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. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS Just for you! 

There is noting like stating the obvious in a blog post but I do get asked these question  and if you haven’t read my FAQ page then I thought I would iron out the answers for you. 

Grab a cuppa and lets get stuck in. 

I’VE FOUND MY PERFECT DRESS; DO YOU DO REPLICA’S?

I do NOT make direct copies and this is something that I am not comfortable with doing. I know it sounds harsh but I’ve spent years and sleepless nights! (at uni) developing my skills and learning my craft. However, I am happy to take ideas and elements as inspiration to help me design your dress or outfit. 

HOW LONG DOES A BESPOKE GARMENT TAKE?

Handmade leather jacket:

If you are looking at a personalised jacket please allow 6 weeks to get in touch but it can be made within 3 to 4 weeks, depending on design.

Jackets that are ready to buy from my shop can take 2 to 4 weeks depending how busy I am.

Bespoke clothing:

The process of a made to measure outfit can take 6 to 8 weeks (depending on the garment been made) with a final fitting required to ensure the perfect fit and finish.

Wedding dress / Bridesmaids:

A custom wedding dress takes time and skill and can be completed in 5 months but if you were looking for a lot of detailing I would recommend 8 to 9 months as this process cannot be rushed. 

You can read more about my services here 

 

HOW MUCH IS A BESPOKE DRESS/ OUTFIT?

It’s hard to give you a exact price when it comes to bespoke as prices can differ depending on style, fabrics and design details.

As a guide price:

bespoke garments from £300

leather jackets from £218

wedding dresses: from £800

I take 50% deposits after the quote has been finalised and I do offer payments plans for the final payments. This can be discussed in the consultation 

I offer a free consultation where all of the above will be discussed.

DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT?

Yes, all my bespoke work is by appointment only.  You can contact me here to arrange a free hour consultation. 

WHEN WILL MY ORDER BE READY?

I aim to have your dress or outfit ready 2 weeks before, if you have a specific date please state this in the consultation.

HOW MANY FITTINGS WILL I NEED?

It all depends on the design and style of the dress, but as a guide it can take 2 to 4 fittings.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN’T MAKE MY APPOINTMENT?

Please let me know if you cannot make you appointment and we can reschedule.

Please arrive on time for your appointment so we have plenty of time to go through everything, if you are running late please contact me ASAP as we may have to reschedule.

DO YOU OFFER REFUNDS?

As all my garments are individually made to measure, I do not offer refunds on dresses or deposits.

 

I hope this has helped give you an outline of any questions you may have but as always please drop me a messgae if there is anything I haven’t mentioned. 

 

Bridie x 

View my lookbook

All my favourite things that happened in 2018

All my favourite things that happened in 2018

Well, hello 2019! Yes, I know were already a couple of weeks in already but the struggle is real! 

Anyone else struggling with these dark morning and finding the motivation to get up go. Any way enough of the winging and more about showing you my amazing year that I had in 2018! 

I was involved in some amazing shoots through out the year, so let me tell you about them all.

First up was my very own fairytale shoot that I organised with the super talented Katie from Alt Wedding Co, based in Leeds Yorkshire and can highly recommend these guys to you.

I wanted to showcase some of items I can make for my services that are stated on my site. 

You can view more images across on my look book page

I was then contacted by Nina a cool ass chick who owns Wedded Kiss in America. Nina was organising a punk rock pizza shoot, she had fallen in love with my jackets and wanted to use them. How could I say no to that when pizza is involved! 

You can view the blog post I wrote about it here.

Next up was a collaboration with Marry Me Ink who I met through Instagram, the power of social media. This was a great opportunity was there was so many suppliers involved in the shoot and it was great to meet them all and put faces to business I had heard of. It was held at River Mills Ballroom which is just a stunning place and would def recommend if you are looking for a venue. 

Read more here! 

Then my highlight of 2018 had to be my collab with Ashley Myers who’s work I have swooned over on Insta for ages, we somehow got chatting one day and decided to do a shoot . Ashley is photographer based in Las Vegas, so I popped a couple of outfits in the post for her create a shoot as to what she likes and the phots were more than I could have imagined. 

View them in my look book here or read the blog. 

I always love connecting with other to create cool ass pic, so if you ever interested in working with me please just contact me here

Now on from the shoots and on to the amazing jackets I was able to create for real life peeps and badass brides. I feel incredibly grateful for all the orders I had throughout 2018, I absolutely love making biker jackets and being able to make something for you to keep as an investment piece — just feels great. 

I even got to work with real leather for a bespoke jacket, which has been a goal of mine since before I stared selling jackets. Now in 2019 my new jackets I am launching will be made from real leather which I have spent time researching and I have ethically sourced from G. H. Leathers which are based in the UK. 

Here are just a few of my fav orders from 2018 

If you are interested in following me more then head over to Insta where you can find me daily chatting shit and showing you behind the scenes footage of my day to day life in Born to Thread. 

Top nine Insta posts! 

And just for giggles here is my top 2018 songs I played on Spotify 

Bridie x  

How I learnt my skills to pay the bills, Meet the maker

How I learnt my skills to pay the bills, Meet the maker

Hi, Hello, Bonjour, Hola …. 

I get asked a lot about how I go into making clothes so I thought it was about time that I wrote a little post about the maker (me) behind Born to Thread and how my skills have led me to pay the bills. 

Ever since I was little I was always draping fabric around everything, drawing pretty dresses and even cutting holes in the middle of the fabric to make something! (sorry mum, at least I know how to cut out properly now)!

I always admired my mum and grandma making clothes and every opportunity I got to help I would, so I guess my passion stated young.

My one memory of sewing was sitting with my grandma on a rainy Saturday afternoon creating little craft pieces, its something she loved to do and I was always excited when she suggested making something and nothing was a problem.

I think it also gave her an excuse to watch kids tv and films too!  

It was always exciting going to visit fabric shops too there is nothing better than getting to see and touch fabric in real, which is quite annoying that most fabric is online now as much as they have an amazing selection it’s just not the same as visiting a fabric shop. 

I started my fashion journey at Harrogate college where I did a year of art and then went on to do an ND in fashion and textiles.

Through the 2 years I learnt how to work on different briefs and design collections around them. I also had my first try at pattern cutting which was very confusing when I first started and many mistake was made! I wasn’t amazing at maths but I persevered and the more I did it the more it got easier.

Here is one of my first creations! I’ve struggled to find photos of these as it was such a long time ago.

Insert cringe face…

My next venture was to University, I wasn’t all that keen on going to be honest but my teacher pushed me to go and I’m so glad that I did because my I got to advance on my skills so much. 

I studied at Cleveland college of Art and Design for 3 years, I did a 2 year FDA Fashion production where I learnt advanced pattern cutting and sewing techniques. 

This course was mainly about the making of the clothing so you focused on all the production techniques used to make and finish off a garment. 

I absolutely loved the making side so I found this course really interesting and really helped that I had amazing teaches with incredible skills to push me. 

We also worked on live briefs with fashion companies which was a real eye opener and the timescale had to be spot on. I actually won a placement with Tesco’s childrenswear through one of these briefs which I was super proud of myself. 

I created a final collection for this course, at the time I was obsessed with couture and always have been inspired by vintage fashion. This collection was inspired by Marie Antoinette, French Frou Frou and the costumes from the film Sweeney Todd.

An array of mixed culture all rolled into one collection.

 I then went on to do a 1 year BA Fashion enterprise which was hardcore I’m not going to lie!

In this year I had a dissertation to do which when you’re not a writing type of person was HARD, lots of all nighters and early morning starts were involved in this. A business plan to create and a whole collection to go alongside of this, so many things to think about! 

But it was great organisation skills and learning how to keep a good time schedule especially when making clothes.

My advice to anyone on there 3rd year of uni… get organised and get prepared.

Also side note the fashion industry is not at all glamorous, it s gruelling, hard work, stressful but if you can push through all of that then your reap the benefits. Just keep going!

I had taken a year off in-between this so I when I went back it was amazing how much my inspiration had changed and style of collection I wanted to create. I fell in love with tailoring, British heritage and suits from the victorian era, especially the dandy influence.

For this collection I also took inspiration from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film because I just think the costume skills that are used in these films are blummin amazing. You can get so much inspiration from the details and colours that are used.

The fabric I worked with was Harris Tweed to push the boundaries of the typical tweed jacket, I was obsessed with all the bright colours that they did and why weren’t people wearing them and just sticking to the boring green tweed! 

Yes, I’m a sucker for colour, but I mean life’s better in colour isn’t it?

I was super proud of this collection and I really pushed my skills with tailoring, it was no walk in the park but it was totally worth it.

Im kinda going back to that now with my jackets, I’ve always loved making them and I find it really satisfying creating a good fit and style to them.

I’m so grateful for all these skills I’ve learnt from the amazing teachers I had because their knowledge was incredible . I always knew that I wanted to start my own business creating fabulous clothes for people to make them feel empowered by what they wear, so that’s where BTT started   

Which brings me to today I’m 32 and I’m still loving creating, I’m also still learning in fact I’ve probably learnt more running my own business than what I did learning at college and uni? 

Education can give you the skills but nothing can prepare for going out there on your own and trying to make it, in whichever way you choose.

All you’ve got to do is keep upping your game especially when it comes to business, You’ve got to keep on top as its forever changing. 

It’s not easy and self employed life can be very stressful lonely place at times but the one thing that gets me through all of this is my amazing customers. When I see your face light up wearing something I’ve created for you, it feels incredible and thats what success is for me. 

Want to know more about my services or interested in starting out in fashion and would like some advice please contact me here.

Bridie x 

Whats been happening

Whats been happening

Whats been happening? Well I’ll tell you its been a busy few months over here in BTT HQ! I’ve had sparkly sequin bridesmaid outfits on the go which are all ready to be posted out for a December wedding.

I also had a custom jacket for a Beetlejuice themed wedding which I made back in September… I mean how cool is that.

The bride made a definite decision that she want red and a black and white striped lining to be involved, so for the back patch we went for a red glitter heart and a pearlised white leatherette for the ‘wifey’ writing, both elements are all cut out and handmade specially to use on one of my jacket which are also handmade from scratch. 

I found this awesome black and white striped fabric online and knew it was a must to use for the lining, everything was starting to team up really well and went with the theme of the wedding deliciously. 

The shape and style of the jacket was cropped which meant the length was cut shorter, with this style sits nice and fitted into the waist. This is also a perfect choice if you didn’t want to hide any detailing you had on the back of the dress. 

Last week I received this awesome picture of the bride who had finally eloped to Vegas to marry the man of her dreams. Don’t you just love the whole look and how rad does the jacket look with her kickass red dress – Goals right there! 

Here are some more close up shots for you to feast your eyes over. My 2018 books are now closed but if you are looking for your very own personalised handcrafted leather jacket for 2019 then contact me today so we can discuss! 

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 

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