Shamanic Nights was founded by Amelia J Hoskins to combine a love of patchwork prints, with a personal commitment to recycling fashion fabrics
Originally conceived for patchwork bed quilts, my patchworks evolved into dressing gowns, (having made myself one while in convalescence). The garments morphed into multi styles after visitors to craft events said they would wear them for evenings out! The first dressing gowns were of large patch pieces for quickness incorporating a lot of white linen (which I had acquired).
(Photo links to add)
Although since 2010 I have made a variety of dresses and robes; nowadays with more semi-retired time, focus is on developing silk painting; in particular now that I have learned how to dye Ahimsa silk with plant dyes, obtaining a variety of gold, cream and grey backgrounds to paint on.
I am now only focusing on house leisure, and summer garments: some with emphasis on kimono styled garments as leisure wear, some to be more holiday dress style. Silk painting on panels for garment will feature in all.
Initial experiments with new styled leisure garments, lined kimono-dresses (as I call them) are exampled in ‘Purple Shimmers‘ and ‘Aldebaran‘ ; all dresses with deep arms (a loose robe fit) which can be comfortable to a range of sizes. Purple Shimmers and Aldebaran include a deep sleeve extending under bust line which allows for a flattering fitted upper back and front top, with fuller fabric below high waist under-bust line. Different lacings styles are also experimented.
Experience going back…. I taught myself to make clothes aged 12, with a first ‘Twist Dress’ pattern, when there was nothing I liked in the shops. Guided by my mother, I took to it well, gradually moving on to practice with different patterns. I recall making a mini dress of jade linen, experimenting with fitted shapes and faux collar, while staying at my grandmother’s one summer holiday. A trained tailor herself, (from her father’s military uniform tailoring business), she mentioned my ability. I wonder if ability is passed through genes? By mid-teens I was making summer trousers in 20 mins. (a record time before an outing). I soon learnt to adapt and alter patterns, and although never doing needlework classes at school, after we had completed GCEs we could attend any classes, so I took a new wool mint green suit I was making to finish, which impressed the teacher, who said I could have done the GCE. (I had done a commercial secretarial course, and continued to make smart dresses and suits for my secretarial jobs).
The 60s/70s crafts magazine ‘Golden Hands’ inspired a ‘hippy’ love of PATCHWORK, making a coat in hexagonal corduroy patchwork, with ubiquitous ‘Afghanistan’ styled fur collar; Afghani coats having been made popular by travellers in the late 60s. I have since discovered my grandmother made a hexagonal patchwork dressing gown in 60’s fabrics, so we both had similar ideas at the same time.
After one year of art college, and tired of secretarial work… wearing a summer skirt and top of home made mini patchworks, I attended interview for Cheltenham College of Fashion 2yr course, to be told I didn’t need it; that none of their students could make what I did. I proceeded later after 3 years secretarial work to 4yr Degree Course Art and Design, (Foundation Course + 3 yrs Printed Textiles specialisation) which explored drawing, painting and fabric printmaking.
Early self employed sewing… In the late 70s/early 80’s forays included ‘made to measure’, alterations, home furnishings and boat upholstery for clients while living in Gibraltar.
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‘Up-cycled patchwork couture‘ better describes my craft, as each garment is very carefully hand made from scratch, using cut up recycled clothes. My casual women’s wear: dresses, jackets, skirts, dressing gowns, coat-dresses, pinafore dresses and robes are real ‘slow’ fashion; unique one-off garments.
All garments are made exclusively from recycled fabrics; good quality cotton, linen, viscose and silk, with viscose or polyester linings, chosen from the plethora of good clothes in the charity outlets which proliferate in the UK high streets. In 2018 I started using polyester dress prints as inside linings to garments. I used to abhor polyester, but as it never degrades it must be used. Five garments may go into one new garment, giving a basic materials cost of £15 – £40 on average: not a cheap option, which needs appreciating when considering final garment costs, but the new creation process is nevertheless very satisfying.
Detailed information about the designing process, cutting and sewing, are often uploaded to this site during making and when a garment is finally finished. There is sometimes a delay between finishing blog and garment appearing in ETSY shop, but all enquiries welcome by email
The design process is one of being inspired by the groupings of fabrics into colourways, weights and textures. These are collected and added to the ‘colour baskets’ whenever I have found a new piece for a colourway I have in waiting. Many ‘ladies-in-waiting’.
All fabrics are washed at 60 degrees, to prevent shrinkage at variable rates. 40 degree wash thereafter is recommended. Silk paintings in any case are fast to 60, but advice is 40 to prevent any roughing of silk texture.
Silk paintings are sometimes included in the patchwork garments, and a relevant informative blog will also appear in this site along with their composite garment. Videos are available of some silk painting works.
Ahimsa ‘Peace’ silk (which allows the silk worm’s cycle to complete) is used for my silk painting when available as offcuts from a fashion maker; not as shiny as new Habotai silk, already stocked, but does have a lovely sheen after natural plant dyeing. Kniazeff professional silk dyes are used, which when steamed, impregnate and fixes the colour through both sides, (unlike some silk paintings of surface-only fabric dyes). Garments with silk painting have all been machine washed and even the darker colours are proven not to bleed dye. (Note: these wonderful dyes are no longer available from my supplier and I continue to eak out their remaining existence.)
After ceasing 6yr solid stint in commercial freelance textile design selling through international trade fairs with London studios, I moved to Devon, with two children ready for high school, in 1994. I brought along to Chudleigh Wheelcraft Centre craft studios, £200 worth of silk dyes and started learning the techniques directly applied onto pictures and cushions; also starting dress silk panels. (add old photo links)
Latest garments are available in my ETSY shop. I started selling at local craft events, and have an Online Shop currently under re-development with some links inactive. Half of the garments on the website shop are now sold, but they stay as an example of making, to inspire others, and as a guide to what commissions may be possible.
For bespoke commissions with your own up-cycled clothes, using garments no longer fitting, or print designs you would like to give a new life – and a silk painting if wished – contact me via email.
Shamanic Nights Fashions Board on Pinterest (Amelia Jane Designs)