Handmade clothing edition – Style me up

Handmade clothing edition – Style me up

This year I’m on a quest to revamp my wardrobe with handmade items I’ve made for myself within my business I pride myself on making one of a kind clothing with a feminine edge and I thought if I’m not practicing what I preach then what am I even doing *insert dramatic pose! 

I want to create a style that reflects my personality and that also makes me feel badass whilst wearing them. Confidence is something I have struggled with over the years especially in my 20s and my shyness can be so overwhelming at times but since entering my 30s my mindset has change a lot and my body hang ups are going but it something Ive had to work on and pushing myself out of my comfort zone has been the main thing and I’ve come to realise that it is GOOD for you. 

I find it funny how clothing and hair has always been a fun way of expressing myself and I never had a problem with this, it was like a way of bigging up my confidence which lacked in other ways so now I’m now I’m taking note and creating a fun wardrobe that works for me and make me feel as badass as what my business is. 

If you can find big confidence in yourself then everything else will follow. 

I’m forever inspired by Gucci and I long for the day I can afford one of their kick ass suits so when designing my capsule collection a powered suit was defiantly on the table. Im also very inspired by vintage fashion especially the tailoring, it’s incredible how they had the fit on the clothes. 

You can see my Pinterest board for my handmade inspo here 

My main piece that I wanted to make was a denim jumpsuit as I’m a big fan of a jumpsuit, think 70’s disco with big flares … Hell yeah 

The best thing about designing a collection is thinking how you are going to style it at the end, letting your imagination run wild is fun. 

I had a little rummage through my fabric and found a piece of denim that I wasn’t using and I just managed to fit the pattern on it. 

So whilst making up orders I managed to get my first jumpsuit made up just in time for the summer time. The denim is a bit too heavy but it was a great way to sample up and see how it was looking, Im going to look into a softer drape denim so that the casual look of the jumpsuit sits a lot softer in the body. 

It’s so comfortable to wear and I loved styling it up my velvet chunky heels and my grandma’s crochet hat which is actually from the 1970s  I also finished it off with my long lace coat dress which is available to order over on my shop page.

Im already thinking what other fabrics I can make it up in, I mean wouldn’t it look good in print say like leopard print.

How have you found your body confidence has changed over the years? 

Bridie x 

The inspiration behind my new designs

The inspiration behind my new designs

My new design have gone live! If you haven’t heard already if not where have you been.

I started working on the design development last summer whilst I was on holiday in Portugal. Trying to sit still and relax doesn’t last long with me and my mind is always going, always wanting to do the next thing.

So whilst I was sat sunning myself I pulled out my sketch book and started designing.

The main focus of on these new designs was the tailoring the fit and the purpose of them especially when it came to the jackets.

I also wanted to make them sustainable ad ethical as possible.  My whole business is based around slow fashion and creating quality investment pieces to your wardrobe and outfits that make YOU feel like da bomb! 

I’ve made many garments throughout the years but I always home back in on tailoring and the finished outcome so I went with my strengths on this one 

I wanted to steer away from custom designing the back of them, as much as love creating artwork for the back of them but there is a hell of a lot out there now and I wanted to offer something a bit different and unique. 

I will still be offering the custom design just on a smaller scale. 

Going a little off course a bit but here is a little back ground story of how I first started making biker jackets

Back in 2015 when I first started getting into making these jackets I never knew they would take me this far, from a tiny sample of fabric I saw to making actual real leather jackets. 

It has been a hell of a learning curve, the first ones I made the fabric was well not very good at all but you’ve got to start somewhere and I didn’t have the budget at the time to go for real leather. 

I had never made a leather jacket before so it was completely alien to me. Finding videos as well for guidance was very slim.

I had worked a little with leather before but not on a massive scale so I took one of my favourite jackets and created a pattern from scratch just by looking and measuring it. 

After creating a sample from the pattern I had done I was hooked and was truly excited by what I had created just by eye.

From this I took the pattern and graded up the sizes to a size 8 to 18 this tested all my knowledge of pattern cutting making sure everything was accurate.  

I started with making sleeveless design with what I can say now not very good back designs at all, I was still finding my feet and handling the fabric.

I sat down and developed on these patterns and found these were more popular so bye bye sleeveless jackets.

Roll onto now and back to the original story I was telling you about my new designs.

Each pattern has been developed again to ensure a great fit and I now have a short waisted jacket and a longer length jacket. 

I wanted these designs to be made sustainably as possible and with everything being made in house by myself and all the materials being ethically sourced it has really brought the whole look together. 

LEATHER

I have two leather options available —  real leather and vegan leather. 

I have sourced high quality real leather from GH Leathers in Northampton who are a well recognised for their fabric been ethical and that was a big factor for me.

The warehouse was like an Aladdins cave when I went to look around, I literally spent three hours there easily. 

The iridescent and matt black jacket fabric have been made from the GH Leather. 

Now the vegan leather I was using for the sleeveless jackets had to go that was non negotiable, I disliked it and didn’t show off my jackets to the full potential. 

So I searched for what seemed like forever to find the perfect PU vegan leather to keep this as an option for people. 

After many samples and feeling like I was never going to find the one, I stumbled across a fabric company that I already had an account with just never really used, so I checked out there selection and low and behold they had it all along. It’s soft, slightly stretchy and has a matt finish to it; It could almost pass for being real leather, but it’s not. 

Lining

I have always been a fan of leopard print so I took to procreate to design my own fabric which I could use as a design for my linings.

This has always been a massive goal for me to create a unique design that would stand out and is recognised for been a BTT garment. So the fabric has been designed by me and printed in the UK. I’m hoping to have a few more selections in the future.

Zips 

I had this thought how cool would it be to have black zips, it took me forever to find nice looking ones and companies that actually do them. I then stumbled across a place that makes zips by hand and had an array of colours, They did black, YEY! 

So even my zips have all been handmade within the UK which I am very proud to support these business and not have sourced overseas. 

Boxes.

The final touch was to create a luxury box for my garments to be sent out in, I knew in my head what I wanted but finding the right dimensions was a tricky one.

Luckily I had used the Tiny Box Company before and they didn’t fail to deliver. It was a big cost and with all of my money going back into developing everything it was do I don’t I kinda move and they are made from recyclable products which is a winner and they are handy to reuse after 

I bite the bullet and went for it and I am so glad I did because the perfect and just what I wanted.

All my jackets are now posted in a bespoke black and pink foil Born to Thread reusable box which snaps shut with an internal magnet fastening. 

Which brings me to the inspiration behind it.

If anyone know me you’ll know how much I love the 80’s not just the fashion move in movies and music kinda way so when I was researching the key person that stood out for me was Madonna, I mean what’s not to love about her style which has changed many of times.

It was interesting to see how there was a lot of leather and lace mixed together around that era which is why I have a lace coat dress in my collection 

Another era I absolutely adore is the 50’s not just for the cute dresses but mainly the tailoring that carried on from the 40’s its amazing how fitted and tailored garments used to be. 

Prime example of this is Dior swooooooon in fact I’m going to see the Dior exhibition at the V&A later this year and I’m beyond excited, to see the garment up personal is going to be a real treat for the eyes. 

I also did a lot of research into leather jackets, looking how they were made and all the different style features they had. 

Come follow me on Pinterest to see what else inspires me

With mixing the two together it helped me create the look I was going for and also in keeping with the present day too. 

I pride myself in making garments that make you feel empowered when wearing them and with these particular designs I wanted YOU to feel wild and free whilst wearing them. 

Now to introduce to you my new designs, there may only be three but I didn’t want people to feel overwhelmed and with the leather being a big cost I had to narrow down my choices to begin with.

Also I’m all about slow fashion so I can launch more jackets later when I want. 

I teamed up with the incredible Natalie Pluck who takes the most dreamiest of photos and Gemma Rimmington MUA who’s make up skills are just amazing. 

We styled the shoot at Saltburn by the sea on what was the most foggiest day ever, after such a glorious week of sunshine we were baffled when we were graced with this on the day but I have to say it gave the pictures a more depth and atmospheric.

I thought the beach would be the perfect setting with feeling wild and free. I believe you should be carefree about what you wear,  your style is YOU and don’t let anyone tell you any different. 

LOOK 1 
Iridescent short waisted leather jacket
LOOK 2
Black frill leather jacket
LOOK 3 
Heavy corded lace coat dress.
Style me up – Handmade skirt edition

Style me up – Handmade skirt edition

Style me up Sunday

I have been thinking recently on ways to be more stainable so this year I have decided to spend less on clothing and use my skill to make outfits that I want to wear. 

This made more sense to me because I will actually get a wardrobe that I love and I will have outfits that match instead of buying random things which don’t go with anything I own! 

So I did a little poll on my Instagram to see if people would be interested in following my journey in to the items that I make and how I make them. The response was surprising and gave me the kick to actually do it. 

So first up I made a leather skirt.

There is a big trend in mini skirts (very 1960s vibe) at the mo and I love the variety that is out there. I went for a more straighter line rather than A-line as I find that suits my figure more and gives a bit of length to my short legs!  

If you’re not sure what style suits you the best thing to do is to go find skirts that you like and try them on and you will instantly see which style will flatter you. 

With all my clothing I make the patterns from scratch this way you are guaranteed a perfect fit and  its easier to make any amendments if needed. 

From this I needed three easy measurements — waist, hip and finished length of the skirt. 

I then took these measurements and applied them to guide in my pattern book. 

The pattern books I use are Winifred Aldrich Pattern Cutting. This is an old book but updated versions are available, stick with your own measurements though as standard body guides have vastly changed since this book was published. 

The basic tools to use whilst pattern cutting are:
  • Dot and cross pattern paper — great guide for straight lines. 
  • Set Square or pattern master — rulers with guides and curves 
  • 2H pencil
  • Tracing wheel — to help trace the pattern out for the block that you created.
  • Tape measure 
  • paper scissors 
  • Small paper weights 

Using the instructions in the book I drew out the front and back skirt design using my measurements also remembering to add hem length on to the bottom, the skirt is usually blocked out as a half, so half of the front and half of the back — all of your measurements will be either half or quartered but the book has good guides on how to do this. 

 

When I finished my skirt pattern it looked like this

This is where you handy tracing wheel comes in, I cut out a new piece of dot and cross paper and placed it under the block that I created (front and back) I then used the wheel to trace around the front and the back so that they are two separate pieces. 

With the set square I then went over the tracing to create the outline of skirt again. This is where I added 1 cm seam allowance all the way around the skirt apart from the hem which had 2 cm on. 

I also wanted a waistband on the skirt but not a massive one so I went for a 4 cm waistband which was doubled over so finished it would be 8 cm them 1 cm seam allowance all the way around apart from the centre back and front. 

I then used this pattern to cut out in my fabric which I used a leather look fabric. I drew all around the pattern pieces with tailors chalk making sure to mark the darts ( darts help give shape to the garment and to stop it from bagging around the waist) I could then cut this out and prepare it to sew it together. 

Sewing Time 

When you come to sew leather look fabric or even real leather, the fabric doesn’t like pins and they have a bit of marking which you don’t want! 

A handy trick to use with these fabrics are small bulldog clips as they help keep the fabric together whilst you sew also another handy tool is a roller or teflon sewing foot for your machine. 

This helps it glide across stubborn fabrics. 

I decided I wanted a seam down the front and a seam down the back of the skirt for a bit for a design feature. I started by sewing in the darts on the front then on the back.

When using a leather look fabric its not advisable to iron it as it could melt but if you put your iron on low and place a pressing cloth over the top it helps just get that dart and seam a bit flatter —  not for long though 

From this I then stitched up the front pieces, then the back pieces together followed by the side seams. I could then add topstitching to the front and side seams to add more feature to skirt. 

I love a good topstitch and think it adds a bit more of a finishing touch to the garment. 

Once this was all done I added the waistband which is just a straight stitch all across the top.

Zipppppp 

I have an array of zips ranging from old and new. Some have been taken out of clothes no longer in use and some of them are vintage ones that have the original packaging. I absolutely love vintage sewing packaging. 

I used pink metal zip and made it exposed so it shows the teeth to give the skirt another feature and a little pop of colour to the back. I could then finish off the back of the skirt and add the topstitching down the bottom half just under the zip. I did the same effect to match the front. 

Home stretch….

The skirt is nearly finished. The waistband was folded over to the finish 4 cm, I then folded it in on the inside of the skirt 1 cm and stitched all the way around to give a finished neat effect on the inside.

I then topstitched around the bottom and the top of the waistband to add more detailing it also tied in well with skirt. 

The finishing touch goes to the hem, turned up 2 cm and stitched all the way round. 

Wallah one skirt already to wear. 

The styling bit.

I mean whats not good about choosing what to wear when you’ve made something. A mini skirt is such a easy thing to wear you can either keep it casual for day wear think comfy tee, over sized jumper and splash of colour for the tight or you can dress it up for going out out think a cute shirt tucked in, suit jacket or any jacket would go well and a pair of cute ankle boots to finish off the look. 

For me I went for the comfy day wear to show you how easy it is. I kept it clean and stylish, I popped on a white tee which was a small mans t-shirt I found but I loved the graphics on it. Im not keen on high necklines as they don’t seem to suit me so I chopped off the neck and it made it wider. I also cut up the sleeve and just caught the bottom back together so it created a slit effect in the sleeve. 

You don’t have to keep t-shirts the same you can alter them to any way you want. 

 

I’m a big fan of Calzedonia which is an Italian company and their tights are so good. When I was in Portugal I found this awesome pair that had a shiny line down the back of them. They went really well with the skirt keeping it quite monochrome.

Talking of monochrome I love a bit of dogtooth print yes it might seem a bit grandma-ish but get it in the right item and your winning, It also looks really cool on. 

A few years back I made myself a winter coat using Linton Tweed in a dogtooth check print. It has been an absolute fav of mine ever since I made it and it’s a timeless classic so it goes with anything and will last a lifetime.

You can read how I made it here 

I though this was very fitting to go with this outfit on blustery day, I felt stylish but comfy. 

I strapped on a pair of leopard Vans (the perfect choice) and I was ready to go. 

Real leather bag was also made by me and is available to buy from my shop. 

Have you made your self or thinking about making clothes? I’d love to hear your comments. 

 

Starting a business whilst grieving

Starting a business whilst grieving

Starting a business whilst grieving and even running one is no easy ride, you have good days and you have some really bad days, where it is just a struggle to even focus.

I wanted to share my story not for sympathy or anything like that, in-fact its taken me a hell of a lot to write this and I’m still second guessing if I should press the publish button. 

I wanted to write this because I don’t think it is spoken about enough, people tend to sweep grief under the carpet or don’t express their feelings enough. Grieving is important and what’s helps us heal, you have to go through the emotions to come out the other side.

I’m not saying it will go away and it doesn’t get easier but what I can strongly say is you do learn to cope and you do find a way to be happy again so in that sense the coping does get easier. 

Born to Thread started as an idea back in 2012, I was at a bit a loss with what I wanted to do. I had just got back form travelling and struggled to get a job in within fashion so I decided to set up a business.

At this point my sister was half way through chemo so everything was all bit of a whirlwind and a blur, I was just making and selling products at craft fairs just to take my mind off it. 

Looking back now I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to start a business, I was also helping my mum look after my sister, taking her back and forth to hospital appointments, sitting with her during chemo sessions anything to keep her feeling positive and smiling.

I know they say there is never a right time but you defiantly have to have heart and a bit of a plan together on what you want to achieve. I guess I can say now that my business was just a hobby then as I didn’t really know what I was doing. 

Unfortunately my sister passed in 2013, at this point I could have called it a day on BTT but I didn’t I grew strength somehow and kept it going. I needed that creative outsource to help soften the pain and making things was the only way I knew how to.

It was a crazy time I had all these emotions, I suffered horrendous anxiety attacks at night before and after, it was like I had a fear of the future and did I actually want to run a business.

I’ve struggled so much with my identity of my business over the years and which direction to take it and I wanted to give up so many times because when your in such a low place things just get through to you and it so easy just to say I’m not doing this anymore but every time I felt like this something deep down always stopped me.

I also felt like the grieving stripped my identity away a bit which I think is why I struggled to connect with my work, I wasn’t enjoying what I was putting out there and I was to shy to ask for help.

I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my dream, I have taken so many frustrating paths to get to where I am.

I’m also very grateful to come from a strong loving family where we talk and laugh about our problems which I feel is big thing with anything, especially when running a business. If you don’t talk and let it out then things just get a hell of a lot worse. 

It wasn’t until 2 years ago when I decided to fully work on my self development when the ideas started to flow for BTT and which direction I wanted to take it.I also knew I wanted this grieving to stop dictating to how I was feeling and stopping me from living my life and only I could make it happen. 

I’ve worked hard, pushed my self out of my comfort zone and it’s all paying off. My business is growing stronger, Ive got clearer and I know what I want. I still have days where I think its going to overpower me again, but now I know the signs and I do something to make me feel good.

There is no time scale, no right or wrong way to deal with grief, every body deals with it differently. You just take it one day at a time and do what is right for you. People won’t understand, people get annoyed but isn’t that just life anyway.

If you are going through something similar all I say is just take it one day at a time and focus on what you want your future self to feel. 

Bridie x 

Let’s talk sustainability

Let’s talk sustainability

Let’s talk sustainability…

I’ve been speaking recently over on my social media about what sustainability means to me and why I’m so passionate about why I do what I do in my business.

It’s important to me to get the message across that Born to Thread is all about sustainable clothing.

I want people to start to invest in good clothing as fast fashion is having a huge impact on our environment and people’s physical lives, it’s shocking.

This isn’t just a recent thing it has been happening for years, recently I’ve reading a few articles about what’s happening and have also watched the very powerful documentary on the BBC by Stacey Dooley – Fashions dirty secret (a must if you want to learn more)

I have always been aware of this as we learnt about a few things at university, but this documentary definitely opened my eyes to how disgusting, wasteful and the harmful effect it is causing.

This is why I am so proud of my business been built on sustainable clothing. I try my hardest not to waste and everything you see on my website is made by my fair hands and only me, well maybe a little hand from my mum when things get busy! But you won’t find any major big factories here.

Born to Thread is all about slow fashion and creating a brand that people invest in rather than throw away.

When you shop well and support independent brands it makes the experience so much more memorable and when you think about it you are actually buying a piece of art that somebody has created just for you.

So please have a little think today, have a read of the articles and start to make a change.

It will be so worth it in the end.

Body Positivity | Nicole Jane Photography

Body Positivity | Nicole Jane Photography

Here at BornTo Thread I am all about body positivity and making yourself feel good no matter what so, I would like to introduce the super talented Nicole from https://www.nicolejanephotography.com who has wrote a fantastic uplifting post this week.

People say that the more you visualise something, think about it and how much you want that thing, it will come to fruition, what they don’t talk about is how this doesn’t only apply to positive desires.
I told myself day in and day out that I hated my body, no-one else convinced me of that, I did it all by myself. Until I realised the amount of damage these thoughts and “beliefs” were causing.

Starting boudoir photography was the simple change that made me see differently. “How the fuck can you photograph women and expect them to see their beauty when you can’t see your own?”. This was my turning point.

I began to really LOOK at myself. Why do I hate my belly? Why do back rolls offend me so? Then I began taking self portraits and this changed everything.

Do you want to know which part of my body I love most? (After my butt of course) My back rolls. No I’m not feeding you bullshit, I genuinely adore them, they look cute! Here’s the photograph that helped me see them this way.

I know it’s hard, and there are many ways in which we all would like to change the way we look, society has brought us up that way. Become part of the revolution! Love your fat, or your flat chest, or your freckles. Go bra-less, no matter your boob size! I’m an E cup, my nipples touch my belly when I sit down!

If you want to change something, do it because it makes you feel healthier or improves your state of mind, not because it makes you fit in.

I challenge you to stand in front of the mirror EVERY DAY for at least 10 minutes for the next week and REALLY LOOK AT YOUR BODY. Ask yourself why that thing you don’t like offends you, then ask yourself to ACCEPT IT. You don’t have to love it, but acceptance of individual areas leads to a more likely love of your body.

If you want accountability, join my online community Facebook.com/groups/nicolejaneboudoir where I’ll be creating a thread for this challenge!

Nicole xoxo