Original range of linen and cotton patchwork robes
Linen Cruise Robe (sold)
Early inspiration followed acquiring a lot of parchment white linen. Teamed with white/navy prints and cream/white based patchwork prints.
Black cotton with pale grey embroidery was chosen for contrasting collar/under-collar front facing, sleeve borders and sash.
This garment was chosen to feature with three others of mine at the 2013 Exhibition: Innovation in Textiles. See post Exhibition Totnes Costume Museum
Oriental Cruise Robe (sold)
One of the earliest robes in large long patches of Cream and White Linen, Cotton and Viscose Prints of navy/white theme with added silk painted panels.
Sleeve upper silk patch is hand painted silk, an enlarged design copy of a smaller print used in other patches.
Lilac Lotus Robe
A feminine gown inspired by the parchment white linen and white embroidery anglais with added lilac silk, black & lilac polyester leopard print, taupe poly-cotton with pink and jade machine embroidery.
Construction: Variety of oblong patches with back pleat for ease.
Lining: Fully lined in white brushed cotton, extremely warm - suitable cool bedrooms.
Buttons: Two pale gold and white metal 'compass' design Liberty of London shop buttons.
Pocket: Right hand pocket in seam.
Collar, cuffs, Sash belt:Thick white cotton embroidery with decorative 'embroidery Anglais'.
Back of robe starts with an experimental chevron layout: turning standard patchwork construction blocks 90 deg. which give a diagonal grain, like a bias cut, which improves the 'hang'. Arranged patchwork continues over shoulders, where patchwork blocks extend down front on the strait grain. Sides had odd angles to join, resulting in a deep kimono styled sleeve.
Jade Garden Robe
A substantial everlasting garment in heavy furnishing cottons with deep rolled collar, which would stand up for warmth. Suitable as winter gift where warmth and style is a priority, so also suitable as summer coat. Construction is three rows of oblong patches. Belt has now changed to sash-belt in printed white/lilac printed cotton seen in other patches. Green fabric is embroidered taffeta, and must not be ironed hot or it melts. Buttons are pewter. Lining brown cotton lawn lower, with cream satin upper part including turned back sleeves. Note: Coral is short, so this is a three quarter length robe for taller women.
Jade Garden robe available on Shamanic Nights shop ETSY
South Sea BubbleMini poncho style robe
Modelled by Coral and made when living in Cornwall, this patchwork was inspired by the viscose 'Bali' style print in blue, navy, lilac, olive. Corordinate cottons and linens match these colours. Construction is long rectangular patchworks, arranged diagonally starting across back ( see Purple Raj back ). Very loose shape allows fit for fuller bust sizes due to waist deep kimono-style sleeve shapes, formed by the diagonal back patches. Main lining: Pretty violet soft cotton with lilac flowers. Sleeve lining: Pretty lilac soft cotton flower print. Buttons: 2 large black-mauve pearl. Front fringed edge is purely decorative.
I would like to add a print or applique over the pale yellow which is rather pale in contrast to the black/purple. Once on the lookout, something will turn up to match.
South Sea bubble is very loose fit at top due to poncho shape with only slightly formed sleeves. Size 16 on the hips. length 36 inches (910mm). Front is joined by button so garment flows freely. Available from Shamanic NightsETSY shop
Shamanic Nights was invited to exhibit at Totnes Costume Museum – Innovation and Fashion
Curated theme 23rd May- 14th June 2011
Hilary Burns Exhibition Curator was an ex colleague I remembered from my textiles degree course, now a basket weaver; also moved to Devon. She didn’t remember me clearly (her in weave, me in print depts), but it was uncanny how she picked up on my work at a craft fair, after 4 decades, and chose me. A cycle of creative times.
Robes in Totnes Costume Museum
Robes 'Linen Cruise' and 'Oriental Cruise' featured in exhibition. Now sold.
Silk painted panels are lower right on cruise robes and left arm sleeve top. Designs copied from prints on robe, but enlarged scale.
'Mandarin' short heavy cotton kimono dress. Sold.
Patchwork robes can be bespoke made to your measurements with your own fabrics.
Making fee: Short to knee – £140, Long – £175.00
Extra materials cost would be lining, as I do not stock new, although I have some thin white cotton in stock.
Totnes High Street.
Robes ‘Oriental Cruise’ (left) and ‘Mandarin’ (right) SOLD.
To be worn over leggings and T-shirt or tight jumper. Patches of grey wool, linen, cotton, lined. Made from 3 different dress patterns. Cowl collar created by skooping dress front neck and attaching double folded 8″ cotton Ikat weave to front, and grey linen double folded at back neck.
Model is Size 14 hips, so dress would fit a Size 10-12 using side ties to tighten at waist. B
Jerkin Dress ‘D’ARTAGNAN’ (Available)
To be worn over leggings and T-shirt or tight jumper. Jerkin Dress is 36 inch bust. Waist is 32 inches.
(Model is size 14.)
Modelled at Exeter Castle, Christmas craft fair.
Large taffeta embroidered collar.
Taffeta repeats in belt detail.
Skirt part is wool, cotton/viscose lower tartan ‘Per-Una’ patch.
Jerkin upper lined in heavy brown satin skirt fabric. Lower skirt lined from other skirt already with brown organdie frill attached.
Large, sumptuous embroidered taffeta collar; with top button closed.
Opens out to hang loose and wide (see tree photo below)
Voile frill added to patchwork skirt section of wool & corduroy.
Belt detail from embroidered taffeta
Tree pic shows huge collar and accurate colours.
Front length from back neck to front hem is 35 inches
Back view modelled on a size 14. Waist actual size is 32 inches
‘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. I used to abhor polyester, but In 2018 I started using polyester dress prints as inside linings to garments, as it never degrades it must be used. 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’.
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.Videosare 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)
All fabrics are washed at 60 degrees, to prevent shrinkage at variable rates. 40 degree wash thereafter is recommended.
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
This blog site is to be a portfolio of garments made and sold, (plus the dye processes). Newer garments will appear on a new site layout. I started selling at local craft events, and have and some garments are available in my ETSY shop. ( Online Shop currently under re-construction. ) 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.
Recycling Shopping Mall provides a NEW ENTICING INTERFACE: better than dump-off-your-stuff at the city tip – have it recycled properly. As the original writer describes – city dumps with a circle road to piles of stuff – aren’t easily in a position to encourage recycling. Furniture and clothes are the obvious ones. Even half empty tins of paint are useful for something. Unfortunately there are still folks who will only buy ‘new’ and a place like this one in Sweden could make recycling the ‘norm’, rather than something to be frowned upon. It is the WAY FORWARD to the CIRCULAR ECONOMY.
Rude Record’s local Melborne council are creating more landfill !!!! Oh dear.
There is very little that cannot be recycled! Even broken furniture could be wood chips for garden earth cover and paths. ALL plastic should be recycled.
…continues to inspire my garment creations: unique, casual, sometimes luxurious: ethically sourced from recycled fabrics.
Fast fashion has encouraged the spendthrift and waste of textile materials. So many cast-offs! Year on year, the plethora of higher quality garments donated to the ubiquitous high street charity shops increases. Fabrics from high street store fashions have an incredibly long shelf life, but are sometimes discarded after one season’s wear or if the garment no longer fits. Even household fabrics are renewed more often than years ago. Such quality clothes have a long life left in them, often hardly worn at all: so the fabrics used can continue to be made into quality robes, dresses, skirts and jackets. Clothes thrown out years ago, are still here, piling up in landfills. Rather than throwing away, we need to recycle all textiles as much as possible.
We need to discourage ‘fast fashion’, where profits come before cheap labour, human energy waste, and resource depletion; particularly water. Internationally based workers are paid lowly for many hours hard work just so someone can buy many things cheaply, only to cast them out after a short while, due to fashion dictates.
Shamanic Nights makes a personal commitment to hand crafted ‘slow fashion’ and ‘Up-cycled couture’ which better describes my craft work, as each garment is very carefully hand made from cut up recycled clothes found in Devon Charity Shops. Results show how recycled textiles can still be beautiful, worthy and robust when discarded prematurely.
Linens are wonderful to work with: one pair of trousers provides large pieces, as does a flared skirt. Dresses and blouses provide prints and lace. I choose good quality cotton, linen, viscose and silk mostly, for summer dresses. Previously I wouldn’t work with polyester due to the chemicals used in manufacturing, and the issue that it never biodegrades, however, now to save some from landfill, I have started using polyester fabrics as lining for dresses and gowns. Synthetic fibres like polyester for clothes are one of the worst inventions ever! They don’t biodegrade for hundreds of years, and eventually leach their chemicals out of landfill.
Every garment I make is unique, governed by the limited supply of printed fabric components available for each garment, usually at least three, and up to seven different fabrics create the patchwork.
Design starts with assessing which colours I have to coordinate with.
Then whilst dwelling on the appearance of the different prints and plains together, a garment style may present itself.
Penny’s Pinafore in turquoise blue linen, black embroidery Anglais, and vintage print of French cafe life is a good example. The black outlines in the French Cafe print inspired the use of black lace; the blue-green of the print matched will with the blue linen.
Sold to Penny on first showing at Exeter Phoenix crafts day.
Growing and processing COTTON – requires a lot of water. Avoid pesticides by buying organic.
In wealthier western nations, there has been a ground swell of interest in organic cotton; grown without pesticide use, as more people become aware of soil contamination. Fertilizers are expensive for farmers in poorer countries, making crops less profitable. Whilst organic cotton is all the rage, cotton itself requires so much water to grow and process, that in the long run it’s not sustainable. It takes 8,500 litres to make enough cotton for a pair of jeans. This is clearly unsustainable, even immoral, when many areas of the world suffer drought. The Aral Seahas dried up due to the over use of its water for Uzbekistan cotton growing.
Using what we have already
For these reasons I believe more businesses will take on this challenge; to produce textile products from recycled fabrics, that customers will want just as much as new. Up-cycled Clothing has become mainstream, with increasing numbers of inspired fashion designers making clothes from UP-CYCLED and VINTAGE fabrics and sharing their ideas on Pinterest and selling on ETSY. One of the best things everyone can do is to stop buying more new stuff. Take a fresh look at what we already have.Look in your wardrobe; if you don’t wear something, but love the fabric, then it can be taken apart, cut it up and made into something new; enhanced by adding another recycled garment-fabric to the mix. I can take commissions using your own fabrics.
Good quality fabrics can last many years. The only fabric which will not wear well is mixtures with acrylic or polyester, as the acrylic polymer threads always ‘catch’ and ruck up bobbly, making a garment surface look ‘worn out’ and certainly undesirable. Visose is an ideal fabric.
My unique colourful one-off bespoke casual leisure garments are available to buy online. (Shop under revised construction) Alternative is my ETSY shop
SomeShamanic Nightsgarments have painted silk designs by Amelia Jane Designs on my other site, where you can find textile designs – paint on paper – remaining designs from 1990’s international freelance textile works.
A motivating factor for recycling is also linked to awareness of other pollution in the environment from the use of chemicals : In water, crop growing pesticides, fracking, fabric manufacture, industrial dyestuffs. [Articles have been moved from the now closed Google Plus site on to synthetic-agenda.com – site under construction – with more being added regularly.]
Name ‘Tasmanian Blues’ is derived from Tasmanian origin of the eucalyptus bark (found in Hillier Gardens, Hampshire), used to create a dyebath. Silk collar and patches on garment are hand dyed (Habotai Silk 10) which took the dye bath so well – just soaking for an hour. Bark was previously steeped 24hrs then boiled, simmered for 2 hours, before removing from heat and adding silk.
A very deep gold was produced with the eucalyptus bark dye, which shines incredibly richly in sunshine. Lace pieces were left in the dyebath overnight and even though mixed fibres, took on a gold tone. Seed design applique motifs uses the lace dyed with eucalyptus bark.
Gold dyed Habotai silk was painted on with Kniazef steam fixed dyes. The gold dye was so strong, that painted dye colours were hard to see, and needed redoing. Even specialised bleach for silk dyes did not work, so well is the eucalyptus dye fixed!
Original dyestuff is bright gold in sunlight, but darker indoors. The darker gold piece is modified afterwords with iron sulphate (rusty nail liquid). Bottom right shows lace pieces dyed in cold dyebath overnight.
Story of patchwork blues.
I chose the blues to go with the gold silk, because 3 of the prints have gold areas with blues. Blue and gold are a classic mix, setting off one against the other.
Front buttoning strip features Chinese style print of Phoenix bird (right side) and tail of dragon (left side) which looks attractive as a focal point.
Two fabric prints have animalistic feel: the leopard or cheetah in blue/grey/black, and the navy blue/white ‘pheasant’ feather print. The blue lace was the right colour to add in. The light blue with text also has navy and some brown which blends in. By putting a variety of fabrics together, a new design idea comes alive. Phoenix and seeds could be a new theme.
Applique seed motifs
Using the eucalyptus dyed lace, emulated the texture of dried seed pods. Centre seed capsule part (in shadow from photo/drawing) is shown in dark gold dyed silk remnant on right-side garment, and left-side garment shows a lighter silk, bundle dyed from various seeds and dried flowers.
Making steps: ‘Tasmanian Blues’
[Images Temporarily unavailable Aug 2020 – being resized]
Garment started by using a polyester dress as LINING. I kept the cross-over ‘V’ neckline and fitted my fabrics to it. NOTE: its useful to have neckline and shoulders of a lining garment to start off with. Once patchwork is attached to that, patchwork can simply continue down to hem. Its very useful to use a bodice top from another garment as lining to fit sleeves to. I often make an under bust, high waistline seam below the length of an upper patched piece, darting under bust; also optionally at back for better fit.
The lining dress only has short sleeves, so I used other polyester fabrics to lengthen them in patchwork. Outside sleeve fabrics are viscose floral print and others, seen in making photos. Last four photos show cuff addition to lengthen sleeve and give print interest. black fused interfacing ironed on.
Fold extension over to show other fabric as an edge border contrast. Fold down outer onto lining.
Pin cuff extension to outer sleeve patches. Machine or hand stitch down
To give a fuller underarm, similar to kimonos; after inserting sleeves, I left underarm and side seams open, and cut strips for underarm gusset, using viscose fabric outer and navy lace inner: an elongated triangle about 4 inches to a point from underarm centre into sleeve length. (the lining dress was small size, so these inserts also enlarged fit up to 38″ bust.)
Darts can be seen at front and back of bodice sections.Back neck facing and simple front facing cut to fit dress front neckline.
A curved frill piece was used from the original lining dress to create a fit, which curves around back neck and fits to front edge of ‘V’ neckline.
Cutting adjustments made to allow a shape that would extend the curve from centre back neck (left side photo 1.) continuing around to fit to dress front V neckline, and produce a simple fold back collar only at front.
Once the under-fabric was established, an identical shape was cut in white cotton, to use as copy pattern for upper fabric patchwork, (which incorporates the eucalyptus dyed silk).
Photo 2. ‘Collar/facing was firmed a little with fine fused black interlining.
Finnish kimono dress lower patchwork making:
Once upper bodice is completed (with or without sleeves), the lower skirt part of kimono dress is made by cutting rectangles and joining until there is enough to fit around the high waistline. This is the stage to consider which colours to juxtapose in lower garment. You may save some special pieces to show at front. Symmetry is a good idea: working from centre, to sides, repeating colour/shades similarly on either side.
Start at the centre on the back, and work to the sides, adding patches until the desired width is reached, in correspondence to the upper bodice of dress. I describe an ad-hoc method of choosing fabric patches one by one, until enough are made. Alternatively, by calculating desired length of dress, and desired size of patches, you can calculate how many patches of each fabric colour or printed pattern will be needed in advance of cutting and machining. Lay them out on a table to desired colour juxtaposition, keeping in mind how the front and centre back will look. Work similarly from centre back, adding patches across and down, until length is reached. Create the patches in columns, then machine down the long rectangular panels, onto the under lining. (Fabric, or garment used as lining base). Allow 2-3 inches more at front and back, which can be gather-stitched to fit before seaming the bodice and skirt parts together. This could be darted if preferred. I darted the kimono-dress.
[Making images temporailly unavailable – being resized Aug 2020]
There was enough blue themed fabric left to make small tunic dress. Again, patches are stitched onto an existing garment; a cream/white/brown/blue flora design A-line short sleeved flared top, which becomes the lining. The beige and blue on creamy peach work well with the blue patchworks, and also provide a light background to the blue lace patches, contrasting the lace: see top back photo and front lower side. (Light coloured lace can utilise darker backgrounds.) Short sleeves are unlined patchwork with bound viscose print hems.
The armholes were large, for a Plus size, so I darted the lining from armhole to bust point, and did same with upper patchwork. I cut down the centre due to extra width, and folded over edges for front facing firmness, still having enough to overlap for buttoning
MAKING – bound button holes:
Mark width of button, add a little more. Sew a rectangle over button size area on right side of fabric.
Machine around, cut centre, cut into corners
Fold rectangle through to wrong side, Press flat with folds meeting, as shown.
Hand stitch lining to bound edges.
Top stitch on right side (optional). I did so here, due to fraying of lining fabric.
Applique motifs are inspired from Nigella seed pods grown in my allotment. Photos and drawings simplified for cut and sew. The centre silk has been dyed with eucalyptus bark before painting on (same silk as ‘Tasmanian Blues’ collar above), although darker due to after-modifying soaking in iron (rusty nail water makes a considerable darker change). Right photo seed pod has silk centre of bundle dyed silk with seeds and petals. Lace seed ‘pod’ fabric has been also dyed with eucalyptus bark, left overnight after initial silk dye has taken up most of the colour. Its always a good idea to see how deep a colour you can dye in the ‘left-over’ dye bath. See eucalyptus dying blog: