Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: Alabama Chanin

I frequently purchase books on crafting, recycling, sewing, knitting, get the picture. Although I've only been crafting for a short time I have gone head over heels for craft books. My most recent addition is Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style. Let me say that I adore this book. I've already read it cover to cover. The photos are beautiful and inspiring. The projects are within reach for even the novice stitcher. What I love most are that she combines beautiful, well-crafted design with refashioning. She takes old tshirt, some dual-duty thread, and a few simple designs and makes art. I am excited to try nearly ever single project in the book, which is a rarity for me. Her clear instructions, easily accessible notions, included patterns and stencils ensure that you are ready to craft. My only complaint is that the patterns attached in the book are double sided and need to be photocopied, but unfortunately they are an unwieldy size and double-sided so the markings bleed through on the copies. However, this is easily corrected by using pattern paper and tracing over the top. You could even use copy paper and tape it together, then hold it all up to a brightly lit window an accomplish the same thing if needed. In the end, I can't heap enough praise on this book for it's beautiful, understated simplicity. With the guidance and inspiration from this book you can begin crafting your own heirloom pieces from reclaimed fabric. High fashion style can be had by everyone for just a few dollars. It's a reminder that fashion belongs to all of us and with some hard work and a little imagination you can make truly remarkable things. Most of all, the easy-wearing cotton jersey fabric is something that can be as a casual as a tank top or as fancy as a beaded formal skirt, everything is what you make it. Once you've picked up your copy of the book, be sure to check out the Alabama Chanin website which has DIY kits, projects, a blog and more.

Here's a project that was published by Ecouterre, a website devoted to sustainable fashion design:
DIY Nation
Refresh Your Wardrobe With Alabama Chanin’s DIY Circle-Spiral Appliqué
by Natalie "Alabama" Chanin, 06/30/10

Book Review by Elizabeth of, Fashion:Remix Team Leader.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Featured Team Member: BridgetGoette

The Fashion:Remix Team has been working together to promote sustainable fashion on Etsy. In addition to our team store, each of us has our individual stores where we sell our handmade love. In 2011 we are continuing to grow and evolve, not only as team members, but also in our stores. Many of us have resolved to offer new products, sharpen our photography skills and focus on contributing to the team. However, as a reminder that each shop is special and has a unique designer at it's heart, the blog will feature bios and interviews with our team members. We are going to kick-off the 2011 series with Bridget of Bridget Goette Designs.

SerendipiT: Good Morning Bridget, thanks for allowing me to interview you as our Featured Team Member for January 2011! Why don't we start with a little information about yourself? Where in the world are you located and what makes you unique?

BridgetGoette: I live in northern Minnesota where I run a small creative business out of my home. I have been creating clothing for myself from the time I was a schoolgirl. I also enjoy sewing gifts for friends and family members.

I continually exhibited my creations at area festivals including:

The Harvest Moon Festival in Ely, MN
Weinachtsfest in Biwabik, MN
The Festival of Trees in Duluth, MN
Oktoberfest at Rutger's Lodge near Brainerd, MN

Last winter, my mittens were sold in The Duluth Pack Store in Canal Park, a fun touristy area of Duluth, right on Lake Superior.

SerendipiT: Brrrr....No wonder your shop features so many beautiful, recycled wool mittens! According to the temperatures in your region are about 30 degrees below the U.S. average. So, other than the weather, where do you get your inspiration?

BridgetGoette: I love paging through magazines and cutting out pictures of fun ideas, articles of clothing, or color schemes that I can imitate in my own work. I like to give my items my own personal style, which usually involve bright, fun colors.

SerendipiT: Excellent ideas for inspiration. You definitely have many beautiful color combinations featured in your work. I love the bright and fun pinks and purples and the always classic black, red and white.

SerendipiT: So, why refashioned?

BridgetGoette: I see so much waste in the world. It makes sense to me, economically and ecologically, to buy used clothing, furniture, housewares, and etc. Why should I buy something brand new that has to be flown here on an airplane from China that is going to pollute the earth? I can find something created out of previously used materials that will contribute much less pollution to our earth.

SerendipiT: What materials do you use the most in your work?

BridgetGoette: My favorite clothing material is felted wool. It's hard to believe, but felted wool is even warmer than regular wool. This is because the fibers have condensed, making it nearly impossible for wind or cold to penetrate. Felted wool is a mandatory material in my winter wardrobe. How else could one survive Minnesota winters?

SerendipiT: Well, you've got a point there. Aside from crawling into a tantan, which isn't nearly as stylish or practical, I don't think you could find anything warmer than recycled wool mittens to keep you comfortable and cozy in Minnesota in the dead of winter.

SerendipiT: So when you do shop, where's your favorite place?

BridgetGoette: There's a great thrift store in St. Cloud, MN called Treasure Chest. I like shopping here because all the proceeds go to support Birthline. Birthline is a christian organization providing education, mentoring, support services and referrals to anyone affected by an unintended or crisis pregnancy. It makes me feel good, knowing my purchase will help someone else.

SerendipiT: I enjoy thrifting too! I really like the fact that the fun stuff that I find at my local Goodwill goes to help create jobs. There is so much that is great about buying used from thrift stores because it benefits you and your community. It's so great that you take the time to do the same thing in your neck of the woods. So, if you could be any article of clothing, what would it be?

BridgetGoette: If I were an article of clothing, I would be a pair of socks.On a chilly Minnesota morning, when nothing seems to combat the stinging climate, an extra pair of socks can provide warmth and comfort. My mom always said "if your feet are cold, the rest of you will be cold." It is true. That extra pair of socks warms your entire body, head to toe.

SerendipiT: Bridget, thanks so much for joining our little group of fashion remixers. As they say, it takes a village and our is a pretty cool little place thanks to people like you and the unique perspective that each person brings. Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself with everyone else too.

Thanks for stopping by!