Thursday, 28 June 2012

News Letter. SALE and Competition

It's sale time at Fabric8!
Our summer sale starts this Saturday, 30th June 2012 at 9am with a huge range of reductions on fabrics and wools. Just pop down to your nearest Fabric8 store this Saturday to grab yourself a bargain. Offers available whilst stocks last.

See you at the weekend,

The Fabric8 Team
  Competition has been launched
We have just launched our annual Toy Making competition and would like to invite you and your friends to enter. You can enter a maximum of two times, and the size of the toy should not exceed a space bigger than 50cm cubed (50cm height x 50cm width x 50cm depth). You can be as creative or simple as you want, use a sewing machine or create by hand. A winner from the Felixstowe Fabric8 and a winner from the Colchester Fabric8 will be picked. Each winner will recieve vouchers to spend at Fabric8. There are three categories: children, student and adults.

A downloadable entry form is available on the website along with further entry instructions. In the meantime, have fun getting creative.
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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Wave Gothic Treffen. Goths don't all wear black anymore

When you think of Goths you may well be thinking of everything in that video. However Goth fashion has changed a lot over the decades. Another common misconception is goths are depressed, most goths could really be described as Mono-chrome Hippies. Every  year I travel to Germany with my friends to soak up some wonderful music and amazing goth inspired fashion at Leipzig's Wave Gothic Treffen. And this year I even dragged my manager with me :)

So let us begin with what you may think of as classic Goth clothing (all be it on a regal scale)

Many years ago Black Velvet was the fabric of choice among the Gothic populace. However more recently the most popular fabric has become Duchess Satin. IT's important to use a heavy satin for Goth Dresses. This is because these dresses tend to be very   floatey and in a lighter satin can look more like a nighty. In contrast a heavy satin gives a sense of structure and lets the intricate pleats and folds hold their shape and stand out.

After a while the colour white begins to creep in. This white and black costume was made (and is being modeled) by one of the regular customers of Fabric8. The skirt is a "gypsy" style skirt, made of short panels being pleated into the panel above. This way 5 meters of  fabric can give you a hemline of over 20 meters!

The corset is also a common feature among Goths and affiliates sub cultures. As is oftent he case with fringe fashion, aspects of this are coming into the mainstream. As this BBC article goes into . 

The Black and white skirt above was originally constructed to form part of a Belly Dance costume. There are many different form of belly dance including Gothic belly dance.  There is a strong link between Goth culture and fantasy culture. Many goths are also historical re-en-actors. As a result there is a strong medieval theme at WGT as well as Middle Eastern and  fantasy (with one venue dedicated to medieval and middle eastern clothing, artifacts, and music)

As a result there are some fantastic costumes which you may not associate with Goth at first. Lashings of Lace, Tule as well as Organza and Chiffon  can build up layers which catch the wind and the light is fascinating ways. It was a little strange seeing people in black leather queuing for hot dogs next to the fae folk, but it's just part of the experience for me.

Of course you can wear just a simple dress if you accessories yourself correctly. A simple pair of wings and a bottle of Absynth makes for a fantastic "Green Fairy" costume

Many costumes were not made of fabric at all, such as this interesting skirt made out of fruit juice packets. Goth festivals seem to be a hotbed for experimental fashion as well as providing a great show case to show off your creations.

 Steam Punk is a form of fashion I enjoy greatly.| He basic essence is a combination of Victorian fashion with Science fiction. To me personally it answers a question that many people will not ask. "What is Goth" there is no simple answer. However Steam Punks are romantics. The re-imagine the past applying modern ideals to the Victorian aesthetic. Wanting the best of both worlds, the beauty of the Victorian times without the oppressive attitudes to women or subjects of 'The Empire'. They seek an idealized world by harking back to the past. Personally I see this in the Goth Culture as a whole. It's not just an obsession with vampires and the color black. IT's about seeking a romantic idealized world.

Many Steam Punks adorn themselves with brass gadgets. Others wear a Victorian styled outfit adorned with brass trinkets and a very cool hat, much like our good manager here :) 

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into my fashion spotting holiday. I've been to WGT 4 years running now and enjoy it very much. I always return inspired to create. However I still don't understand why Bobba Fett's cousin turned up.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

More of my greatest mistakes- Weddings

I have had more requests for blogs where I give advise based on my mistakes. I don't know if this is because they're useful to people OR if people just like reading about what an idiot I am. So today I'll run through some practical and not so  practical  lessons I've learnt from Bridal Dressmaking.

Whether you make cakes, have an interest in photography, done a flower arranging course once, sew, or like magic as a hobby someone somewhere will ask you to donate your time and sometimes materials for a wedding. Often (as in my case) people were willing to pay the going rate for a frock, however often people will be asked by friends or family to make something for free. This is fine if you wish to donate your efforts as part of a wedding gift, however there are pitfalls. Friends of friends will often be very nit picky about your work, even if it's better than that in a shop, they will stare at seams for hours, whilst totally ignoring skipped stitches in a commercial dress.  So this is how to ensure your work will truly dazzle.

 Step 1: Ensure the bride truly understands what you'r making, use diagrams, pictures, fabric samples, and  keep it all in a folder. Always take everything with you when you see the bride so they can see how things progress. Make sure to give yourself PLENTY or time to make the dress, have the deadline well before the wedding to stop the bride becoming nervous.

Step 2: Before you start sewing spend a day or two giving your studio or sewing place a proper deep clean. Pulls out everything that can be moved, vacuum, dust, get it spotless, and make an inventory of your tools. This may sound extreme but the less you have to handle your fabric the better. Bridal fabric can be a pain to clean so you don't want to accidently place it on a dusty surface and give yourself a lot more work.
Have a good idea of your available tools is always a good idea. but ensure you have a good supply of sharp Needles and Pins .

Other tool considerations include your scissors, are they up to the task? don't rick ruining your fabric which can cost many hundreds of pounds with a blunt pair. You are saving the bridal party a LOT of money, it's not unreasonable to include fresh scissors, needles and other tools of your trade in with he cost of materials. Just make it clear from the start if you are working for just the  cost of the fabric that you may  have other requirements as well. One lovely couple who I made a dress for actually showed up right before I was about to begin sewing with a new sewing machine for me! So new snips isn't much to ask.

Other tools that many people try to live without but which are amazingly useful include Pressing Cloths and Point turners. I've seen people use the end of their scissors only to punch a hole into the fabric. All that for trying to save £1.80! Pressing clothes give a wonderful finish especially to pleats.

  Step 3: when you get your fabric buy extra. Allow at least half a meter to check on how the fabric presses (does it leave a mark?) and how easily your chalk of choice is removed. You may also find you need more fabric to replace a damaged panel, make sure to ask the shop staff how easily you can get hold of more fabric. If it is unlucky that they can get extra then consider getting a meter or two extra, just in case.

Step4: Pressing can make or break a dress. Make sure your ironing board is clean. Consider making up a cover or two in white cotton, one for bridal pressing, another for using fusible interfacing on.

So there are a few basic pitfalls I've fallen prey to. The most important advice I can give is to take your time, enjoy the process of making something that's not just a dress, but a wish fulfilled, one that has been held for a very long time.