Wednesday, July 27, 2011

{sustainable design 3} refashion

Source Fall 2010 lookbook
Refashioning is the reshaping of a 'used' clothing garment to extend its life and includes transforming its style. It can be subtle or dramatic. Unlike upcycling, which will be profiled in a separate instalment of this series, the starting point and ending point are both clothing.

The commercialisation of fashion has led to fast fashion and the planned obsolescence of styles before the garment has even worn out. It places fashion at odds with the very notion of sustainability. Never fear! Refashion is here. It can turn last season's shirt into this season's skirt!

You are only ever a couple of clicks away from a refashion co-op or group. Refashioning is perfect for the production of one-offs. Just check out Katwise on etsy to buy some, the refashion co-op to share your own projects and my own little refashion right here.

The use of refashioning as a basis for larger scale sustainable design poses some planning and supply challenges. How can you base a business around refashioning if the 'refashion' is bespoke and depends upon the quality, type and availability of the second hand clothing? Kim Fraser stared down this issue and discovered men's trousers were available in large enough quantities with a relatively standard shape and construction to support a form of mass refashioning... into ladies dresses! This resulted in the T-series of dresses. That capitalised on repeatability and productisation.


Refashioning en masse is possible. And I'll hold the candle for the postive impact of the online sewing communities on mass one-off refashioning. Do you find it easy or hard to throw out clothing? Have you thought of refashioning?

And here's some more from McQ's Fall 2010...  for parting refashion inspiration.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} Challenge 4

1960s (source
Guest Designer: Carla Zampatti.
Take inspiration from 40 years of Carla's work- the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The brief:
Select your decade (lucky dip style) out of bag. Designers work in teams (well, in pairs) to a create two fashion forward looks - they pick a team leader. $180 in fabric store and 12 hours in total to complete!

1970s (source

1980s (source

1990s (source

Random factoid: I attended first year Sydney Law School with Carla's daughter, Allegra!

Monday, July 25, 2011

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} glamourous thrifting

OK - running 60mins late... but here it is. On brief - made in under 8 hours. Voila
A modern day look for the glamorous girl around town. Made out of second hand clothes. Selected by someone else!

A tunic and skirt - makes for three different looks in one !!

1. Belted
2. Free (also great over leggings)
3. Tucked in

This third challenge of Project Runway Australia was hard. A refashion on its own is reasonable enough. Turning jeans or a shirt into a skirt is achievable. The hard part of this challenge was the "glamorous" brief. At best, second hand clothes are practical. At worst, unwearable. Seldom are they made of beautiful fabrics with which to create glamour.

This lined tunic top and skirt were each in their former lives a part of two terribly 80s/90s dresses. One encrusted with diamontes, the other emblazened with cheap gold buttons and admiral style pockets. urgh...

BEFORE - I achieved the challenge's twist by having someone else select the clothes for me

DURING - a little help from Dr. Livingstone. Not my cat, he just happens to call Livingstone House his home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} Challenge 3

 Follow a-long with Project Runway Australia. Do each week's challenge before the next week's episode. Grab the badge and join in!
The Challenge
Create a chic, expensive day look for the modern girl around town.
A truckload of second hand clothes, with three minutes to fill three bags full.
The Twist?
Hand the bags of clothes you selected to the designer on the left.

Is there is a thrift store near you? Easy!
And how to simulate the twist? Ask the shop assistant to fill a bag for you? Or,  maybe fill one blindfolded!

I am excited by this sustainable design related challenge!

Monday, July 18, 2011

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} a dress to impress Dannii

Challenge 2
Completed within time limit (took 7.5 of the 8 hours allowed).
To brief: Clean simple lines with effortless glamour. Feminine, sexy, empowered. Quality and attention to detail.

Looking at Project D's sample dresses, there were many classically elegant looks (with seasonal interpretations). But they were missing one (this one!). I was careful not to make the design too fussy. I focused on simple lines that flattered. Another thing Dannii Minogue stresses to the contestants is that it has to be "commercial". So, my final design is one that is an 'easy fit' and can look great on lots of ladies (the sequins are on stretchable jersey around your middle). And, btw, Dannii LOVES Grecian (drape, drape)!

Details: floor sweeper dress, fitted sequined bodice with side zipper. All other fabric is silk. A gorgeous pale faille for luxurious drape on the skirt. And a lighter silk for a airier drape on the top.

I am really excited with how these challenges are expanding my skills. I made this entirely without a pattern or a toile. The first week's challenge was my own pattern which I made first in paper pattern pieces and then as a toile. This garment is again my own but is 100% free-form construction!

I even had time to make the perfect shrug - the pattern I credit to IchiGoGirl.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

{sustainable design 2} garment miles

Garment miles (and "food miles" in the context of food production) are all about measuring how many miles a garment has travelled to be on your back (or food has travelled to be on your plate). This is done with a view to understanding the environmental effect, and topically, the carbon impact, of those miles travelled.

The primary journeys
In fashion design, the primary journey of the garment to you can be broken down into three parts. First, from the place raw fibre is produced - for natural fibres (or, where the thread is synthesised, for synthetic fibres) - to the place those fibres and threads are woven, knitted or otherwise milled into a fabric. Second, from that place of fabric production to the place the fabric is cut and sewed. Third, from the place the garment is sewed to the shop where you buy it (the distribution).

OF THE FASHION TEXTILE MARKET: Proceedings of the TIWC Hong Kong 2008
So, you see, home sewers are already saving on garment mileage by cutting out (so to speak) the journey from the fabric mill to the garment factory. Eliminating the garment distribution phase. The fabric comes direct to us!

Joan Farrer highlighted the third leg, the journey from the garment factory to you in her study "Conscience Clothing". The carbon emissions were calculated using the QANTAS carbon calculator. Simply select the place of origin of  your garment "Made in ..." and then select your closest city and the carbon emissions are displayed for you.

For all consumers, when you're making the decision to buy clothes, choosing local not only supports local economies and cultures, it reduces your carbon footprint, too!

But wait there's more...

Additional garment line mileage
By sewing our own, we are saving on the sampling phase. It is a secondary journey, because it occurs once for a clothing collection. And it, therefore,  must be divided across all the items in a collection or line. It is the garment sampling process. Garment sampling is comprised of the in-house production of samples by a designer and pattern maker working together as a proof of concept. And it is followed by the off-shore producer recreating the samples before mass-production is approved to commence. The transmission of the patterns themselves can be electronic, eliminating physical mileage. But the samples themselves must be sent back from the off-shore producer to the quality assurance or design team. Click, click. More miles.

Where does your fabric come from?
So are home sewers really making a difference? Admittedly, the fabric is still being distributed to fabric retailers. But there's no trip to and from the garment factory. Each and every saving adds up. Buying local clothing and fabric makes a difference.

Here's some Australian fabric producers:
Standardknit Fabrics
Both offer a great range of organic fabrics. Do you know some more? I am continuing to research this aspect. And have just discovered Australian Textile and Fashions magazine and TextileSource is also an online resource for you to discover some more producers yourself!

See also -
100 mile projects: A 100 mile diet, that in-turn inspired a 100-mile sustainable clothing project (albeit a controversial one) are pioneering initiatives highlighting the many benefits (and challenges) of sourcing locally.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

{giveaway} the art school affair beret

He was a student of political science, who wrote polemic poetry and wore a beret.
She was an arts student, who wore her slips and petticoats on the outside, where you could see the lace.

Italian angora blend jersey, fused with a layer of lace and trimmed with a black cotton jersey to sit gently on your skin.

Yours to win. Simply follow this blog and post a comment below, telling me where and why you would wear it.
(If you already follow, you only need to post a comment).

Monday, July 11, 2011

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} Challenge 2

This week's brief:

A dress for the spring/summer collection for Project D
Clean simple lines with effortless glamour. Feminine, sexy and empowered. Quality and attention to detail.
Eight hours to create it!
Fifteen minutes in the fabric store with just $80

Sound like something you could do? Come on, grab the badge, sew-a-long, upload here by this time next week!

{Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long} the first dress

Finished - here's the first dress

Complies with project brief - single colour; in multiple fabrics; cocktail dress; expresses me!
Approx 11 hours - the designers on the show got 12 hours

The three fabrics are silk satin for the centre fabric. And silk organza has been layered over silk dupion to create the 'matte' side panels.

Like the designers on the show, the COLOUR I worked with is way out of my comfort zone. I haven't seen this much pink since BurdaStyle's Pink & Red Fashion Show .

Does it EXPRESS me? I like structured lines. It echoes the lines of my previous Time Traveller Airlines creation. It is modern classic.

In the SHOOT, (I only just realised) I failed to pan out so you could see the length! It sits just at the knee. And for the doubters - it's a complete garment. Hemmed. Lined. Fitted

Here's the rest of the competitors... do you think I made it through?

Friday, July 8, 2011

baby bunting

Emmy is truly a delight to work with. When the day came for her maternity leave (today!) I wanted to give her something at least half as delightful as she is. Behold, baby bunting. Small bunting, for the baby room - or hers to brighten up wherever she wants.

Made from fabric swatches and samples from the local community centre, like this and these. Approx 90% reuse (from commercial excess) and 10% new bias binding. Spontaneous, creative gifts like these are the reason I like to always have some bias binding lying around.

A simple gift. From one home to another.  Congratulations, Emmy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

{Crafty blogger tip #2} Make a badge (and why!)

Badges are everywhere!

To sew-a-longs;                                                        
Like Gertie’s Lady Grey Coat Sew-Along                                      Or, the Chanel Jacket sew along

To wear-a-longs:
Me Made March                                                                            Self Stitched September

They are a two-way thing. Like wearing a real badge, the maker is trying to promote or spread something. And the wearer wants to express their allegiance or appreciation for that very thing. In the blogosphere that two way exchange takes place between two places on the web  - between a blog and another site.You may use other blog’s badges to show you are joining in a sew-along. If you want to start your own, then you will need to make a badge other’s can use to show they are sewing-along.

Another use, is a form of recognition or reward. Like when you give out a badge for being a beautiful blogger. You can generate all manner of awards here , for anyone you deem worthy!

In this entry, I will be making a badge I can give to other blogger’s when I’ve featured them. Milena , the coolest vintage hairdresser I blogged about asked for one for her. So, here it is

    1. Make your artwork
Like making a button on your blog, you will need a graphic.  

See {Crafty blogger tip 1}  for making a
artwork. Here’s a graphic I made
in powerpoint following
that tute.

     2.  Host your artwork
Hosting is placing your badge artwork in one place on the web that is publicly shared so that everyone that uses your badge doesn’t have to download and upload the artwork file themselves. By hosting it in one location, everyone that uses the badge just references that one location. There are plenty of sites that offer image ‘hosting’ for blogs. Some free sign-up hosting sites are listed here. Sign up, upload your artwork and make a note of the url it is shared at - you will be inserting that url into the html below, where the purple text is.

3. Decide on your destination url
      The destination is where people who click on the badge will be taken, wherever the badge appears. For my "Golly, Passiona blogged about me badge" I have a generic link to my blog - this can be updated to the exact blog post where I blogged about the bearer. For my "Project Runway Sew-a-long" badge, the destination url is the flickr group where the sew-a-long garments are uploaded. Choose your url and make a note of it - you will be inserting it into the html below, where the burgundy text is.

       Now you're all ready to make the gadget. 
    4. Make the gadget
How do I make the code available for someone else to post on their blog? Make a little html script like this one to place in an html/java script gadget on your blog. The first part of the code is a sample of the button, the second part is the code they copy to get the button - paste it all into the one html/java script gadget.
      <a href="insert your destination url here"><img src="insert the url of your hosted artwork here" border="0"/></a>

<div style="width:180;background-color:#FFFFFF;border:1px solid #663300;">
&lt;a href="
insert your destination url here"&gt;&lt;img src="insert the url of your hosted artwork her" border="0" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;</div>

    It will appear in a frame so anyone can cut an paste the html directly into a gadget on their own blog. 

I wonder where I get my inspiration!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

{Sustainable Design 1} intro to sustainable design

Source: Pratt Institut

Sustainable design is a philosophy. Like so many 'concepts with a conscience' its meaning has become twisted and misused in marketing and advertising gumpf. Through a series of focussed articles I seek to redress this sorry state. Beginning with basics. In the context of fashion, it is designing to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  To achieve this, the design process must take into account a garment's creation, use and ultimate disposal.

An early exposure to the concept was in a BurdaStyle feature. Alabama Chanin's focus on the use of local artisans working with organic fabrics coloured with natural dyes seemed so perfect it had to be zen. Then there are its couture embellishments made from fabric scraps that would have otherwise been discarded. I really liked this. For more than I could put my finger on. At the time I was not conscious of the concept of sustainable design.

The next flash in the pan was the announcement of academic Alison Gwilt's contribution to a coming publication on nought couture ( a great name that caught my eye!). The book Shaping Sustainable Fashion was released a few month's ago and has been my constant companion on the commute to work. This has sharpened the concept for me and led to the discovery of more sources and practices. All of which will be shared in this coming series on sustainable design. With practical examples (of many things you probably already do!) so we can all work towards meeting the needs of future generations, as well as our own.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...