Saturday, 2 December 2017

GIY Craft Along: My favourite sewing pattern

This months brief from Bane at Goth It Yourself. It's about favourites, so my favourite activity is sewing. I tend to use the same sewing patterns over and over again, Over a couple of years, my taste in clothing has changed where I've found I tend to prefer wearing knee length skirts and in a simple a nu-goth style or least my interruption of it. 

This has been my favourite skirt pattern. The flouncy bouncy skirt, which was a free pdf sewing pattern. I love this sewing pattern it's so complimentary to my shape and I think, I've made at least six to seven skirts in the last two years. It such an easy pattern to sew, even  for newbies it literally a yoke and to half circle patterns. 
This skirt goes straight to the top of my summer sewing list!  The cotton jersey is great, but I LOVE the drape in the ITY knit version.


Another thing, I love about these skirts they are relative cheap to make as it only requires about a metre of fabric. If the one thing I love its a bargain  I included pictures of the skirts and me wearing them to show what they look like. 

This was the first skirt I ever made using this pattern cost £2. It embossed rose pattern looks like PVC but its actually lycra. 

I've actually sewn and resewn this skirt several times and I wasn't happy with the yoke.  I'm still not quite happy with the yoke.  I'd  rather have the matching fabric but dint; have enough. When I wear it, nobodies going to see the Yoke I love the fabric it reminds of Victorian church tiles.

The fabric was such a bargain and was a great find from an Asian fabric store in Bradford. it was only t£3 pound a metre and sits fantastically. 

This is upholstery fabric, it looks like a snakeskin it sits really well I love the stiffness of the fabric. this another bargain at £2 per metre. 

I think this one is my favourite. For the yoke, I used upholstery velvet someone placed in the bin at sewing class. I used the half circle skirt with fabric from Malta. I used trim I had for years I love the contrast between the fabric. 

This is my latest skirt I made this month . I used a swirly  scuba fabric coast £4 per metre 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Rag Wreath

Over the last few years, I've accumulated a lot of fabric from sewing. I'm that kind of person who hates throwing anything away, even those bits of fabric that are useless. I 've definitely the love the idea of frugality and upcycling. 

Last  Christmas, I purchased a tinsel wreath for 25 pence on sale from Poundland. I removed the tinsel from the frame. I started doing this and forgot about it. I found it last night. 

I used scraps of fabric and cut them into strips ( eyeballing it)  using pinking shears, it stops the fabric from fraying and gives it a nice scalloped edge. I tied the strip on to the frame and knotted. 

This  Youtube video shows you how to make a wreath using wire instead of a frame  and the Knot technique.

This me having a bit a fun and using the wreath as a headdress.Despite my miserable expression, I was having fun.

I had this bow on an old sock, they had been washed before use. 

I cut the bow off the sock and stuffed with material and hand sewed it. 

I attached the bow on to a strap I tied onto the frame. 

I used this trim to allow the wreath to hang on the wall. I placed the ribbon through the loop and tied a bow the hole.  

This is the wreath I'm planning to hang up in my craft room when I finally get it sorted. I've got it hanging up in the sitting room for now. I love the use of white, grey and black. Considering its only coast me 25 pence to make and upcycled fabric that would end up in the landfill, I'm stoked. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Goth Weekend and Academics

A few weeks ago, the boyfriend surprised me with a ticket for Whitby Goth weekend, the play not the festival. The bi-annual festival inspired writer Ali Taylor to write about the play after being inspired by photos from WGW at a Gothic exhibition at the British Library. 

Taylor stated"And it was seeing photos of everyday people transformed by the most resplendent gothic dresses, suits and hat that grabbed my attention .....The fact that these people were dressed so extravagantly in a picturesque seaside town in Yorkshire while eating ice creams and chips screamed out for a play."

In recent years WGW s gained controversy with the numbers of normies and photographers visiting the Weekends to see the grand spectacle of goths donning their finery for some has turned the whole event into a joke for some. One of the themes explored in the play with through witty jibes.

The Blogging Goth had a far more eloquent review than I'll piece together. I still want to share my perspective of the play.

We found ourselves sat with a few of the goths, I heard one jokingly state, "I guess this is the Goth row". I quickly gandered to see there were more of a mature cultural sort rather than the darkly inclined, which surprised me, but then again it was Thursday night.

We were first introduced with rather random but fantastic rendition of Sixousie and the Banshee's, Spellbound, later we learnt is the extroverted Geordie Goth, Belinda (Jessica Johnson). I assumed it was a rock musical. I was wrong. The play did cleverly utilise a well-chosen classic goth tracks from the 80's to both establish and summerise the scenes.

The audiences are introduced to the other protagonists, underconfident but sweet plumber Kenneth (Sean McKenzie), and his daughter witty, sassy and sarcastic Anna, who arranges a date for her Dad after dealing with the loss of his wife, Cathy. Sadly, Ken's stood up by his date, and he meets Belinda whose desperate for a pint and hilariously helps herself to a drink. Soon they're back at Ken's for a haphazard one-night stand, that has the crowds in laughing, but some parts slightly cringe-worthy, enhancing the play's realism. 

The next morning, the trouble begins when Bram (Gurjeet Singh) shows up in their purple hearses, turning the head of the retirees of Benidorm of the North, Scarborough. Bram and Belinda move in for Ken and Anna just until the Whitby Goth weekend after getting there a gig at the Angel after Toyah Cox is unable to perform. Where Belinda and Ken start acting more like teenagers with Belinda stroppiness and with Ken discovering his inner goth by where his beige home and wardrobe gets a black and purple transformation. While the boyfriend gesturing to me about the joke of our colour scheme at home.

This was where the play explores the internal prejudices of the Goth scene particularly with Bram prejudice, attitude and embarrassment of Ken referring to as a costumier (someone who dresses like a goth for the WGW) believing he's not a real Goth. A relatable personal experience.  Often new goths to the scene may encounter prejudice from more experienced Goths or elitists.   From Ken's perspective, he's just finding himself and style that ends up with him donning a mismatched style, that relatable to even to me, in my formative years I had many unsuccessful experimentations.  It also explores themes sometimes, we might change our appearances to impress a new partner, and sometimes we lose ourselves.  

We also more human issues with Bran acceptance of his own identity particularly his sexual orientation and exploring who he is which fantastically acted by Singh and the scripts perfectly sum's this personal turmoil 

Anna who is the most adult and wise far beyond her years. She grown up quickly caring for her dad taking and control after the loss her mam. Anna has the best intentions for her dad by trying to set him on blinds dates on Tinder. When Ken finds happiness with Belinda as she's not the choice for her Dad. However, in the intimate scenes where Anna is her room alone, we see Anna a vulnerable teenage struggling to come to terms with her Dad new life and need for her Mam. Anna copes by calling her Mam's mobile and leaves messages on the voice mail. It shows she still a teenager took on to much responsibility for years, and she's not allowed herself time to grieve.

Belinda is the loud, brash in your face person. She comes across abrasive, a typical Northern Lass. She fearless doesn't take crap and a bit mad chasing off the charvs with her golf club. Despite her first, encounters the audience learns she the most accepting, tolerant person, who doesn't judge people by their appearance where she often rebuking Bram for his negative attitude towards Ken. Belinda'svery accepting nature which best demonstrated when Bram decides he no longer feels comfortable as a Goth becomes Simon and her general accpetance him being gay.

I thought the basic story was a bit mediocre with Belinda deciding to find happiness with her new love interest in Scarborough or rejoin her old bands for an international tour. With Kenneth reliving his youth, Anna and Bram learning secretly sabotaging their parent's new love affair. However, I liked the simplicity and realistic tribulations the plays explore, such as finding an identity, accpetance dealing with love, loss, grief and the personal goth politics.

Despite the simplicity of the storey the script was fantastically written it's  charming dysfunctional, and hilious. Particularly Taylor's use of self-deprecating humour my favourite is when Bram's highlight the irony of being a goth with his attempts to be an individual, he saw at least four other people wearing the same outfit. 

I feel the writing emotively engaged the audience with exploring the complex depths of the characters, which heightened by the superb actoring performances. I felt was best demonstrated with  Anna and Kenneth reminiscing about Cathy, for a moment I almost cried, forgetting it was played. When I saw Belinda being a more supportive motherly figure after Bram's disappointment of his dad it showed her in a different light.

I have to commend Ali Taylor on his respectful, thoughtful and his humane portrays of goth through Belinda and Bram showing we're human but just a bit kooky. I like how he illustrated not just our the harassment we face from the outside world; also the communities internal struggles as well. I honestly, thought Taylor had written a play from an insider perspective of either being a goth or a former goth. However, I was surprised to learn he immersed himself into the Goth cultural via the Whitby Goth weekend learnt much from his encounters.  Where he even me a range of professionals who often toned down the aesthetic for work. 


"But at Goth Weekend, they could go to town and express their true selves. And those true selves, I found, were generally gentle, thoughtful, introverted and sarcastic.:..... "Whitby Goth Weekend is so much more than costumes. It’s principally about Goth music, catching up with mates and having a place that, for a weekend, is entirely for everyone who is different and doesn’t fit it". According to Taylor. 

After the show the academic debate from Tim Synster and Dr Claire Nally which discussed the themes and accuracy of the show. It's even been recorded as a podcast for all free to listen. It was a quite interesting debate with various perspectives and polite disagreement. In case you fancy listening to it.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Review of Leeds Festival Of Gothica

 Personally a  few years ago, I felt the alt' scene, particularly the goth scene was in drastic decline and the only way feel a part of it was via the online community. Newcastle was a desperate cultural waste ground offering very little for the alt community. Slowly, but surely, this has changed with more of a vibrant music scene with more rock nights like Grindhouse, Castle Noir and the return of Trillians. Even the local Discovery Musem held exhibitions with gothic undertones through Refashion and The Steam Punk exhibition.

 I feel the biggest turn was when the British Library and BBC four calibrated t0 celebrate the 250th year of Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto. There were exhibitions, discussion and various programmes exploring gothic cultural.

I'll stop my meanderings.  A few weekends ago, I travelled down to Leeds for the Festival of Gothica It was a celebration of Gothic cultural in Leeds through a range of visual media of independent films, discussions, tutorials and readings. It also featured stalls from independent businesses and charities, including Dead Things by Kate and  Soho's  Also, the event also featured the W Hammond, The Orginal Whitby Jet Shop; selling from their gothic collection. Sylvia Lancaster from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation there with both a stall and as speaker.  

I planned to arrive sharply on the for door opening, I spent too time gandering around Leeds Market looking at fabric.  Not to mention I had mistaken the museum with Leeds art gallery  I found my way by following the black-clad people who were heading to the event. I was greeted by an array of people dressed in a range of historical costume. Outside the museum was a lady clad in wedding resembling Miss Havisham. Another greeter dressed in a beautiful black Tudor brocade dress with a heavy velvet cloak and another was a lady in Victorian mourning garb. I regret not taking photos. They explained the itinerary and orientated me around. 

The main event was set in the museums the main interior. All the stalls were in a circular formation. As I  entered,  I heard  Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Throughout the day there an array other goth music, new romantic, and electronic bands and other 80's music playing.  At the centre,  was the stage for visitors to take photographs in the thrown or for adventitious Goth wanting the ultimate gothic photo in a coffin. Since I'm afraid of coffins, it freaked me out. The West Yorkshire Playhouse Costume Department kindly loaned the exhibition their collection So anybody could dress up for photographs. 

I got dressed up in this gorgeous medieval brocade dress I dreamt of owning, when, I was a baby bat.  

Another person decided it was fun to dress up.

The exhibition had a gorgeous selection of  Victorian and gothic costumes, which were on display in the centre of the room. I couldn't help, but ogling each one. 

These were my favourites. 

I feel this event was more designed for the goth community or those with a gothic sensibility with the events and stalls on offer. The organisers extended the invitation to anyone from outside the community. They had a lovely sign asking everyone to respect each other, creating a welcoming environment. I think sometimes even the goth community can forget this when it comes to internal politics. 

 I also, assumed it was to show we're not all scary we are just like everyone else working and paying taxes; we have a different mindset and aesthetic.  Also to share and celebrate Leeds importance of the birth of the early goth movement with its rich history and culture of producing bands. 

One of the things, I was excited about, was W Hammond, The Original Whitby Jet Shop, who gained fame by supplying jet mourning jewellery to Queen Victoria. It became a must-have for mourners. They still follow this tradition of selling locally sourced Whitby jet. They now, even, produce a gothic inspired range for the darkly inclined, sadly I missed this stall. The nearest stores are in Whitby and York. I do love my Whitby Jet; I own a few pieces and even one a necklace from W Hammonds. 

Honestly,  I mainly hid away with the various discussions, which meant I missed out on some of the other exhibitions.

The first discussion, I was mostly excited about Judith's Simpson academic discussion on Victorian Mourning Presently she is researching and producing her dissertation on for her PhD. I have a basic understanding of  Victorian Mourning, and I am aware of how prevalent death was particularly infant mortality.  After attending the discussion, it gives me a far new understanding on the importance of funeral mourning and how integral these customers were to Victorian society. 

Judith delivered a fantastic and fascinating presentation which highlighted her flawless knowledge. My favourite part was how she brought the human factor of the subject by looking from the social perspective of exploring the everyday lives of people. 

So This is what I learnt from Judiths  session.

  In the Victorian times, diseases were ripe and the average life expectancy was 38 years old. Brides who were preparing for marriage, prepared both a wedding dress and a funeral shroud; since statically one in three women were likely to die in or after childbirth  

With death being, so common in society and Victorians were far more religious in comparison today They believed these rituals prepared a place in heaven for their loved ones and the importance of staying in touch with them. 

Mourning was such an integral part of society that there were etiquette books written how to correctly carry out the practices, which were very complex and complicated. Some common practices included that all members of the family don mourning garb even babies wore black armbands, there was a separate mourning tea set china produced for the events, often most people would don black clothing and commonly made from crepe. 

There was such an emphasis on mourning that often families prioritised saving for funerals, rather than spending money on health care.  Victorians feared of their bodies would be used for medical dissections, people believed this could impact their fate in the afterlife. Often medical hospitals secured the bodies of both prisoners who had been executed or bodies from people who had been in the workhouses who no way of paying for burial. 

Mourning was a way of demonstrating compliance with contemporary social norms. It meant that the deceased person wanted to be recognised as a valued citizen with a respectable reputation. Mourning reflected society with families compiling to a strict hierarchy, who was important e.g. husband and parents that reinforced society structures. There were three types of mourning, family mourning, court mourning and complimentary mourning, which was mourning for close friends or their families Families were expected to go through four types of mourning However, the expectation of men and women differed with men expected to mourn for six months where women were far more restrictive there were expected to remain at home and be somber. For the first stage, women were expected to don black within silk crepe for a year and day. Then they would In half mourning allowed to wear sombre of mourning including other colours outside of black eg grey navy blue or lavender. Often, women would wear mourning jewellery which was dull the most popular were the jet and some contained their loved one's hair, that  symbolibses immortality and remembrance.

Judith explained how in the Victorian period mass production became available and very popular amongst the middle classes which also led to the development of departments stores. Often stores took advantage of the mourning as the whole practice was very expensive particularly with all members of the family expected to don black.  Often people could purchase the material at the department store that the could have these made up intern because almost one in five families lost a loved one. The mass production of the clothes meant sometimes the clothes were poorly constructed or finished off. After the mourning period was finished it believed to be bad luck to keep the crepe within the house and had to be rid off, which meant that families might continually be purchasing new mourning clothing. Often this meant shopping was the only respectable ways women able to enjoy themselves as they were expected to stay at home to mourn the passing of husband.

Eventually, mourning became less fashionable due to increases in life expectancy, society became less religious and more rational and views on women  and expectation were changing Also, more women were entering the workplace, black dies were poisonous and created abhorrent working conditions for workers. During, the First world war there was so much death and the Government and society wanted to maintain people's morale.

Judith concluding by discussing how Victorian Mourning inspired the gothic aesthetic with its relationship with death but yet it suppressed women by limiting them to the home and their actions. Where Gothic costume takes inspiration from Victorian mourning, but it seems to empower women.

Nyx Professional Makeup, 

I was excited to hear Nyx was featured on the day since I'm definitely have come to love this brand for its high-end quality for those on a lemonade budget. I first heard via the recommendations of Youtube Black Friday and find her advice is up to par.  If you follow me on Instagram. I swear by their eye makeup, especially, Nyx's professional makeup palette ultimate shadow pallette - Brights, NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner, (which makes doing a cat so much easier) Matte liquid liner, and the Setting Spray Matte Finish. 

All the demonstration were given by the talented and hilarious Jess with her love of the darkly inclined. She seemed like the perfect ambassador for the brand to showcase load of the goths and darkly incline people. 

The first makeup tutorial is what I would be summed up as  a Halloween clown it demonstrated the easy use of the brights pallet and how blendable the colours were to use,

My favourite the  80's inspired Siouxsie Sioux with its, which Jess compared to as power dressing for the face.

The final look  

Next up was o lovely to meet the awesomely talented Rosie

Garland. I must say is such a sweet person, surprisingly she remembered me from our first encounter the Goth City Festival: Black Planet - Leeds Goth in Perspective. We had a quick chat before her reading I went to quickly grab a coffee, that meant I was slightly late for her reading D'oh She first reminiscing about her experience of gothic sensansiabilites by reading Edgar Allen Poe at the age nine. Also, lead into her feeling like an outcast with growing up rural Devon Which fed into her hysterical but satirical experiences of growing up in Devon her desperate desire to escape it a provincial village. Rosie discussed remembering fondly eccentricity granny who constantly inspired her with her reading fantastical fairy stories. Personally, it stokes a personal code for me, as it reminds of my own experience of my gran how to tell me stories.

Garland did a few readings from her books. The Vixen, The Night Brother and The Palace of Curiosities, each of reading she demonstrated her amazing oratory brought the found that demeanour.

I purchased one her book the Night Brother, I actually wanted the Palace of Curiosities she sold out sadly. I still got the Night Bother signed. 

I regret not staying for the Sophie Lancaster discussion which has such a wonderful and meaningful purpose but by this time I really wanted to explore entire venue I think I had missed everything that had occurred by then. So I did a bit of shopping. I think in hindsight I should have really stayed for Sophie Lancashire talk.  I should have cut the Nyx tutorial short.   


These were some of the Stalls

This was the Nyx stalls selling their product

This was Soho's a vintage Goth/ alt vintage store that sells an array of preloved clothing and shoes. I remember Soho's from my days as a teenager,  I spent with my friend who lived in Huddersfield. When I visited we would often go to Leeds. I bought a handmade skirt for £15, its made of taffeta and velvet embossed pattern that reminds of medieval church tiles. 

This was Dead Things By Kate who sold a wonderful arrange of taxidermy, I even purchased a pair stag horns from the sixties 

This was skirt I purchased 

The deer horns

The signed copy of the Night Brote

The city museun is having an exhibition Sound Bites, which on till April, it explores the history of Goth and Gothic cultural of Leeds with displays which based on Leeds Goth bands including Sisters of Mercy, Salvation and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. They is different range of memborilla explores the cities rich dark cultural of the local goth scene. Part the exhibition, explores X clothes one Leed first alternative clothing store specilising in Diy clothing.

GIY Craft Along: My favourite sewing pattern

T his months brief from Bane at Goth It Yourself. It's about favourites, so my favourite activity is sewing. I tend to use the same sew...