Born to Thread’s best round up of 2019 – the business lessons I’ve learnt

Born to Thread’s best round up of 2019 – the business lessons I’ve learnt

Merry Christmas everyone!

Yes, its nearly time for the big day to arrive and for us to kick back, relax enjoy some family time and eat well probably way too much food!

But before that happens I wanted to do a round up of all the incredible things that have happened with Born to Thread this year and the lessons/ business lessons I have learnt because you know self employed life isn’t just a walk in the park.

Let’s kick off with the fun stuff.

This year I have had some incredible orders for me to make  jackets and personalised leather jackets, they have really tested me in a good way but have been so much fun to make.

Honestly I cannot express how much I love making them but what is even better is seeing my amazing clients rocking them.

I’ve had jackets worn in New York where I also made my final wedding dress (more on that later) for a kick ass bride to wear, matching jackets in Las Vegas, check out the badass couple here and I even got to make a Kiss inspired design for a silver jacket.

Not sure what that would look like then read all about the handmade Kiss jacket here.

It’s not all being about jackets though, I feel like I have really grown into my business this year and found clarity on how I want to go forward into 2020.

This year I have really invested into learning new skills not just with in sewing but more on a business side.

I always used to shy away from learning because I didn’t think I was good enough which I know now that it stems from being put down at school but over the past couple of years I have really enjoyed learning and especially about business.

I really geek out on it now and love taking courses. This year I have learnt about the finance side which was a biggie for me but really went for it head on and it wasn’t a bad I thought! One of my favourite books I have read was Profit First – eye opener for sure and highly recommend. 

Have you guys heard of the No Bull Business School, no? Well, you need to check out Sarah’s courses, she really knows her shit when it comes to business and the courses I have taken have been a real kick up the bum, they have made me look at my business in different way so much. Also if you are looking for a bit of personal development I’d highly recommend her Money + Manifesting course.

Another amazing lady to follow and invest in her knowledge is Maddy Shine – she is like the queen of SEO and I have learnt so much in terms how focus more on my website and figuring how it all works! Honestly I am so happy I took her course because SEO doesn’t seem so scary anymore and to learn how it works is like one of these ah-ha moments.

Towards the end of the year I decided to work with Leah from The Fashion Cultivator. Leah has incredible knowledge of the fashion industry and has over 10 years buying skills.

I stumbled across Leah through a Facebook business group and when I found out she worked within leather jackets when buying I knew instantly that we had to work together. We’re currently working on a new collection which I’m hopefully gonna drop at the end of February – watch this space!

Phew just looking back on that has been a real opener for me, It’s amazing how much you forget over time but writing it down really helps to see how much you have done.

Even just on a personally level too, this year I have really found more confidence in myself too, as a person who has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks over the years I have worked hard to over come them.

I mean they still sneak up on me a times but I know no to be afraid of them and it’s just my body telling me I need to step back and relax a little.

Which if your self employed yourself then you know that it can be hard to do, but I’d highly recommend to avoid burnout?

I think its actually better to take breaks because it can fuel your creativity so much more.

As 2020 is coming up strong have a little think of how far you have come over the past 20 years or 10 years and be proud of how far you have come.

Write it down be grateful for the lessons your learnt and growth you have achieved.

One last thing

I’m proud of myself is overcoming my fear of showing my face on video, Instagram stories – I actually love it now and I have met so many fun people through showing up and talking.

I talk all about different areas of my business to fabrics, products and everyday rambles so come join me if your intrigued.

As 2020 is coming up strong have a little think of how far you have come over the past 20 years or 10 years and be proud of how far you have come.

Write it down be grateful for the lessons your learnt and growth you have achieved.

One last thing

I’m proud of myself is overcoming my fear of showing my face on video, Instagram stories – I actually love it now and I have met so many fun people through showing up and talking.

I talk all about different areas of my business to fabrics, products and everyday rambles so come join me if your intrigued.

So know the lessons I have learnt through all of this:

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing, fear helps you grow.
  • Saying yes could lead you to amazing outcomes
  • Stay strong and know your worth… This has helped me so much over the past couple of years
  • Take breaks! I am human and I can’t do everything
  • Stay in my lane, don’t compare myself to anyone my journey is just as incredible as theirs is.
  • Not everyone is gonna like my work and that is OK
  • Strategy in business is key if you wan to grow
  • Social media is not real – but awe should all know this. Using it in the right way can be so beneficial but using it in the wrong way will just see you spiralling into comparison – Don’t do it.
  • One thing before I forget is I learned that some of my services are not for me anymore. Like earlier I mentioned about the wedding dress, well this year I decided to stop making them not because I don’t like doing them its because my passion for leather work and making jackets is so much stronger that I decided to focus on them. I was a big thing for me to do but you know what I really feel like it was the right decision.

So I think that concludes my lengthy post about 2019 haha. Woohoo I feel good for writing this now as I can see that 2019 was a kick ass year but I’m so excited for 2020.

I can feel it’s gonna be a prosperous year for us all.

Mantra: 2020-You do you always

Bridie x

5 myths about handmade clothing

5 myths about handmade clothing

Im here to talk about myths around handmade clothing and what is not so true. My aim in my business is to bring you quality handmade clothing that last a lifetime and in this blog post I’m going to discuss with you just why

Would you rather buy a piece of fast fashion over and over again or a very well made item that will last a lifetime? I know which one I would choose.

Buying a piece of tailored clothing is a daunting thought especially when you hear such things like:

  • its not well made — poor quality
  • Oh it will just fall apart
  • Its old fashioned
  • Its too expensive

So let’s dive into it.

5 myths about handmade clothing

1. Handmade garments are unfashionable

Wrong! I know it can seem like handmade clothing is just for grandmas who use the kitchen curtains to make a dress or mums who make up the duvet into costume for a school Christmas play… we’ve all been there yeah? I remember having a sheet wrapped around me for an angel in the nativity but enough about that.

Within my designs they are no way unfashionable, I research the latest trends, keep up to date with the latest colours and fabrics. In fact being sustainable and thrifty is the new trend so getting something handmade — you are bang on trend!

 

5 myths about handmade clothing

2. Handmade clothing is too expensive

Yes, it may seem that when first enquiring but if you sit and think abut how much you spend on fast fashion that doesn’t last then in the long run it actually works out a lot less in money.

When it comes to bespoke clothing its an investment piece that is made to fit you so it will not only make you feel incredible, it will also last a lifetime.

When you look at it from a mindset point of view you will probably look after it and enjoy wearing it more than what you would spending on something that you just buy for the sake of buying.

 

5 myths about handmade clothing

3. Hand made clothing is poor quality.

This is one for the mindset again because when you think of handmade you automatically think its going to fall apart because its not bought from a proper shop or it doesn’t have the label on it.

When in actual fact it’s made so much better. Everything in my studio is made from scratch not mass produced so from the cutting out to the sewing up its all checked over by me in which I make sure its made to the highest quality.

When In mass produced factories its passed through several fast production lines which mean a certain amount of garments have to be made in a certain time — where’s the love in that?

 

5 myths about handmade clothing

4. But you can’t send handmade clothing back

My business is based on made to order, personalised and bespoke clothing.

By law my made to order items I do accept returns for faulty reasons and simply if you change your mind.

My exception on bespoke and personalised I can accept returns on the bases on faulty or not as described. However If you do have a problem I always try to find a solution for you especially when it comes to the fit of the garment.

 

5 myths about handmade clothing

5. Handmade clothing is just for special occasions.

Bridal wear and evening wear are special occasions and people feel like these are the only times you should get something handmade.

But I disagree with this I think everyday is a special occasion, if you want to feel confident in what you wear and something that lets your personality shine through then having a piece of handmade clothing is the way to go.

Imagine opening up you wardrobe and seeing something that represents you and you feel excited to wear it — then I don’t have to say anymore.

I definitely think handmade clothing is coming back in a big way, especially when the fashion industry is the biggest threat to climate change. Making a change and buying less choosing well is the way forward.

If you are interested in having coming made by Born to Thread then check out my bespoke clothing service.

 

5 myths about handmade clothing

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. 

 

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 

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.