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Back in August, myself and friend-of-the-podcast Julia Hincks attended a class where we explored the possibilities of denim reclaimed from unwanted jeans. As predominantly garment sewers, Julia and I were encouraged out of our comfort zone at craft studio Made & Making, and nudged into the realms of homeware and accessories. In this little episode, we share what new skills we learned, and what we came home with… Support the podcast over on Patreon! Sew a pan stew or hay madam! This other post (in Dutch) gives more information.  This episode features Julia Hincks. Her website is House of Miss Sew and you can find her at @juliahincks on Instagram.  She previously featured on Ep. #10: Overlockers & Coverstich Machines with Julia Hincks Ep. #27: Zoe & Julia go Rag Rugging Ep. #53: First Birthday / Ask Me Anything with Zoe, Julia & Naomi If you haven’t already, make sure you listen to Ep. #26: Harvesting Materials with Eliu Hernandez. Eliu specialises in repurposing as materials from unwanted jeans for his epic quilts and other projects.   Made & Making is a craft and making studio based in Hassocks, Sussex. They are also on Instagram @madeandmaking.  The next Denim Day workshop is taking place on 20th March 2023. Visit their website for more details and to book a place. Read about my patchwork denim dungarees, which have been mentioned numerous times before on this podcast!
With the goal of fleshing out my me-made wardrobe with cosy garments, I’ve taken up knitting. However, even at this beginner stage, I really want to make more sustainable and ethical choices. In this episode, knitting expert and previous-guest Saskia de Feijter metaphorically holds my hand and talks me through what to look for when selecting yarn for my next project. Saskia tells me about how fibre type and location can be an indicator of animal welfare, how the weight and yarn structure affect the suitability for a particular pattern, and how ply affects longevity of a knitted garment. She was also kind enough to answer questions posed by my colleague Phoebe about deadstock yarn, best practices for caring for your handknits, reusable products you can knit for the home and yarn scrap busting ideas in a segment we’re calling ‘Phoebe Asks’! Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find out more about Saskia, her business ‘Ja, Wol’, her knitting community, business mentoring AND podcast! Listen to my first conversation with Saskia for the podcast in Episode 48: How to Knit More Sustainably with Saskia de Feijter.  The knitting community database where I hunted for patterns is Ravelry.  ‘Let’s Boogie’ Cardigan by A Honey Knits is the pattern I’ve chosen to make next.   image source: A Honey Knits Saskia recommends the Craft Council Standard Yarn Weight System for guidance.  Check out Bart & Francis for deadstock yarns. 
Former fashion designer Jess Redgrave began to feel a growing disillusionment with the clothing industry due to the damaging practices she witnessed. This led her to quit and sign up to study alternatives to the unsustainable realities of modern clothing production. Having found several exciting avenues into the potential of sunflowers, Jess is working on ideas that could shape the future of what we wear and what we sew with. In this conversation, she lays it all out for us, including answering a question you never knew to ask: how do you get your hands on enzymes?! Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find out about Jess Redgrave and her Climafibre work on her website.  I first found out about Jess and her explorations at this year’s Future Fabrics Expo in London.  Listen to my experience of the expo in Episode #50: The Future of Fabrics.  Jess’s investigations into sunflowers formed part of her work for her MA in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins, where you can also find more information on the investigations undertaken by her classmates.  To test the product she’d been working on, Jess made a summer rain mac from fabric coated in a sunflower oil by-product. See image below:
Clothing trends are collective reactions to, or interpretations of, what’s going on in the world. But are they the antithesis of dressing and sewing more sustainably? In this solo episode, I discuss how, even if you don’t read Vogue or keep up with popular culture, trends can manifest in our sewing projects and wardrobes, and how they play an important part in social discourse. I then set out some guidelines for engaging with trends more sustainably to help you decide which trends are worth exploring. I also offer ideas on how you can sew the trends whilst still creating successful, meaningful garments with longevity.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Naomi Bancroft is @whatnaomimade on Instagram made a gorgeous blouse using the Anthea Blouse pattern by Anna Allen, and has worn it tons: image source: Naomi Bancroft Many thanks to Hannah @claytheredelilah for the original questions and continued conversations on this topic that inspired this episode.  Listen to our original discussion on trends in Episode #53: 1st Birthday / Ask Me Anything with Zoe, Julia and Naomi.  A guide to engaging with trends more sustainably: Do a gut-check, how do you feel straight away?Would you have been into it three years ago?Wait for a while so you get to see more versions and interpretations of it pop up, but be aware of the effects of increased exposure. Ask yourself if it would work for the climate you live in. Would it work for your lifestyle, if it’s suitable for neither your occupation nor how you tend to spend your leisure time, then it doesn’t make any sense. Try on some examples in a shop to get an instant idea if it’ll work for you. Think about how you can blend the new element with others that feel comfortably within your existing style wheelhouse. And remember, if you go for it but it doesn't work out for you in the short term or over time, there’s most likely something you can do to rework it and make it exciting again. 
My guest for Ep.#63, Brandon Hayden, shares both his amazing creations and positive personal philosophy under the Instagram handle @happilydressed. Since high school, thrifting has always been Brandon’s method for carving out a unique visual identity. Initially, he got a sewing machine to complement his thrifting, which gave him the ability to alter items he found. But soon after, this Atlanta-based creative then found an even greater source of power, pride and self discovery through sewing his own clothes from scratch. In this conversation, he explains his ‘fabric first’ approach to garment creation, how he fell into teaching, and his bright and bold plans for the future. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Follow Brandon Hayden via Instagram @happilydressed.  Also check out the Happily Dressed website.  Lace curtain to epic shirt, Brandon was wearing this garment when we spoke.   @grandmother.marys.vintage is Brandon’s friend and inspiration.   Brandon is currently making the Mitchell Trousers pattern by Closet Core Patterns. image source: Closet Core Patterns Nisan from made a stunning pair of Mitchell Trousers.  The Heyday Dungarees pattern by Waves and Wild is one of my favourites.  The Worker Trousers pattern by Modern Sewing Co is also on Brandon’s ‘to make’ list.  Brandon’s set of trousers, jacket and bucket hat from a single length of printed fabric is a vision! See below: Brandon's hoodie made from car blanket was made in celebration of being in a great place in his life. 
Episode #62 features a conversation that I had with Lydia Higginson, owner of Made My Wardrobe, when I visited her studio in Bristol. MMW started as a personal, year-long  challenge to replace her entire wardrobe with self-made items that have meaning stitched into every piece. This led Lydia to discover a passion for teaching people to sew, which in turn led to the development of her pattern range, and so much more. Always creative, expansive, fluid, inclusive, experimental and sustainability-minded, Made My Wardrobe has become one of the most exciting sewing businesses operating today. We talk in depth about all the aspects MMW encompases, plus the multiple challenges and pivots Lydia has had to navigate over the last few years.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! I’d recommend downloading the Free cloth menstrual pads patterns by Luna Wolf to try making reusable period wear. On the Made My Wardrobe website you can find full details about everything we mention, including their in-person classes, sewing patterns, fabrics, kits, core values, online workshops/tutorials, scholarships and artist residencies.  The beautiful Made My Wardrobe studio: Follow them on Instagram @mademywardrobe.  Hilda Bag pattern by Made My Wardrobe.  Hear about the Future Fabrics Expo that Lydia and I both attended in Episode #50: The Future of Fabrics.  Lydia draws inspiration from many sources, including the following makers: @camillefromthimbleHetty, founder of The Modern Sewing Co. @marcyharriell 
#61: Sewing to Keep Warm

#61: Sewing to Keep Warm


Today’s episode is another installment which looks at using sewing skills to save money. With the rise in energy and fuel costs, many of us will be keeping the heating off in our homes as much as possible this winter. So how can we use our sewing skills to keep the chills at bay? I answer this question by sharing clothing, accessories and homeware projects we can make to keep our bodies and our spaces as toasty as possible. I discuss how costs can be kept down further by utilising the wealth of free patterns and tutorials out there, as well as tips for using second hand textiles and including items you might already own.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find the full road test review of the free Applegreen Cottage neck warmer project on my blog. Clothing: Free patterns for adults: DIY Pattern Free Cardigan Tutorial by The Stitch Sisters.  Slouchy Cardi Pattern by Peppermint Magazine.  image source: Peppermint Magazine West End Jacket Pattern by Peppermint Magazine. Jersey Dress Pattern by Peppermint Magazine. Paid-for patterns for adults: LB Pullover Pattern by Paper Theory. Toaster Sweaters Pattern by Sew House Seven. Marlo Sweater Pattern by True Bias.  Kinder Cardigan Pattern by Wendy Ward/MIY Collection.  Jamie Cardigan Pattern by Ready to Sew.  Nikko Top & Dress Pattern by True Bias.  Lots of men’s and masculine style patterns can be found at Thread Theory Patterns. Free patterns for kids: Raglan Hoodie Pattern for 0 months - 6 years and 7 - 14 years by Brindille & Twig.  Crewneck Sweater Pattern by Bobbinhood.  Ballet Wrap Cardigan Tutorial by Oliver + S.  Cardigan for Girls Pattern by Fleece Fun.  Brands for paid-for kids’ patterns: Brindille & TwigMisusu PatternsWaves and WildIkatee Quilted jacket patterns: Tamarack Jacket Patterns by Grainline Studio.  Read about my Tamarack Jacket project on my blog.  Molly Jacket Pattern by Fibre Mood.  Absolu Jacket Pattern by Atelier Scammit.  Hovea Jacket Patterns by Megan Nielsen.  Bodywarmer patterns: Irma Bodywarmer Pattern by Fibre Mood.  1499 Bodywarmer Pattern by Simplicity.  Everyday Waistcoat Pattern by New Craft House.  Trailblazer Vest Pattern and many others for adults and kids by Twig and Tale.  Vienne Vest Pattern for kids by Ikatee.  image source: Ikatee Free underlayer patterns: SoZo Vest/Camisole/Singlet Pattern by me. Super Basic Tank Top Pattern by Halfmoon Atelier.   Arrowsmith Undershirt Pattern by Thread Theory.  Girl’s Singlet Pattern by Small Dream Factory  Amber Singlet Pattern by Waves and Wild.  Ester and Ebbe T-shirt Pattern by Threads by Caroline.  Adult Leggings Pattern by By Graziela Fabrics.  Lightning Leggings Pattern by Waves and Wild.  Free sleepwear patterns: Movie Night Pajamas Patterns for men, women and children by Sew a Little Seam.   Walk the Plank PJ Bottoms Patterns for adults and youth by Patterns for Pirates.  Zero Waste Robe Tutorial by Elbe Textiles.  Accessories: Neck Warmer Cowl Scarf Tutorial and Template by Apple Green Cottage.  Parkwood Cosy Cowl Pattern by Wendy Ward/MIY Collection.  image source: Wendy Ward/MIY Collection The Rutland Collection ebook Wendy Ward/MIY Collection.  Harald Beanie Hat Pattern by Melilot.  Free Beanie Hat Pattern by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.  Free Slipper Pattern and Tutorial by Melly Sews.  Free Slipper Boots Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.  Reusable Hand Warmer Tutorial by I Can Sew This.  Homeware: Microwavable rice packs as warmers for beds, laps etc.Quilts and lap quilts.Draft excluders for doors and windows.Quilted blinds or curtains, or line existing blinds and curtains. Check out this post from Tiny House Blog for more information. Rag rugs. Listen to episodes #18: Rag Rugging with Elspeth Jackson and #27: Zoe & Julia Go Rag Rugging to learn about using fabric scraps and unwanted clothing to make rugs.  Megan Nielsen has produced a video tutorial on how to make a braided (plaited) rag rug. 
You don’t often get to dig deep into your friends’ interior experiences and philosophies, but that’s what I’m doing today. My friend Sophie is possibly the most resourceful and creative person I’ve met. In Ep. #35 we heard about her fascinating journey with Mask Makers UK during the pandemic. In this one (Ep. #60), Sophie traces the sources of her inventive and self-sufficient nature to her experiences of feminism, community and family growing up on the West Coast of Canada. Sophie also shares how she uses art to celebrate female culture and to explore her identity via the visual and textile traditions of her mixed heritage.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! The free Raglan Hoodie pattern for kids by Brindille & Twig comes in two size ranges: 0 months to 6 years and 7 - 14 years.  Check out the video of myself and my boss Josie discussing ways to reduce waste, both as a business and as sewers.  Also check out the video of us talking about more sustainable haberdashery, notions and tools.   Listen to the first part of this conversation with Sophie in Episode #35: Mask Making with Sophie Passmore.  See examples of Sophie Passmore’s incredible pots and vases on her website.  Sophie’s ceramic she-wees have their own Instagram page @piss_muffet.  Learn more about the Cowichan knitting tradition on Wikipedia.  An article in Yam Magazine, centering on knitter Dora Wilson, goes further into the tradition of Cowichan knitting. See Dora wearing a Cowichan sweater below: (image source: Yam Magazine)
Episode 59 includes a conversation with Grace Whowell, owner of the UK craft business Beyond Measure. BM aims to sell beautiful and useful tools and supplies for makers focusing on textiles. Grace sources the kinds of high-quality tools that could become future heirlooms to be handed down through generations of crafters. However, as we hear, that is just one of the ways that she keeps sustainability and social responsibility at the core of her business. We also grapple with the eternal question of how you run a business based on selling goods whilst simultaneously trying to minimise your impact on the planet, and if it’s possible to resist growth.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Grace Whowell is the owner of tools and supplies purveyor Beyond Measure. They can also be found on Instagram @beyond_measure_uk.  Listen to Grace’s conversation with my friend Saskia in Episode #25 of A Smaller Life podcast. Beyond Measure offers an array of craft workshops at their premises in Todmorden, West Yorkshire.  Previous Check Your Thread guest Wendy Ward is supporter of, and occasional tutor at, Beyond Measure.  Beyond Measure stocks Louisa Owen Sonstroem’s book Hand Sewing Clothing.  Listen to Episode #15: Hand Stitching Clothes with Louisa Owen Sonstroem.  Grace stocks beautiful turned wooden pin cushions made in Yorkshire by Hugh Leishman. Beyond Measure make regular donations to charities Labour Behind the Label and The Runnymede Trust. The Rag Market in Hebden Bridge is a twice yearly event, the next one is taking place on 15th October 2022. Find them on Instagram for up to date info @hebdenrag. 
The second part of a two-part mini series about sewing and saving. Episode 58 focuses on how we can keep sewing-related costs down to make it more accessible to those working with a tight budget. Specifically we look at saving money on machinery, fabric, haberdashery and sewing patterns. This episode is packed with tips and approaches to allow us to do more of the kinds of sewing we most enjoy, whilst spending less.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Check out the free Olio app for sharing food and non-food items, borrowing/lending equipment, and selling handmade items locally.  Sign up to the Trash Nothing app in the UK to receive regular updates of offers and requests for free stuff in your area.  The Boomerang Bags organisation are looking for sewers and resources to make fabric bags to distribute to a number of excellent causes.  Listen to Episode 9: Overlockers & Coverstitch Machines with Julia Hincks to hear the many top tips Julia shares about using and caring for these machines.  Listen to Episode 21: The Joy of Reclaimed Fabric with Sarah AKA Sew Love NZ to get inspired by charity shopping/op-shopping/thrifting for fabric as an alternative to regular fabric shops.  Listen to Episode 4: My 5 Favourite Scrap Projects and Episode 14: Quick and Cheap Handmade Gift Projects for lots of fun things you might like to make with your scraps and leftovers from previous projects.  Instagram hashtags such as #scrapbusting, #scrapbuster and #sewingleftovers provide a wealth of ideas that may get your creative juices flowing.  Listen to Episode 42: Highest Possible Level of Use with Shelly Sommer which explores a really important concept that underpins everything related to the reuse of materials.  Find all the posts from my long-running Free Pattern Friday blog post series. Every first Friday of the month I post about a free sewing pattern or tutorial I recently road-tested.  The updated ‘My Favourite Free Children’s Sewing Patterns’ blog post contains links to almost every type of sewing pattern you’d need to make a wardrobe full of kid’s clothes!  With Christmas or a birthday looming, visit my ‘40 Free Patterns for Gifts for Kids’ post for some project inspo.  The excellent Peppermint Magazine releases a free sewing pattern with every edition. Their archive is a real treat. 
This is first of a two-part series about sewing and saving and buckle up because it starts with an unapologetically political rant about the current cost of living crisis. I then explore the question, ‘Can sewing save you money?’ looking at mending, garment making, quilt making and making reusable products. I also share a listener question about opportunities to use sewing skills in a voluntary capacity to help those in need.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Hear the episode of Fiber Nation called Home Economics Vs Hilter.  ‘Soaring costs could strip ‘basic dignity’ from millions in UK’, by Patrick Butler is an article which featured in the Guardian 2//9/22 Find Shams el-Din Rogers on Instagram @shamseldinrogers and listen to Shams on Episode 49: Sewing as Art and Political Action with Shams el-Din Rogers.  I explored the following topics in an attempt to answer if sewing can save you money: Mending Making your own clothes Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas  Quilt making Making Reusables This includes: washable sanitary productsreusable incontinence pads and pantswashable nappies, cleaning clothskitchen and tablewarebowl covers handkerchiefs Period Panty Kits from Sew Projects Listen to Yelena in Episode 25: handmade Period Pants with Yelena Buck.  Period Panty Gusset Only kit. Free cloth menstrual pads patterns by Luna Wolf. Volunteering Listen to Noah in Episode 45: The Art of Rescue with Noah Hirsch.  You can make washable pads for organisations Days for Girls and The Pachamama Project. 
Writer, podcaster and speaker Jen Gale is one of my biggest inspirations. She is a busy mum of two living a ‘normal’ life, whilst continually seeking out ways to limit her family’s environmental impact. She shares her discoveries across different media, including via her books and her podcast, Sustainable(ish), which is an amazing resource for fascinating, inspiring conversations. In this episode (#56) we talk about how Jen finds the courage to face the realities of the climate crisis head on, the underlying concept of sustainable(ish), and her ‘year of buying nothing new’ challenge, a decade after she first attempted it. Jen also offers her perspective on the role that sewing, and sewers/ists, could play in reducing the impact of the climate crisis.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Julia Hincks can be found at House of Miss Sew. She wrote the excellent The Coverstitch Technique Manual, and you can book for her in-person class via this page on her site.  Jen Gale is the maker of the amazing podcast Sustainable(ish). Jen also runs the Knackered Mums Eco Club and hosts Carbon Literacy talks.  Vinted is the app that is making Jen’s current Year of Buying Nothing New much easier!  Jen produced a series of podcast episodes in conjunction with Organic UK, they are episodes: 72 (all about bees, one of my favourites!), 73 (which includes Guy Singh-Watson, the founder of Riverford), 74 (about food)75 (about how organic systems can help fight the climate crisis).  Melissa Hemsley is a cookbook author and sustainability champion. Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist. Episode 82 with some members of the Knackered Mums Eco Club is one of Jen’s favourite episodes.  And we both LOVED Episode 87 with the Crap Activist, who you can find on Instagram @thecrapactivist.  Episode 122 features the incredible climate/Cop26 explainer Laura Young, @lesswastelaura on Instagram. Jen has written two books: The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide: Everything you need to know to make small changes that make a big differenceThe Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting: Guilt-free eco-ideas for raising your kids Becky Barnes is the ‘sustainable stylist’ that Jen employed to help her get more from her wardrobe. Also on Instagram @beckybarnesstyle.  I cannot recommend Episode 138: How Much Impact can Individuals Actually Make with Tom from The Jump enough!  image source: The Jump
In last week’s episode, we heard about the journey that led designer Birgitta Helmersson to create clothing and sewing patterns that follow zero waste principles. This episode (#55) features the second part of our conversation, and in it we get stuck into Birgitta’s process and the challenges faced when producing ZW designs. Birgitta also talks about her deep love of textiles, the roots of which she traces back to her Swedish, paternal grandmother, and tells us about her inventive and long-term scrap busting solutions. Plus, there are hints into future plans and developments!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! New sewing hashtag about creating garments for cold weather #thegreatwinterstitchup.   The Enough is Enough campaign.  Discover designer Birgitta Helmersson’s clothing and sewing patterns on her website, and over on Instagram @birgittahelmersson  The ZW Cropped Shirt pattern. Pictured below: Image source: Birgitta Helmersson The ZW Block Pant pattern.  The kid’s ZW Gather Dress can be bought on the website.   Some information on the quilters from Gees Bend, Alabama. Artists that inspire Birgitta: Jacqui Stockdale. Ashkan Honarvar. Jack Kabangu. 
This 54 is the first of two featuring a conversation with Swedish-Australian designer Birgitta Helmersson. Known in the sewing community as a zero waste pattern designer, Birgitta also produces a range of ZW clothing which she sells from her shop/studio in Malmö. Prior to this, Birgitta had a diverse and convoluted career in fashion design, costume, alterations, pattern cutting and garment manufacture, which makes for a fascinating tale that we’ll hear in this episode. We also learn what sparked her interest in ZW design, the route she took to adopting ZW practices in her own business, and why Birgitta transitioned into producing sewing patterns for her designs as well as physical garments.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Discover designer Birgitta Helmersson’s clothing and sewing patterns on her website HERE, and over on Instagram @birgittahelmersson  Listen to Birgitta on the Love Zero Waste podcast.  The Zero Waste Fashion Design book by Holly McQuillan and Timo Rissanen via
The Check Your Thread podcast is one year old!!!! We just took a fortnight off after creating 52 weekly episodes, and today we’re back with an ‘Ask Me Anything’ episode! Aided by friends-of-the-podcast Julia Hincks and Naomi Bancroft, we read out and discuss some awesome questions submitted by CYT listeners. We cover favourite scrap projects, how we interact (or don’t) with sewing trends, what gives me hope when faced with the climate crisis and lots more. And make sure you check out the show notes for the link to my epic Spotify playlist!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! This episode features Julia Hincks. Her website is House of Miss Sew and you can find her at @juliahincks on Instagram.  She previously featured on Episode #10: Overlockers & Coverstich Machines with Julia Hincks Episode #27: Zoe & Julia go Rag Rugging This episode also features Naomi Bancroft and you can find her at @whatnaomimade on Instagram.  Favourite projects using scraps: So Zo UndiesMy denim patchwork dungarees (see image below)Waves and Wild Wonder undies patternWaves and Wild kid’s Speedy pants patternDIY Daisy Rectangle sleeve top tutorial  Trends: I Am Pattern Sunshine jeans patternFibre Mood Honey top pattern A blog post I wrote about my (then) new sewing machine, the Janome DKS30, AKA, lesser spotted orange Janome! Listen to the Spotify playlist I made for the Fabric Godmother Sewing Bee Party.  Giving me hope: @intersectionalenvironmentalist on Instagram.  Dream guests: Clare Press, creator of The Wardrobe Crisis podcast, @mrspress and @thewardrobecrisis on Instagram. Writer Aja Barber is @ajabarber on Instagram. Get her excellent book,’Consumed: The need for collective change; colonialism, climate change and consumerism’ anywhere but Amazon. (See the cover pictured below)Amanda Lee McCarty, creator of Clotheshorse podcast, @crystal_visions and @clotheshorsepodcast on Instagram.  If you haven’t already, listen to Episode #50: The Future of Fabrics.
For the 52nd episode of Check Your Thread, I’m speaking with a fascinating and multi-faceted creative named Bella Gonshorovitz. Originally from Tel Aviv and currently living and working in London, Bella is a fashion designer, maker, author and collaborator who has recently had her first book published. ‘Grow, Cook, Dye, Wear - From seed to style the sustainable way’ is about creating garments that are infused with experience, personality and meaning. We cover her enthralling career to date, including her collaborations with female artists to create personal collections of clothes for them. She also talks us through what she’s growing in her allotment, and the wonderful characters who have supported the creation of her book. And finally, Bella introduces me to two powerful ideas that are deeply connected to sewing more sustainably that I’d never considered before.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find Bella Gonshorovitz via her website HERE, or on Instagram @bella_gonshorovitz Buy Bella’s book, ‘Grow, Cook, Dye, Wear - From seed to style the sustainable way’ HERE. Discover Bella’s former employer in NYC, ThreeASFOUR HERE.  Bella is a regular collaborator with artist and sculpter Cathie Pilkington (see Cathie’s work HERE). They worked together in an installation called GoodBedBadBed see below: The centre for sustainable fashion in London is HERE.   Learn about sustainable fashion pioneer Kate Fletcher HERE.   Bella’s onion dress: Mr Sadiq is Bella’s allotment mentor: Allotment Fashion Week! Mr Sadiq and Dean: Listen to Episode #13. Natural Dyeing with Amy Taylor HERE. 
Barley Massey is the owner of Fabrications, a wonderful shop, studio and maker’s space on Broadway Market in East London. Barley is an artist, maker, teacher and activist who uses her space to explore and to teach resourcefulness through creativity. A fundamental aspect of Barley’s work is the fostering of real-life community, providing support, connection and inspiration in an area with increasingly disparate inhabitants. I got to meet Barley in her maker’s space and have this conversation with her face-to-face. It was a real privilege to hear her thoughts and perspectives, including the amazing work she does through her ‘Remember Me’ service.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Image source: Fabrications  Find out about all aspects of Barley’s business, Fabrications, HERE.  It can also be found on Instagram @fabricationshackney. The full schedule of events taking place at Fabrications, including the fortnightly craft club, can be viewed HERE. Find the various London locations of the Library of Things HERE.  Image source: Fabrications  Discover Barley’s incredible upcycled bags and accessories HERE. See one of her cross-body bags made from a men’s suit jacket below: Image source: Fabrications  Listen to Riccardo’s podcast episode, #7: Experimental Sewing with Riccardo Guido HERE in which he talks about his work with Barley making sweatshirts from scraps (inspired by the work of Zero Waste Daniel HERE).  Riccardo and Barley are both big fans of Wendy Ward’s work. Listen to Wendy’s podcast episode, #2: How To Sew Sustainably with Wendy Ward HERE. Find Wendy Ward’s books that include a number of patterns Barley uses in her classes HERE.   Learn more about Barley’s incredible Remember Me service HERE. See the fantastic curtain made from ties in the makers’ space below: Find out about the incredible quilting tradition of Gees Bend, Alabama HERE.  Barley is inspired by artist Lucy Orta (HERE) who has worked with clothing and homelessness HERE and HERE and with food waste HERE.  
In Episode 50 I report back from my recent visit to the Future Fabrics Expo in London. I got to discover what fabrics, fibres, textiles and haberdashery with more sustainable credentials are already on the market. Plus I learnt about some exciting new products and technologies currently in development that offer creative solutions to some of fashion’s biggest issues. I share all this plus my predictions and hopes for garment making fabric going forwards… Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find out more about the Future Fabrics Expo HERE. The event is organised by The Sustainable Angle HERE.  Bananatex make fibres from the Abaca banana plant leaves HERE. See some unprocessed banana plant fibres below: Piñatex is a company doing something similar with pineapple plants HERE. See the manufacturing cycle for these leather-alternative textiles below: Image source: Piñatex Orange Fiber is an Italian company working with Tencel producers Lyocell to make fabrics by combining citrus by-products and wood pulp HERE. The fibre and fabric innovations display: Ecovative are producing leather alternatives using mycelium HERE. See the resultant product below: Image source: Ecovative  Fulgar chemically recycle used tyres and other waste products to create fibres similar to those created from virgin fossil fuels HERE. Jess Redgrave explores the potential use of sunflowers in fashion. Find out more HERE. See examples of fabrics dyed using pigments derived from various parts of the plant below: Learn more about the ‘Living Ink’ created from the by-products of algae HERE.  Listen to Clare Press’s podcast The Wardrobe Crisis HERE.  Three of my favourite episodes include: Ep.150: Liz Ricketts - Waste Colonialism and Dead White Man’s Clothes.  Ep.131: Aditi Mayer interviews Alok Vaid-Menon - Degendering Fashion. Ep.104: Adam Minter on Recycling, Reuse and the Second Hand Economy.
Textile activist Shams el-Din Rogers is back on Check Your Thread! In this episode, #49, Shams shares more powerful and thought-provoking ideas focusing on sewing as it relates to sustainability, economic self-sufficiency, feminism, gender/relationship dymanics and cultural appropriation. For example, she encourages us to question how and why those of us who have periods have become reliant on disposable menstrual protection, subsequently handing over money to manufacturers every month from our first period through to menopause. She also explores what can happen in relationships when your art/craft resides in the domestic sphere. This episode is not to be missed.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find Shams el-Din Rogers on Instagram @shamseldinrogers. Shams is pictured below with her husband Michael: Read about the Days for Girls charity HERE.  Another great organisation who you can make and donate reusable sanitary pads to is the Pachamama Project who send them to refugees around the globe HERE.  Find a free range of washable sanitary pads patterns by Luna Wolf HERE . Don’t forget to buy them a cup of tea using the donation link if you use this resource. Read my road test of this pattern HERE.  Listen to Episode #29: Handmade Period Pants with Yelena Buck HERE. Read my blog post about making washable period pants HERE.  
Episode 48 gets stuck into the sizable ‘sister’ topic of how to knit more sustainably! I had the pleasure of talking to knitting podcaster, community leader, marketing expert and former yarn-shop owner, Saskia de Feijter from Ja, Wol and A Smaller Life podcast as the second part of our recent podcast swap. She explained to me how as a beginner knitter, I could approach knitting from a more sustainable angle. Then we dug into the similarities between our respective crafts and communities, and also the differences (spoiler: there aren’t many!). I particularly loved exploring the topic of stashes and resource accumulation, as well as Saskia’s awesome tips for using up leftover yarn. Saskia is such a fun, interesting and knowledgeable person, and I think she has the loveliest voice!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find out more about Saskia, her business, her Ja, Wol knitting community, business mentoring and podcast HERE.  Listen to Episode #34 of A Smaller Life featuring me HERE.  Author and designer Anna Matlz has a website HERE. Her knitting book ‘Marlisle’ is pictured below: Saskia recommends UK women owned yarn brand, The Grey Sheep (formerly known as ‘Little Grey Sheep’) is HERE.  I bought my kit to knit my first cardigan from We Are Knitters HERE. See below for the finished project.  An interesting and heartbreaking explanation of mulesing from the RSPCA can be read HERE.   Listen to Episode #29 of A Smaller Life called My Conscious Wardrobe HERE.  Saskia belongs to the Topstitch Makers Sewcial Community HERE.  Discover ‘The Act of Sewing’ book by Sonya Phillips HERE. Saskia has also made the Estuary Skirt pattern by Sew Liberated HERE. See below:  The Instagram hashtag Saskia started is #knitpile.  The popular Ravelry community can be found HERE.   Find Dutch indie dyer Ovis et Cetera HERE. See my favourite colour of their yarns HERE, pictured below: A fantastic, inspiring collection of ideas for leftover yarn from the Ovis et Cetera blog is HERE.  Find the London-based Wild and Woolly shop HERE.  
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