Posted on 2 Comments

Xanthea Zero Waste T-Shirt

Liz Hayward from The Craft of Clothes recently released a zero-waste t-shirt pattern – the Xanthea Top. Liz proposed a pattern swap with our latest patterns, as t-shirts and overalls are a perfect combo. I’m not quite done with the Simone Overalls pattern, but I’m looking forward to styling the Xanthea Top with my finished overalls and seeing Liz’s version of both together. It was also perfect timing, as I have been wanting to make some basics for myself and tees were first on my list.

The Xanthea Top is very versatile, as it is designed to be used with knit or woven fabrics and it is drafted up to a 70″ bust. The top has a fun, unique construction, and a slightly boxy fit. The final top hangs on the bias so it has a nice drape. It also has options for short sleeves or long sleeves. Liz provides a printable mockup of the top so you can fully understand the construction before you get started.

Short-sleeved version with neckline for knit fabric
Long Sleeve version with neckline for woven fabric

I decided I wanted to play with and highlight the unique design lines created on the front of the top. It has been a while since I made a handstitched garment so I was excited to jump in again with the Xanthea top. My goal was to use mock flat-felled seams for the body and finish the neckline with a more stretchable stitch. I made a few minor changes to the overall design; including using the woven neckline for the knit version, omitting the sleeves, and taking out a bit at the shoulders.

I made a size 10 based on my body measurements and I’m very happy with the fit. I also made a version out of woven fabric in the same size and while it does fit, I think I may size up for future versions made with woven fabric as it does pull a bit in the shoulder area when I cross my arms. I’m not sure if this is because of my fabric choice or the size, but I will experiment with that further.

The original pattern does not have shoulder seams, but I decided to slightly modify my top by taking out 1.5″ | 3.8cm from the top of the shoulders. To do this, I constructed the top as directed until I got to the step to cut out the neckline. I traced my desired neckline on the fabric and then I measured down 1.5″ | 3.8cm at the side fold (there is no side seam). I made a diagonal cut from this point up to the neckline. I was left with a triangle cutout that I used to create a facing around the armholes.

I also chose to use the woven neckline for the top because I wanted a lower neckline. When I cut out the pattern, I cut an additional 1″ |2.5cm strip the same length as the required square. I used this strip as the binding around the neckline. I did have a little bit of this strip remaining and I used this to help finish the facing at the armholes. I used the neckline cutout as a back facing and I really like the detail on the back of the shirt.

The last thing that I changed was to eliminate the sleeves for my knit version because the boxy fit creates cute little cap-like sleeves. As I said above, I used the excess that was cut off the shoulders as the facing for the sleeves. Because there are no shoulder seams, the excess triangle that I cut from the shoulders needed to be cut open so that I could stitch it to the arm opening. I matched the center of this elongated polygon with the top shoulder seam, right sides together, and stitched it to the arm opening. I finished the facing by turning it to the wrong side and stitching around the perimeter of the armhole and along the diagonal edges of the shoulder cutout. I wish I had gotten better pictures of this process because it is a bit hard to describe, but the video I recorded while doing it was blurry – oh well. I am really pleased with how this detail turned out and how it compliments the original design lines of the top.

As the weather cools, I’m looking forward to making more versions of the Xanthea Top. I have plans for a woven version with slightly puffy sleeves and I also like Liz’s idea of making it a sweatshirt with a hood. This is definitely a pattern that I will be coming back to often. Please let me know if you have any questions about my mods.

Posted on Leave a comment

Out and About

Happy Friday! It’s been a whirlwind of a week with little sleep. I have been doing a lots of knitting (see above walk with kiddos…having knitting will travel, right?) and planning for future dye projects, but don’t have much to share at the moment. Teething baby has left me with lots of nursing time and I have been reading and researching during much of that time. I’ve been coming across and collecting articles and links related to sustainability and the fashion industry. So I thought I would compile a list regularly for you to peruse at your leisure. I don’t want to limit this collection to sustainability and fashion, but also include natural dyeing, small business development, mindfulness, etc. If you find anything around the web that might be of interest please hit me up at emily@goldfinch.limited.

  • Fabric made from wood – This sounds very interesting; especially the potential of a closed loop system. I wonder how it would take natural dyes?
  • Fast fashion = modern-day slavery – It’s so easy to look over and not think about and I know there are many layers and facets, but it’s something that needs to start being talked about more.
  • A sustainable vision for fast-fashion? – This article really breaks down the emergence of fast fashion and it’s environmental and social impacts. It discusses ways some of the fast fashion companies are attempting to reduce and improve these impacts.
  • Way to go Columbia – ReThreads: Clothing Recycling Program
  • EF Renew – A take-back program that uses damaged and unwanted Eileen Fisher and turns them into new garments.
  • More ways to avocado pits – This makes me wonder if you could still use them to dye with after making broth and/or if you will have pink soup.

Enjoy and I hope everyone has a good weekend!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Beginnings of Slow Fashion

A few years ago when I started sewing for myself, the motivation was based on the enjoyment of the making process and the speed at which I could have a completed project. I was a knitter and at the time very slow, but I knew the joy of wearing something that you have made for yourself with your own two hands. With sewing, I could create something much quicker, almost instant gratification. It was a magical discovery!

At the time, I knew nothing of the slow fashion movement. I did know that I didn’t like to shop because I was not happy with the ever changing styles and lack of good fit. I hated spending a lot of money on something I could tell was going to fall apart after a couple of wears and I couldn’t afford the really good stuff.

Once I began to sew and knit in much more earnest, I began to follow along with the conversation of slow fashion. I began to understand why I had such a dislike for fast fashion. There was a reason the clothing would fall apart so fast and why it seemed like I could never keep up with the latest and greatest. I began to see that I wanted to know more about where my clothing came from and that I wanted to hold on to what I already had longer.  Thrifting and mending took on a whole new meaning, not just that I couldn’t spend the money on new clothes, but that I wanted things to last and to give a  new home to items that had a lot of life left in them.

I started looking at my crafting practices and the materials that I was using.  I was really thinking about how I would use a garment once it was made and how does fit into my lifestyle. What was I most comfortable in and how I do I like to wear clothes? When I really started to think about this and pay attention to what I already had, it helped to reduce the desire to just cast on the next cute sweater or cut out a cute top. The question was will I wear this regularly? Do I have something similar? Would my time be better spent thrifting or fixing something to fit that hole in my wardrobe?

All of this also began to form other desires for my making. I wanted to participate in the slow fashion movement beyond just for myself. Could I take my skills and create things others could wear and love too? This is something that I have been contemplating over the last few months.

Recently, I was able to finish up two pieces that are the beginning of this undertaking. A simple tunic dress made from linen that I dyed myself. This tunic dress is flattering for a variety of body styles and can be worn on a variety of occasions.

The second piece is a cotton scarf/wrap that is a perfect transition piece for the spring. I dyed the cotton and used Shibori resist techniques to create  the pattern on the fabric. This piece also has a variety of uses, from scarf to wrap to swaddle blanket and nursing cover, etc. Creating things that have multiple uses means that our resources go further.


You can check out both of these items in my shop. Custom orders are always welcome, just let me know.

Posted on 1 Comment

Contemplating Process: A Zero Waste Shirt

In my last post, I talked about surface design and the struggles I was running into. What I had neglected to do during my weeks worth of work was take more process pictures, so I don’t have pictures from every step of the following process…lesson learned. I was concentrating on the end product and I was not thinking about the process as much as I should have been.

Through the process of making, we are learning so many things. What would make the project work better next time? Would I do any of this again or is there a better/different way? Is this the direction I want the project to go or do I have a new idea/inspiration? The list could go on and on about what you learn from the process.

During this particular dyeing session, I was trying to create some Itajime Shibori with some tea towels dyed in a red onion skin bath. After seeing some pictures in books, I assumed that I knew what I was doing. I mean, how hard can it be?!?! Well, I learned the hard way that I should have done some more research on the actual techniques of Shibori resist dyeing. My biggest problem was that I had not folded the fabric correctly (in a accordion fashion) so the dye did not take to the fabric the way that I wanted it to. I also had some tea towels that I had just put in the dye pot to get overall color and the result was very uneven.

In the end, I was not happy with the red onion skin dye color which resulted in a muddy brown. They just looked like dirty cotton tea towels. I’m sure if the intended use was not a towel or if the color had been even, it would have been ok.  I was having a really hard time with the thought of drying my hands on a towel that looked like mud had been wiped all over them. I decided to put the tea towels in an iron bath to see how that would modify the color. As a result, the towels turned out to be an olive green.

I was still not entirely happy with the towels and I couldn’t pin point why. I stared at them for a few days hoping some kind of inspiration would hit me. I was doing some research on zero waste sewing patterns for another project, when I came across this post from A Verb for Keeping Warm by Cal Patch and this post from Sew Obsessed. I began to wonder if I could do something like this with my tea towels and some stash fabric. The design process began all over again. Measuring, cutting, ironing, piecing, and hoping that something would come of this.

The end product is not perfect by any means, but I learned a lot during all the steps of the project. I take away many more ideas for future projects, during which I’m sure I will make more mistakes and learn more.  It’s a cycle and I’m learning to embrace all parts of it, as you get so much from each step.