1. When invited to join Selfish Sewing Week and sew for yourself, you jump in without a moment’s hesitation. 2. You immediately clear your schedule – ignore messy house, overgrown garden and hungry children – and get stuck into sewing!
3. You choose a quick and easy pattern so you can double your selfishness and crank out two new tops at once!
4. You don’t skimp on fabric. You dive straight in with good designer stuff you’ve been coveting – because you’re worth it!
5. You take time to sew with RTW (ready-to-wear) details like French seams because your self-made clothes are investment pieces.
6. Finally you gloat about your achievements and boast about them to everyone (see Kollabora.com for more selfishness).
What are you selfishly stitching? Let me know in the comments below.
It feels like a while since my last post and honestly I don’t seem to have had much time to sew or blog since the new school term began! It’s getting closer to winter every day and I haven’t even really begun my autumn sewing!
But onwards and upwards as they say. No time to dwell on what’s not been done! So I’m reviewing a kid’s pattern that I actually made last year, although these photos of my daughter were taken about a month ago.
This is ‘Anorak – 30500’ by Minikrea, a Danish children’s pattern company. Minikrea have a large selection of kid’s patterns and this is the first that I’ve tried so far. The patterns are written in Danish but you can download English instructions from their website – www.minikrea.dk.
‘Anorak’ is a hooded pullover or dress pattern that comes in sizes age four to ten and I made the size age four.
As you can see in the photo, the sizing is quite generous. My daughter’s five and half and it’s more of a dress on her than a top.
I think the pattern makes a cute sweatshirt dress for girls. My daughter isn’t very keen on dresses at the moment – she’s into climbing trees and other not very dress-worthy activities so she insisted on wearing trousers under the dress so she can break out into action at a moments notice!
This dress is ideal for active kids. The styling of it reminds me of Finnish kid’s clothing brand, ‘Finkid’ which I love. The pattern’s designed for fleece or sweatshirt knit fabrics and is simple to make. It’s practical and cosy with the hood but with some cute details too, like the front patch pocket.
I used a natural coloured organic sweatshirt-knit from www.lebenskleidung.de to make this. It’s a heavy duty sweater knit fabric and is super fluffy on the inside making it really cosy and warm. I bought ten metres of this last year when there was a sale on with the intention of dyeing some but I haven’t got round to that yet. I have made a pair of pants for me and a sweatshirt from BurdaStyle patterns from last year and they are really comfy to wear at home.
If you haven’t already checked them out, I highly recommend a virtual visit to Lebenskleidung or an actual visit if you happen to be in Berlin, Germany. The company is German but all the staff speak English and the website is also available in English.
I first met them at Munich Fabric Start, (the twice yearly fashion industry fabric trade fair held in Munich) and whilst most of what’s on offer at this fair is beyond the scope of the home sewist – unless you’re in need of a few thousand metres of fabric of course which is quite a few maxi dresses – but there are some gems within our reach and Lebenskleidung is one of them.
Lebenskleidung is a retailer of organic fabrics, both woven and jersey knits which is primarily for B2B but the minimum order is five metres so I think that it is also within the reach of the rest of us. It has a vast variety of fabrics on offer at reasonable prices.
I used some of their cotton batiste woven fabric on the inside of the hood and on the front pocket on this sweatshirt dress to give it a bit of detail. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
Lebenskleidung have an interesting system for ordering new fabrics too. They have a regular stock of basic knits and woven fabrics and they also offer group bulk buys on other fabrics. You can chip in with a minimum individual order of five metres and be part of a larger group collective order. If collectively enough people place orders to reach the minimum amount needed for production then the order is successful and is processed but if not enough people collectively want it, then it doesn’t go through to production.
The company also actively encourage and showcase new emerging German designers who are using their fabrics and you can check them out on their website. I tried to persuade them to release patterns from these new designers when I met them this year at the fair. Of course I was only joking with them but maybe if enough of us ‘lobby’ them, then it may happen!! They were wearing some very cool knit tops from German designers, when I met them, that I would love to make!
Anyway back to the dress. I also used natural coloured organic cotton rib knit (also from Lebenskleidung) for the cuffs.
I’m no expert when it comes to sewing with knits, they still intimidate me a lot if truth be known, but this was really easy to sew and with good results I think – even my daughter likes it and she’s particularly difficult to please!
I don’t know about you but since I’ve been making my own clothes, I’ve become much more discerning about the stuff that I buy. I’m more conscious of the quality of the materials; who they were made by and where; and how long they will last.
Jeans are something I’ll probably never make and whilst I’m not particularly brand conscious, I do prefer to give my money where possible, to companies that make products and follow business practices that are sustainable.
But we don’t live in an ideal world and it’s not always easy to find sustainable products at affordable prices. So when I was flicking through the latest copy of ‘Eve’, (a German free magazine available in my local grocery store that promotes organic products www.eve-magazin.de) and read their article about Mud Jeans, an innovative clothing brand from the Netherlands (www.mudjeans.eu), my attention was immediately grabbed!
This company’s concept is so ‘right on’ that I just had to share it.
Mud Jeans have been making fair fashion ‘for people who care’ according to their strapline, since 2008. Their stuff is organic, ecologic, sustainable, climate neutral and Fairtrade! I haven’t even seen or touched their jeans in the denim as it were but I love them already! I’m just a sucker for innovative concepts and all things made in Europe.
And as if that wasn’t good enough, they’ve taken the sustainability of their business one step further by offering a new ‘Leasing Jeans’ concept. This award- winning business strategy is the first of its kind in the jeans market and what’s catapulted Mud Jeans into the limelight now.
The idea to lease and not buy products is a win-win concept for consumer and producer. It makes an otherwise expensive item available to a wider variety of consumers because it’s now more affordable and it ensures that the materials remain the property of the company so they can then be recycled. Simple really!
It’s not a new idea though, just new to jeans. I first came across this when I was studying sustainability at Blekinge Institute in Sweden and we discussed a carpet company which switched to leasing as well as selling carpets to improve the sustainability of the company and its products. It’s encouraging to see this business practice being picked up by the fashion industry.
I wish this brand well and hope that this concept catches on and I’ll certainly be checking Mud Jeans out the next time I need some new jeans.
Has sewing your own clothes changed your buying habits? Have any ground-breaking brands caught your eye lately? Does the idea of leasing clothes appeal to you?