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Check Your Thread

Author: Zoe Edwards

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Hello! Welcome to Check Your Thread, a podcast about sewing more sustainably. Each episode we enjoy nerding out about sewing, whilst picking up ideas and useful tips for how to reduce our impact on the environment. My aim is always to approach topics with a sense of curiosity and fun, and hope to leave our listeners feeling inspired by the end of each episode.

Examples of topics that we cover include sourcing second hand textiles, zero waste sewing patterns, mending, upcycling, scrap-busting and alternative and surprising sources for fabric. If there are any topics you’d like CYT to cover, anyone you’d like me to get on the podcast to chat to or you’d just like to say hi, please email me at or message me via Instagram @checkyourthread.
75 Episodes
Linnea Larsson is a multidisciplinary creative from Sweden with a passion for reusing existing materials. An architect by day, Linnea spent the nap times during her maternity leave sewing her own unwanted garments into baby clothes. She also decided to make a book to encourage and guide others to do the same! ‘Restyle & Restitch for little ones’ comes out in English this week, and I got to talk to Linnea all about the process and motivation for writing it.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find Linnea Larsson and her inspiring upcycled creations on Instagram @go_recreate. Originally titled ‘Go Recreate’, the English translation of her book is ‘Restyle & Restitch for little ones, 30 simple projects from preloved clothes’ is published by Search Press and out now. The shirt and romper image below is a great example of Linnea's visual style. The Thelma Boilersuit pattern by Merchant & Mills is currently on Linnea’s sewing table.  You can check out my version of The Thelma on my blog.  Ditte @thread.gathering on Instagram made an incredible version of the pattern using an old tent for the fabric!
My conversation with Alexis Bailey of Fibr & Cloth Studio continues. We chat about the celebration of Black pattern designers during Black History Month. Alexis also shares her approach and commitment to creating zero waste sewing patterns, and her thoughts on the responsibility sewers and designers have towards waste.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Alexis Bailey’s slow sewing space is Fibr & Cloth Studio. F&C can also be found on Instagram @fibrandclothstudio and her personal Instagram account is @helloalexisbailey.  Explore the hashtag #bhmpatterndesigners to discover Black pattern designers and sewing business owners.  The hashtag, list and challenge are created and updated by Nateida from Sew Natural Dane and @sewnaturaldane. Previous-podcast guest Birgitta Helmersson was an early inspiration to Alexis as she set out on her own ZW pattern journey.  Alexis’ first zero/minimal waste pattern is the Iris blouse and dress pattern: ZW designer Liz Haywood’s version of the Iris blouse. Goldfinch Textile Studio produced the zero/minimal waste Jones Trousers pattern.  Justice of Thread and Sprout is a fibre artist who makes incredible garments and other items by combining fabric.  Fibr & Cloth Studio has a Youtube channel! Louisa Owen Sonstroem is a hand stitching expert. Listen to my conversation with Louisa: Ep.15: Hand Stitching Clothes with Louisa Owen Sonstroem.  Sarah Woodyard of Sewn Company offers classes and workshops on hand sewing. 
This episode is the first of two featuring hand-sewing expert and pattern designer Alexis Bailey. We hear how her multifaceted slow-sewing business, Fibr & Cloth Studio, grew from a frustration she felt whilst travelling, and how the pandemic presented her with the perfect conditions to launch. Alexis also shares how becoming a pattern designer was foisted upon her!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Check out Ep. 52 of A Smaller Life podcast where previous-guest-of-CYT Saskia de Feijter has a wonderful conversation with more-recent-previous-CYT-guest Kim Witten! Alexis Bailey’s slow sewing space is Fibr & Cloth Studio. F&C can also be found on Instagram @fibrandclothstudio and her personal Instagram account is @helloalexisbailey.  Bernadette Banner explores hand sewing and historical garments on their Youtube channel. Alexis’ first foray into hand sewing garments used the Strata top pattern by Sew Liberated: Image source: Sew Liberated The Freerange Slacks pattern by Sew house Seven was another that Alexis made hand-sewing kits for when she started out.  Alexis then moved on to using the simpler Pants No.1 pattern by Sonya Phillips. Making Magazine gave Alexis the push to start drafting sewing patterns.  Her first step was to complete the Pattern Making Workshop by Lauren Dahl. The Umbra Lounge Set pattern was her first resultant pattern. The Mahogany Turban pattern is a great scrap buster: Image source: Fibr & Cloth Studio
As sustainably-minded garment makers, our goal is to make items that will have a long life and see lots of use. But what about when our bodies change? Everyone experiences fluctuations in shape and size, so in this solo episode I explore how we can future proof our garment projects to accommodate that fact.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Outerwear patterns Coats and jackets: The Richmond Coat by Tessuti (up to 48” bust) Flow Jacket and Coat by Atelier Scammit (up to 56” bust) Traveller Coat by Bella Loves Patterns (up to 44” bust, available in 2 heights) Nova Coat and Jacket by Papercut Patterns (up to 46.5” bust) Nova Curve Coat and Jacket by Papercut Patterns (up to 60.6” bust) Cardigan patterns: My current favourite: Jamie Cardigan by Ready to Sew (up to 42” bust) Patterns for cardigans worn open: Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet (up to 62” bust) Kinder Cardigan by MIY Workshop/Wendy Ward (up to 48” bust)  Fjord Cardi by Papercut Patterns (up to 46.5” bust) Image source: Papercut Patterns Shawl pins and closures: Metal shawl pins and closures from Textile Garden Other shawl pins from Textile Garden Image source: Textile Garden Wrap style cardigan patterns: Coppelia Cardi by Papercut Patterns (up to 46.5” bust)  Pearl Cardigan by Tilly and the Buttons (up to 60” bust)  Top, dress and jumpsuit patterns Boxy Woven tops/dresses: Block Tee by Paper Theory Patterns (up to 56” bust)  Georgia Tee and Dress by Elizabeth Suzann Studio (up to 58” bust)  Image source: Elizabeth Suzann Studio Oversized style patterns: Olya Shirt and Dress by Paper Theory Patterns (up to 56” bust)  Ellsworth Shirt by Merchant and Mills (up to 55” bust)  Mara Oversized Sweater by kdornbier designs (up to 46” bust)  Trapeze shaped patterns: The Trapeze Dress by Merchant and Mills (up to 42” bust)  Minttu Swing Top by Named Clothing (up to 46” bust)  Rumi Tank by Christine Haynes (up to 56” bust)  Top and dress patterns with gathering or pleating at the neckline or into a yoke or panel: Roscoe Blouse and Dress by True Bias (up to 44.5” bust)  Roscoe Blouse and Dress by True Bias (up to 57.5” bust)  Petite Choses Blouse and Dress by Atelier Scammit (up to 45” bust)  Vali Dress and Top by Pattern Fantastique (up to 51.5” bust)  The Florence Top and Dress by Merchant and Mills (up to 55” bust)  Lisa Dress by Tessuti (up to 42” bust)  Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated (up to 58.5” bust)  Image source: Sew Liberated Wrap dress and jumpsuit patterns: The Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory Patterns (up to 56” bust) Hali Wrap Dress and Jumpsuit by Named Clothing (up to 53” bust) Kielo Wrap Dress and Jumpsuit by Named Clothing (up to 53” bust) The Etta Dress by Merchant and Mills (up to 55” bust)  Wildwood Wrap Dress by Sew House Seven (up to 49” bust) Wildwood Wrap Dress Curvy by Sew House Seven (up to 58” bust) St Germain Wrap Dress by Liesl + Co. (up to 46” bust) ‘Faux-fit and flare' dress patterns: ZW Gather Dress by Birgitta Helmersson (up to 61” bust) Lyra Dress by Tilly and the Buttons (up to 61” bust) Elasticated waist dress and jumpsuit patterns: Lotta Dress by Tilly and the Buttons (up to 51” bust) Asha Dress by Style Arc (up to 68” bust) Nova Jumpsuit by True Bias (up to 44.5” bust)  Nova Jumpsuit by True Bias (up to 57.5” bust)  Trillium Dress and Tunic by Made by Rae (up to 59” bust)  Lennox Boilersuit by Homer + Howells (up to 49” bust)  Sofia Dress and Top by Victory Patterns (up to 44” bust)  Sofia Dress and Top by Victory Patterns (up to 58” bust)  Image source: True Bias Skirt, trouser, pinafore and dungarees patterns Elasticated waist skirt patterns: Mave Skirt by True Bias (up to 46.5” hip) Mave Skirt by True Bias (up to 59.5” hip) Sofia Pencil Skirt by Threads by Caroline (up to 50” hip) Image source: Threads by Caroline My favourite elastic waist trouser patterns:  Luna Pants by Made By Rae (up to 59” hip) Arden Pants by Helen’s Closet (up to 58” hip) Partly-elasticated trousers and shorts patterns: Emerson Pants and Shorts by True Bias (up to 46.5” hip) Emerson Pants and Shorts by True Bias (up to 61.5” hip) Dani Shorts and Pants by True Bias (up to 46.5” hip) Dani Shorts and Pants by True Bias (up to 61.5” hip) Rose Pants by Made by Rae (up to 62” hip) Aina Trousers and Culottes by Named Clothing (up to 56” hip) Image source: Named Clothing Buttonhole elastic: Image source: William Gee Amazing Check Your Thread listener Hinerangi @duckgoesoink experimented with hacking the Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern to include buttonhole elastic in the back of the waistband (shared through Stories).  Trouser patterns with adjustable straps: Mitchell Trousers by Closet Core Patterns (up to 61” hip) Square Pants by Stoxx Patterns (up to 63” hip) Pinafore and dungarees patterns: Greta Dungarees by Made My Wardrobe (up to 53” hip) Yanta Overalls by Helen’s Closet (up to 58” hip) Heyday Dungarees by Waves and Wild (up to 63” hip) Ivy Pinafore by Jennifer Lauren Handmade (up to 63” hip) Image source: Jennifer Lauren Handmade Bias cut patterns: Sadie Slip Dress by Tessuti (up to bust 42”) Evie Bias Skirt by Tessuti (up to 48” hip)
Happy New Year! I propose we kick things off by creating personal manifestos that will see us through 2023 and beyond! By defining our own personal vision, mission, strategy and tactics, never again will we need to ask ourselves, ‘What should I be doing right now?’ or ‘Is this course of action right for me?’.  I’ve invited my friend and former coach, Kim Witten, whose work focuses on strategic expert thinking, to guide us through this incredibly beneficial process. Kim is also an experienced crafter and we discuss different mental approaches to picking up new skills, and how she applies self coaching through her journey as a beginner sewer. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find more about Kim Witten and her coaching on her website.  Sign up to her weekly ‘Hold That Thought’ newsletter to help you turn your overthinking into expert thinking.  Start developing your vision with Kim’s free Vision Statement Worksheet.  And here’s more from Kim on the differences between vision, mission, strategy and roadmap. Outline of a manifesto (AKA plan or anything else you wish to call it!): Vision - what is the world you wish to live in? Mission - what it takes to create your vision, the ‘work’ to be done.  Strategy - the best approach toward making good progress, how you’ll go about it. Tactics/tasks/roadmap - laying out the specific tasks and activities you need to do. All of your tactics, when prioritised and placed on a timeline, will create a roadmap.  Check Your Thread / My Manifesto: Vision:  A world where the impact on the environment is factored into every decision. Mission: Help people make more sustainable choices by giving them information, ideas, inspiration and agency. By starting to sew more sustainably, it’s then possible to do lots of other things more sustainably. That these ideas and approaches can spread out into many areas of life. Spread the idea that living more sustainably can be fun and fulfilling, not about hand-wringing, eco-snobbery or depriving yourself. Check Your Thread reflects the values of a wider community of people having ideas and interesting conversations, and making things happen. Our Check Your Thread sub-community feels positive, supportive and fun. Strategy: Balance between seriousness and joy, inspiration and fun Specific ideas and concepts are applicable to broader ways of being Continually making more resources that allow people to engage with ideas with content in new ways, levels Organic growth through genuine interactions, explorations of common goals Tactics: Check Your Thread Podcast Instagram / Social Media Me Made May  Speaking opportunities / teaching / going on other podcasts Making resources In addition to my manifesto, I outlined my values and principles: Limiting my contribution to climate change where possible The Personal is Political Helping to redress income inequality Helping to redress racial inequality Helping to redress homophobia Promoting feminist thinking Creating joy Finding a balance between living as sustainably as possible, and having a happy, fulfilling life.   Kim’s best investment in 2022 was signing up for sewing classes at Ministry of Craft in Manchester, UK. There she learned to make this wiggle dress (image by Alison Leese at Ministry of Craft): Next up on Kim’s sewing table is a project from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book: The Pietra Pants pattern by Closet Core Patterns was a game-changer for Kim, allowing her for the first time to make custom-fitting trousers that suit her stature. Her first version, made at Ministry of Craft: For more information about Me-Made-May and how you can take part in 2023, check out this page. 
If there is anyone related to the sewing community who has a strong handle on sewing trends, in all senses, it’s Kate Underdown. As co-founder of The Fold Line, Kate created a business that has pivoted a number of times, but has always been a hub for learning about new pattern releases and a digest for the best and most exciting sewing-related content. In this conversation we hear about the journey The Fold Line has been on, the organisation that goes into their annual Sewing Weekender event, and how much sewing Kate is actually doing these days! Plus, Kate offers her insight on the changing role that sustainability is playing within our community.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Kate founded The Fold Line with her business partner Rachel in 2015.  Kate creates heaps of wonderful videos for The Fold Line Youtube channel, including the ‘Sew The Trends’ series.  Learn more about The Sewing Weekender , an annual event that The Fold Line organises with Charlotte from Charlotte Emma Patterns. 
Judy Williment-Ross is a New Zealand-based maker who broke the internet when her lockdown project, the Epic Dress, was featured on the SewOver50 Instagram account. Clearly not afraid of getting in deep, Judy explains to me how she chooses which projects are worth investing her time in, and lays out her personal rules, ethics and criteria for selecting and using second hand materials. She also gives us tips on raising kids who embrace second hand and handmade, and expands on the satisfaction she finds in garment alterations.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Follow Judy Williment-Ross and her creative journey on Instagram @judywillimentross.  I first discovered Judy’s work via the @sewover50 Instagram account.  Be inspired by the wonderful #sew50sustainablesewing hashtag.  Exploring her love of men’s cotton shirts, Judy created this beautiful wrap front dress.   The Epic Dress in all its glory: The Hexi Coat, AKA The Behemoth: Dunedin’s Stitch Kitchen is host to the Maker’s Pantry, selling second hand fabric, patterns and notions.  Listen to Episode #21: The Joy of Reclaimed Fabric with Sarah AKA Sew Love NZ. Some of Judy’s tiniest scraps became this awesome project bag:
This episode is a fun exploration into the qualities of, and differences between, visible and invisible mending. What are their strengths and when are they likely to be victorious?  Taking a deeper look into these approaches to mending can give us a clearer idea of how we want to tackle each repair job we are presented with. Which one will you deploy for your next mending project? Support the podcast over on Patreon! Basic materials mending: Strong thread suitable for hand sewing to stitch up holes, rips and tears, and for stitching on patches.  If you’re likely to try darning, some darning yarn, or possibly leftover knitting yarn should also be in your mending materials stash.  Fabric scraps for making patches. These can be harvested from old garments that have gone beyond wearability, and leftovers from previous sewing projects. It’s useful to have a mix of woven and knit fabrics and different thicknesses so you can create patches for different types of garments.  A selection of buttons in a range of sizes. Although pretty much anything goes in terms of holes or shanks, colour, shape or texture, a replacement button will have to be the same size or a little smaller than the missing one. You can always close up a button hole a bit if the new button is a bit smaller, but you’re inviting a bit of a headache if you try to make the buttonhole bigger to accommodate a larger replacement button.  Scraps of fusible interfacing. These are useful to strengthen a weakened area, particularly because it’ll give you more grace with your choice of fabric for patching, or your choice of reinforcing stitch.  Eventually you may find it useful to also have a collection of Iron on patches, lengths of bias binding, and pieces of elastic in different widths, but you can gather those as the need arises. Basic equipment for mending: Hand sewing needles are a must. A little pack of different sizes to match with different thickness of fabric will make your life easier.  Scissors that cut fabric and snips to cut thread. A tape measure or other measuring tool. These can help you figure out how big to cut a patch or what length and width bias binding you might need. Some kind of fabric marking tool such as a water or heat erasable pen or a chalk pencil.  A seam ripper AKA stitch ripper or quick unpick.  Pins and safety pins to keep what you’re working on in place.  An iron will also be handy to apply the fusible interfacing and prepare neat looking patches.  Certain visible mends might be quicker or longer lasting if a sewing machine is used.  Mending inspiration and knowledge: Books: Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh which is all about subtle, visible patching and decorative Sashiko stitching.  Modern Mending by previous-guest Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald is a wonderful primer on all sorts of mending techniques and encourages creativity at every step.  Instagram accounts: @mendingmayhem, a community that celebrates mends in the wild @roberta.cummings a creative maker and mender whose work often focuses on colourful, visible darning  @akemi__harada is an artist and maker incorporating boro @blue_movement2017 creates stunning garments using traditional Japanese techniques including indigo dyeing and boro  @yung_curmudgeon (AKA Noah Hirsch) is a talented and bold repairer of everything, as well as a previous guest on this podcast.   @tomofholland is one of the first champions of visible mending that I became aware of
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: @camillefromthimble Hetty, 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 products reusable incontinence pads and pants washable nappies, cleaning cloths kitchen and tableware bowl 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 difference The 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
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