From front-garden singing to TV life drawing, the current crisis seems to have sparked a (home-based) creative renaissance. And many people have been channelling creative energies into sewing projects. Restricted shopping opportunities give us all another reason for dusting down the sewing machine – whether making something from scratch or giving older items a new lease of life. So this month’s blog is dedicated to … the joys of making and mending.
If you’re new to sewing or a bit out of practice, we suggest you don’t leap into creating a tailored jacket straight away! Have a start with something relatively simple that doesn’t need any lining or fitting. A purse, tea cosy, cushion cover – these are all good to begin with and have the bonus of not needing a lot of fabric. And of course we would highly recommend the wonder-fabric, tweed. Here we’re making cushions with Plaited Twill Wine.
There are plenty of instructions online. The BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee has some great little videos, and the Women’s Institute has produced some how-to films specially for lockdown. If you’re nervous about making mistakes why not do a dummy run with a discarded sheet or other old fabric.
Scale it up
Feeling a bit more ambitious? Curtains are one of the most popular things people make with our tweed. They are actually surprisingly easy once you get your head around dealing with so much fabric. They work equally well lined or unlined, and with any kind of heading. For extra warmth you can even use thermal interlining – learn how to in this National Trust video.
We love seeing what other people have created with our fabric. This Skye couple used our herringbone tweed to create thermally lined divider curtains in a draughty house – and also give a new lease of life to some 1970s chairs.
On a practical note in regards to upholstery – we’ve put representative samples of our tweeds through the industry-standard Martindale Abrasion Test and they are all suitable for ‘heavy domestic use’ upholstery. The only one we wouldn’t recommend for upholstery is our Brushed Tweed, as with wear it would lose its brushed finish. The brushed tweeds are a favourite for curtains or soft furnishings such as cushions.
Tweed is a great fabric for clothing projects too. Our fabric lends itself to trousers, jackets, waistcoats and more. Here are some more pictures from our creative customers.
You can find some excellent patterns online. As well as established makes like Burda there are a number of independent pattern makers springing up such as Alice & Co (we think their ‘Copenhagen Coat’ would look great in tweed).
Making it last
Today we are all starting to question our society’s throwaway culture; there’s a definite move towards buying things that will last, and towards sharing and handing down. And for fashion, that means rediscovering the art of mending. You know something has entered the Zeitgeist when Scotland’s design museum, the V&A Dundee, is on to it. Check out their Sewing Box for the Future web page where you can download ‘recipe cards’ on darning and other repair tasks and find out how to customise your own garments. You’ll find some good advice on the Fashion Revolution website too – from how to sew on a button to how to refresh your wardrobe.
Mending has actually become an art form in itself. Witness the new trend for ‘visible mending’ – making rips and mistakes beautiful. Scottish knitwear designer Flora Collingwood-Norris is something of a visible mending guru and runs online tutorials on the subject; here are a couple of her creations.
If you’re feeling inspired why not take a visit to our online shop where you can order samples of all our tweeds. We’re also now selling a pack of three matching tweeds suitable for cushions, so you can mix and match. We hope you enjoy getting creative – and don’t forget to share with us online!