Friday, 21 April 2017

Meet the Maker - Bella Lane

I am delighted to present highly skilled and beautiful lady Bella Lane for my next 'Meet the Maker' series of blog posts. Bella is a master Peruvian embroiderer and also Royal School of Needlework trained.

My path crossed with Bella at the Knitting & Stitching show where we were both teaching. I was very happy when she agreed to start offering her hand embroidery classes at Fabrications about a year ago. Her 2 forthcoming embroidery classes take place on Saturday May 13th - " Learn hand embroidery applique & stitch an Arpilleras of Peru " & "Learn hand embroidery & stitch an Andean rose ". A unique treat for beginners and existing embroidery enthusiasts as these mini master classes focus on Peruvian embroidery techniques, culture and history.

Tell me and the readers a little about yourself and what drew you to focus on embroidery?

My journey in embroidery started 40 years ago in the heart of the rain forest of Peru and it has been an incredible journey to reach this stage were I’m available to deeply understand the art of hand embroidery and the art of using it to express and inspire others by stitching, embroidering for professional use, fun, therapy, healing or just experimenting. I have been in the professional embroidery world for 10 years now and have worked with so many people and companies through commissions here in London which was a great springboard for pushing and extending the traditional professional training I had received for full three years. As well I have been teaching all kinds of embroidery workshops, for individuals groups her in UK and abroad, and still do this whenever I can. Stitching two pieces of cloth or stitching a single button really stops the busy world around us and really can connect us with our ancestors who at some point of their lives also stitched the same things without thinking that needles, threads and cloth will be with us forever, generation by generation.  Technology will move fast but we always will depend on the needle and threads, these items never will die as we do. This is what draws me in to the world of hand embroidery. When I'm working with needle and threads, my mind is transported to another place, a place that can be beautiful, peaceful, intense and challenging and my love for needlework and embroidery has helped me to produce magnificent pieces of embroidery, many of them were recognised with Awards.

You are a master Peruvian Embroiderer and also adept in English embroidery! How do the techniques compare?

Needle and thread is the common connection between English and Peruvian embroidery, I love both of them. In Europe we work with the finest threads, cloth and tools; in Peru we work with what we have. Peruvians love very bright colours, in England we like more subtle colours.  These choices are affected by our culture, history, weather, and so many other factors, even our language.  As we are in Great Britain, Peruvians are very proud of our ancient cultures. The rich textile heritage that the ancient peoples of Peru have bequeathed to us gives us so much to learn and enjoy, not just in embroidery but for all art forms. Those attributes are an invaluable contribution that Peru has to offer, not only for their own people but for everyone who is interested in textiles and art. I consider myself so fortunate to belong to both places. These days I am a British and Peruvian citizen. Always I'm delighted when people in Peru ask me teach them English embroidery techniques, and when I'm in UK I am very happy teaching Peruvain embroidery.  It is such a valuable asset to have these two cultures at once.


What is an 'Arpilleras of Peru’ ? 
 Arpilleras in Peru is the modern approach to textiles embellished with recycled or unwanted fabrics, stitched with bright coloured threads. In other words, it is a form of Peruvian applique. The creation of Apilleras started in 1974 in Chile, a year after Augusto Pinochet came to power.  During this time friends, brothers, husbands and other members of the family disappeared, and were never found again. The wives and dependents of the ‘disappeared’ were left in poverty, so they started to stitch poignant Arpilleras pieces in memory of their loved ones and as a silent protest against Pinochet’s government. These pieces were so beautiful and evocative that they soon became very popular, and visitors began to collect them; soon after they started to export the work to all America and Europe.  Our next class with Arpilleras will be a 'beginner Arpillera project'. Participants will learn technical stitches, design composition and execution of their own Arpillera creation. It is a great opportunity to join us and start an amazing personal journey of creating scenes from Peru or your own locale with cloth and threads with the concept of using pieces of recycled and upcycled textiles. After completion students can apply the same techniqus to their own small or large projects at home.  

What is the significance of the 'Andean rose’ ?  How did it come into being and how are they used?

Andean people love flowers and wild life. They stitch all year around their own costumes, and items for sale with floral and animal designs with bright colours for the Andean Festivities. Flower designs are the principal theme of the ladies' skirts and blouses called “Polleras”.
“Andean Rose” is the given name of a full day or 3 hours master class embroidery workshop. This workshop and this floral Rose design ‘kit' is the principal design for mastering and learning the art of some Peruvian Andean Embroidery techniques. After class participants can finish their pieces at home and apply and incorporate the techniques in their own work.
Thank You Bella! I am looking forward to your next workshops at Fabrications and hope dear reader you can also join! To book your place, Contact Fabrications, Hackney, East London

Friday, 13 November 2015

Happy Newvember!

I am really excited to be involved with so many resourceful events and initiatives this month helping us to make the most of what we already have, be less wasteful and prolong or breathe new life into our belongings (and mindsets!) I hope you can join Fabrications at one of the following events! 

Hackney Fixers proudly presents 'The BIG Fix' 
Hackney's first festival of fixing! At St Mark's Church, Dalston, Saturday 21st November, 11am - 4pm
There is an impressive line up of experienced fixers to help you and teach you how to repair all kinds of items: electrical goods, electronics, clothing, chairs, bikes and more! Start getting ready with your stuff! 

Fabrications: Bring along an item of clothing to refresh. Learn patching, darning, sewing and alterations.
The Restart Project: Their fixers work with you to repair your gardgets (including mobile phones, laptops, printers, kitchen appliances and more!)
Hackney Bike Workshop: Fix your bicycle. Safety check, tyre check & pump up. Brake & gear adjustment & lubrication.
The School of Stuff: Chair repair surgery. Get sdvice and learn techniques for fixing your chair.
Traid: Protect your winter wardrobe, make a natural origami moth deterrent 
Eco Active: Make useful wallets, bags & beads from recycled materials.
Sugru: Demos and ideas on ways to use this amazing 'mouldable glue' or '21st Century duck tape!' which has become a globable fixing phenomenum - manufactured in Hackney!

Sustainable Hackney and Hackney Council's recycling team will also be on hand to provide information on recycling, waste prevention and re use.

 The Upcycling Academy is back! This time we will be at the Christmas Bust 'Craftacular' 
at York Hall, Bethnal Green, Sunday 22nd November, 11am - 5pm
'Craftacular' is one of London's largest and finest indie maker events. 'The Upcycling Academy' is an educational model created by Barley Massey (Fabrications) in conjunction with Traid, War on Want and The Craftivist CollectriveOur aim is to start conversations and feel inspired to adjust our actions through hands on learning into textile waste, creative upcycling and better fashion industry practises.
Create a sweater bobble hat with Traid – 12-2pm – £5 – book here
Customise a Christmas jumper with Fabrications – 2-4pm – FREE* (bring your own jumper or Traid will have some to prchase before the workshop)
Fuse activism with craft and write a secret scroll with Craftivist Collective – 3- 5pm – FREE

Up next is TRAID's  #SecondHandFirst week which celebrates the power of second-hand to change the world by keeping the resources we already have in use for longer. It was launched by TRAID in 2014 and their key aim is to increase the number of people committing to wearing and sourcing more of their clothes (and other resources) second-hand, rather than new. The week will be packed full of events and actions, both in the UK and across the globe, to connect you to the huge environmental and social benefits of second-hand. Join Fabrications for our special #SecondHandFirst 'Darn it! Patch it! PARTY  at Fabrications,  Thursday 26th November, 6.30 - 9pm

Want to 'Refresh your Wardrobe' and unlock it's value? This is a regular class at Fabrications, because we love to pass on clothing care & repair techniques and inspiration all year round! Check out our CALENDAR for up and coming workshops and events! 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Charity Fashion Live

This London Fashion Week the public will be able to get involved in one of the most exciting events on the fashion week schedule Charity Fashion Live, when Oxfam and stylist Emma Slade-Edmondson recreate London Fashion Week looks, just moments after they emerge on the catwalk, using only the second-hand clothing they find in Dalston's Oxfam shop on Saturday 19th September. 

You can also get involved on Saturday 19th September  on Twitter at @CharityFashLive and @Oxfamfashion; Instagram at @CharityFashionLive or on the Facebook account CharityFashionLive

The Charity Fashion Live Oxfam Edit event is brought to you by partners Recycle for London and Love Your Clothes, the campaign aimed at helping us get the most out of our clothes. With trends changing season by season, it can be difficult to keep up, particularly if you don’t have a big budget. But with around 1.1 million tonnes of clothing being discarded every year by UK consumers, there is a treasure trove available at a fraction of the price in Oxfam shops. Charity Fashion Live will prove that second hand clothing can be on trend. 

" I love Emma Slade's Charity Fashion Live concept as it encourages us to look at second hand clothes and our own old clothes with a fresh eye. It also makes high end fashion trends accessible and affordable to all. Fast fashion has created a throwaway attitude to clothing and initiatives like this help us re connect with the joys of charity shop discovering, our creativity and the possibility of re styling and transforming our existing clothes " Barley Massey (founder of Fabrications)

Alongside Emma's live event, Other London Oxfam shops will be hosting #FashionSalvage events on the same day. There will be designers and upcycling specialists showing you how to alter, repair and re-style items of pre-loved clothing to turn them into new looks, helping you add a personal touch to your new Oxfam purchases – or to a piece that’s been stuck at the back of your own wardrobe for too long.

Head to Oxfam, Covent Garden between 2 - 4pm for an introduction to second hand textiles in fashion design followed by a crochet workshop hosted by Fashion industry Pioneer and Founder of Fashion Revolution Day -  Orsola de Castro and London designer and queen of crochet Katie Jones.
Location: Oxfam Covent Garden, 23 Drury Ln, London WC2B 5RH 
Time 14:00 – 16:00

Visit the Fabrications up cycling and alterations pop up desk at Oxfam Islington where you’ll be able to add something personal to a garment from Oxfam or perhaps something you’ve brought along with you. Barley will be on hand with embellishments galore and a sewing machine to help you create something unique, to take up a hem, or for some alterations advice!
I will be joined by Tree (Stitchless TV) who will be demoing her explorations into 'Sublimation' heat transfer printing using a household iron - a great way to transform polyester garments!
Location: 29 Islington High Street, Islington, London, N1 9LH 
Time: 14:00-16:00

Visit Oxfam in Westbourne Grove for a consultation with Stylist and Costume designer Illishio Lovejoy. Pop in for advice on putting together a look for attending fashion week or that special event you have coming up.

Location: 254 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SE 
Time: 14:00- 16:00

PHOTO CREDIT: James Mc Cauley (taken at Love your Clothes 'Fashion Salvage' event, LMB)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Meet the Maker - MEGA MIX!

As Fabrications 15th Birthday Celebrations approaches, I'd like to put a BIG SHOUT OUT and say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all my friends, family, creatives, teachers, doers, fixers, special people that have put your time, energy and creativity into Fabrications over the years. 
I've Been going through my pics - Can you spot yourself?? (Sorry if you can't I didn't always have my camera to hand to capture the moment but I havn't forgotten you or your support!)

From left to right - David Mumford ( D.A M ) Sue Russell (Wool-n-Dance) Katherine May, Jillian Bulgan, Clare Sams & Mark - Paul.

Eric Martin & Nikolai Delvendahl (Delvendahl & Martin Architects) Jay & Yassir (Out of the Dark now Jay & Co) Sam Buckland & Sarah Mc Phee, Ayda Anlagan (Monstify), Rachael Matthews (formerly Cast Off now Prick Your Finger)

Rosie Martin (DIY Couture) Adeline Royal Caminski, Stephanie Bescoby, Jane Smith, Sarah Corbett (Craftivist Collective) Lisa Margreet

Caroline Brooks (Shoreditch Sisters) Tommy the Cat, The Upcycling Academy (collaboration with Fabrications, Traid & War on Want) Clemence Joly, Laura Lees (The Mighty Stitch) Marion Berger

Fiona Sail & team (Sail & Sons), Jade Ilke, Hackney Council, Michael Swaine, Ryan Frank, Annie Sherburne, Tree (Stitchless TV) Lu Flux

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Meet the Maker - It's David A Mumford!

I've not posted up a 'Meet the Maker' interview in a while, so thought it time I did so! This month's featured maker is David A Mumford, who I have known for many years but have had the privilege of working directly with at Fabrications over the last year both selling a selection of his upcycled fashion accessories and developing a range of sewing classes with him. Formerly one of the designers at Junky Styling, well known for their pioneering and creative approach to garment reinventions.

David has 2 classes coming up at Fabrications:

'Introduction to using a sewing machine & upcycling" on Sunday 21st June and 'Transform a man's shirt into a summer bomber jacket" on Sunday 26th July.

BM: Tell me a little about your design background?
DAM: Since I was a teenager I have had a passion for making clothes. It all began from not being able to afford to buy the clothes that I wanted to wear, and being able to express my own individual identity. I highjacked my Mothers sewing machine and started altering garments that I purchased at jumble sales and charity shops. This has led to a career in fashion that spans four decades.

BM: What are your favourite textiles to upcycle and why?
DAM: I enjoy upcycling all materials/garments as its always a challenge to find the best way of re-creating them, bringing them up to date and giving them a new lease of life. Men's suits and shirts are great, because they have lots of pockets and fastenings that you can re use.

BM: How do you find upcycling differs to traditional methods of garment making?
DAM: Upcycling differs because you are working with materials that already have a 3D form, and to a certain extent less restricted by the rules of traditional garment construction, enabling you to find your own methods of making and designing by experimentation. 

BM: What are you working on at the moment?
DAM: I am currently designing and producing a ready to wear collection of upcycled clothing under my new label D.A.M I also accept private bespoke commissions.  I frequently run a series of workshops in schools, colleges, as well as Fabrications to share my knowledge and expertise in Upcycling. This, promotes creativity and extends the life expectancy of already manufactured clothing.

BM: Having worked within the fashion industry for over 20 yrs, do you think upcycling offers a creative solution to reducing the environmental and social impacts of 'fast' fashion?
You can keep recycling/upcycling pieces of clothing over and over again. Well loved garments can always become something new and fresh. With a little imagination, you can create something inspiring and beautiful that you or any one else would never want to part with and send off to a landfill.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Tips & Tricks on hosting your very own 'Fashion Hackathon'

On Saturday 25th April I was fortunate to be involved alongside Love your Clothes at  Clotho’s first ‘Fashion Hackathon’. Although I’ve been upcycling for many a year now the concept of a fashion hackathon was new to me. The Clotho girls informed us that they had drawn inspiration from computer ‘Hackathons’ they had attended , where computer wizards and hobbits gather in a large room and form teams that then build programmes, apps etc together in 24 hours! Their idea was to take all the clothes that they were unable to list on their clothing exchange website due to rips, broken zips, unravelling hems etc and for participants to turn them into new and beautiful items in a ‘sustainable sewing factory’. 
So I set up my machines and boxes of threads, scissors, haberdashery and we set design challenges – theme of festival fashion, labels to be worn on the outside (as to think about where and by whom the original garment was made) Working collectively, creating change / transformation and the teams set to work!
It was a lively day and participants fully embraced the challenges, coming up with really inventive ‘fashion hacks’ and working together to realise their designs.

So I thought I’d encourage you to have your own fashion hackathons at home!
  Here are my tips and tricks to consider when approaching your own ‘Fashion Hacks’:

- Make the most of existing fasteners
- Holes & wear are an opportunity for transformation!
- Mix & match and fuse different items together
- Create ‘multifunctional’ garments
- Play with pattern

Re working your old clothes is fun and personal. It’s important to tap into your own creativity and sense of style. Recognize the potential and look at your old clothes from a different perspective! Some basic sewing skills are necessary. If you have no experience or are new to sewing, I offer lots of accessible classes at my studio Fabrications in Hackney, East London.

Thank you to Fabrications students for allowing me to share your creations!

Here are my tips and tricks to consider when approaching your own ‘Fashion Hacks’:

- Make the most of existing fasteners
- Holes & wear are an opportunity for transformation!
- Mix & match and fuse different items together
- Create ‘multifunctional’ garments
- Play with pattern

Re working your old clothes is fun and personal. It’s important to tap into your own creativity and sense of style. Recognize the potential and look at your old clothes from a different perspective! Some basic sewing skills are necessary. If you have no experience or are new to sewing, I offer lots of accessible classes at my studio Fabrications in Hackney, East London.

Thank you to Fabrications students for allowing me to share your creations!


Making the most of existing fasteners……I love working with men’s shirts. Not only is the fabric stable and easy to work with they have lots of buttoning!  Often buttons on shirts are set to similar spacing, so you can button different shirts together to make a new garment or a bell tent if you keep going! Fortunately I reigned myself in to this ‘cut & paste’ collaged dress and stuck to 3 shirts! Cutting on this dress was minimal; the shaping is created through a belted gathered waist band and elastication half way down the sleeves. You could add darts on the top shirt for more fitting.

Holes and wear n tear are an opportunity for transformation…..Appliqué (or patching) is my friend. I have a number of favourite jeans that are works in progress, as another hole appears on goes a new patch! This can be done discreetly with similar fabric or show off - make your patching stand out in a crowd! I enjoy making patches from other old clothes or textiles to create motifs or ‘cheat embroideries’.
I tend to machine on my patches using a ‘3 step zig zag’ (this is stronger than a regular zig zag) or a ‘Free motion’ / quilting foot so I can sketch / squiggle around and over the patch. If using a lightweight fabric as your patch, tack some other fabric on the back to reinforce.  Take off the removable front part of the machine to give you a narrower working area. Trouser legs can get tricky and on skinny jeans you may have to open up the seam for access and then stitch back together!

Mix & match and fuse different items together…..Sometimes you might have 2 garments that just aren’t working for you or they are a bit tired and worn out! Think about combining them! Louise took an old jumper and cut it down the front and cut off the cuffs and border from an old cardigan and over locked the components together to make a new 2 tone cardigan! If you don’t have an over locker use the ‘overcast’ or stretch stitch on your machine or slip one over the other (for a thicker cardigan!)
It is possible to mix different fabric textures and weights but it does require more care and preparation tacking etc to help prevent movements!

Create ‘multifunctional’ garments….My friend and colleague David Mumford is a very clever garment upcyclist. (He also mentored at Clotho’s Fashion Hackathon)
Here he is at Fabrications teaching students the marvels of sewing and upcycling (using men’s shirts)  He used to design with the fashion brand ‘Junky Styling’ who were well known for their clever garment reinventions. Garments that can be worn in different ways are likely to be used more often over a longer period of time. 

Play with pattern……is also a lot of fun! Sometimes the most unexpected combination of pattern designs harmonises and works!
Here is an idea from another friend and colleague – Tree from Stitchless TV’. Take 2 vintage tourist scarves to make a raglan Prada style top. (pictures taken from summer workshops at Fabrications) Tree has a unique talent in taking high fashion ideas and simplifying them down into accessible ‘speed stitching’, free style cutting projects for beginners and other home sewers. Many of the projects on her TV channel use old clothes – well worth checking her out!

I hope you are feeling inspired to host your own ‘Fashion Hackathon’ at home. Please share your creations with us,we’d love to see what you re-make! 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Yarn Shop Day! Come see us! Saturday 2nd May!

Following the success of last year’s event, Fabrications is pleased to announce that we will be participating in the national ‘Love Your Yarn Shop’ campaign, initiated by Let's Knit Magazine which aims to raise the profile of the value that bricks and mortar yarn stores bring to the local community. Part of the campaign includes ‘Yarn Shop Day’ taking place on Saturday 2nd May.

On ‘Yarn Shop Day’, Fabrications will be hosting a ‘Close-Knit Community Knit-Tea Party’ open to all ages (from 7+) and all levels of crafter from 1:30-5:30pm. 

Flowers, leaves, and garlands will make up the creations for the day, which can be knitted or crocheted in detail with small needles and hooks or large on their unique MACRO knitting needles and French knitting wheels. All of the items created will be added to a flourishing knitted trellis installation on Fabrications shop front, so that everyone can admire them! 

Special Goody Bags are set to be available for the first 25 customers of the day to start off the event. Everything will be provided, from the materials to the food, with Fabrications lovely teachers on hand to help, so all you need to bring is you! Everyone is welcome to this free event, but space is limited, so be sure to book your spot NOW!. 

Participating in this exciting day is just the beginning of the celebration to mark Fabrications 15th birthday!