Tag Archives: Make Thrift London

Mending Monday: Adding darts to improve fit

25 May

Yay for Bank Holidays. I’ve been working through again, sorting out my studio this weekend with the help of my very patient boyfriend. Big changes, I’ll share on here at a later date.

So, let’s talk about adding darts. This week I decided to alter a sixties style summer shift dress by adding some fish darts in the back. The front of the dress is Broidery Anglaise and it has a plain cotton back with an exposed metal zip. This style of dress isn’t meant to be close fitting to the body but I bought it in the sale and it was probably a size larger than I needed. I felt a bit like a sack of potatoes in it, but my boyfriend pointed out that I would rather a loose fitting dress for the summer and convinced me. I did however want it slightly less sack like.


Let’s mend! This dress is fully lined in cotton. Normally, I would try and add darts to the lining and main dress fabric separately, to help keep both layers sitting flat against the body and avoid any puckering or uneveness but since the lining is stitched in at the side seams as well as the zip this wasn’t possible, so I knew I would have to stitch the darts with the lining and outer fabric together.  I  didn’t want to touch the Broiderie Anglaise (stitching both layers would be tricky enough without adding this textured and holey fabric to the mix) so I decided to take in some of the excess at the back. Here’s  how:

  • Turn the dress inside out, put it on and zip it up
  • Either side of the central zip (or centre back if no CB zip) as evenly as you can, pull the fabric into a fold to create a dart on either side, until you are happy with how it fits from the front (note if the dress is more than a size too big it may not be possible to add darts to the back only – more on this at a later date.)
  • Letting go of one side only (as best you can) place a pin vertically in roughly the back waist position and once this is in, grab the other side again as before, as evenly spaced as you can from the centre back and place a pin at roughly the same position but on that side
  • *If this sounds a bit confusing see the pic below for what you’re aiming for. I’m afriad it was impossible to photograph myself*
  • Now add pins above and below this central pin so moving up towards the middle of the back and down towards the lower back.
  • Note: The darts should have a larger seam allowance in the middle and it should gradually tail off into nothing to give a smooth dart
  • Remember unless you want it to be really fitted not to make it too tight
  • Try and pin both sides evenly but don’t worry about being too accurate as we can adjust these once the dress is off
  • Carefully shimmy the dress upwards to get out of it without pricking yourself like I did (OUCH!)
  • Once it’s off, lay it flat on a table and measure the distance of each pin from the centre back outwards on each side making any adjustments if necessary. The aim is to have darts equal in size and evenly spaced from the CB


  • While you’re doing this, make sure the two layers (lining and outer fabric) are as smooth as possible to avoid any tucks or ripples when stitching together
  • I used chalk to mark a smooth line to follow
  • Once you’re happy, grab a hand sewing needle and a contrasting coloured thread and stitch large tacking (or basting) stitches along the pinned lines. Make sure you start and finish parallel at the top and bottom


  • You should now have two temporary darts wider at the centre and which gradually get skinnier at the top and bottom into nothing. These are called fish darts as they look slightly fish shaped.
  • Try on the dress again and make sure you are happy with the fit with some pins to hand incase you need to take it in more anywhere
  • Now remove the dress and taking into account any adjustments, using the same colour thread as your garment, machine stitch the darts using your tacking (basting) line as a guide, remember not to back stitch and to keep your threads long at both ends and tie a double knot to secure


  • Remove your tacking and press your darts towards the side seams on both sides

This is a great way of improving fit without much work. Obviously it would be much easier for you if you had a friend to hand to help with the pinning and adjusting! Sorry I couldn’t take a back view photo. I will update this later in the week once I can get someone to take one.


Don’t forget my new Mending Club starts next Wednesday evening at the Petit Miracle Hub in Shepherds Bush. Learn easy techniques to alter and mend your clothes at home and save £££s! You can sign up for the full 4 sessions for £99 or if you can’t make them all or only want to learn one or two you can now sign up to individual sessions for £30 each. Check out the full details here.

This week’s Mending Monday completes my #MMMay15 challenge (if the sun doesn’t properly come out I’ll wear this dress over jeggings this week) but I’ve really enjoyed it and I will be keeping up these Mending Monday posts and try my best to fix and wear one garment per week to work through my to-fix pile..so stay tuned! If you have any requests of how to mend something, just send me a message via the contact page or find me on twitter, instagram or Facebook.

Daisy x


Craftivism: How you can make a difference through craft

10 Apr



Have you ever thought about crafting for a cause? I first met Sarah Corbett (founder of the Craftivist Collective) a couple of years ago when I attended one of her workshops, purely by chance, at the BUST Craftacular Christmas fair in 2011. I’d never heard of Craftivism and I was immediately drawn in by her passion and enthusiasm and was intrigued about the idea of protesting for a positive change through craft.

You may, yourself, be wondering what Craftivism is. In a nutshell, it simply means ‘activism through craft’. But I prefer the definition below (taken from the Craftivist Collective website.)

Craftivism is a form of ‘slow activism’, a reflective action, which changes the participant as much as it does the world. It is passionate but polite, provocative but patient, drawing people to engage in discussion and debate rather than forcing it down people’s throat. Unlike some of the more traditional, extrovert forms of activism, craftivism is quietly beautiful, it is individual and it is effective.

I’m excited to annouce that Sarah is holding her popular Protest Banner making workshop with us at the Handmade by You Studio at Alfies Antique Market at the end of the month which, will give you the opportunity to meet her yourself and take part in your own little craftivism project. You can find out more about the workshop here.

To give you a little more of an insight into Craftivism, I took the opportunity to ask Sarah a few questions about it.

Why did you start up the Craftivist Collective?

I started the Collective because people around the world wanted to join in my Craftivism projects and wanted support such as our Craftivism kits, products, workshops and other services. 


How long have you been a Craftivist?

Since August 2008 when I did my first ever Craftivism project. 

Can anyone become a Craftivist?

Absolutely! I learnt how to craft through YouTube and never went to art school, so if I can do it, so can you. Plus all of our projects are accessible to anyone (super-skilled crafters can embellish them with their skills, newbies can do all of our projects) and we have instructional videos and sheets in our kits.Plus we do workshops, talks and joint projects, so there is no excuse! ;p

How can Craftivism make a difference in your local area?

We have different projects to cater for different elements of craftivism: personal reflection on global issues and our role in it, making craftivism pieces to build relationships with influential local people such as politicians and journalists as well as more street art projects for global awareness. For your local area you could make one of our Don’t Blow It hankies to get to know your local MP or Councillor and find out how you can work together on local issues & our Craftivist Footprint kits are a great start to think about what you can do locally and globally to make the world a better place such as think about what you are buying, where you are buying stuff, if you are treating people well in your local area etc. 


Which Craftivism Campaign that you’ve led had the most impact and how did it make a difference where other forms of activism may not have?

Because we focus on ‘slow activism’ where people can meditate on their personal actions, global issues and how they can be part of the change they wish to see in the world, often it’s hard to see clearly what our successes are but I get emails every day from people saying how beneficial our kits and projects are to engage or re-engage them with fighting for a better world and their role within the world. That’s what keeps me going & inspires me daily. I see our success in helping people understand global injustices better, inspiring them to challenge structures of injustice, making small changes in their every day life that have big repercussions such as buying more ethical products, meeting their local politician & joining a campaign group. 

Personally as a craftivist, craftivism helped me succeed in becoming a better campaigner, engaging with my local MP in a more effective way than I have done in the past without using craft. 

Our work is about supporting and encouraging personal positive changes and how people should have activism threaded through everything they do to be their best selves and help fulfil the world’s potential to be an awesome place for everyone on it and the planet. 

Also craftivism is also a great tool to engage people more deeply in global issues that I don’t think other forms of activism have. As an activist, I always felt that I was asking people to come to activism activities rather than reaching out to people where they are. My mini protest banners were put out to engage people where they were and in a non-threatening, respectful and thought-provoking way, catching the attention of passers-by without forcing our views on them. They are mini because I believe that small and beautiful pieces can often be more powerful than big and brash messages. Nowadays we are all bombarded with information from every angle, what to buy, what to watch and including what to campaign on. We’ve all become pretty good at blocking it all out, ignoring the billboards, putting flyers from our post box in the bin before even looking at them. Shock tactics can pull at the heartstrings for a short time but may only engage us in a transactional way, not a transformative way. How do we engage people in injustice issues when they are not exactly happy messages and sometimes they are even deeply challenging our way of life, suggesting what we do might actually be harming others? 


Craftivist mini protest banners are hung in a place relevant to the message (such as outside an unethical shop, in a banking district or like this image where gangs hang out] but always off eye level so people don’t feel preached at, feel more excited that they have found this little delicate creation someone has taken time to do but without doing it for fame or fortune. My hope was that people would find them, be provoked by the slogans, facts, questions stitched on them with love, maybe go on the blog for more info on what it’s about and click on the hyperlinks for a campaign action or more info on the issue and share it on social media or in the pub or cafe with their friends. I believe that this valuing of something small and beautiful can help engage some people in a deeper, more long-lasting waythan shouting at people with a giant banner. Link that to our messages being hopeful, positive, provocative and either statements, facts, or questions, never telling people what to do, it all can mean people want to share it and engage with it in their own way and in their own time, and we all know that if a friend shares something (rather than a faceless organisation) the receiver is more likely to connect with it. This has happened and people even ask for prints of the photographs taken to give to their friends and others to engage them in a loving thoughtful way with their role in society. One person asked for a print for her banker friend who then emailed her saying it caused a great conversation between him and his wife on New Year’s Day. 

What manifesto do you live by?

The Craftivist Collective manifesto is: “To expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art.”

I stitched the Dalai Lama’s quote on my phone case as a constant reminder to strive to be the best good global citizen I can be : “If you can, help others. If you can’t do that at least don’t harm them”


Why should someone come along to your workshop?

It will give you a really good structured overview of how to do effective craftivism, go through the different benefits and how you can use different projects for different purposes. There will be different parts of the workshop to give you a taster of the different ways you can do craftivism. Plus you will get to spend an evening, meeting lovely, like minded people while you craft with a cup of tea and chilled out music 🙂

Make your own Mini Protest Banner with Sarah at her workshop on Tuesday 29th April from 6.30pm in Marylebone. It costs just £18. Book your place here.

To find out more about the Craftivist Collective and their work, please visit http://craftivist-collective.com/

Photo Credits: Use of photos with thanks to the Craftivist Collective and photographers Carl Byron Batson (photo of Sarah Corbett) Robin Prime (Protest Banner) other photographers undisclosed.



Take part in Make, Thrift London’s first focus groups

30 Apr

Sorry it’s been a little while..you may have wondered why I’ve gone off the radar a bit this month? Don’t tell anyone but I’ve been busy working on some new workshops. A couple of them will be popping up in the next few weeks so watch this space! Although I’ve focused mainly on the bookbinding and decoupage card making workshops so far, I want to get the ball rolling on starting our sewing workshops and I’ve been putting together some ideas but I want to deliver workshops catered towards what people actually want to learn and make. That’s where you come in! I’ve decided to hold my first focus group at my home studio in Cricklewood NW2. (If  you follow me on Twitter I usually refer to this as Make, Thrift HQ.) It’s my little space where I’ve combined my office and crafting studio and sometimes I hold private workshops here. I really want your feedback to help me in writing up my workshops to make them exciting and useful.

Who I want to speak to:

I’m looking for a range of ages and sewing abilities. This one however, is strictly for the ladies (although there will be one catered for the guys at a later date.) Maybe you’re interested in sewing but are a complete beginner OR are currently a sewer and maybe have made a few things but are interested in taking it further for example, by learning some basic pattern cutting skills to help you understand the construction of garments or to alter existing patterns. Maybe you can sew but would like some help understanding how to do alterations. Or, have you bought a sewing machine recently (or plan to) and need help getting to grips with using it?

If any of these sound like you, I’d love you to join my focus group for a cuppa, some cake and a chat.  Depending on the interest I get, I may be screening those who apply to take part.. but don’t be put off, I’ll keep everyone’s details on file and you will be invited to a future focus group if I can’t fit you in this time round, as I want to speak to as many people as possible.

As a thank you, everyone who takes part will receive 50% off their first workshop with Make, Thrift London (valid for 3 months). I will also be looking for some people to take part in pilot workshops which I will talk more about to those who attend a focus group.

The proposed time for the focus group will be:

Tuesday 8th May 7-9pm (if you can’t make this but would like to take part please still contact me stating when you’re usually available)

Although I have allocated 2 hours, this may be less depending on how much you guys have to say but I will keep on track not to run over.

Please apply by emailing:

astitchinteatime [at] gmail [dot] com

Be sure to include:

Your name, age, your profession, the town you’re from, a sentence telling me about your sewing/pattern making experience and whether you can make the suggested date and time or your alternative availability. This date and time is subject to change depending on the response I get.

Excited to meet you and get your feedback!

Love Daisy x

P.S. If you want to keep an eye on all the latest goings on with Make, Thrift London, like our facebook page here.

Our Debut at Make It 2012

16 Feb

So, after a lot of hard work (and a steady stream of tweeting) my little company Make, Thrift London is slowly getting off it’s feet. The new year has brought a busy few months and thanks for baring with me! As you may know I have been running some small scale craft workshops, with a focus on make-do-and-mend, since we set up at the end of 2011.

And following on from this, we are very excited to be attending our first big event and making our debut, exhbiting at this year’s Make It Craft Fair at FIVE in Farnborough. The fair takes place at the end of the month; 24-26 February 2012 – a few dates for your diary and a not to be missed event for the craftoholics among us!

Advance tickets can be booked here and cost just £7.50 for a day pass (£6 concessions) or £15 for a 3 day pass (£12) concessions, (accompanied under 16s free). Tickets can also be purchased on the day but be advised, they will cost more.

Even better, to celebrate our debut, we are giving away a pair of day passes so you and a friend can enjoy the fair as our guests! Read on to find out how…

For those of you unfamiliar with the Make It fair, they have been running it annually for a number of years and this year they are set to attract 12,000 crafters across the 3 days. It will host an array of stalls selling crafting materials from card making, to silver clay, beads, haberdashery, knitting and more. Some exhibitors will be offering demonstrations, plus daily crafting workshops available to book in advance. You can see the full list of workshops here (including our own).

As well as our stand (find us on the day at B16) where we will be sharing our thrifting tips with some demonstrations. There will also be the opportunity to buy our exclusive Make, Thrift London make-it-yourself kits made up of vintage or salvaged materials. Below are a few small haberdashery kits with a specially of sort after vintage sewing materials in each.

We will also have some thrifty craft-it-yourself kits on offer allowing you to make something new out of something old with full instructions and materials.

Our Workshops at Make It 2012

We will be running two workshops on each day of the fair (both in room 4); Keep Calm and Make a Book and Keep Thrifting and Decoupage a Card.

Keep Calm and Make a Book

Our bookbinding workshop will teach you a traditional method using scrap and recycled papers to make your very own book, allowing you to personalise it with papers or imagery of your choice. You can also bring some of your own imagery to make it even more personal.

Keep Thrifting and Decoupage a Card

Our decoupage cardmaking workshop will help you make use of imagery and papers which you would usually have thrown out such as used wrapping paper or old newspapers and magazines, helping you create a unique and personalised card, whilst saving money on purchasing expensive decals and stick ons. Again, bringing some images of your choice, photographs, hand drawn images, notes, print outs will make your card even more special.

The lovely people at Retro From SCRACTH, who give a new lease of life to old damaged books, spiral binding their covers into notebooks, have very kindly donated some of their surplus paper for us to use along side our own so we’ll have ots of gorgeous papers to make thrift with!

Handmade designer makers donate for our Tombola!

Across the 3 days we will also be running a free tombola with these lovely handmade items donated from some specially selected designer makers who focus on upcycling; including some beautiful Florie Willow Jewellery designed and made by Laura Ball, upcycled books from our workshop paper sponsors (previously mentioned) Retro From SCRATCH and beautiful jewellery from JewelOri who has combined her love of Origami with recycling to create beautiful pieces from old papers. We’re also selecting some thrifty finds of our own, you’ll have to visit us to find out what! We’ll let you have a free go in exchange for 5 minutes of your time to have a chat with us and give us your feedback to help us improve our workshops! Everyone that takes part will be offered some of our scrumptious homemade cakes (while stocks last!) so we hope you’ll join us for a chat! We’ll be blogging about Florie Willow, JewelOri and Retro From Scratch in the coming weeks to help you get an insight into what they do.

If you’re a designer maker interested in donating some items for our next tombola do get in touch. If this proves successful, we plan to run more at similar events and this is a great way to improve your customer base. We particularly like designers who use thrifted or materials and focus on reusing or upcylcing but as long as your pieces are special and handmade by you, we still may be interested so drop us a line. In exchange, we will blog about you and help raise awareness of your brand plus there may also be the possibility for discussion of wholesale opportunities. For more info, please get in touch via our contact page or tweet us @MakeThriftLDN by 20th Feb 2012.

Win tickets to Make It 2012

To enter our competition to win a pair of day passes to Make It 2012 simply like us on facebook and share our page with your friends, then comment on this post to tell us you’ve done so. It’s that simple. The winner and their guest must be available to travel to Make It in Farnborough on 24, 25 or 26th February 2012 (travel not included). Competition closes Tues 21st Feb 2012 and tickets will be posted out via special delivery (next day service.) If the winner is not contactable within 24 hours of the competition ending another person will be chosen.

Looking forward to meeting those of you who’ll be attending Make It 2012. To chat with other fellow crafters attending the event check out Make It 2012’s facebook group here.


Love Daisy xx