Crafty fashion: 5 top tips for designing your own clothes

We all want to express ourselves with our individual look but these days this is not as easy as it once seemed. Fast Fashion means that many stores on the High Street sell exactly the same designs, making original style more difficult to achieve. For creative people though, with an eye for fashion, this can mean that the idea of designing and making your own clothing, and, even selling on your designs through eBay and Etsy, is becoming more popular.

If you are thinking of designing and making your own clothing, then there are some items you should invest in. These will help you to create your own pieces, and also to help you to label and market your items so you can sell them on.

1) Colour dyes – Using colour dyes can be a little bit daunting at first as it can be messy if you’re not prepared but it’s a great way to give a new lease of life to your clothing. When dyeing clothes, it is easier to start with an item that is currently one solid colour and one made of natural materials as this most easy to dye. Choosing your dye needs to be based on the types of material you are using and the method used.

Dyeing in a washing machine is much easier when it comes to cleaning up. Make sure you put plastic down to help with the clean up as well. Don’t be afraid of dyeing your clothes with a blend of colour dyes to really give your clothes a unique colour.

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2) Care and Laundry Labels – These are very important if you intend to sell on your items through an online store or market store. You can add wash labels to your item, it will make it look more professional, are useful to the customer, and can also be a marketing tool as you can add the name of your brand to it.

Wash care labels can be brought in bulk, and can also reflect your brand in that they can also be recycled, a good feature if your brand is all about sustainable fashion.

3) Cut out sections – A very trendy look right now is to have gaps made of slits in your trousers and tops. It is a fashion that can be easily achieved by carefully making slits in your trousers on the knees or across the back of a T-shirt. Start off slowly when making cuts and always check that where the gaps appear does not expose parts of your body that you wish to keep covered!

4) Fabric brooches – If you are looking to add a subtle touch of personality to your look then try creating a fabric brooch. To make a brooch you will need fabric, a needle, thread and a brooch back. Brooches can come in all shapes and sizes and these can be completely unique to your own style.

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5) Draw and paint design Ideas – For those of you who love to draw and paint then why not use that skill directly on a garment? Whether you want to add a small logo to the sleeve of a top or you want to create a full top design then using fabric paints and pens are the easiest way to change the look of a piece of clothing instantly. Keep old magazines and interesting prints that you can use as inspiration.

Remember when designing to not always design clothes with just yourself in mind,  as your designs could help you to create your very own business.

A Few More Valentine Gift Ideas

And so January is finally over. Did a month ever feel so long? I’m pretty sure it had at least 70 days, and that almost all of them were dismal. But now, thank goodness, it is finally February, a short month of pancakes, half term, love, and the knowledge that Spring is really not that far away.

I’m continuing with my look towards February 14th, which is, of course, St Valentine’s Day, and bring you a few more gift ideas if you are still stuck for what to get for your most beloved. This post features jewellery, toiletries and alcohol, all of which I would be most happy to receive myself, and hopefully may help you if you are still struggling for ideas. Every gift featured is under £30, just in case you are having a frugal February, and come with pretty packaging which means you can save on paper and gift bags.

Enjoy!

Jewellery From Hersey and Son

Jewellery is a bit of a no brainer when it comes to Valentine’s Day, but rather than opt for something large and ostentatious that will only be worn on special occasions, opt for something that will be loved and cherished, but can also be worn every day.

Hersey & Son is one of the few remaining traditional silversmiths in the UK. Set up by Stewart’s Father in 1955, all of their pieces are still manufactured by hand in their London workshop and have been a trade secret for the last 60 years. Including sterling silver tableware, photo frames, wine coasters and now men and women’s jewellery. 95% of the collection can be engraved making them lovely personal gifts. Hersey and Son have a beautiful range that should suit all tastes, and my current favourite, and number one pick has to be the Sterling Silver Star pendant that is a wonderful gift idea for the star in your life.

I love that you can wear this as a simple star, or can add an initial charm or a birthstone charm to build up the look. It is also available in two chain lengths, which I think is also a great idea when it comes to matching someone’s personal style and taste. The necklace also comes beautifully gift boxed, far belying the fact that the necklace is now less than £25.

Humble Natural Beauty Hand Wash and Hand Lotion

If you have a loved one who is a fan of natural beauty, then I would recommend the lovely hand wash and hand soap duo from Humble Beauty, the new range from television presenter Kate Humble. The set, available from Hayes Garden World, is part of a range of natural and biodegradable bath and beauty products.

The fragrance, which is sweet pea and Verbena is fresh and lingering, and leaves the hands feeling really soft. This would work as a pampering product, or could be something that you keep in the kitchen for keen cooks or gardeners. At less than £20 it is another affordable gift that is also thoughtful and beautifully presented.

Blood Orange Vodka from Il Gusto – The Theatre of Taste

Il Gusto have some amazing bottled spirits which can be totally personalised and are perfect for your Valentine. The spirits include flavoured vodka, brandy, gin and rum, as well as balsamic vinegar, cooking oils and salad dressings.

For Valentine’s day, you can opt for a heart shaped bottle that can then be filled with the spirit of your choice (in my case Blood Orange Vodka – as amazing as it sounds.) The bottle can then be personalised with a message of your choice, and you can also opt for complimentary gift wrapping, and decide if you want an ornamental style stopper for your bottle.

This is such a lovely gift idea for a connoisseur of spirits, and of course it is something you can also share on Valentine’s eve, perhaps as a night cap after a lovely meal.

 

 

 

Fashion Icons Who Support Sustainable Style

With London Fashion Week in full flow, it is sometimes hard to believe that an industry that is perceived to be shallow and vanity based can also be doing something good for the planet. But the 21st Century has seen the rise of recycling, re-using and sustainability when it comes to all areas of our shopping lives, and that includes fashion. We re-use out plastic carrier bags, or better style buy an eco bag, we look for organic cottons and fabrics, and there has been a push to buy British to reduce our carbon footprint. Even the most stylish of fashion parties can now be environmentally friendly, with companies like Little Cherry providing biodegradable cutlery and tableware and party supplies in the UK’.

When it comes to fashion Icons, there are a few ladies who lead the way when it comes to caring for the planet. From embracing veganism, to showcasing sustainable design on the red carpet, these ladies show that you can look amazing without it being at a cost to the planet.

Livia Firth

When it comes to sustainable fashion, Liiva Firth is the queen of the Red Carpet. using each event to launch a green carpet assault. This years Met Gala saw her wearing a dress made from pineapple leaves, a by product of the pineapple harvest. She is also one of the founders of Eco Age, which advises big brands on how they can improve their practices to make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is one of fashion’s most eco conscious names. The designer, and brand, are vegetarian, and produce a wide range of vegetarian, non leather bags as a real alternative to luxury designer leather goods. The dress worn above by Livia Firth is a Stella design using organic silk, once again as part of the green carpet challenge. Stella has said about her designs:-

I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was one of the first high profile names to show that veganism could also be applied to the red carpet. She helped to bring vegan shoe brand Beyond Skin to the forefront as a beautiful brand that showed that red carpet shoes did not have to be leather or suede, and then created her own line of vegan shoes, explaining that:-

“As a vegan, it’s been challenging finding designer shoes made of alternative materials. This collection offers a great selection without compromising quality or style.”

Even if designer labels and collaborations are out of your price range, it is easier than ever to buy into the sustainable fashion message. Charity shops and vintage fashion allow us to reuse and recycle our wardrobes, whilst there are more brands like Gudrun Sjoden who use organic fabrics and look to supporting projects in the developing world that show fashion can be a force for good.

What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion?