Tag: ethical fashion

01 Nov

My Ethical Commitment

Preservation of the natural environment continues to inspire me to recycle fabrics to prevent more landfill and less waste of water. 

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All unique garments are made exclusively from recycled fabrics carefully chosen from the plethora of good clothes in the charity or 'thrift' outlets which proliferate in the UK high streets, which is important to keep out of landfill.

Patchwork robes and dresses show how well combined colours and prints of recycled fabrics can be transformed into beautiful clothes, worthy and robust .  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.  

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.

Design process is one of being inspired by the groupings of fabrics into colourways, weights and textures.  These are collected as spotted adaptable with existing colourway collections, adding to the ‘colour baskets’ of many ‘ladies-in-waiting’.

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Tasmanian Blues fabric coordinates
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Beth's Lilies jacket
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Purple Shimmers
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Aldebarran dress

Silk Painted panels with designs from natural forms are incorporated as panels in most garments. Some examples below.

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Stylized bird with feathers
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Stylized bird with Gheko
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Stylized Bird
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Butterflies with Nigella pods

Motivating factor for recycling is also linked to awareness of other pollution in the environment from the use of chemicals: crop growing pesticides, fracking, fabric manufacture, industrial dyestuffs.

Jeans, T-shirts and the Cotton Problem -  a staple diet of fashion since 1960s.  However, the growing and processing of cotton requires a lot of water.  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 [Link Monsanto Glyphosate Roundup] 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. [Link video] This is clearly unsustainable,  even immoral, when many areas of the world suffer drought.  The Aral Sea has dried up due to the over use of its water for Uzbekistan cotton growing.

Good quality cotton, linen, viscose and silk for dresses can last many years.  Linens are useful as one pair of trousers, cut open, provides large pieces, as does a flared skirt. Dresses and blouses often in viscose, provide prints and lace.  I 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 new almost un worn polyester fabrics with nice prints as lining for dresses and gowns. 

The only fabric which will not wear well are mixtures with acrylic as the acrylic polymer threads always 'catch' and ruck up bobbly after wear and washing, making a garment surface look 'worn out' and certainly undesirable.

Synthetic fibres like polyester are one of the worst inventions ever, and its use was increasing exponentially in recent years! It doesn't biodegrade for hundreds of years and eventually leaches chemicals out beneath landfill sites 

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Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

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 ETSYOne of the best things everyone can do is to stop buying more new stuff and redesign what we already have. 

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.

All fabrics are washed at 60 degrees, to prevent shrinkage at variable rates.  40 degree wash thereafter is recommended. 

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.

Email Amelia J Hoskins (owner)

Shamanic Nights Fashions Board on Pinterest (Amelia Jane Designs)

22 Aug

Clothes Treasure Paradigm

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'Stonewashed Angels' - (Angels in the silk painted panels) Designed by Amelia Jane Hoskins

 

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 other than a traditional economical 'brand' and the buy-today, throw-away-tomorrow fashion business model.

THE SLOW FASHION CONSUMER enjoys clothes with individual stories which use upcycled fabrics.

Shamanic Nights uses fabrics from charity shops, mostly very new and good quality. 'Stonewashed Angels'  uses coffee/white dress prints, combined with original silk painted panels of angels and plants in colours to coordinate with fabrics used in dress.

VINTAGE FASHION FAIRS are enjoying a wave of popularity as consumers look for more original garments which offer a higher emotional value than the current season’s clothes.

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Shamanic Nights original, 'Guinevere', modelled at Cockington Court Vintage clothes fair.

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.  There are now ethical fashion companies sourcing fabrics more carefully from local communities, such as small scale silk producers, and embroiderers.  

STOP CONSTANTLY MAKING CLOTHES - TO REDUCE TEXTILE LANDFILL

High street chain fashion stores rush to produce ever cheaper clothes to compete.  Perpetual demand is created by companies who put out seasonal fashion 'trends', providing clothes cheap enough for customers to buy new stuff every season: and every week.   Cheap clothes are only possible due to sweatshops in far away lands, where labour is very cheap, in order to increase companies' profits.  The Rana Plaza factory collapse alerted everyone to slack business practice outside of countries with safety regulations.

This merry go round results in a proliferation of cast away clothes, a wasteful situation.  Textile waste statistics are alarming: 13mn tons per year in USA.  UK statistics ?  The constant waste of materials, with their associated production costs, is both an environmental and health dilemma. If you value the raw materials, textiles of ecological origins, you may value your garment more highly, and wear it for many years with a focus more on your clothes being timeless.

A CIRCULAR ECONOMY FOR TEXTILES

Organisation are growing to help with this problem: via the Circular Economy. Repair company. Hiring company. 

Video Nov. 2020

SOME GOOD BOOKS

'To Die For' - 'Is Fashion wearing out the world'? by Lucy Siegle

'Shaping Sustainable Fashion' - Changing the way we make and clothes, edited by Alison Gwilt and Tina Rissanan.  Pub. Earthscan.

'Refashioned' - Cutting edge clothing from upcycled materials - by Sass Brown.

09 Aug

Robes First Designs

LILAC LOTUS and JADE GARDEN  (available:)

Lilac Lotus
Lilac Lotus
 

A feminine gown inspired by white linen and white embroidery anglais.

Fabrics: White/mauve/olive silk: Black/lilac polyester leopard print:  Taupe poly-cotton with pink and jade machine embroidery (see closeups)
Construction: Variety of oblong patches with high 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 buttons.
Pocket: Right hand pocket set in seam.
Collar, cuffs, Sash belt:  Thick white cotton embroidery with decorative 'embroidery Anglais'.
Back length:   46 inches/117cm
Bust size: 32" 36" for UK 10-12
(model is size 8) Robe will fit to max bust 38 inches
Lilac Lotus
Lilac Lotus patchwork full length
Lilac Lotus sleeve patch details
Lilac lotus front patch details
Lilac Lotus back view with pleat
Judith Christie singer songwriter at Pilton Green Man Festival
Linen Cruise
Jade Garden
South Sea Bubble
Lilac Lotus

Jade Garden Robe (available)

 

JADE GARDEN Robe is a substantial everlasting garment in furnishing cottons, with deep rolled collar which would stand up for warmth.  Also suitable as a summer coat

Suitable as a winter gift where warmth is a priority.  Traditional style with gold embroidery highlights on the jade green poly-taffeta.

My friend Coral modelling
Jade Garden Back view
Jade Garden front view
Print: trees
Print: French farm maiden
Jade Garden Robe front buttons and collar

Robe Construction is of oblong patches.  Belt has now changed to sash-belt in printed white/lilac printed cotton seen in other patches. Green fabric is embroidered poly-taffeta, and must not be ironed on 'hot' or it melts (iron with cotton piece over top).  Buttons are pewter coloured.  Lining is brown cotton lawn lower, with cream satin upper part including turned back sleeves.

Note: Coral is 5 ft tall, so this is an under knee three quarter length robe on taller women.

Linen Cruise Robe  (sold)

Early inspiration for these robes was after acquiring a roll 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 

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Linen Cruise sash tied
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Linen Cruise front open
Linen Cruise modelled in Totnes Museum of Costume Exhibition
Left Silk Painted panel copied from one of the patchwork prints

See robes featured in Exhibition Totnes Museum of costume

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.

Oriental Cruise

Upper sleeve silk patch is hand painted silk, an enlarged design copy of a smaller print used in other patches.

I can copy any textile design for commissions, change its scale, or create a new one based on any prints.

Oriental Cruise back pleat
Oriental Cruise front sash belt
Oriental Cruise lower patched border

See robes featured in Exhibition Totnes Museum of costume

Purple Raj Robe (sold)

Patchwork purple robe: cotton and viscose with polyester lilac lining.

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Purple Raj patchwork robe closed front

Patchwork Construction:

Back of robe starts with an experimental chevron layout: turning standard patchwork construction blocks 90 deg. which give a diagonal grain, forming a bias cut, which improves the 'hang'. 

Arranged patchwork continues over shoulders, where patchwork blocks extend down front on the strait grain.  Worth experimenting with, although sides had odd angles to join, resulting in a deep kimono styled sleeve.

Purple Raj robe, back diagonal patchwork

South Sea Bubble Mini poncho style robe (available)

Made when living in Cornwall, this patchwork was inspired by the viscose 'Bali' style print in blue, navy, lilac, olive.  Coordinate cottons and linens match these colours.  Construction is long rectangular patchworks, arranged diagonally starting across back ( see Purple Raj ).  Very loose shape allows fit for fuller bust sizes due to waist deep kimono-style sleeve shapes.  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 plan to add a blue print or applique over the pale yellow which is rather pale in contrast to the black/purple, under grey English skies.  Once on the lookout, something will turn up to match.

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South Sea Bubble mini robe violet cotton lining
South Sea Bubble back and sleeve
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My friend Coral relaxes in the sea air in South Sea bubble
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South Sea Bubble front view with fringed front buttoning
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South Sea bubble back view shows diagonal 'chevron' patch blocks
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South Sea bubble shoulder close up viscose print

A comfortable warm and eye catching robe. Good for weight disguising due to poncho style.  Will accommodate any sized bust. Size 16 on the hips. Length 36 inches (910mm).  Front is joined by button so garment flows freely. 

23 May

Exhibition Totnes Costume Museum

Amelia Hoskins / Uncategorised / / 0 Comments

Shamanic Nights exhibition at the Totnes Costume Museum

Curated theme - 'Innovation and Fashion' - 23rd May‭-‭ 14th June‭ ‬2011

Exhibition Curator Hilary Burns I remembered from 1970s Textiles Degree course. She studied weave; myself silk screen printing. Now a basket weaver, she had also moved to Devon.  It was uncanny how she spotted my work at a craft fair and chose for the exhibition.

Museum receptionist, visiting Spanish student, models Linen Cruise

'Linen Cruise'  (sold)  Robe in white linen and viscose prints shows black underside lapel of white linen collar and front edging (cut two collars contrasting) and two patch pockets.  Front has silk painted panels.  Robe is loose T-shaped structure in patches with no traditional tailored 'armhole'.  A diamond gusset is inserted under arm, under the 'T' join. Patchworks are large and long as they were intended to be a bed quilt, until I changed my mind.

'Linen Cruise' 

Large rectangular patchworks in viscose and linen.  White linen wide front band and collar (see museum model shows black embroidered under collar).  Sash belt same: white/black.

Silk painted panel lower right of robe; design taken from another patch, changing colours to navy background to coordinate with navy viscose print bottom left front.

'Oriental Cruise' 

Exhibition featured first Robes made: using white, cream and ecru linens with viscose and cotton printed patchwork rectangles.

Upper left sleeve shows silk painted panel. Design was copied from a small scale print on robe, seen below arm, but with enlarged scale, and keeping same colours.

Robe sold.  A very pleasant scheme which may get revisited.

See more early original robes at Robes Summer Coats Originals

'Mandarin'  (sold)  Modelled by fashion student at Cockington Court Crafts Fair

Short heavy (furnishing weight) cotton kimono dress: deep no-fit sleeves and 'mandarin' Chinese style stand up collar, sleeve turn-ups and bound edged side pocket.

Patchwork contrasts of white/black toile design and orange poppies/olive leaves.  Black and white striped lining.  Unusual colour contrasts for me, but used up similar heavyweight cottons

'Mandarin' - Making

Named for a Mandarin-style collar made with a strip on a curve (cut x 2 on bias): Piped edge in black; also on pockets.  Patchworks of equal 8 inch x 4 inch.  For attractive 'turn-ups', use contrasting fabric.  Sleeves have faux turn-ups by adding black lace layer below last black patch layer, which turns back to be stitched also 2 inches up inside lining, to reveal black/white striped cotton-satin lining.  The seam formed when stitching to lining,  gives a thicker strong line, which will enable a turn-up to sit at the fold-up nicely.

Dress hem is same black lace as end of sleeves. Adding a bottom hem layer 'frames' the garment together; cut double to stitch down inside, encasing the edges of the upper patchwork.   Dress uses same striped fabric for front facing lining for interest.

 

'Bluebird'  (sold)

Dress was also chosen for the Totnes Museum Exhibition.

Features three fabrics: olive silk, royal blue linen, with 'bluebird' printed cotton.

Independent fabric colours were a perfect match for each other, the green silk blending well next to the printed cotton.

Modelled by keen browser in rainy Exeter crafts market.

 

Patchwork robes can be bespoke made to your measurements with your own fabrics. Send me details of your measurements to adjust dummy. If you have an idea of colours, I can show you photos of coordinates in my collection.  Silk painting additional quote on enquiry.

Making fee for standard kimono styled robe with collar extended down front facing.  Style tweaks can be arranged.

Long large patches:   Short to knee - £160,  Ankle length - £200.00

Small patches 8 inch x 4inch:   Short to knee £220,  Ankle length £260.00

Extra materials cost would be lining, as I do not stock new, although I have some thin white cotton in stock.  Robes need lining.  Summer dresses need not, as patches are over laid zig-zagged.
22 May

Hopi Bird Silk Designs Dresses

Amelia Hoskins / Dress, Silk Painting / / 0 Comments

Hopi Bird Silk Designs - Three Dresses

Red Hopi Dress - Peach Pinafore - Grey Hopi Pinafore

Red Hopi Dress has two front silk panels - black/red on white, and red/white on black. Coordinates with a red linen skirt and black viscose print used in the long red dress design.  Vogue pattern used: V1234 by Sandra Betzina.

Peach Brown Pinafore has pink/orange/brown abstracted bird and gecko design in sandy colours from Hopi pottery inspiration. No pattern. Shape copied from a dress bought in France.  (Pinafore Sold)

Grey Hopi Pinafore  Layered cotton panels of 'Per Una' skirt recycled with front silk panel of Hopi Birds with feathers and native American sayings. All dresses modelled by visiting Spanish teacher guest Marian

Grey Hop Pinafore - Design Motifs

Bird designs are 'curved' exactly as the originals on Hopi pottery, but applied to a two dimensional surface of Habotai silk. Feathers were added around the birds together with a selection of embroidered Native American quotations.

Printing Experiment:  Texture of gold on grey is made using cardboard print block.  Dried corn cob leaves which have fine narrow ridges were glued onto a cereal packet cardboard, varnished (acrylic water based) 3 layers.  The maze leaves fibre formation has quite pronounced ridges, which resulted, when printed, in natural looking printed lines.  I used epaissisant thickener with gutta as a printing paste applied to the cardboard printing block, then pressed on to the silk, and dried before adding the grey dye.  The end result after steaming was mostly a blur, but still provides an interesting painterly background texture, which could be developed with different colour overlays, where overlapping lines would create extra colours.

    Native American Quotations embroidered on silk: 

"Walk lightly in the spring: mother Earth is pregnant" ~ Kiowa

"Plants are our brothers and sisters; they talk to us and if we listen we can hear them" ~ Apache

"After dark all cats are leopards" ~ Zumi

"We will be known forever by the tracks we leave ~ 

Red Hopi Bird silk painting

Dress side panels show red/orange/black on white ground, and red/orange/white on black ground.

The vogue pattern facilitated side extended pieces which hang well in silk. Red linen bodice is made from a skirt.  Polyester red/orange print used for upper and center panel.

I've always been intrigued by Native American culture and found images of abstract bird designs of the Hopi Indians applied to pottery. They reached a height of decorative abstraction, adapting bird designs to fit over any curved pottery surface; a brilliant applied design, in natural pigmented black, terracotta and cream colours.

Images copyright Amelia Jane Hoskins Please email for use permission.