Swish & Style

Almost a third (26%) of the average Briton’s garments have not been worn in the last year. Why not dig out those clothes lurking at the back of your wardrobe, bring them to Swish & Style and swap them for a new outfit for this year’s festivities? There will be two events taking place at artsdepot in Barnet, on 14 December 2019 and another on 15 February 2020.

Bring up to fifteen items; for each item you bring, you will be given a token that you can exchange for another garment from someone else.

The events will include workshops where you can learn skills to take home and use on your clothes again. The workshop at this event will be upcycling and boro with Fast Fashion Therapy.

Workshops at swishing events across north London will include upcycling, screen printing, repair, fabric dyeing, and Japanese techniques such as boro. There will be ONE workshop per event, so check the full listing to see if there are any other events you’d like to attend.

Workshop spaces are free but limited, so please sign up on Eventbrite to help us to estimate numbers. If you do not sign up, you may not get a space on the day.

Fabric Scrap Busting Gift Bags

Are cotton tote bags worse for the environment than plastic bags? It is a debate we have been reading this year, first published by Quartz Magazine after the results of Denmark’s Ministry of Environment and Food 2018 life cycle assessment were published. Taking into account the amount of earth’s resources it takes to produce cotton they argue that a plastic bag could be less impactful than a cotton one. Click here to read the full article.

One view we think is missing from the conversation is a bag made from scrap fabric. If a single use plastic bag creates litter and a cotton bag uses up valuable resources, how about making a bag from textiles that would otherwise be thrown away?

Below are the instructions to make a small tote bag, perfect to use as a gift bag and save on sparkly paper that can’t be recycled. Or keep for your own use, they work brilliantly to carry a packed lunch, water bottle and reusable coffee cup.

How to Make a Small Gift or Tote Bag

Materials required
  • Two pieces of fabric , both the size of an A3 piece of paper (apx 30 x 42cm)
  • Or sew smaller scraps of fabric together to create a bigger piece
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Polyester all sew thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine (or come to our free class at The Create Place to use the machines there)
Instructions
  1. Lay a piece of A3 paper one one piece of the fabric (or measure with a tape measure and mark with a pen or tailoring chalk)
  2. Pin around all 4 edges then cut around the paper with fabric scissors
  3. Remove the pins and the paper
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the second piece of fabric
  5. Match up the two pieces of fabric, placing right sides together
  6. Pin together along one of the short edges (placing pins vertical to the edge)
  7. Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance
  8. Zig zag or overlock the raw edge of this seam
  9. Keeping the pieces together, fold over the bottom sewn edge by 4cm.
  10. Press in place and pin
  11. Pin along the two longer sides, place pins vertical to the edge (making it easier to remove as you sew)
  12. Sew along the two long sides using a 1.5cm seam allowance, incorporating the folded edges
  13. Remove pins then zig zag or overlock the raw edges
  14. Hem the top of the bag: fold over the top edge of the fabric by 1cm, right side to wrong side, press with a hot iron
  15. Fold again by 3cm and press, then pin in place
  16. Stitch around the hem approximately 0.5cm from the hemmed edge
  17. Measure the length of straps you want (we’ve used fairly short straps). Add 3cm to this measurement
  18. Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 8cm wide x the length of the straps required
  19. Take one of the strap pieces, fold over each short edge by 1cm, right side to wrong side and press with a hot iron
  20. Fold over one of the long edges by 1cm, right side to wrong side, press with a hot iron
  21. Repeat on the other long side
  22. Fold the strap in half, wrong sides together. Press and pin in place
  23. Sew the two short edges and then the long edge together, sewing as close to the hemmed edges as possible. This can be done in one long stitch if you pivot at each corner. Click here for a YouTube video on how to pivot on a sewing machine.
  24. Repeat steps 15 to 19 for the other strap
  25. Lay the bag flat and find the centre point at the top of the opening by folding the bag in half width wise and marking the point with a pin. Lay the bag flat again.
  26. Take one short strap end and place 3cm to the right of the centre front, pin in place
  27. Take the other end of the same strap and place it 3cm from the left of the centre front point. Pin in place
  28. Turn over the bag and repeat steps 21 to 23 with the other strap
  29. At this step, decide if you want the strap ends to show on the front of the bag or place them on the inside of the bag. Either way, line up the short edge of the strap just below the line of stitching on the hem and re-pin in place
  30. Sew the straps in place by sewing in a square on the strap. Start at the point where the top edge of the bag lines up with the strap. Sew a horizontal line then pivot and sew down to the same level as the row of stitching at the hem.
  31. Pivot again and sew along the hem line. Pivot for a forth time until you reach the starting point.
  32. An optional extra: sew a criss-cross line from each corner
  33. Press the bag and it is ready to use!
Suitable Fabrics

Cotton and linen woven fabrics are the most versatile and will withstand washing. More delicate and stretch fabrics will look pretty as a gift bag and handy to store items at home.

Where to find scrap fabrics
  • Old bed sheets, quilt covers and pillow cases
  • Old tea towels or bath towels
  • Scrap fabrics left over from dress making (the blue and yellow bag is a combination of fabrics left over from 3 different dressmaking projects)
  • Piece squares of fabric together to give a quilting effect and help use up smaller pieces
  • Old clothing beyond repair
  • Pieces of fabrics left over from alterations such as taking up the hem on jeans
  • Use ribbon for the straps or lengths of hem cut from clothes with their stitching intact

London’s Sustainable Christmas Market | Buyagift

Learn to create conscious and creative gifts at FREE minimal-waste workshops, and explore the marketplace for sustainable presents that won’t cost the earth.

We are hosting a free workshop at the event:
Learn how to transform your old clothing or charity shop finds into unique and bespoke pieces with a few simple tricks! Starting with either a men’s jumper or shirt, this workshop will take you through how to use simple cutting and hand-stitching techniques to add decoration and change them into entirely new pieces of clothing. The workshop will leave you with the right skills and greater confidence to carry on upcycling other items in your wardrobe at home. All materials will be provided including the original jumper or shirt, yarns and sewing kit.

Other free workshops include:

– Wreath making with The Flower Factory London
– Soap-making with Bottega Zero Waste
– Terrarium-making with Little Drop of Green
– Yoga and meditation from the experts at cult gym Frame
– Plus advice and inspiration from some of the UK’s biggest thought – leaders and sustainability influencers

REGISTER YOUR PLACE TO ATTEND

Head to the marketplace anytime from 10am to 5pm for a unique opportunity to shop from leading brands who are trailblazing new ways to live and give sustainably, offering everything from sustainable scents and skincare, to conscious fashion and upcycled jewellery.

Visitors will be able to wrap newly bought gifts using eco-friendly materials at Buyagift’s free ‘Sustainable Gift-Wrap Station’, get biodegradable glittered up, and make the most of free manicures and massages designed to soothe and slow down visitors at this busy time of year. Bring tupperware to buy waste-free produce from refillable store Patoka.

There will also be the opportunity to sample vegan and sustainable food and drink that will planet-proof your Christmas menu; including festive mulled cider from the food waste pioneers at Rejuce.

London’s Sustainable Christmas Market | Buyagift

Sunday, 1 December 19, 10am to 5pm

Core Clapton, 161 Northwold Road, London, E5 8RL

Learn to create conscious and creative gifts at FREE minimal-waste workshops, and explore the marketplace for sustainable presents that won’t cost the earth.

We are hosting a free workshop at the event:
Learn how to transform your old clothing or charity shop finds into unique and bespoke pieces with a few simple tricks! Starting with either a men’s jumper or shirt, this workshop will take you through how to use simple cutting and hand-stitching techniques to add decoration and change them into entirely new pieces of clothing. The workshop will leave you with the right skills and greater confidence to carry on upcycling other items in your wardrobe at home. All materials will be provided including the original jumper or shirt, yarns and sewing kit.

Workshops are free and include:

– Wreath making with The Flower Factory London
Creative jumper upcycling with Fast Fashion Therapy
– Soap-making with Bottega Zero Waste
– Terrarium-making with Little Drop of Green
– Yoga and meditation from the experts at cult gym Frame
– Plus advice and inspiration from some of the UK’s biggest thought – leaders and sustainability influencers

Head to the marketplace anytime from 10am to 5pm for a unique opportunity to shop from leading brands who are trailblazing new ways to live and give sustainably, offering everything from sustainable scents and skincare, to conscious fashion and upcycled jewellery.

Visitors will be able to wrap newly bought gifts using eco-friendly materials at Buyagift’s free ‘Sustainable Gift-Wrap Station’, get biodegradable glittered up, and make the most of free manicures and massages designed to soothe and slow down visitors at this busy time of year. Bring tupperware to buy waste-free produce from refillable store Patoka.

There will also be the opportunity to sample vegan and sustainable food and drink that will planet-proof your Christmas menu; including festive mulled cider from the food waste pioneers at Rejuce.