And the winner is… #seamlessgiveaway

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*drumroll*

Congratulations to kokorimbaud!

I’ll be holding more surprise giveaways in future, so keep your eyes peeled… and what has kokorimbaud won?

1. A full-length black velvet skirt, plenty of material for refashioning!

2. A vintage Simplicity blouse pattern I’m planning on making at some point soon.

3. A pair of embroidery scissors!

I might tuck something else in there as well… thank you for all your suggestions!

Apologies it’s taken me so long to get something posted. A lot has gone on in the past month or so on top of busy times at work. Some things are going to be changing with me in the New Year – once all the details are ironed out, I’ll let you all know what’s going on.

Happy Blogiversary! SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

Last week Seamless turned the grand old age of one! Hurrah!

Image by Will Clayton

To celebrate, I’m holding a giveaway with a SURPRISE PRIZE! Oooooooooohhhhh…

Oh, alright then, I’ll give you SOME clues. The winner of the giveaway shall receive a bundle of goodies, perfect for anyone taking the Seamless Pledge. This shall include.

1. Something to refashion.

2. A vintage pattern from my collection

3. A handy something to add to your sewing toolbox

…and whatever else I can think of!

To enter, just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered into the random draw. This giveaway is open to everyone around the world, whether you’re taking the Seamless Pledge or not. If you want an extra entry, link to this blog on Twitter and mention @elenacresci with the hashtag #seamlessgiveaway or leave a comment on the Facebook page.

I’d also love to know what kind of thing you’d like to see in the surprise bundle. Is there a little something missing from your sewing box? Have you got a vintage pattern style you’ve been eyeing up?

You’ve got until midnight on 12 November to enter. Keep an eye on out for sneaky hints of what you could expect in your surprise package…

SUPER EXCITING WALES BLOG AWARDS NEWS!

I am really really excited to announce Seamless has been shortlisted at the Wales Blog Awards!

 

I still can’t quite believe it! I found out last week but haven’t had a proper chance to sit down and blog about it because I’ve been a bit under the weather.

Seamless is shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog along with two other amazing candidates, Ryan’s Garden and Daisy Dayz. Please do check them out, I need some more people to snoop on the competition… Joking aside, it’s pretty clear Wales has plenty in the way of blogging talent when you look at this shortlist.

Really and truly, this blog wouldn’t be anything without you guys. A lot of you have stuck around through the exams, through the job seeking and the eventual move and some of you have even been pledging right along with me. But mostly, you’ve been commenting and contributing on so many of my posts over the past year, which means a lot to me.

I’m not sure everyone sees it the same way as I do, but my blog’s statistics rarely mean much to me if I don’t have some user interaction to back them up. So perhaps a post has been read a thousand times, but if it doesn’t have at least one comment, I’ll wonder why and try to write something more engaging next time. There are plenty of you who come back time and again which creates endless possibilities for blog posts from your feedback alone.

So if I win this thing, it’ll be down to you guys because I probably wouldn’t have bothered with posts about what we do with our old clothes, whether sewing a wedding dress is a good idea or even the Me Made May challenge if it weren’t for the wonderful community we’ve got going on here.

We kick ass!

I suppose on a final  note I should mention there’s a vote on the site for the People’s Choice award. Obviously it would be absolutely wonderful if you voted for Seamless, but there are some amazing blogs on there. If you have some time, check them out and maybe even give them your vote. (I’d be rubbish at poaching votes on the X Factor, wouldn’t I?)

Normal service will resume shortly! I found the cutest craft shop in Guildford town centre last weekend. What goodies did I buy?

Now that would be telling…

Featured Pledger: Tina C (Down the Retro Rabbit Hole)

After a stint living abroad, Tina of Down the Retro Rabbit Hole changed her attitude to consumerism forever. Find out how her time living in India transformed her attitude to shopping centres and mass-made items.

Name: Tina C.

Website: Down the Retro Rabbit Hole 

Pledging for all of 2012

Why did you take the Seamless Pledge?

In 2011 my partner and I returned from a year living abroad in India where he was completing dissertation research for his PhD. Post-India, my views of consumerism shifted drastically. I’d lived in India before, in 1999, and was thoroughly charmed by the “walla”–a “guy” (the literal translation) who sells a specific item.

If you wanted fabric, you went to the Cloth Walla. If you needed a screwdriver, you went to Tool Walla. Want some chai (tea) or snacks? Visit your friendly corner Chai Walla! And so on. The really great thing about this system of wallas was the relationship that developed. The wallas I visited often knew me by name, my preferences, and gave me “pucca” (good) Indian prices.

However, during 2010, I observed a significant shift in the Indian economy from Walla to shopping mall/center.  It was heartbreaking as it meant a shift to an (even more) throwaway society, a decrease in product value and customer service and most definitely no more personal relationships with a friendly corner walla. I started to really think about the effect consumerism, specifically Western culture consumerism, has on the world.

When we returned to the USA in February of 2011, I just could not shop at malls anymore. I was acutely aware the clothing options neither fit nor flattered my figure AND the incredibly shoddy clothing construction. Furthermore, my age demographic (I’m 33) was definitely not represented as all I saw around me were items targeted towards teens, college-aged students, and grandmas.

Then and there I decided to not buy any clothing during 2011. Fast-forward to 2012 and I found myself with clothes I absolutely detested, but rather than buy new clothes, I decided it was time to (really) learn how to sew my own clothing! I stumbled across, and took, the Seamless Pledge and haven’t looked back.

What impact has the pledge had on your day-to-day life? 

I think a lot about my role as a consumer. I’m on a very tight budget and just cannot afford to spend money on clothing that lasts one season –if even that!–and then gets tossed. This thought now also extends to sewing patterns (I buy versatile vs. trendy), sewing supplies (good thread vs. cheap thread, quality scissors, quality trim, etc.), and fabric.

At first, I used whatever fabric I had on hand which mostly tended to be quilting cotton. Quilting cotton, while in abundance (and so pretty!) at fabric stores like Joann’s Fabrics, doesn’t work well *all* the time (Tilly, of Tilly and the Buttons has an excellent post about using quilting cottons).

During my first attempts at (re)learning how to sew garments, I used solely quilting cotton. The garments turned out okay, but aren’t anything I wear. Now I buy quality fabrics that fit the pattern specifications as well as my lifestyle. This means I have to be a bit more picky about what I make because quality fabric can be quite expensive! As a result, my wardrobe is still stuck in 2009, but slowly expanding.

Any tips for someone wanting to give up mass-market clothing?

Invest in a good sewing machine and its feet. Find a good Sewing Machine Repair Walla (mine picks up and drops off my sewing machine) if you’re buying an older model. Learn how to maintain your machine–I cannot stress this enough! A good cleaning of the bobbin area will cure half your machine woes.

A sewing class, if available in your area, may be of great help to you if you’re a total newbie. Buy, at the very least, one really solid but basic sewing reference–I highly recommend The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, Threads Sewing Guide: A Complete Reference from America’s Best-Loved Sewing Magazine, or something similar.

Invest–because they’re expensive–in a superb pair of sewing shears (I HIGHLY recommend Gingher–mine cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter). Change your needle often! I don’t change mine nearly enough and my machine hates me for it (seriously…it occasionally flings needle parts at my face). Learn a few basic pattern manipulation techniques; you’re clothing will fit AND flatter your figure if you do!

And finally, get involved online! The online sewing community is so supportive and
wonderful. You’ll make friends and gain skills and inspiration. The Sew WeeklyBurdaStyle, and We Sew Retro are among my favorite group-sew sewing sites. OH! And get/adopt a cat! All of us Super Awesome Sewasaurus Rex’s have one! Seriously, I have two

A big THANK YOU! to Elena for no only featuring me this week, but for coming up with the Seamless Pledge. It’s really awesome way to think about one’s relationship to and with their clothing.

Aw! Thanks Tina! Plenty of tips there to get you going, I think I need to take a couple of them on board myself! Make sure you check out Tina’s blog where she’s currently musing about ombre dyeing

One good turn deserves another – Giveaway!

You heard right, it’s giveaway time!

But before I get to the giveaway bit, I need to tell you a little bit about my friend Ki.

This lady in the middle* is a bit of a legend you see. Not only is she an all-round kick-ass kind of gal, she’s got a PhD in awesome (or at least this is what I assume). Ki and I are pals from my time in Swansea, but now she has an exciting job in England and I’m back in the Welsh capital, we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like to.

Except when we caught up earlier this week she brought me PRESENTS!

Not just any old present. LOOK AT ALL THOSE PATTERNS. As you can imagine, I got just a little bit excited. Her Mum’s a bit of a seamstress you see, and she’s been lovely enough to lend me some of her old patterns, which I’m going to trace and have a crack at making. Amazing present or what?

So, in lieu of Ki’s most excellent present, I propose a giveaway of my own. The whole trace it and pass it on ethos works quite well for old patterns – they’re highly sought after and go for a fair bob online. So I thought I’d take a leaf out of Ki’s book and offer one of my own collection to you guys.

This here is Vogue 7239, a ’60s style pattern with a coat and dress. Pretty schnazzy, right? I’ve yet to make this one up myself – I snapped it up at a vintage market here in Cardiff (actually, my friend Keiligh wrote about it here, there’s even a photo of my hands rifling through the vintage pattern goodies!) and haven’t had the chance to use it yet. It’s a size 14 with 36″ bust measurement, but I imagine it would be pretty easy to scale up or down.

What I’m going to do is trace the pattern, photocopy the instructions and send it along to one of you! All I ask the winner to do is pass it along in your own giveaway once you’re done with it – simples! Also, do blog about your creation! You’ll see mine at some point (I hope!) when I get a chance to whip one up, and it’d be great to collate the different versions we make.

All I need you to do is to comment with what you’d do with the pattern – what fabric would you use? What colour? Where would you wear it? You know me, I’m nosy! I’ll choose the winner at random two weeks today on March 28. This giveaway is open to everyone!

Oh, and do check out Ki’s blog, it’s lovely. Also, if you’re on the Twitter-machine, get following, because she’s a legend! Any ideas on how I can repay her?

*FYI, the one on the right with the blue hair? Equally legendary.