Sunday, 21 June 2009

Plain greedy

I just wanted to leave a quick post here to say thanks to everyone for the supportive comments about my first clutch in progress. I'll be continuing on it in the near future but I am now away for a little while (until early July). I know, it's not that long since my last holiday, but this trip is of a different kind - it's a friends-seeing trip - and it has been booked for some time. I'm not just being greedy, honest!

Bye for now, folks

Friday, 12 June 2009

Work in progress - Golden and Green leafy clutch

This is how I've been developing the appliqué pattern for my first clutch purse. After sketching out possible layouts (which you can see in this earlier post's image) I then drew lots of possible 'leaf'/'feather' shapes out on graph paper...

Using graph paper helps me to keep my designs symmetrical when I want them to be. In this case I drew half of the shape I wanted, then cut it out, drew around the half, then flipped it over and drew around it again next to the first half, to give me a shape. I tried out lots of different sizes and shapes before I settled on these ones, which I then drew out again on card, for a more durable template...

I decided to make different sizes of the same shape, so I could use the same pattern on different-sized products. In the end I also adapted one shape to make another size (I drew around the shape and then trimmed off an even amount all around) to give me 5 different sizes to use on various sized coin purses, clutches, and possibly bags and pillow covers in the future.

Then I used the shape templates to cut out my silk pieces in two colours and spent time figuring out just how I wanted them arranged.

After about an hour of fiddling with the layout, I took the plunge and fixed all the shapes down with fusible webbing. Eeep! It was kinda scary, committing to a design layout after all that planning, but I think it went pretty well - certainly for a first go. One or two silk pieces didn't quite fix on precisely where I wanted them to (I think it's something that will come with practice and learning how to ensure things are in place whilst also hidden under a protective tea towel!) but all in all it's looking pretty much how I envisioned it.

There will be more photos later as I progress through making this...wish me luck!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

It's not that easy, going green...

A belated "Hello, I'm back from my holiday!"
Devon was beautiful and inspiring. I took a lot of holiday snaps of the boats on the river, but I think this picture is my favourite. I took it looking up at the trees, on the walk to Dartmouth Castle, which is a lovely walk with lush greenness on one side and the river Dart in all its glory on the other.

Now, about the 'going green'...

A while ago, I posted on this blog about trying to change over to more ethical fabrics. It is surprisingly tricky, in this modern eco-conscious world, to be a 'green' crafter. Companies selling goods that are organic may not also sell goods that are fair trade, or vice versa...and when you do find a company that sells things that fit both criteria, they have an unfortunate tendency to be companies based in far flung places. This gives more problems, with the cost of freight and import duties, not to mention the amount of distance the goods will have to travel, thereby adding to the air pollution of our poor, hapless mother earth!

Shifting my products over to ethical, eco friendly materials is important to me. I've been made aware of the environmental effects of non-organic cotton and as an independent businessperson, trying to make a difference in the world, it does play on my conscience that I have hoards of fabric that are just not organic. I'm working on ways to make the best use of them as I can until I get through them and can make my products significantly more eco.

Fair trade is important to me too. I feel that its a little counteractive to be an independant crafter, promoting the handmade movement against a wave of consumerism, to use materials that themselves promote mass production and the exploitation of others.

Not long ago, I discovered a wonderful company that not only sells organic cotton by the metre, but that that cotton is fairtrade, imported directly to England from the happy producers, with outlets reasonably local to me. You know what the absolute bestest part is? The fabric is, as we say in the south west, absolutely lush! Gorgeous colours and texture, just the right weight for what I want to do with it. Here's a sneaky peeky:

It's not always possible to find the exact colour you want...but I've also tracked down some eco friendly dyes that could help with that, and in a way being limited by colour is really good...because it means I can let the fabric guide the design. So far, I have off-white, raspberry red-ish pink, soft grey and heathery purplish blue cottons. These are going to be the base colours for my first few Treacle Toffee clutches, coin purses and cushion covers (pillow covers if you use American English, but I couldn't resist the alliteration there!)

I'm excited about this change, and I hope you folks are too. :-) Watch this space for a post about other eco friendly practices I'm using in the shop.