Mixing and matching

As mentioned in my last post, I've been working on a bunch of mix and match garments - a response to the need for some basic and easy to throw on outfits, but also a part of a conscious effort to make things that get maximum wear! I thought I'd share them all here in one post. 

Just some of the combinations I managed!
The garments are:
  • Culottes - a hack of the Casual Trousers from Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with fabric
  • Self-drafted side split skirt - made in black crepe, but it's the same as the green velvet one I posted about here
  • Detachable bib - made using the same method as this tutorial I posted 
  • Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck x 2
Pattern hacked Culottes turned into overalls with a detachable bib
I made the detachable bib for the culottes shortly after I finished them a couple of months ago, and really liked wearing them together as overalls. The only problem is, the culottes became pretty unseasonal pretty quickly! So I hunted down some of the same black crepe, and made up a second version of the split side, self-drafted skirt (to be worn with tights!). I sewed buttons on the inside of the waistband so it could be worn with the bib too, as a pinafore dress.

Trying to show off the split in the side...
Continuing with the intention of being seasonal, I made up a couple of Papercut Patterns Rise Turtlenecks, that got a brief mention in my last post. I already owned a few high street incarnations of this style, but after seeing some fab versions of this pattern sewn up by Katie from What Katie Sews and Rachel at House of Pinheiro I thought it was time to brave the stretch fabrics and give them a go.

The Rise Turtleneck worn with self-drafted skirt and detachable pinafore bib
A grey Rise Turtleneck worn with Culottes and bib
I liked the pattern so much that I made it twice over a weekend. The Rise Turtleneck was really easy to sew, and the pattern has dispelled any fear or anxiety I had around sewing with stretch fabric. It's also perfect for layering, hence it's inclusion in the mix and match bunch - I really love it worn underneath this Kielo Wrap Dress.

Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck worn with Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress
I think my favourite combination is the Rise Turtleneck worn with the Culottes and bib. It feels super comfortable and relaxed, yet sort of cool at the same time. I'm thinking I could get away with this on a night out with some heels - I've practiced dancing and posing for the camera in it at least...

Winter culotte outfit!
I think these garments should see me through Winter to Spring as 'basics' - maybe even a bit longer if I leave the tights at home and swap the turtlenecks for a lighter blouse! They're definitely going to make packing for Christmas an easier task. Speaking of Christmas, I think the bib works quite nicely with last year's Christmas Lottie blouse...

Bib and skirt with my party Simple Sew Lottie blouse
Hope everyone's feeling as festive and sparkly :) And that's quite a lot of sewing in one post, so it may be my last for the year! Merry Christmas everyone!

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Sewing, Sustainability and Shwopping

What do you do with your me made clothes at the end of their life?

Installation in London showing how many clothes go to landfill every 5 minutes
Textile waste is a huge problem, which is worsening with growing levels of consumption. I think we can make more of an effort to minimise the damage done - it's said that approximately 10,000 pieces of clothing go to landfills every 5 minutes in the UK - and sewing your own clothes is a great place to start. My clothing choices are much more considered since I've been making garments for myself - 'can I make this in time for a special occasion? how much wear will I get out of this? will the style/fabric/finish stand the test of time?' I guess these are some of the limitations of sewing your own clothes, but it massively cuts down my consumption (and disposal) of 'fast fashion'.

Installation in London showing how many clothes go to landfill every 5 minutes

I've been making a lot of 'mix and match' style garments recently - culottes, trousers and skirts that can be turned into pinafores or overalls by buttoning in a bib. I really have got more miles out of these garments for having the pinafore option (I posted a tutorial on how to draft and make a bib here). I'm hoping to blog about these mix and match pieces in a bit more detail soon, but for now, here are a couple of Papercut Patterns Rise Turtlenecks that I made to throw in the mix and match pile.

Papercut Patterns Rise Turtleneck
The pattern is a breeze to make, and I made up both versions using cosy jersey (the green one even has a bit of gold sparkle in!). I was a bit nervous sewing something close fitting in stretch fabric, but the instructions are really easy to follow. I've seen lots of tops in this style on the high street - and even bought one from H&M - but the quality and fit is so much better on my hand-mades. I've already worn them on their own, with the overall bib, and under a dress. 

Wearing the Rise Turtleneck out to work
These days my dressmaking and fabric choices are much more considered. I strive to only make garments that will get plenty of wear - like these mix and match ones - but pairing a pattern with the right fabric is a great skill, and something I still get wrong from time to time. I feel a bit sentimental about the few disastrous starched cotton blouses/dodgy synthetic numbers and general unworn garments - all the time and effort I lovingly put in, all the things I learnt while making them - but I can't hang onto them forever.

I don't really consider them worthy of the charity shops - I haven't got an overlocker so no professional finishes, and they generally contain a bunch of mistakes - but I don't want them to contribute to that landfill pile either. I did a bit of research and I'm going to donate them to Marks and Spencers/Oxfam Shwopping initiative. All the clothing either goes to Oxfam for resale, or to be sent to those who need it in the Third World, or (more likely in my case) the fibres are recycled to make new material.

So here's to an early New Year's sewing resolution - I'm going to make every effort to make sure I have no unworn garments in 2016. (But if I do have any disasters at least I know that they can be Shwopped!)

I'd love to know what everyone else does with their unworn me-mades! Do you hang on to them, or recycle them in someway or another? Let me know with a comment :)

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