Worthing's William Blake Mini Protest Banner

William Blake mini fashion protest banner

This afternoon I committed a small act of craftivism. I embroidered and hung a #minifashionprotest banner in Worthing town centre as part of Craftivist Collective's project for War On Want's Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops campaign. 
The Collective has asked people to stitch small banners with messages related to the exploitation of sweatshop workers in Bangladesh and hang them in a location that links to their embroidered message. Regular readers will know that I decided to stop buying clothes following the Rana Plaza clothing factory disaster, so taking part in Craftivist Collective's initiative was something I was keen to do and has strengthened my resolve to say 'no' to fast fashion. 
This week BBC Panorama's investigation into the working lives of factory workers in Bangladesh provided further food for thought and inspired me to make my mini banner in response to the allegations the programme broadcast concerning my mum's favourite clothes shop. A William Blake quote seemed apt. 
Craftivism in Worthing!

Here is my banner in situ! I hung it in the middle of a bench as Worthing has an abundance of poignant memorial plaques on its benches all the way along the seafront. 
Mini Fashion Protest Banner, Worthing

I like the idea that someone may sit on this bench and contemplate the meaning of my embroidered message.
Memorial bench plaque for the Bangladeshi clothing factory workers

Manga girl's kimono costume: Simplicity 2069

Girl's kimono in anime fabric

Searching online for manga printables suitable for an 8 year old, we stumbled upon Alexander Henry's anime inspired Thunder Flower fabric. My daughter thought it 'so cool' and loved the heroic karate kicking girls with blue and green hair leaping through cherry blossoms. It's now out of print but I managed to track down a couple of metres in her preferred blue colourway. Red and pink versions of the fabric are still available on Etsy but I think I was lucky to get one of the last pieces of it in blue. 

Thunder Flower anime fabric by Alexander Henry

It seemed the ideal fabric to use to make her a Simplicity 2069 kimono costume to wear to Brighton Japan Festival. We went to The Fabric Shop in Worthing for the rest of the material. She chose mint coloured cotton for the collar, thick green felt and a yellow ribbon for the obi sash and some pistachio lining fabric and green net for the skirt. 

Simplicity 2069: Girl's anime costume

Spoilt from using straightforward Japanese sewing books, it took me so long to cut out the numerous tissue paper pattern pieces for the jacket, obi and two-layer skirt for this Simplicity outfit that it left me feeling completely exasperated and I abandoned the project.

Two weeks later and with the Japan festival looming I decided to finally get round to finishing the thing. I barricaded myself in the lounge one Saturday and with concentration and Novos Baianos Acabou Chorare playing on repeat managed to sew all the pieces together in the right order. The end result is beautiful and in hindsight was well worth all the effort involved. I even plan to use the sewing pattern a second time...
Waiting for the train to Brighton Japan Festival

Ivy Arch at Mini Moderns REMIX

Mini Moderns REMIX, London Design Festival 2013

I am thrilled to be taking part in Mini Moderns REMIX at East London Design Store as part of the 2013 London Design Festival. The project sees Mini Moderns working with British based designers and artists who have been invited to reinterpret their iconic designs.

As a huge fan of their work I was delighted to be asked to contribute and have produced lavender bags cut from Mini Moderns C-60 and Stevie fabric as well as a limited edition range of coin purses.

 C-60 coin purses by Ivy Arch at Mini Moderns REMIX

I travelled to London for the launch last night and was completely bowled over to see my crafts exhibited alongside the stunning work of Benjamin Boyce, Brume, Leonhard Pfeifer, Rimmington Vian, Matt Sewell, Group Design and Urban Upholstery. Zoe Murphy's gorgeous Buddha of Suburbia Drawers are a real showstopper!

Mini Moderns REMIX at East London Design Store

Zoe Murphy Buddha of Suburbia drawers

Ivy Arch at Mini Moderns REMIX
Ivy Arch lavender bags and purses at Mini Moderns REMIX 2013

Mini Moderns REMIX at East London Design Store opens on 14th September and runs until 22nd September 2013.

The Berlin Macaroon Dress: Simplicity pattern 2363

Simplicity 2363, Berlin Macaroon dress
This patisserie design fabric was a surprise find at Brighton's Fabric Land and cost £4.75 a metre. It's a heavy cotton printed with vintage cake recipe illustrations and is available in two colourways: there's a pale pink and cream Paris Macaroon version, and this one, the Berlin version with strong greens and blues on a beige background.

Undaunted by the hideous illustration on the cover of Simplicity 2363 sewing pattern, I decided to use the fabric to make dress D. The cut of the bodice reminds me of Anna Maria Horner's gorgeous Painted Portrait Dress – a pattern I've dithered about buying as it's not available for sale in the UK (the price of international postage makes it a very expensive purchase for a single pattern). Simplicity 2363 will have to do for the time being.

Simplicity 2363

The Simplicity pattern was straightforward to follow, I'd say the sizing is generous. The finished frock has a roomy fit, more like a tunic than the fitted dress on the illustrated packet but it's so comfortable to wear I think I'd probably make the same size if I use the pattern again. The fabric has a linen/canvas feel and is a little crumply after wearing it for the day but I've decided this adds to its olde worlde charm!

Patisserie dress by Ivy Arch

I intend to wear it to visit Cocoa Patisserie which has the most delicious display of macaroons in the window. I hope I won't be mistaken for the menu. 

Cocoa Patisserie, Brighton