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.
‘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.
A new fashion paradigm being experienced by designers, businesses and consumers is one by which clothes are treasured and valued for a variety of reasons based on overall sustainable production. This contrasts greatly with the existing buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.
UP-CYCLED – RECYCLED – ETHICAL FASHION
Vintage fashion is enjoying a wave of popularity, as consumers look for more individual, original garments, which now have a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes from high street boutiques and chain stores
Why the growth in up-cycling?
The slow fashion CONSUMER is happy to spend more on garments which are sustainably produced.
The slow fashion DESIGNER or maker is happy to take longer on manufacture.
The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, of sustainable, ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless. (witness the popularity of ‘vintage’).
These days there is a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation caused by fast fashion trends and cheapness of garments. Charity shops are brimming with last season’s clothes. Textile recycling and disposing companies are selling old clothes to Africa, impacting indigenous economies by reducing artisan production.
Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. ‘Stonewashed’ Angles above, uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress, by Amelia Jane Hoskins, owner.
UNSUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS
STOP OR REDUCE LANDFILL
Textile waste statistics are alarming; 13 million tons per year in USA. Organisations are growing to help with this problem.
High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete with so called ‘demand’. But the demand is created by designers and companies who put out seasonal ‘fashion trends’, providing them cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season, to be ‘in fashion’ but obviously the main reason is to increase companies’ profits. Many of your clothes are made in sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is cheap.
People are finding labels from makers, as cries for help, in their garments.
Slow fashion entrepreneurs and companies wish to change the unsustainable fast fashion model created since the industrial revolution. Their main criteria is to use ethical fabrics and/or small scale production; and to provide fair wages for garment makers.
Some designers are choosing to use ecologically produced textiles, some choosing to use pre-worn clothes and discarded textiles to remake into new originals for the discerning ethical buyer.
Ecologically minded consumers and fashion businesses support the development of sustainable fabric production and sustainable garment manufacture. Rather than relying on mass production, with associated use of cheap labour and possibly poor manufacturing quality guidelines.
Ecologically friendly fibres such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, grown without pesticides. Expensive pesticides leach into water systems causing health problems. Textile production is the second biggest contributor to water pollution globally. 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from treatment and dyeing of textiles.
Textiles produced in small quantities by artisans in small scale village communities, provide rarer originality of fabrics to be treasured by end customers. Natural dyes may be used. Collections may be limited. ‘FAIRTRADE’ cotton is available. Wages must be fare.
My personal philosophy is that there is already enough fabric in the world! Rather than buying new fabric, I’m personally committed to finding the best second hand garments to cut up, to recycle the best unworn fabric and combine in new ways. The result is a tailor made, freshly designed, totally original and new garment.
We must value our work in the new paradigm – unique and sustainable is best, and probably more expensive, rather than falling in line with the old paradigm, where cheapest is better despite the cost to the environment and peoples’ lives.
Some good books are:
‘TO DIE FOR ‘- Is Fashion wearing Out the world’? by Lucy Siegle.
‘SHAPING SUSTAINABLE FASHION‘ Changing the way we make and use clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan, pub. Earthscan.
‘REFASHIONED‘ Cutting Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials by Sass Brown
Design inspiration comes from seeing themes evolve between disparate fabric prints and colours, rescued to be recreated into a new unique garment artwork.
As an artist and trained textile designer, I have a keen eye for the illustration and patterns in textile dress prints. The prints I source and collect are variously of classical floral illustrative, mille-fleur coverage (tiny flowers), geometric, and astral (space cloud blurred, dotted and muted effect). A combination of all these together with coordinating plain colours makes a good patchwork.
Not all prints are of personal favourite by themselves, but depending on their colours, I will see a way they would contrast or blend within a theme. A dress full of rose bouquets can be cut up to introduce patch areas highlighting the best flowers. A smaller piece of fabric can become more special than the full repeated print area.
Cotton lace tops (often cotton/acrylic mix) are another good find, as they can be layered over other colours. Most synthetic lace fabrics also surprisingly take up plant dye to some extent, which removes any stark whiteness, too brilliant for patches amongst colours.
Choosing a print fabric to start with, start to make a pile with other colours and prints (5 is usually sufficient to start with). As you do this, one choice may be removed and replaced with another, as the combined effect literally ‘shouts’ too dark, too light, too blue, too pink, etc., depending on the theme in mind. The most subtle patchwork is when the overall effect is of fabrics of a similar tone; i.e. nothing too light, nor too dark, on its own. I often do include black with a strong colour collection, due to its fashion favouritism, but am more careful with lighter tones and darks mixed, when making patch-worked garments using panels larger than traditional patchwork.
Silk Painting Inspirations
The print designs in each fabric collection suggest new design themes using their elements to create a silk painted panel, or I may simply use some elements to copy combined with other images of my own. It may inspire towards a new design theme to be developed further again; . Colour mixing dyes to match the existing prints is an essential skill.
Scale can be considered here: a specific image from existing prints can be enlarged as a feature.
Faux Kimono-styled, deep sleeves extended from high waist
Shape is cut for fitted bodice front and back with bat-wing (kimono – like) sleeves extending from shoulders to high waist. Full lower skirt area.
Front lacing over fixed inside panel, usefully adjusts bust size from 36″ to 40″
Sleeves have cuffs which will turn back at the seam for tasking.
Notice collar, although a proper one, is caught down into high waist seaming at front, which could be thinner if copying idea, and stitch down to a point where it meets gusset (which I would do for a smaller summer dress)
Gorgeous patchwork colours form treasure trove arrangement. Generous fit up to 40 bust: Sleeves are kimono style loose, starting from below bust line. Lace ties ensure fit under bust. Back bodice top is already fitted to body, with gathers below
To buy ‘Purple Shimmers’or to commission similar, visit ETSY shop
Purple Patchwork Kimono-Dress – Creation Journey
Purples ‘collection’ cut, washed and collated from other garments.
Three or four plains and three to four prints, with maybe another contrasting plain works well. 5 – 7 different fabrics are needed for a good patchwork result. I used all these fabrics except for the hand dyed silk 3rd from right. (Later it went into ‘Butterflies and Pansies‘ dress as sleeves. )
When cutting up garments for patchwork, cut up along the sides of all seams. Sometimes cotton and linen seams can be ripped undone, and more fabric saved. Overall, unpicking is not worth the time it takes.
Sometimes there is small barely detectable fabric damage or weave pulls as there was in this blouse, near darts. In such case, don’t undo the seam where stitches have pulled. This blouse had been strained around the front dart seams. Due to inherent weakness in the loose weave, this fabric will be quilt-machined onto a thin cotton backing, to preserve the print and to ensure it stays firm.
Many parts of a garment can be recycled into a different new garment, such as this lace-styled neck. It won’t be included in the kimono, but it will form the start of another dress, likely to be with navy, if only the lace is used, or navy and pink if the print is kept.
The fabric used from this top is a stretch T-shirt type cotton, so will be firstly quilt machined onto a cotton, for firmness in patches, to be similar in weight to the linen and taffeta. If used only in its stretch state, it may cause a slight ‘baggyness’ in parts of the patchwork. This remaining cut-off lace neckline will form a new dress with the navy and pinks in other fabrics.
(Full ‘Making Diary’ was not completed for this garment, for reasons not recalled.)