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To rummage or not to rummage?

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I’ve always been a sucker for a bargain and it’s no secret that I LOVE clothes. So when Penelope – genius founder of Frockcycle – invited to me join her and Paulina Palian – fabulous fashion designer – on a visit to a recycling warehouse I jumped at the chance.

“Don’t forget the gloves…” read Penny’s last message.

Eh?

We arrived in the blistering heat (yay Summer!) to be greeted by a spectacular sight – hundreds of clothes items drying in the sunshine.

Our mission was to find some fashion faux pas’s for a Frockcycle event on Saturday 28th July. This exciting day is for anyone who wants help and inspiration to transform an beast of a garment into beautiful creation.

Chris Carey Collections is a family run business in South East London whose mission is to recycle unwanted clothes responsibly. Clothes are sorted in to sections according to value or condition by knowledgeable staff. Once signed in (it’s worth calling first) you can take your pick then pay by kg or item, depending on the items, on departure.

HOW many clothes?

So, gloves on and sporting a fetching neon vest (no pictorial evidence…you MUST be joking!) The Frockcycle Three were ready to rummage!

Except for one thing… I had forgotten how truly rubbish I am at the rummaging part. Pun intended. You see I’m more of a ‘Clothes in neat colour-coded rows on rails’ kinda gal if I’m really honest. *Diva face*

So whilst the Dream Team Penny and Paulina filled their recyclable sacks with all sorts of fabulous finds, I leant more of a critical eye. I’m really good at that!

I DID find this over sized skirt though…

Fabulous colours in this ma-HOOSIVE skirt!

However I wear it as a vibrant top! I LOVE it!

Skirt as Top? Why Not!

Come along and have some fun at Frockcycle…or have a go yourself at home! Trust me – an afternoon trying your old clothes on backwards and upside down is the new shopping! (and with friends and wine – hey it’s a party!)

What about you? Do you dive in regardless and rummage?

Are you a Diver… or a Diva?

Reduce, Reuse, Re…what ARE you wearing?

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Over the past few months I have met some really interesting crafty (verb not adjective) people. This year I have made a concious decision to seek out new creative ventures whenever time allows. So when I stumbled across Penelope Else asking for local people with sewing skills for a new venture she was starting I emailed her straight away.

Frockcycle is an event that takes place at Canvas and Cream, a brand spanking new Art gallery slash workshop space slash restaurant in Forest Hill, Sarf East Londinium. The main premise is to up-cycle your old unwanted items of clothing in to fashion desirables with a fresh eye and a handy pair of scissors. All you need is enthusiasm – no previous sewing experience is necessary! Penny runs the show – the first part has involved trying clothes on upside down or backwards – mad fun!

Helpers are on hand to transform the clothes into new fashionable creations. If you need extra crafty items then Pascale from local ‘purveyors of craft haberdashery and history’ Stag and Bow, is there with her array of goodies. Oh and did I mention that you can buy cake and there’s a bar? Perfect.

During the last session Paulina Palian brought along a pair of bright orange trousers and an old orange vest then practically grabbed and pointed me in their direction.

Happy feet!

She knew full well that I wouldn’t be able to resist their vibrant colours (clever woman that). It was her suggestion that I play with the idea of combining them both to make a bolero jacket. In between helping clients I started the venture but ended up taking it home where it sat on my mannequin for a week whilst I pondered and got on with the business of ‘life’. Once I’d started again, after a lot of pinning and tacking it finally began to take shape.

See what I did there?

When 2 become 1.

I added some vibrant African batik cotton with a golden overlay to the edge.

That’s better!

I used the same fabric to create a semi-Cape effect to the back of the jacket.

Super cape in the making!

Next I cut the sleeves, added elastic and pushed them up my arms. Now I was on a roll! Finally I cut a length and sewed it just inside the pockets for a little definition – although sadly my photos haven’t picked this up *tiny sob*.

Avec orange necklace accessory

I was so pleased with my efforts I test drove the outfit the very next day!

Superwoman and her cape!

Tah-Daaaaah!

Your turn!

The next Frockcyle event is on Sunday 28th July. You can book here. Come along, bring your old fashion faux-pas, meet some new interesting people and most of all have some FUN!

Do YOU have any fashion regret-tables?

Or have you turned an unwanted item into an object of desire?

Oh go on, DO tell!

Screen printing for Dummies.

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Anyone who knows me will be more than aware that I have a Very Important Birthday coming up. Next month I will reach the vibrant age of fifty! I can hardly believe it myself! Of course in my mind I’m barely past my 30’s…although my eyesight begs to differ. So  when I decided to have a party…and I wanted to make my own invitations I came across a slight dilemna? Erm…HOW?

Then in skipped Lovely Lucie resplendent in sequined cape and armed with a glittery truck load of screen printing knowledge.

‘Easy!’ she exclaimed.

‘Que?’

Lucie is a talented artist specializing in beautiful screenprints. Together with fellow artist, Mark, they run Studio Luma , a small screen printing studio in East London with a growing list of clientele.

And I’m the lucky woman she agreed to help!

So one not-so-sunny sunday, accompanied by my mother and my own A4 design, we ventured to deepest Hackney. We ate a hearty breakfast (it’s hard work, screen printing – all that arm action), checked that mum had her mobile in her bag and switched it on. We pointed  mum in the direction of Columbia Road flower market (she wanted to go, we weren’t trying to get rid of her!) and then set to work. Over the next couple of hours, fuelled by tea and cake, we produced a batch of beautiful party invites – even if I do say so myself!

Very important gooey green stuff!

Applying the photoemulsion to the screen. Oo-er!

This lovely lady doesn't know what she's let herself in for!

This tickled me for some reason

Tweaking my original design on the mahoosive screen.

Checking the exact fit over the lightbox

We had to leave the room for this UV baby to do its awesome work!

A simple water spray reveals my design. So clever!

Let loose on this crimson paint - mixing with a special ingredient. More gooey-ness!

Garibaldi the curious kitty spies mums Columbia Road goodies

Drawing down the paint. Yeah!

First print complete. Perfect!

Lucie teaches mum how to screen print the final invite. So patient! *melts*

Lots of lovely invites waiting to dry. *proud face*

In return Lucie and I have a few sewing lessons planned. Back in my comfort zone – I can’t wait!

We had a great day and I experienced such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment once we had finished. Looking back I can’t believe I even questioned myself!

Have you ever doubted your abilities and been pleasantly surprised?

Wonder Walk: Wake up!

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I’ve been having one of those meh moments. Great word that. You even have to frown to say it.

As a part-time creative it’s so frustrating when I finally have the time to sew or design… and I’m just not feeling it. Call it losing your Mojo or just being stuck in a rut. Add a massive feeling of guilt, especially in the run up to the Christmas season when there’s so much to do, and it just causes more anxiety. Horrible.

So when I read about Wonder Walks; a way of kickstarting creativity in a  guest post by Laura Simms  for Oh My Handmade Goodness  I was surprised at just how I was excited to try it out. All I had to do was choose a topic to focus on, go for a walk, point my camera and shoot.

I don’t know if I did it ‘right’ but I had SO MUCH FUN wandering around seeing objects through ‘new’ eyes. When I got home I was able to look at my photographs properly I must say I was thrilled by the results.

I would recommend this for anyone, creative, inquisitive or just plain bored, as a really interesting day out.  So without further ado here is a selection of the results of my Wonder Walk. Focus; My favourite colour!

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And it worked…my sewing machine IS ALIVE! Yay! (You have to smile to say that word!)

What do you think? Fancy giving it a go?

Pea Head Vegan

Just me and my head like a pea, eating all the vegan food.

Jack Monroe

The #1 budget recipe website

Patterns

Telling stories & healing through words. Learning as I go

Reddskin

Sewing, making and creating...most of the time.

WB2QB

Worker Bee 2 Queen Bee

Tall. Black. One Sugar

Sometimes you have to hold your tongue, other times you have to say it as you see it.

afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

jazzre:freshed

forget what you think you know about jazz

Holly Coleman

artist and embroiderer

rellestyles

Fashion Stylist. Fashionista. Naturalista. London.

arhinarmah

'Cut from a different cloth'

Pepperbox Couture

Reduce, reuse, recycle - the sustainable design style