Tuesday 26 November 2013

Labour in Labour

I was wondering earlier today if I am merely naive, or actually slightly touched by madness. The reason being that, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to organise the biggest craft market that I've created to date at EXACTLY the point when I become a mother of a tiny baby for the first time. I had already booked the usual venue for not one but two weekends of festive contemporary crafty goodness before I became pregnant but instead of either cancelling the dates or passing the organisation over to someone else, I decided to go ahead with organising them myself. I thought that I'd be easily able to check my emails here and update the blog there during my final weeks of pregnancy and whilst wrangling a tiny infant. Pat has a photo of me answering Craftaganza emails during the 17 hours of labour that I spent at home before my contractions were close together enough to be allowed to head to the hospital (33 hours from breaking waters to baby, in case you were wondering!).

With over 110 sellers over the two weekends it's been a real challenge, and in hindsight I would not have taken it on, but I am proud of myself for having achieved this and goodness knows we could use the money at the moment. But I guess my actions do show the extent that self-employed people and those who work from home have trouble stepping away from their work. There's probably a more in-depth point to make from all this but I'm too tired to extract it at the moment.

So if you happen to be in the Brighton area, or at least South-East England and looking for something to check out this weekend and/or the following, you'll find some incredible designer-makers selling their wares at the Fabrica Gallery in Central Brighton. You'll be able to scoop up some phenom unique Christmas presents and with different sellers each weekend there's no reason not to visit twice! And there'll be mulled wine. Unless I drink it all.

Monday 11 November 2013

Dolores's Baby Quilt!

This is the fourth baby's floor quilt I've made now, and it felt pretty surreal making one for a baby that I was going to be giving birth to! It would be a bit embarrassing if I didn't make one for Lola, wouldn't it?! Considering I went to the trouble of making the baby and all. 

It might not surprise you to find this one has a nautical theme! The fabrics have a variety of sources: a gift from a friend, a couple of old men's shirts, the scrap basket at Sew Over It and even some left overs from some sleeping shorts my mum made my dad! 

I made this in the exact same way as the others and at the same time as making Theo's quilt as it made sense to buy the wadding and backing fleece for both at the same time. I actually started cutting out the squares for the patchwork before we knew if the baby was going to be a boy or girl, but as I've mentioned before, I'm not a massive fan of gender-specific colours for babies/children anyway so something more unisex suited us better anyhow. 

We've been using it fairly regularly to place her on her belly for 'tummy time' to help her to start developing her neck muscles and head control. Hopefully it's also developing a fixation for anchors and boats as well! 

Friday 1 November 2013

Refashion Friday: Interview with Eddie from Refashion Co-op

(all images sourced from Eddie's Room except where stated)

After the awesome refashionistas I've interviewed so far, you might have been wondering where I was going to go next to find more thought-provoking and inspiring interviewing. Well, I'm very pleased to announce that today's Refashion Friday interview features a heavy-hitter on the refashioning scene: Eddie from Eddie's Room blog and the creator of the influential Refashion Co-op.

Z: What appeals to you about refashioning and can you remember how you begun?

E: Looking back to my very first refashion I can see that I was inspired by Oxfam’s DIY Fashion shops. At least that’s what I said back then, but when I look at my first refashion I seem to remember something else. My first two refashions were of linen trousers which had become worn but I still loved them dearly and the top part with the pockets and zip still fit nicely. I just wasn’t ready to part with them and refashioning them into skirts, thus removing the worn part, brought them back to life.

Z: You are the creator of the popular Refashion Co-op community blog. What inspired you to set it up? What were your aims in doing so?

E: At the time I began refashioning the community blog Wardrobe Refashion was the place to be. I got on there and started blogging, and I loved the community it gave. Then after a month the owner of the blog announced that she was closing the blog and keeping it as an archive. She mentioned that she had for a while been looking for people to help out and that the pressure of running the blog on her own had become too much. Together with a couple of other refashion bloggers I started discussions about setting up a new blog. At that point I was also getting enough of running the Historic Crafts blog on my own. So I had already decided that there was no way I wanted to start up a new refashion blog on my own. Actually I wanted to have a setup that was completely independent from myself and any other editor. That’s when I came up with the idea of having a group of equal editors, none of who had more say than the others. The blog would run on a multi-contributor blog where none of the editors would be hosting it and where none of us could pull the plug either. So in one sentence I guess you could say that the aim was to create a refashioning community blog that wasn’t dependent on one person.  

Z: How has it developed during the two and a half years of its life? How do you feel about it now? Have there been any surprises?

E: I wouldn’t say surprises but more confirmation of that the idea of having a group of editors is a good one. I took a whole year off on maternity leave and then I came back to my editors duties last summer. It worked. The blog kept going even though I wasn’t around. Out of the original 7 editors only a few of us are still around. New editors have joined, and different editors have been primus motor for a period. Because of the structure it also gives different editors the opportunity to take a more leading role when they have the time and when they feel a bit burned out or other things in their life gets in the way then they can step back and just do the minimum of editing or quit altogether. The refashion Co-op survives.

Z: What role does refashioning play in your life?

E: I have never been into shopping. However, since I was a teenager I always loved visiting charity shops. Over the years I discovered refashioning and it gave me the opportunity to rework old clothes from my own wardrobe also and create unique clothing items that suited me. I think it’s the joy of creating something unique that drives my refashions - also when it comes to homewear.

Z: You've made some fabulous refashions for both yourself and your family. How much of what you/they 
wear has been refashioned or made by you?

E: Well thank you :-) The truth is, surprisingly little, really! At least when it comes to my daughter. I made a funny discovery recently when washing her knitwear. Out of 15 or so items only 1 was actually knit by me. Despite the fact that I knit, a lot, and even design my own knitting patterns, it turned out that many of her sweaters and cardigans were either gifts from my amazing knitting friends, Granny knits from her lovely Grandmothers or items I had bought in charity shops. Most of her clothes are sewn by my fabulous sister. I did prep a load of refashioned items for harem pants for her - but in the end it was my mother and sister who sewed 
them together and brought them to Munich, while we lived there.

I guess when it comes to myself around ⅓ of what I wear is pre-used, ⅓ is refashioned and ⅓ is new and preferably organic cotton.

(my favourite of Eddie's refashions: old adult's T-shirts into children's harem pants)

Z: Where do you find your inspiration for refashioning?

E: Well on Refashion Co-op of course :-) and Pinterest. I have set up group boards for sharing refashions on Pinterest recently and am hoping more and more people will join. Sometimes Pinterest can be such a crazy place to find anything. That’s why I’ve decided to create the subsection groups from dresses, etc. And because a few people like myself also rework other items for the home or garden I created a Recycle Co-op as a Pinterest group board, just for that.

But coming back to the Refashion Co-op, one of the things that has been bothering me lately is that it is so difficult to find things on the Refashion Co-op too. Say I want to find great ideas for refashioning dresses - it’s near impossible at the moment and the search function is not great either. So I set out to change this and I am working on it - however slowly. I do this through the edited Pinterest boards such as this one for dresses. There is still a lot of work to be done on dresses alone as I have approx 1500 posts potentially about dresses to go through yet. So the more people engage with and use these boards the more motivated I become to get this work done!

Finally, I also get a lot of inspiration from more established refashionistas such as yourself, Zoe, whose style I absolutely adore.

Z: What would you say is the Danish attitude towards 'DIY' culture and practices? Does your homeland have a history of doing such things?

E: My feeling is that historically we have a similar history to the UK when it comes to DIY and Make Do and Mend but perhaps without the posters and public campaign. I think that many Danes come to DIY naturally and generally speaking Danes are a very creative bunch with a great tradition for DIY. But it’s not something we talk so much about yet and I think that many Danes are not aware that there is a world wide DIY revolution (so to speak) going on through the internet.

Z: What would you say are your three favourite refashions you've completed?

E: Number one is without doubt the men’s shirt to women’s blouse I made last autumn. I have just begun to work on something along the same lines again. My husband used to wear shirts a lot so there is plenty of material to get cracking with, even though I used most of the shirts for a pair of curtains (which if you are interested - I made a tutorial for). This is not technically a refashion in Refashion Co-op terms as I can’t wear them (unless I do a Scarlet O’Hara of course), so I won’t count it as one of my 3. Then there are the harem pants I made for my daughter out of my mother’s old t-shirts from Swaziland. I love the motifs on the t-shirts but we finally came to the realisation that no-one was ever going to wear these t-shirts again. 

Finally, I want to talk about one of my early refashions which is a knitting project. A couple of years ago I was really into thrifting knitted sweaters, unravelling them and reknitting them. For me this is also refashioning and a way of putting my knitting skills to good use. My first ever knitted shawl project was one of these. I still have some of this recycled yarn left which I am using to knit a pair of Rosie’s Firestarter Socks that have come out with a wonderful young adult book by Heather Ordover called Grounded. I am very excited about this knitted sock refashion as well as the book.

Z: Can you share with us three of your favourite refashions by other people?

E: This is why, even though it is hard work and so many posts to go through, I love looking through the Refashion Co-op posts and sorting them for the dress Pinterest board. I found so many amazing dress refashions. Ones I had forgotten about, ones I had never seen before, old ideas and totally new and wacky ideas. I have long been thinking about making a dress out of a pair of trousers and then I spotted that Dairy of a Mad Mama had done just that. It’s a crazy idea but it works.

I love lace and when I saw Jacqui from Birds of a Thread’s dress with lace refashion I was blown away. It’s an easy refashion but I sure can’t wait to try it.

Finally, you probably realised that I love men’s shirts refashions and dindin does did this fab little black skirt out of a men’s shirt. dindin does is also the same person who made the fun social media icons I use on my own blog.

Z: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to try refashioning but aren’t sure where to start?

E: Come visit us on Refashion Co-op - both the blog and the Pinterest boards and have a look around for some inspiration and then just jump in. Try stuff out - it may work, it may not. Try again :-) When you make something you like, share it with us. Share it on our Facebook page, join one of our groups on Pinterest and if you feel up to the challenge of posting a refashion a month, do sign up as a contributor on Refashion Co-op. We would so love to meet you and see your fabulous style.

Thanks so much Eddie for both taking the time to participate in this interview AND for creating awesome resources for inspiring garment refashioning! Good luck with organising those Pinterest boards...

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