Wednesday Thinking – Is there enough diversity in the world of arts and crafts?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv

When I heard there was going to be a new shopping TV channel dedicated to all things sewing and quilting, it almost made my year.

Then I started watching.

Here are some of the main cast of presenters and designers on the new shopping channel, Sewing Quarter.

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Picture credit/source: Sewing Quarter/https://www.sewingquarter.com/the-sewing-quarter/about-us/

Only 1 male presenter, no male designers, as for ethnic diversity – well here’s the picture, need I say more?

A while ago, I published a piece about the lack of diversity in the music industry, referencing the issues regarding the dominance of a single artist in the UK charts.  Sadly those same themes appear to dominate the world of art and crafts as well.

As much as I enjoyed the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, I was saddened that the range of crafts displayed didn’t reflect the wide diversity of the cratfters, producers and makers in the UK. During my 2 days at the show, I only saw 2 crafter/bloggers of colour at the event – Megan of Pigeon Wishes and Chinelo Bally. There also seemed to be very few male crafters live demonstrating at the show.

When I visit areas such as Goldhawk Road in West London, Walthamstow Fabric Market in East London and areas in-between such as Berwick Street and Portobello Road,  I see a united nations of crafters – beginner hobbyists to professionals, shoppers, shop owners, artists, young and the young at heart. So why is this not reflected in the main stream crafting media, fairs and TV shows?

I know there’s always YouTube, but I also know there is a strong appetite for new challenges, materials and techniques. Chinese jacquards, Indian silks, Nigerian Cottons, Japanese Embroidery, Italian Wools are all highly popular at the moment, but there are few places on the web to inform you how to use these wonderful fabric and techniques. When they are showcased, it is usually by people who are so far removed from the historical and social context of these crafts, the results becomes diluted. An recent example was highlighted during a quilting demonstration on Sewing Quarter where the cultural heritage of quilting was only briefly mentioned.

 

While personally I’m not a huge fan of Colette patterns for various reasons, at least they are attempting to reflect their diverse clientele, featuring models who are diverse in both shape and skin colour. It’s at least a small step the the right direction. Sadly, of all the independant pattern designers, Colette patterns is the only one I know of, who actively do so. None of the top 5 UK independent sewing pattern designers do, as far as I’m aware, which sends out subtle messages of exclusion.

It seems a great pity 2 genres; music and arts & crafts, ideal mediums for bringing people together, appear to be doing the opposite.

What you think? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit – review and construction progress

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

As I mentioned in my previous Clothkits review, I am new to the company and was excited to try their Big Birdie Skirt and matching bag and purse set.  The kit was beautifully presented, wrapped with a measuring tape ribbon, which is actually accurate!

Clothkits inches measuring tape ribbon | Champagne Twist

The kit consists of a large piece of fabric, on which is printed 6 skirt pieces – skirt front, 2 skirt back pieces, 3 facings – a zip, a spool of matching thread and an instruction leaflet.

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

The kit includes more than enough thread for the project, I overlocked all the edges of each of the 6 cut outs and still had plenty of thread left on the spool. A good quality zip is also provided, but you could swap this out for an invisible zip if you prefer.

clothkits big birdie skirt kit - 6 pieces | champagne twist

Overlocked edges Clothkits Big Birdie Skirt Kit | Champagne Twist

Instructions – pros and cons

The instructions are printed on a sheet of A4 sized paper, with a few helpful diagrams. In the most part they are clear to follow, but as the instructions say, I would strongly advise that you take a few minutes to read and reread them. There are a couple of minor typos, and the facings instructions were duplicated, but nothing of much concern.

There was 1 issue, the instructions didn’t make clear which size I should cut, but I happened to find details on the Clothkits website, with bust, waist and hip measurements for each size from 8 to 20. All well and good if you have internet access, not so much of you don’t.

There are separate instructions for lining the skirt. You have to call Clothkits for the information, which are then emailed to you within minutes. Nice to have the option, and the extra service is quick and easy, however, for those without ready internet access this could be a problem.

Pattern/Kit

As the kit doesn’t include a separate paper pattern, and I wanted to make a skirt lining, I traced the cut out pieces onto Swiss paper. My tracing will enable me to use the pattern for future projects, thus making the kit very cost effective. I also drafted in-seam pockets, but you could easily add patch pockets from the fabric remnants, if you wanted to add your own touches.

On me for some reason, the A-line design fits more like a straight skirt, but I still like the shape.

Tip – Do not discard the remnants. Clothkits have been very generous with the fabric they provide, with many of the left over pieces featuring printed motifs, many of which I used to supplement my Clothkits bag and purse set.

Value for money

At nearly £40, initially the kit seems expensive, but bear in mind that the fabric is baby corduroy, which features a lovely printed design by Jane Foster. Everything to make the basic skirt is included in the kit and there is extra fabric with printed motifs, if you wish to embellish your skirt further.

Construction

In all, it took about 2 hours from start to finish (not including the planned extras) to make the skirt.  I took my time and overlocked the edges, otherwise this skirt can easily be made in under an hour. For beginners, I think this is a lovely, quick and simple skirt, which is very attractive and fun to make.  For more experienced sewists, there is plenty of scope to add your own embellishments, especially with the remnant pieces of fabric.

I especially like the fact that I am able to make use of the left over pieces, which adds to the value of this kit. The customer support is very good, as is the product itself.

In marked contrast to the bag and purse kit, I really enjoyed making this skirt. I plan to add a few more embellishments, but for now here is the almost finished item.

Jane Foster Big Birdie Print A-Line skirt Clothkits | Champagne Twist
Back skirt view – Jane Foster Big Birdie Print A-Line skirt by Clothkits

CKits cover

4-star

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Mr President

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To President and Mrs Obama,

Thank you for being the very best First Family ever to grace the White House.

Thank you for serving us, the people, ahead of your own ambitions.

Thank you for your love, loyalty and compassion.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams.

Thank you, for being you.

 

YES WE CAN

YES WE DID

YES, WE CAN AGAIN!

Quote Friday – Special

Hello and Merry Christmas everyone.

Remember Christmas is a 2 week festival, that begins on Christmas day. I know by now you’re fed up of all the mince pies and the turkey curry, but you still have over a week of festiveness to go 🙂

Next year is going to be, er … interesting, to say the least. So I suggest we all enjoy this season as much and as hard as we can, so that when the tough times come, we will at least have some lovely memories to help boost us onwards and forwards.

Remember also to love yourself and others, because as the world around us turns all kinds of crazy, we must prepare ourselves, arming ourselves with love, kindness and honour.

Fight for freedom, fight for justice, fight for truth and fight for decency, respect, common sense and love. Protest when you can safely and legally.  As FLOTUS says,

“When they go low, we go high”.

Remember, you have a voice, and you have a right to have that voice heard.  Remember that sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia or ableism have no place in a true democracy. Remember to speak up for those, who can’t use their own voice.

Thank you all for following my little corner of the blogosphere, there will be more from the growing Champagne Twist network, including more CT Show episodes, recipes, crafts and a host of fantastic surprises.  Together 2017 will be a great year, if we work for it and love each other along the way.

Quote Friday

“All my life, I have maintained that the people of the world can learn to live together in peace if they are not brought up in prejudice.”

Josephine Baker

3 quotes which sum up everything wrong with the American Dream

dead-dream

“People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch. Consequently we are living in the Age of Human Error.” – Florence King

“For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.” – Bernie Sanders

“It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin