistafashionista said...

Your new job sounds great. Congratulations! I wish we had such a shop in my hometown because I would definitely be on buying lengths of fabric passed on from the garment industry. How cool.

couturearts said...

Congratulations! That sounds like a fabulous job. I watched a video on TRAID a while back. It may have been on the Guardian site. It looks like a great place to work.

chrrristine said...

congrats, it sounds like the perfect job for you!
I really liked their little shop
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrrristine/3676604264/in/set-72157620669986660/
xo!

Cecili said...

OMG that's the perfect job for you! Congrats, I hope we can follow your adventures/creations there :)

tanitisis said...

WOW, how amazingly exciting! I'm not sure I can think of a job that would be more perfect for you. Hooray!!!!! (and I'm sure you'll get pickier about your bring-homes once the initial shine wears off. Or, y'know, you can just re-donate stuff when your flat gets overwhelmed :)

Myrna said...

Congrats. Our national news station - CBC - did a blurb on this company a few weeks ago. I thought it was quite interesting. Good for you. Your creativity is going to grow in leaps and bounds. YES YES

Tabatha Tweedie said...

Oh wow! Dream job! Congratulations!!

Marghe said...

I'm so happy!! dreams comes true!
Margherita

Alexandra Mason said...

Congratulations!! that is such a fantastic job for you xxx

Tilly said...

OMG Zoe, that is PERFECT!!! I can't believe I didn't think of Traid earlier, it is exactly you!! Congratulations! There's one in Brixton if you ever need to go on a business trip... x

Ally said...

Zoe that is absolutely fantastic!

Well done and well deserved to have such a fabulously wonderful job!

Moksi said...

Felicidades! Really glad you found a job that makes you happy!

lazystitching said...

Wowser! That is such an amazing concept and a truly amazingly perfect job for you! I hope it is everything you want it to be.
~Alana

Alessa said...

Excellent! I love the new top and congrats on scoring such an awesome job! I look forward to hearing your tips!

Clare said...

Amazing! That's pretty much your perfect job. I love traid and have a shop pretty local to me so I'll be checking out the wares! Congratulations :)

bagqueen said...

Congrats on job, I had only just read about Traid this morning and thought how fab to work for them then saw your blog!! I'm so pleased for you.

The sweatshirt looks great and I shall definitely be looking again at sweat shirts in the charity shops, I have a mountain of old shirts so that part is not a problem.

I worked in a knitting and fabric shop about 10 years ago and I have only just finished the stash I acquired!! It hasn't stopped me adding to it from other sources either!! So beware!

Stephanie said...

Wow! What a fab job! Congratulations!

Kestrel said...

Congratulations, that sounds like a great job. And the 20 minutes-from-home is an extra bonus too :)

Zoe said...

I am sooooooo touched by all your sweet sweet comments and congratulations. I appreciate each one so much!!!!!! I have the nicest blog visitors in the universe!

To answer specific questions or points:

-Carlotta: Yeah I thought it would be tricky to sew woven to knit too, but actually it wasn't. I made sure the collar section were notched at the shoulder seam and that the neckline was notched at the CF and CB so that lining it up was easy. Then I overlocked the collar to the neckline with the knit underneath and the woven laying on top. That way i was able to yank the knit where necessary so that all the notches lined up were they belonged. I attached the collar face down onto the wrong side of the knit so I could flip it over and the overlocked edge is nicely hidden under the collar when I turned the garment out the right way. I then pressed the collar into submission and threaded the loose overlock 'tail' into the seam with a wool needle. Then I made a couple of tiny tacks close to the neckline to secure the collar pieces together and at the shoulder seam. We also made some of these type of tops using knit collars and main garment body, and the woven collar versions looked so much cleaner and professional, I would definately use these opposing fabrics together again.

- Kitty Hawk you are partically safe in Brighton and Law you are correct, the TRAID shop here has sadly closed down. Boo! I would have loved to be able to see my creations on sale whenever I fancied popping into town.

- Catherine: Shout out to the Essex homegirl crew! (Of course that is assuming that you are from Essex or did your mum move there?). I hope she finds happy hunting ground there!

-Christine; That photo is gorgeous (as always!)


Thanks again everyone, besos y abrazos!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

marie l. said...

Wow, congratulations !

That is a dream job, indeed. And it looks like they hired the best person for it.

Do you have obligations in terms of how many items you create in a certain amount of time ?

Your blog is always very inspiring, by the way :-)

Jodi said...

Congrats!!!! Your job sounds amazing!!

Amy said...

Holey moley, what an amazing job! I have a t-shirt made by those folks and I really like it, I'd love to check out the London shop as it was given to me as a gift so I've never actually been in the shop itself!

melissa said...

Oh congratulations! TRAID are awesome!! I always stop and stare at their window displays of their Brick Lane/Spitalfields store and get tons of good ideas. What a perfect job for you!!

Eddie said...

Congratulations Zoe!

That is really a great job and I can understand it has started you of re-fashioning again.

I have visited the shop a couple of months ago and found it quite wonderful.
I will probably be visiting it again in a couple of weeks and hopefully I will see some of your creations in there?

@EddieDuckling

Catherine said...

Haha - just saw your reply to my comment - yes I am originally from Essex, Southend to be precise. Now in the north east and covered in snow!

angie.a said...

Oh gosh, I can't say how completely JEALOUS I am! What a fabulous, wonderful, creative, useful job. It's sad to even call it a "job"! You're incredibly blessed. Congratulations!

naughty little pony said...

Brilliant post! it's so exciting. I'm so happy for you, you're the best! xxx m

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