Spend less, Mend more

One way to slow the pace of fast fashion is to mend more. Adding patches, mending zips, sewing buttons back on and stitching tears all prolong the life of an item of clothing, and stem the tide of buying more. It also takes little time, saves money and is much easier to do than you might think (but if you’d rather not do it yourself, it’s also easy to find tailors/ drycleaners who provide mending services).

In the process of packing my bags for Glasgow and preparing for the course, I’m making sure all my clothes are in good shape, and getting a bit of sewing practice in too.

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holey pocket: before

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holey pocket: after

I learnt most of my mending tips and tricks from my granny’s little pink ‘Make Do and Mend’ pamphlet, which contains specific instructions on different types of fabric and wear, with very helpful illustrations. I’ll blog some more information and images when I’ve remembered which box it’s packed in.

In the meantime, here are a few half-decent instructions I found online.

How to sew on a button – Instructables

Fix a zip – Wikihow

How to patch a hole – Martha Stuart

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Bird printed tea towels

Our lino cuts at the William Morris Society came out so well I’ve been using them to print tea towels to sell in the gift shop.

teatowels06The fabric is medium-weight Belarusian linen, bought on one of my trips to Donetsk. I stitched the tea towels on my trusty 1956 Singer machine, printed, ironed, washed and ironed them again to make sure the colour stayed fast.    towel5towel1towel2towel4towel3Here are the first four so far, two of which sold on day one!  teatowels01teatowels03teatowels05 teatowels09teatowels08

More lino cuts at the William Morris Society

On Wednesday I got round to the exciting activity of testing out the lino cuts Alice and I made last week for the William Morris Society. I keenly/ naively decided to test them out on my nice Belarusian linen, with which I’ve been learning quite a few things about fabric printing lately, and the extra challenges it throws in.

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Ink

I used pots of Dylon fabric here, because I happened to have some different colours at home. Permaset printing ink gives a clearer, easier print, I think because the consistency is thicker, but since I only have black – not very common in Morris’s designs – I opted for the Dylon today.

 

Roller

It took me a long time to realise that a hard roller is the wrong tool for the job when it comes to printing on fabric. A foam roller is best  – art shops supply dinky versions of the DIY ones.

 

Technique

Put a blob of ink on a flat tray, then lightly spread it out using the roller, lifting the roller up a few times to make sure it has a layer of ink all over. Then, and this is crucial, roll it very lightly over the surface of the print, trying to cover the surface evenly and avoiding the background. If you press the roller into the print, as you would with a hard roller, then the ink will just get pushed into the lines and negative space of the design, accumulating and causing a ‘bleeding’ effect. And swearing. Press the lino quite hard onto the fabric for about 30 seconds or so.

 

Re cutting

As you can see from the test strip, a lot of ink was picked up by incidental cutting lines in the background. I really liked the ‘radiating’ effect this gave, but, for our purposes, they had to go. So, I used the initial test print as a guide to tidying up the lino cuts.

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Admittedly, Morris probably would have thought these initial attempts pretty shoddy – the prints are inconsistent and have a few background marks. But then, I quite like the telltale signs that tell you something’s handmade.

IMG_1320By the way, I’ve written this post from Kiev, where I’m on a three-day holiday before I’m off to Donetsk. Pictures to follow!

Softer

Last week a new textile exhibition called Softer opened at the Mill. A follow-up to last year’s Soft show, Softer  showcases the variety of textile talent in E17 and includes a crocheted reindeer head, an applique wall-hanging, a patchwork piece and a book of children’s stitches, to name a few. Oh, and our knitting group’s piece, Softer Light is proudly on display in the window!

Take a look at the Mill’s website for more info, or, better still, come and see the show in the flesh fabric.softeropening1 softeropening4softeropening5softeropening2softeropening3 softeropening6 softeropening7