Since learning about the Fashion Industry through my Textiles course in design school, I have been far more aware of the effect I have on the world. Working with Future Oceans has just added to my desire to make my footprint as small as possible.
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, only beat by the oil industry. One of the largest issues with the industry is fast fashion- all of the companies that make clothing as cheaply as possible and make in bulk. This clothing is meant to last for one season, then be thrown out. That process causes a lot of stress on the environment.
Almost every step of creating clothing in a factory is terrible on the environment, such as dyeing (fabric dye is highly toxic and difficult to clean out of water since it is made to last through everything) and cutting (since a great deal of fabric is wasted and thrown out from not being cut carefully).
While large companies run like this, there isn't a ton that we can do. The good news is that there are things that are easy for us to do that can help! I'm sure most people have already read so many things about this since sustainability is such a buzzword right now, but I thought that I would add my take on it. Feel free to add any more ideas that you have in the comments below!
#1 - Don't Throw Away Old Clothing
It's not helpful to keep old clothing that you don't wear anymore, but you don't have to throw it out. Donating pieces that you don't wear anymore because they don't suit you are don't fit anymore is a great way to feel really good about yourself and help others, while decluttering your space. If it has been too well loved and can't be donated, sometimes clothing can be re-purposed. Flannel shirts can be cut up and are great for cleaning mirrors. Buttons can be good to keep for crafts, and sometimes keeping strong parts of a garment makes a good patch for kids clothing.
#2 - Make Do and Mend
Sometimes well loved clothing gets holes in it. Especially since most clothing that is made in factories isn't made very well - buttons come off easily, seams split open, and hems come undone. All of these problems are really easy to fix with a needle and thread and a few minutes. I'm terrible for letting my mending pile get pretty big before doing anything about it, but each fix is fast and can be done in front of the TV. If you don't know or want to sew, most dry cleaners will do simple mends for you, or you might be able to find a local seamstress or fashion student who would be happy to do it.
If you want to learn how to sew, there are tons of videos on Youtube teaching simple knots and stitches that you can follow along to.
#3 - Research Where Your Clothing is Coming From
This one takes a little bit more time, but it always pays off in the end. Doing a quick search on the brand you like to buy is a good way to either set your mind at ease or tell you that maybe you should find a new brand. Brands that use sustainable fabric, make their products in Canada, or do anything else to help usually market it on their website so it's easy to find. If they have a sinister background, there are often multiple posts about that if you google them. You don't always have to buy from an expensive brand to be choosing well, there are a lot of cheaper brands that are joining the bandwagon and either produce all of their clothing sustainably or have an ethical line. It also doesn't have to be difficult to find - for example, Mountain Equipment Coop is well known for their initiative for reducing waste, water, and carbon emissions during their process.
#4 - Only Buy What You Need
When it comes to being kinder to the environment, buying less is always helpful. This doesn't mean that you have to live off of a capsule wardrobe (although if you do that's great!), but just think through something for a day or two before you purchase it. Taking even an hour to think through a purchase before buying it really helps with deciding whether it's actually something that you would use versus just something you really like but won't wear after the first week. To help me decide if I would actually wear something often enough to justify buying it, I think about my other clothes and decide whether or not they would go together. If the colour/cut/style doesn't work well with my other clothes I'm far less likely to wear it.
I left this tip for last because it's the most expensive. This one isn't necessary obviously (well, none of them are), but if you want to spend a little bit more for a nice piece that you would like to have for a long time, this is the way to go. All of the previous tips are easy to do cheaply, but often when buying from smaller brands or more couture labels, you do have to pay more. The positive to this is that if you do have the money and are willing to spend it, whatever you get will last forever and some brands even will mend them for you if anything happens. How is this good for the environment? There are multiple things that are great - by having a piece in your wardrobe that's well sewn that will last forever you are saving a lot of money long term as well as fabric by not having to re-buy it. Also, these smaller brands or items from local seamstresses are usually made either in small quantities or made to order. That means they save fabric, choose better quality fabric, and use less equipment (meaning less energy). Another pro for this is that you know the artisan who made what you are wearing was payed a fair wage to create it.
I am a huge advocate for supporting artists, and even if you aren't able to purchase something from them, just sharing their work or spreading the word is incredibly helpful
Do you have any other tips for keeping you wardrobe sustainable?
After much consideration and the realization that I have way too many clothes (the ability to make whatever clothing I desire really adds to that problem...), so I decided to do a huge update on my Etsy account. Going through the photos for each of these made me quite sad to be selling them, but there is no more room in my sewing room closet! I hope that they all go to good homes:)
All of the basic information about the pieces are below the photos, and you can buy any of these, plus more, on my Etsy account here
Enjoy! If you are interested in purchasing any of these, they are up in my Etsy account here
I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the 10 designers to create a small ready to wear collection and one art dress for a fashion show that will take place on Canada Day in Victoria, BC, at the Victoria International Marina.
I had so much fun coming up with the design ideas since I could do whatever era's and whatever styles I wanted to, as long as I used eco-friendly materials to make them. I am currently working on the ready to wear pieces and having a great deal of fun playing around with the materials and designs.
So far I have gotten all of my fabric through KenDor Textiles, which is a Canadian company that specializes in eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics. I have so far printed two of the fabrics, drafted two of the patterns, and cut out those two dresses so they are ready to be sewn together. Once I got my fabrics in, it has all been coming together pretty quickly!
I can't wait for the actual show so I can show everyone exactly what I have been working on, but for now here are some sneak peaks!
If you would like to hear more about V.I.M. Future Oceans, you can check out their website here, Instagram here, and their Facebook page here.
The final projects in my second semester of school were making a blouse and vest. I haven't gotten photos of my blouse (yet), but we spent a lovely day in the city getting photos of my vest yesterday. We took photos near the Simmons Building, which used to be a mattress factory but now holds three businesses: Charbar, Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters, and Sidewalk Citizen Bakery. This area is really beautiful since it is right on the river, plus it is on the edge of downtown Calgary. It was easy to find some lovely spots to get photos, plus we got the added benefit of a delicious breakfast of pastries and tea.
This vest is made using the same wool as my trousers and skirt projects from last semester (more photos of those ones here) and is fully lined. This vest is completely designed, patterned, and sewn by me. It includes princess seams, top stitching, and a welt pocket.
I have always enjoyed stopping in Nanton, Alberta as a kid when we were in the area. They are a tiny town with the best antique stores, and my favourite has always been Sentimental Journey Antiques. They are connected to Iron Crow, which is where I got my photos for last years Fall collection.
The building has a very interesting history- it was first opened in 1909 as a hardware store. The upper story was used as a meeting and social hall for different groups in Nanton. It changed hands in 1935, and the new owner added more items in the store and converted the top story into apartments. Pretty quickly after that, the building was used for officers residence during World War Two - there was an aircrew training base close by.
I have always fantasized about living in one of the beautiful upstairs apartments, and learning about its use during the war made me love the quaint rooms even more. I still daydream about where I would put all of my furniture in the apartments if I were lucky enough to live there. We took all of our photos in our favourite rooms in the building upstairs.
The clothing that I am wearing in these photos are the lower torso garments that I made last semester in school. The pants are a 1940's inspired pair of trousers with a yoke, pockets, and front pleats. The skirt is a faux-wrap with a side zipper and a pocket on the other side. It is fully lined with a brown striped lining. Both of the garments are made using %100 wool.
I did not make any of the tops that I am wearing, all of them except for one are from Aerie (and they are all incredibly soft and comfortable). The WAC shirt is from a fundraiser for the SoCal WAC's.
I started a 1960's ensemble almost a year ago, and was completely distracted by the beginning of school. After some issues with the lining and top stitching, I was not motivated to finish it. It has been sitting nicely on a chair in my sewing room until Christmas break, when it was finally finished and we got some lovely photos of it!
This is from a Simplicity pattern from the 1960's, and I made it using coordinating quilting cottons. I think that this pattern looks so much like Barbie clothes from the 60's! I had so much fun wearing it around a new mall that is at the moment pretty empty. The mall had a pretty creepy feeling (it is massive, and only has a few stores in it so far), but I think the photos turned out perfectly! I mix of 1960's fashion and futuristic, Blade Runner style (at least, I think the photo's look a bit like the Blade Runner).
We got these photos on Boxing Day, and they were planned very last minute. We had such fun getting these though!
I am back in school for the second semester, so any extra sewing is on the back burner. I do have my final projects from semester one (a pair of pants and a skirt) which I am hoping to get photos of soon though, so keep your eyes peeled:)
Thanks for reading!
In my Looking Back at 2018 post, I talked a little bit about some things that I wanted to do in the new year. I thought that it would be fun for me to write about some of the things I want to do, and some of the things that I am excited for in 2019!
The goal that I mentioned in that post was finishing some of the projects that I started last year- the biggest of those being a few historical costumes! I have the posts written for them, and I have large chunks of each project done, I just lost the enthusiasm to actually finish it... I am hoping to finish off these ones this summer (I am giving myself some slack during school, since I drop most hobbies during the semester).
Another goal of mine is to read more! I have been reading a lot more recently, but I went through a bit of a hump last summer when I wasn't really interested in anything. I am hoping to keep up my fascination with everything this year and learn lots of new things and read lots of new books.
I also am hoping to take a few classes outside of my college courses. As much as I enjoy sewing, sometimes doing it all day every day can lead to a bit of a burn out. I have decided that learning something different might help break things up a bit, and I have never regret taking more classes before!
Other than my goals for the year, I also have a few things that I am getting very excited about that will be happening this year. The first (and most exciting for me) is that I am looking into going to Greece with a friend this summer! After going to Mexico and Germany in the past few years, I have definitely caught the travel bug, and there are so many places that I want to go. Greece has always been close to the top of my list, so I can't wait to cross it out.
I am also getting quite excited about my training goals. I started working out during the first semester, and it has helped me manage my stress. My goal is to get stronger (especially my very weak upper body), and I have had a friend help me out with this goal! I am very excited to see some progress, and it has been fun to be a Brand Ambassador for Just Strong as well, to help me keep determined.
The last thing that I am very excited for this year is how far I will get in my program through the college! I am currently taking a 2 year Costume Cutting and Construction major through Olds College, and by the end of the year I will be 3/4 of the way done! I can't believe how fast the first semester went, and how much I learned in such a short amount of time. I think this year will fly by.
My mom has always had a word of the year that she tries to follow throughout the year. I don't normally join her, but I decided to chose a word for the coming up year. After looking through the thesaurus for quite a while, I decided on the word Fortitude. I love that it sounds strong, but its more than that. It is about not giving up, keeping your determination.
Do you chose a word of the year? What is yours this year?
PS= The shirt I am wearing in these photos are from Just Strong, the company that I recently became a Brand Ambassador for! You can purchase anything off of the website with my code, FUNKKATH10 and get 10% off. I do get a small commission with purchases with my code, and that money will go toward my college. Thank you so much for your support!
After putting up a few of my costumes for sale, I realized that it wasn't just my costumes that I had made and not worn after photo shoots, a lot of my vintage styled garments had the same problem! I get excited to make different patterns or try out new things, but they aren't always things that I actually want to wear. I am the type of person who really enjoys comfort, and that usually means soft fabrics and not too fitting of bodices. I absolutely love all of these garments, but I can always look back at the photos when I miss them!
First up is my 1950's styled blue shirt dress! I love this fabric so much, but the dress is slightly big on me. Check out the listing here. This is a blue 1950's styled shirt dress with red button accents and a notched collar. This dress is not for $65.00
Next is my Bee Skirt! This is the cutest pattern (if I may say so myself, since I actually printed the cotton myself haha), and an A-Line skirt that falls just past the knees. Read my post about making it here, and purchases it here. This skirt is on for $50.00
This is possibly one of my favourite cottons that I have ever worked with! I love quilting cottons (they don't wrinkle so easily, and they iron nice and crisp. They also feel amazing on the skin), and this llama and cactus one is so cute and summery. You can check out my posts about this dress (it is a part of my Mexico Collection) here, and see the listing here. This dress and apron are on for $85.00
Another piece of my Mexico Collection, my matching shorts and halter top are also for sale! Check out more photos here, and the Etsy listing here. It is up for $65.00
I am very sad to be letting go my 3 piece suit, made up of this 1950's style sheath dress, the boxy blazer, and cigarette pants. These are a part of my Crooked House Collection, and made of a beautiful plaid wool blend. Each of these are for sale separately for $55.00. You can get the dress here, the pants here, and the blazer here. See more photos of them here.
Up Next: My Man From U.N.C.L.E dress (inspired by the movie with Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander). This is a cotton, mid-mod styled summer dress. To see the Etsy listing, click here, and to find more photos (and information about the Cold War), click here. It is on sale for $65.00.
My muslin peplum blouse with a shawl collar and mother of pearl buttons is on for $55.00. This was a part of my Berlin Collection, which you can see here. Purchase this blouse here.
My 1940's styled wool dress with short sleeves and a matching blazer! These are both for sale (the dress for $75.00, and the blazer for $65.00). Check them out here, and see more photos of them here.
I had a bit of a sewing frenzy last weekend, and ended up finishing not one, but two garments in the two days. I was finally able to use a lovely pattern that I got by Patterns by Gertie. The fabric is from Michaels. I decided that this ensemble was very wintery, so we made our way to Big Hill Springs National Park (which is not far from where I live) to take photos.
Even though there was lots of snow on the ground, it was a lovely day with warm sunshine and no wind, so it was not difficult to stand there in a skirt without a coat (although, my feet were pretty frozen by the end). I am lucky to live in an area with so many different landscapes! It makes finding places for photo shoots very easy.
The blouse is a wrap blouse from the same pattern as the skirt. I chose a plaid flannel to make it, since I have been running out of warm and pretty shirts to wear to school lately. The skirt is the sweetest cotton print, with animals on it. It ended up being very Canadian! I think this skirt will be worn on Canada Day this summer.
I have been wearing a ton of 50's styled outfits lately, so I have already worn these pieces out. The skirt needs to be taken in slightly (you can't really see in the photos, but it will be a quick fix), but other than that I am thrilled with how it turned out!
I recently started school, so I have been a little bit busy. While I am loving school, and learning tons of new and helpful things, it has been quite stressful getting started so the blog has been paused. Now that MakeFashion is done, and I have gotten used to my new schedule, I have lots of plans for the winter season!
After a trip to Fabricland a while ago, I am filled with inspiration! The first thing on my list is something that I have been wanting to make for a long time- a kitchy, 1950's wrap dress. I picked up the McCalls pattern M7354, and a fabulous printed cotton. I will be binding the dress with cream bias tape, and picking out two cream buttons to finish it off.
The second pattern that I picked up is a pattern that I have admired for a very long time, and now that I am confident enough in my sewing skills I am ready to make it! I am going to do a trial run with a plaid flannel to make myself a night gown, and then I will make myself a few slips to go underneath my dresses.
I have always been a huge fan of Patterns by Gertie, and I have used a few of her patterns before, so I did not hesitate to get a few more of her patterns! The first one here is a skirt and blouse pattern. I am making the skirt out of some left over wool from a 1940s styled dress, and I haven't decided what to make the shirt out of quite yet.
I also got a stunning boat neckline dress pattern with a V back. This dress can be made as an A-line or as a pencil dress, and I am thinking of making the pencil version first. I may make it out of some left over wool from my Bomb Girl Trousers, but that is yet to be decided! I have so many different fabrics that I think it woulds be fabulous in.
Another Gertie pattern that I grabbed is for petticoats! This is thrilling, since I have been wanting to make myself a petticoat or two for ages. The more interested I get in 1950s fashion, the more that I need (okay, maybe not need... but really want!) a petticoat to underneath all of the full skirts that I have. The last one I am extremely excited for (okay, I am excited for them all, but this one is pretty good). It is a Sabrina style dress with a pencil skirt and full back. I am planning on making this out of a burgundy silk dupioni. I was originally saving this dupioni for a natural form era dress inspired by Crimson Peak. I still would like to make a dress like that, but it will be out of a different fabric.
The last pattern that I picked up is the 1890s pattern from Angela Clayton! I absolutely love her blog and youtube channel, and I was so excited when her first pattern came out. I am hoping to make a jacket for myself with this pattern, and at some point I think I will be needing an 1890s ensemble...
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you are as excited about all of these ideas as I am!
I am very excited to be working with MakeFashion for a second time, and this time I am a Team Lead!
I thought that I would explain my dress a little before the show, and let everyone know where they can see it, if you would like to.
I decided to design my technology around something close to home- mental illness. The dress is based on the idea to help people struggling with things such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. A switch at the waistband of the dress allows the wearer to change the colours of the lights in the skirt. Each colour of light means something different- the green means that the person wearing the dress is comfortable in the situation, yellow means that they are getting anxious/uncomfortable, and red means that they are not in a good place. We came up with this format since it could benefit many people- I have a hard time with touch and being overwhelmed (with noise, etc), and having a red light would be nice to let the people I love know that I would like some space, and that it is not their fault. Having something the let the people around you know what kind of head space that you are in helps avoid miscommunication.
MakeFashion is paired with Beakerhead this year, so the fashion shows will be at the Beakerhead event on September 22. To get behind the scenes access to the show (get to see the models and designers getting ready for the shows), reserved seating, a gift bag from team Luminary, access to the VIP lounge, and a ride in the Beakernight Hot Air balloon you can get the Luminary Experience here!
If you would just like to check out a show, tickets to Beakernight are $8, and you can get them here. The show is at Fort Calgary, and my dress will be at the first show at 8pm!
I loved working with MakeFashion last year, and I have met so many brilliant people through this opportunity. I can't wait to show everyone the finished product!
I absolutely love the movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E. from 2015, and I especially love the costumes. The character Gaby, played by Alicia Vikander, has the best trendy 1960s outfits throughout the movie, along with fantastic hair and makeup. After seeing the movie a few times (like I said, I very much so enjoy this movie...), I decided that I needed to make myself a dress like hers. I ended up finding a fantastic vintage pattern by Simplicity, and decided to do a classic coloour block for this dress. I chose green and white because of this dress that she wore in the movie.
I also wanted to make this dress because of my growing interest in the Cold War. After going to Germany last year and seeing the Mauermuseum (at Checkpoint Charlie), I learnt so much more about the era after WW2, and it made me even more interested in not only the politics of the time, but also the fashion. I also recently found tons of olds family photos of my grandma in the 60's and 70's, and she wore so many beautiful dresses! My grandmother was very trendy, so she was always wearing the newest style! She has tons of photos in Go Go boots and mini skirts.
The Cold War is a very interesting (and scary) time, and I was especially interested in learning about the Berlin Wall. The Mauermuseum also has a fascinating history since it was actually set up very soon after the Wall was built. Founded by Dr Rainer Hildebrandt, he thought that it was important to talk about the non-violent fight for human rights. He chose to talk about that directly beside an affront to human rights. The museum grew as the Wall stayed up, and has been updated to include what happened after the Wall fell, as well as more recent genocides and affronts to human rights.
The museum has many artifacts such as cars, a hot air balloon, and a mini submarine, that show how hard people worked to get rid of the wall, and to get around (or through) it. Many people helped East Germans escape to the other side, and there are so many brilliant stories.
The building of the wall started on August 13th of 1961 by the GDR (German Democratic Republic, which is East Germany). The people living in the GDR had been revolting for a long time. At the end of the WW2, the US, Britain, and the Sovient Union split Germany. The country was split into 3 zones with Berlin in the Soviet section. Berlin was also split into zones, with the US, UK, and France taking the West side of the city and Soviet troops controlling the East. When the tensions arose between the countries, the Soviets decided to block off the roads, rails, and water access to West Berlin. Starting in 1948, they hoped that the other countries would be forced to give their section to the Soviets. The response by the UK and US was to airlift food, fuel, and water into Berlin from airbases in Western Germany. At the height of the airlift, planes were landing every 45 seconds at the Templehof Airport. By 1949, they had won this crisis and the blockade was lifted. In 1953 the people of East Berlin had a revolt that was stopped with Soviet tanks. The Soviets struggled to keep their side of Germany because of their cruelty and lack of supplies (East Germany was starving).
Checkpoint Charlie is the most widely known checkpoint between East and West Germany. Many demonstrations were held there, and there were many successful escape attempts there. While the wall was up (between 1961 and 1989) more than 5000 people escaped across the Berlin Wall. The longer the wall was up, the harder it was to cross. One woman was smuggled out in the seat of her boyfriends vehicle (the cut a hole for her to sit literally inside the seat, and she almost suffocated in the small space). People also got through in speakers, over on hang gliders with a Trabant motor, with hot air balloons, as well as under in tunnels. The most successful break through was in a tunnel when 57 people made it through in two nights in 1964.
There were also many unsuccessful attempts, and many people died trying to get to West Germany. In 1962, a man named Peter Fechter bled to death. He was shot by Soviet guards and after 45 minutes of agony with no help, passed away beside the wall. This started a huge protest when onlookers could see and hear him, but were unable to help because he fell onto the wrong side of the wall.
I think that this is a hugely important part of history to learn about, especially since it is so close to us (the wall was only taken down on Novemeber 9, 1989).
To learn more about the Wall and its history, the website for the Mauermuseum is here. You can also hear more about the Berlin Airlift through this website here. Some other movies and books about the era that I found very interesting are Bridge of Spies (with Tom Hanks), Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder, Wings of Desire (released in 1987), and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre. If you have any more to add to the list, let me know!
The photos are taken at the Wonderland Sculpture (which us locals call the Big Head... creative, I know) outside of the the Bow Building.
Every summer we go to Heritage Park. If you haven't been there before, it is a Living History Museum in Calgary, Alberta. It gives lots of information about Albertas, and Canadas history, and you get to go through different buildings from the area. Most of them are from the late 1800s and early 1900s (since Canada is such a new country, they are pretty much the oldest buildings in this area). Heritage Park has been my favourite place since I was very young, and I always wanted to work there (dress up and talk about history all day? That was the dream!). Growing up has actually made me love going there even more, mostly because I know more about the era than I used to.
This time we decided to get some photos of something that I have made before. I didn't have anything new that suited the surroundings, but I did tailor my 1930s skirt a few months ago and never got photos of it. It fit me okay when I first made it (it was actually the first piece of clothing that I every made), but it was quite a bit too big at the waist, so I took it in about 3 or 4 inches. I wear it so much more often now that it fits nicely, and I am so glad I took it in! The 1930's is one of my favourite eras of clothing for everyday wear, so its great to have another piece for my closet.
The train section of the park I have never seen before- there is an area with a few train cars that you can walk through, and this was our first time seeing them! There is an amazing train museum in Cranbrook, BC that I went to when I was quite a bit younger and it fed my fascination with train travel in the 1800s-mid 1900s.
Canada has a pretty different history to many other countries, especially European ones. Before the Europeans, the First Nations were here. We don't have much left over from the First Nations because of the Europeans (just like the US). Because the country is so new, the oldest buildings here are the types that would be called retro in Europe. Our history is very much the Wild West that you see in movies. I have always found this fascinating because as a kid I wanted very badly to be a cowgirl. I loved growing up in a ranching and farming area. We still have the Calgary Stampede, which was started in 1912. We also had Nellie McClung, one of the Famous 5 (suffragettes, politicians, and social activists), living in Calgary, and her house now stands in Heritage Park. Emmeline Pankhurst actually came to visit her in Edmonton!
I used to be quite disappointed about our lack of history in Alberta, but over the years I have learned that we have a fascinating history that is not talked about enough. There were so many interesting people who did important things that either lived or came through this area, and many major events happened in just a few hundred years.
To see more photos of the finished collection, click here
The last two outfits of my Mexico Collection! The skirt is a light blue linen made using a 1930's pattern from simplicity. The shorts are a 1960's Vintage Vogue pattern made with the same linen as the skirt, and the corset cover that it is paired with is muslin and vintage lace (it has another post of it here).
To see more photos from this collection, click here. Thank you for reading, and stick around for new projects coming soon! Plus, I am also almost done editing a video for this collection as well, so that will be up in the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading!