Sunday, 29 November 2015

Dress making, sewing and printing

Younger generations have assisted with the resection of traditional crafts that may have been lost, have facilitated the resurgence of interest in old crafts. Sewing and dressmaking appears to be the most prevalent with research from the Craft & Hobby Trade Association (CHA-UK) has 3.5 million people sewing and in between 2013 and 2014 433,000 started.

 In the UK, the combination of the recession where people have seen an increase in living costs and the reduction of  incomes has led to people adopting a make do and mend attitude salvaging clothing that are still wearable. Another contribution is people's more aware of disposal fashions has on the environment  

The media has been producing televisions shows that encourage people to take up crafting the first were The British Great Bake Off and Kirstie Allsopp's variety of craft shows. Her first show I can't remember the name of the show, but it involved exploring the use of homemade crafts to decorate an old dilapidated cottage, she'd purchased in Cornwell. These shows have led to the surge of armature crafter shows like the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee. Even after speaking to both my sewing tutor who said the show did create interest and talking to fabric departments sales assistants they've found a tempory increase in sales.

Particularly, in the alternative community there has always been a DIY vibe, for example during the punk and early days of the goth movements many people altered and made their own clothing as a way of revolting against the mainstream fashion and society creating a unique aesthetic.  Many alternatives desire to be individual, to purchase unique clothing or one-offs can be extremely expensive and let's be many honest most couldn't afford it.  Where sewing provides a cheaper alternative allowing people to create one-off pieces tailored to personal styles and fitted the to their individuals body shapes. 

Above is Kitti Pilla from Australia, who owns her Wollongong Workshop; designing and creating alternative clothing using her sewing skills to create her own business.

Sometimes sewing can be more expensive than purchasing off the rack clothing; especially purchasing fabric and equipment particularly sewing patterns can be quite expensive, despite being reusable they're often made of delicate tissue paper that is prone to damage. Over the last few months, I've been researching the internet to find free sewing patterns to download, there are some downsides such as finding the exact sewing patterns, measurements, finish, the cost of ink usage, the time it takes to construct the pattern and correctly fitting the pattern. Personally, it's still worth it for saving money. 

These are some of my favourite sewing patterns; I have found:

The sorbetto top would make a gorgeous gothic summer top designed by Colette based on sixties style Source


I like this top to creates an interesting look, and I like the contrasts top.I'm hoping to create one I am planning to alter the sleeves to create one with lace and sleeves with a black jersey top.  The top has optional peter pan collar.To download top Contrast cotton top

I like this top due to the ruffle detail, and I think it would look great and be ideal for the summer. Download from Ruffle top

 This design reminds me of a classic romantic gothic aesthetic with flowy sleeves. Download from Raglan blouses with flare sleeves

This design is another one for the classic goth category, and I like the design. Download from Raglan sleeves blouses with braid 

I choose this top as it has the lace inserts that would add interest to the top. Download Raglan blouse with lace gusset

I found this pattern of a gorgeous cardigan download Aspen Cardigan

 I like this skirt pattern as it has a lovely floaty look, and I used the pattern it's a very easy but effective pattern to use. It could be adapted into a square to create a pointed edge to a create a witchy feel. To download select on flouncy bouncy skirt


I love this fitted dress, especially the ruffle detail that looks fantastic with the ruffle part trimmed arch style lace.  To download click on the Ruffled coffee dress. For this pattern, you will need to add seam allowance for the dress to fit. I even like the above idea of adding a ruffle to the dress turns more into a lolita dress.

I thought I would include a bag, a satchel I tend to use more satchels and backpacks. I like this design as a purse. Download a Gothic Lolita Bag


I like this type of design bag for general use, especially if I'm carrying a tablet. This project doesn't have a pattern, but it does have instructions on how to  


While researching the website, that has a variety of bags. Click on Bags

During my research, I came across these cushion kitties and thought if used a more gothic style fabric these would make cute kitties or even adapt the faces. I showed these to the boyfriend he found them disturbing, but I love them. Click download the cute kitties.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

First attempt at sewing leggings.- wearing them

 A couple of weeks ago,  I posted about the first pair of leggings I had ever made First attempt at sewing leggings. I had a comment from the lovely Lexington the 1st to post pictures donning my leggings. In response, I took some outfit photos when I wore my leggings. I am unable to take pictures at home as my new camera is still in the box, since losing my last one I feel anxious taking it outside, and I don't own a full-length mirror.

When I was out at my local pub, the Bodega,  I snook off to the women's toilets to snap a few pics in front of the ladies full-length mirror.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Professor's Assignment - Thanks Giving

So the good Professor's has started her assignment off by her great article for what to be Thankful inspired by the American Thank's Giving Holidays.

During my melancholy and anxious moments, I find it hard to be thankful as my tunnel vision blinds me. After finding the rational light at the tunnel, I see I have a lot to be thankful. This is for all the people and things  who matter in my life  and I like to say a big thank you for putting my consisting talking, moaning, occasional violence, ( more for Netty)  extreme narcissism, my random mutterings and general insanity

1. The boyfriend 

As I'm writing this, I have ideas running through my head about what to be thankful for, there is so much that I want to mention. Today, I left work early as I felt ill from a  bad vertigo episode and spent most of my time sleeping and waiting for the boyfriend to return. I'm  feeling like crap,  he comes in entirely full of sympathy and makes me a cuppa and prepares dinner for us eat and cuddles up with me for a bit. At one point, he donned my cookie monster t-shirt and did an impression of the cookie monster, to cheer me up. I guess when you have a supportive and caring partner like that, I have a lot to be thankful.(I wrote this last night). 

When I'm feeling crappy or sick, he always there to makes me things feel better. Despite being a vampire and only rising after sunset,  once he's fed, he radiates such an incredible energy that's  contagious and so fun to be around.  

Even a couple of months ago, I lost my pride and joy, my digital camera; he brought me for Christmas.  I loved this camera, and went into a semi-mourning for it, I know this sounds quite superficial to be upset about the camera, it felt like I lost a piece of myself. I  continued my depression, when were out at the pub he asked me what would cheer me up?  I responded by suggesting my old camera or at least a replacement one. He disappeared to get some cigarettes from the shop, and about fifteen minutes later he returned surprising me with a new camera. 

2. Mam                                  

I don't know what to write about her there so many things it's easier just saying for being Mam. 

3 Netty 

My netbook is going strong after more than three years of abuse, and hard work is still a continual source of enjoyment and has become my best friend, I know sad, I need to get a life or meet more people or something. I love her once she blows up I'll get a new one. 

4. Friends

Unfortunately, I often don't get to see many of my friends as I would like to but I know  I can always on count them. I

5. Blogosphere friends 

I know we haven't met each other in person, yet but this community means a lot to me supported through and encouraged me to continue with my blog. 

6. Like any typical Brit, I'm a proper teapot I love cup tea it's something that's always there for the best and worst times. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

First attempt at sewing leggings

I recently made my first pair leggings, which has been an interesting challenge, as I have never made anything like trouser or leggings previously. 

The fabric I got was from South Sheilds market and it cost £3.00 for three and a half metres. I fell in love with pattern instantly, as I love lace style print, and thought a pair of legging would look fantastic with a plain dresses/ tunics and add more interest to any outfit. The fabric was good quality, mostly a polyester with either viscose or cotton combined. The material was easier to work with than, I first anticipated, the fabric sewed without tugging on the sewing machine it glided as it was high standard quilting cotton. 

The pattern I used was Newlook 6323 leggings the pattern I got from Leeds on sale, as I was hoping to create more leggings. I love this pattern as I can also make tunic tops at a later date. 

To make the leggings I found this difficult to interpret and understand the instructions, then again that's just me I learn better by someone showing me how to do an activity than reading instructions. 

I made multiple mistakes constructing the leggings together by sewing the wrong seams together, which resulted in unpicking the seams several times, I 'm surprised that leggings don't look like swiss cheese by now with the number of holes they had through them with the copious amounts of sewing. By the end, I got frustrated with the leggings I had to take them to my sewing tutor who showed me the correct way to sew the seams. I found the leggings were easy to make once I was shown how to make the leggings. I had to match up a pair of the short side and a long side of the leggings that were the front and back. Then sew the crotch then match the side together and hem the bottom and finish the waist.  

After completing the leggings they feel more like pants than leggings I haven't worn them yet, but will with a tunic and pair of boots, I may even wear them for the summer. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

My Halloween

I know this is a late post considering Halloween took place last Saturday. I feel as though time is escaping me and the weeks are merging into one another like the colours of an Impressionist painting. 

Back to the Halloween post, last time I posted was the completion of my Halloween tree due to a bout of insomnia, by the time I got back to sleep and woke up it was midday, I felt begrudge as most of the day had vanished.

My original intentions for Halloween was to participate with a friend,  in the  Record break attempt of the largest gathering of witches held at Alnwick Gardens. But my friend never mentioned anything else and nobody else seemed interested. 
When I discovered through Facebook the library, I used to volunteer at, organised a Halloween party I decided to pop along to show my support.

Alnwick Gardens is a Fairytale theme section of an array of plants most famous are poisonous gardens that contain a variety of plants. The Gardens are attached to Alnwick Castle is most famous for appearing in the first two Harry Potter movies. 

In the afternoon, I went along to Sunderland Road Library, it turned more of Children of a party, but the volunteer who organised the party appeared to be happy with the extra help.

The turned out was fantastic with at least twenty children dressed in various costumes. A great looking buffet, my favourite were the monster cakes, sorry for the rubbish photos.

Before I knew it, I was wondering around trying to organise while the organiser did a fantastic job entertaining the kids with a variety party games. The organiser offered for me to entertain kids, but I declined because I felt unconfident to do it, so I volunteered to the background work. A lot of the time I found myself on my hands and knees fetching and gathering things.  The kids were all jumping and gyrating around with energy all of them were still well behaved and enjoyed the festivities.   My favourite thing was the creativity the organiser put into it,  she made sweet bags and called them a buggy bags and pumpkin dance on the spot where she used round orange bathroom mats for pumpkins. 

In the picture below, is me stuffing my garb (mouth) with buffet food, no surprise, if there is food on the go I can't help myself. 

After clearing up, it was 5 pm, I headed back to the boyfriends with a couple of monster cupcakes. I treated myself to a cake and a some  Halloween tea.

The Halloween tea is a toffee apple blend; that has an incredibly sweet aroma that is almost slightly acrid, but in a small quantity is delicious to drink. It came in an  El Día de Los Muertos tea caddie. 

So after a well-deserved rest the boyfriend and were debating whether to go out or stay in, eventually, we chose to go out. We headed to Trillians, Newcastle's local rock bar,  we were hoping to have a few quiet drinks, we arrived with our hopes were dashed, as the place was packed with patrons, I guess that I should have been expected, as Halloween is always a busy holiday. We had a drink and decided to go over to the Black Bull, personally, I think is Gateshead's best pub. 

The Black Bull is owned by Shaz and Maz,  two punks who've never grown out of it. They offer some of the friendliest customer services and make you feel like your long lost friends whether it's your first time or a regular. 

We entered just as the band were finishing and the Halloween costume contest began with everybody standing up and waiting for votes. Everybody got a prize for participating and the host with his usual banter charm awarding the prizes.

We stayed for a couple of hours drinking, playing a game of pool the boyfriend beat me like always, despite being blind in one eye, he's a master at the game and well, my skills are barely developed.    

The jukebox kept us entertained with music; I even had a go choosing a random selection of  Patty Smith  Tonight the night for lovers, Bauhaus's original version of Bela Lugosi's dead and Blue Oyster Cult's Don't feel the Reaper. Throughout the night, I kept annoying the Boyfriend by singing Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America, as previously I heard the song during the evening. 

I'm smiling to hear Bob Marley's Buffalo Soldier finally; it was driving me mad to hear the full song. 

I also selected it.  I started to get peckish craving crisps and surprisingly it was a pack of Hobb Goblins, mainly famous for their ales, I was impressed, but I'm easily impressed, haha.  

After a great night at the Black Bull, we headed back to Trillians for another drink as we thought Trill's would be less busy, wrong.  The alcohol in our bloodstream at this point helped us to make the best of the situation by sticking Halloween stickers on each other; we got from the bar staff; I even started dancing with them.  

My outfits 

Library outfit

Night outfit 

Mesh top - Hobbs- St Oswalds - Charity shop
PVC Corset - Burleska- Dr.Black
PVC Skirts- Phaze- Katman
Necklace - Church Fete

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Magic Cafe up-cycling food

In times of old or at least in my Gran's day, who experienced rationing of the second world war and practiced the motto waste does not want not. My gran seldom wasted food, as so many of her generation did, the food was far from the bargain commercial commodity it is today. She would go shopping nearly every day to purchase just enough for dinner for all the family rather than go to the supermarket and by excessive quantities.  Leftover food was cleverly recycled into tomorrow’s night casserole or hotpot and ate leaving a morsel of waste. In comparison to my generation who simply throw away any leftovers into the bin.

I even remember my manager, when I worked for an order of Nuns’. She was 86 years old, and always disgusted at the amount of food wastage, regularly commenting on the number of people starving in the world. I had to agree with her, especially when the average households produces 50% food waste and produce 7 million tonnes of food wastage every year, and most of it's still reasonable to eat. The most common food thrown out is fresh fruit & veg and bakery items such as cakes, bread, etc. that often aren’t consumed in time or far too much food has been used. (lovefoodhatewaste 2015).

 In the media, supermarkets have come under scrutiny from the media unnecessary disposal of food and the zealous best of dates where food has still been safe to consume. The negative media attention has caused embarrassment and shame to the supermarket, highlighted by journalists dumpster diving, finding vast quantities of eatable food thrown out. Many supermarkets are working with local charities to assist in redistributing food preventing it going to waste.

Through the world, there has been freegan movement to live for free on societies leftovers that otherwise end up in the landfill. Part this movement has seen local communities starting initiatives to create pop-up cafes or events that use the waste the food.

 A local event is the Magic Cat Café is pop up café relies on the assistance of volunteers to provide nutritious and delicious meals upcycled from food intercepted from the landfill. The cafe adopts an unusual payment method of pay as you feel, pay via money, or sometimes offering services and other talents. 

Keeping with the Halloween theme, the cafe had salvaged numerous of editable pumpkins from the bin. The menu consisted of a variety of pumpkin dishes into the menu with pumpkin soup,  Thai pumpkin curry, pumpkin lasagne and an array of delicious pumpkin desserts. At the entrance, the was a pile of pumpkins that the volunteers cordially encouraged to take on the condition they go to a good home. My pumpkin ended up as pumpkin soup that ended up a disaster but remedied by water, salt and coriander. 

The volunteer like always showed their friendly selves and passion for the cause, bringing all members of the community together. I ended up having a good chat with one of the volunteers. On the serving table were menus suggesting how to use the pumpkins. 

The volunteers were hard at work at the entrance making soup; they had an efficient system with one area for preparing and chopping pumpkins, another cooking and serving the soup. There was a vast quantity of soup served, so the volunteer were encouragingly tempting patrons to try it. The soup was amazing, it had a thick consistency and rich, spicy taste of black pepper and coriander,  I wish I go more.  

Originally, I ordered a pumpkin lasagne sadly; none was left, so I chose the Thai pumpkin curry and pumpkin pie, mixed with apple and cinnamon and kiwi zest. 

Life Update.

Hi, it's been a very long hiatus, not to say the least. Since my last post, a lot happened in October. I had a death in the family ...