Upcycling Dungarees

Last summer on a very hot day I panic bought some dungaree shorts from a vintage shop. They’re cool, but very large, and because of that I’ve not had much wear out of them. This morning I decided to upcycle them into a dungaree dress.

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Upcycling clothes helps lessen the amount of waste going to landfill. It helps reduce CO2 emissions by using old materials instead of new ones. FACT – for every tonne of discarded textiles used again, 20 tonnes of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere. It saves you money, as it allows you to find new uses for old clothes. Finally, it helps preserve our precious resources.

Refashioning these dungarees was dead simple.

Cut out the crotch area by cutting alongside both sides of the seam.

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Pin and then tack the old ‘legs’ to form a skirt by aligning the seams across the bottom. Cut out the excess material from the back.

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Sew along the seam.

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Voila!

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By no means am I a dab hand on a sewing machine. My Gran gave me this machine 4 years ago. It rarely gets used and apart from textiles lessons at school I’ve had no training. This is seriously something anybody can turn their hand to.

If you’re fed up with some of the clothes in your wardrobe, why not give them an upcycle spruce?

Super Sunday Swap Shop

People now buy four times more clothes than they did in the 80’s. To meet these increasing demands fashion brands are cutting corners in regards to worker rights, pay and safety. It also has huge consequences for the environment, on average UK consumers send 30kg of clothing to landfill each year.

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Labour Behind the Label are a charity that are dedicated to changing this. Throughout the year I’m doing a couple of challenges to raise money for them and today I held a Swap Shop to encourage the reuse of clothes and raise awareness of the issue.

A Swap Shop is simple, people bring any unwanted clothes, jewellery, books, toiletries etc. to swap. Anything that takes your fancy you can take and any left over bits will be donated to charity. One man/woman’s trash is another man/woman’s treasure.

With support from my amazing friends and family on the day we managed to raise a whopping £123!!!! It was great fun and we took away some cool pieces. My personal favourite is a demin jacket my mate Niamh brought. She had bought it from Dawn O’Porter who sold it on instagram for charity. And now it has been swapped, again for charity! A jacket that just keeps on giving.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has supported this so far. You’re all absolute legends. Especially my Mam, Alison, who today was a superstar! If you would like to donate click here.  Also, keep your ears to the ground as I’ll be hosting another Swap Shop soon!

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, I know I certainly have. Good night x

 

Love Story of a Wedding Outfit

As it is day 3 of Fashion Revolution Week I want to talk about my “love story” with the outfit I wore to a wedding in Shrewsbury on Friday.

The dress

I was determined not to buy anything new. I had a handful of dresses and jumpsuits that I’d only ever worn once or twice to a special occasion and so decided I would wear one of those. That was until I visited my friend Antoinette down in London. She was having a clear out and wondered if I fancied taking off her hands a vintage dress that she didn’t need any more.

I’d admired the dress from afar, she had worn it to her graduation. It was beautiful. So I tried on the dress, it fit like a glove, and I decided this was what I was to wear to the wedding.

£0 spent. 0 waste to landfill. 0 resources used on a new item.

The bag

Matt & Nat is a vegan brand (not using leather or any other animal-based materials), all their bag linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and they are committed to ensuring the workers making their bags are treated properly.

At Matt & Nat, they live by a simple motto, “Live beautifully”.

I purchased a bag from them, and it certainly was beautiful. So beautiful in fact I had my nails done in the same colour.

Sharing, swapping, donating, buying second hand or vintage clothes is a great way to save money and the planet.

Consciously buying from brands like Matt & Nat, who are happy to tell you #whomademyclothes encourages transparency which will force other brands to improve the working conditions and rights of their employees.

For more information on how you can help to make a change in the industry check out Fashion Revolution’s page.

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April Book Review

Since getting a Kindle back in February I have managed to worm my way through 9 books. I set myself a challenge on Good Reads to conquer 24 books in 2017. So far I’m not doing too bad.

In April I read 4 books and started a 5th. In this review I would like to talk about 3 of those books.

The Cows

Written by an idol of mine (Dawn O’Porter) and released just last month. It begins with such a poignant opening passage regarding a cow and it’s comparison to a woman’s stereotype, to reproduce and be used solely for milk or beef. A story of three very different women whose lives somehow intertwine around sex, men, struggles, independence, family, the media and babies. This book was emotional, inspiring and entertaining. I give it 5/5.

“COW n. /ka?/

A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Don’t follow the herd.”

101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free

Written by Anna Pitt I read this on a train journey to London. It is a great book, set out in a simple format of three parts – a short passage covering the various topics such as waste, water, food and energy – the maths, what savings you can make both in money and helping the planet – the tips, a quirky illustration alongside tips from real people.

Many of the tips covered, if I am honest, are common sense and already how I live my life. However some of the facts around how much we waste in the UK were fascinating and I did find some tips really helpful. I give it 4/5.

“The average UK household uses around 500 litres of water every day and about a third of that water is flushed straight down the toilet!

#GIRLBOSS

Having recently watched the new Netflix series Girlboss all in one sitting on a Saturday afternoon (loved every vintage minute), I did some digging into what the show was based on and found that it surprisingly was originally a book. Written by the creator of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso, this book is full of inspiration on how to become #GIRLBOSS.

Sophia tells the tale of how she grew her business from selling vintage on ebay to become a huge successful corporation. What I gathered from the book is that the key to success is to find what you are passionate about, combine that with what you are good at, and work ridiculously hard. This book isn’t supposed to be a feminist book, but from reading it, I’d say it is. I give it 4/5. I also give the Netflix series 4/5 (fabulous clothes and soundtrack).

“I’m telling you that you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy. You can have both. You are both.”

I hope you’ve found this helpful! Stay posted for my May Book Review…

30 Wears (✓)

“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect.” – Livia Firth

In this post I’m focusing on the first action, getting dressed. Fast fashion is forcing people to buy more and waste more. The high demand of ‘needing’ the latest trends has forced retailers to use unethical ways to produce their clothes.

One way to contribute in making a positive change against this is by asking yourself when buying new clothes, “Can I wear this a minimum of 30 times?” If the answer is no… then don’t buy it. By using this rule not only are you helping the fast fashion crisis, but you are ensuring that the clothes you do buy are clothes you truly love.

Here I am sharing with you some of my favourite clothes that I’ve had for many years and have experienced many things. * I apologise that most pictures contain booze and for some of the hair cuts and pouts…

This item I bought in Oxfam Leeds for £4 in 2010 on a whim when visiting my sister at Uni for a night out. Since then it has seen many a bottle of beer and dance floor. 30 wears (✓).

This item is a Topshop coat I got as a birthday present from my parents in 2012. It now has holes in the armpit lining, but from the outside looks fine. 30 wears (✓).

This Fred P item I found in a vintage shop in 2011. It’s since been worn with scarves, shirts, dresses, skirts. 30 wears (✓).

This dress I nicked from my sister in 2014, I believe she wore it at least 30 times before I stole it. It’s been on loads of nights out and now I use it as a work dress. 30 wears (✓).

This item is a pair of dungarees I managed to get for £10 in a Zara sale in 2014. Whenever I feel stuck on what to wear, this is my go-to as it goes well with all sorts. 30 wears (✓).

If you have any fave clothes that you have worn a minimum of 30 times let me know or use the #30wears to create awareness.

Enjoy your clothes xxx

 

p.s I am raising money for Labour Behind the Label who work to fight fast fashion. If you can, donate here.

Saturday Shop

I don’t often go shopping. It’s always busy, people are annoying and on most high-streets I HATE what’s on offer. Yesterday however I braved the grim weather  and annoyances and spent the day shopping in Nottingham.

Before going I did some research on vintage and independent stores to go visit. Nottingham, it turns out, has plenty!

Vintage

I love vintage, not only is it the most sustainable kind of purchase (apart from not buying at all) but the quality and design of retro clothes are just so much better.

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On my visit to Nottingham I went into Cow, Wild, Braderie and Hopkinson‘s and managed to treat myself to a new dress and cardigan.

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Not going to lie, vintage shopping takes more effort than browsing an organised rail in Marks and Sparks. But it is fun having a trawl through rails and piles of retro clobber. Laughing at some of the styles, being slightly frustrated that an amazing item is 10 times too small or big and falling in love with something that has a little rip or stain is all part and parcel of the experience.
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Vintage items are not just “used clothes”, they’re a piece of history, both in the historical sense and on a personal level. Think about the people who wore them, what’s their story?

Other advantages – Tonnes and tonnes of clothing ends up at landfill every week. Buying vintage lessens this waste. The cost of creating a brand new piece of clothing is not only expensive monetarily but environmentally, through the use of natural resources and the creation of pollution. Buying something that already exists reduces that cost.

Give it a go, shop vintage!

Independent

Hidden up a side street a pretty window display caught my eye. I decided to pop in and have a browse. Stick and Ribbon is one of the friendliest shops I’ve ever been in. Filled with one off, independent pieces I was welcomed and shown what was on offer.

A few weeks back when I was doing research for ethical lingerie I came across Kinky Knickers, and to my delight Stick and Ribbon stocked their items. Kinky Knickers is a British handmade lingerie brand that partners with Mary Portas. Sewn in Manchester with love and care, their pants are designed to be comfy, have no VPL and to look pretty.

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I couldn’t resist. Bought myself a pair. Not just a great quality pair of pants, but they provided a giggle. Hidden in their washing guidelines was a handy tip:

“Wash similar colours together. Use colour safe detergent (or give it to your mother – she’ll know what to do.”

It is these personal touches that make buying independent so very worth it. But don’t worry Mam, I’ll wash them myself!