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

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