Tag Archives: Sewing

Slow Fashion Revolution // Part 3 of 3

To some, Slow Fashion might look like just another trendy gimmick to market to consumers; indeed, there are companies who, quite predictably, use the “green” label to persuade people to buy items that may not, in reality, be all that green.  And yes, ethical, sustainable, and artisan brands of clothing typically do cost the consumer more than their fast fashion counterparts.  HOWEVER— exclusively buying from sustainable brands is just one method to a sustainable closet.  With the right knowledge, you can still build a slow wardrobe and even save money by doing so.  In fact, as mentioned previously, thrifting or swapping, which is probably the cheapest way of getting clothes, is also the best way to keep things truly green.

Everyone can create a more sustainable wardrobe without spending a fortune.  Just remember that big changes start out small.  These are some key practices to keep in mind:

  • Choose wisely, and stick with the classics.  Classic items won’t look dated in a couple seasons, but trendy items probably will.  Ask yourself…will I be tired of wearing this in a year?  If the answer is yes, just say no!  Also, look for pieces that are versatile and will mix well with several other items in your wardrobe.  If you find yourself in a situation where you really just can’t buy ethical, or find the otherwise perfect item that happens to be less than eco-friendly, yet absolutely love it, it’s still not a total loss if you can see yourself wearing it for the next five or ten years! (This is an interesting read on building a capsule wardrobe: The Sustainable Wardrobe Part 1.)
  • Learn to sew (or knit, crochet, weave…)  No, you don’t have to be able to make your own tailored suits (though that’s an admirable goal!) But do learn to make minor repairs: sewing on buttons, repairing holes, hemming pants and skirts.  This will save your money and your clothing.  Learning to create garments will also give you a greater appreciation for the process, and help you know what to look for when choosing clothes off the rack.  While you can find lots of books, videos, and online sources that will teach you these skills, having a real life, in-person teacher will give you an advantage because you can ask questions, and they can see how you progress.  Check out local recreation centers for classes, or ask around at fabric or sewing machine stores; these places can usually point you in the right direction.
  • Choose quality fabrics. As a general rule, pick natural fibers over synthetics.
    • Great natural fabrics include cotton (organic if possible), wool, silk, linen, and hemp.  Rayon and acetate are “semi-synthetic” fibers; they’re actually derived from wood pulp, but require a chemical process to synthesize the strands. I’ve recently started a Slow Fashion Resources directory, which you can view here; in addition to educational resources, there is a small list of shops where you can find sustainable fabrics.
    • Synthetic fabrics to avoid are polyester and acrylic.  When these materials, which are basically plastic, are washed, microfibers make their way into our water supply, as illustrated here:
    •  However, that being said, there are times when you may find exceptions to these rules, as illustrated by My Green Closet in this video:
  • Ask, Who Made My Clothes?  —This one is tricky.  There is very little transparency in the fashion industry and much has been written about the long journey that a garment makes before it reaches you, passing through so many factories and so many hands.  Fashion Revolution is a non-profit dedicated to promoting transparency in fashion industry, and thereby overcoming the appalling conditions that most garment workers currently endure.  You can learn about Fashion Revolution and how to get involved here.

On May 5th, I will be at Tissu Sewing Studio in Wichita, KS, from 11am to 3pm to celebrate Slow Fashion!  If you’re in the area, I’d like to invite you to this free, fun, educational event.  There will be sewing demos, hands-on projects, a clothing swap, handcrafted snacks, shopping, and more!  Tissu is located in Clifton Square, at 3700 E Douglas, Suite 59, Wichita, KS 67208.

You can view more event details and stay updated here.

This is the conclusion to my three part series on slow fashion; (if you haven’t already, check out part 1 and part 2 here..)

Totes Totes: Free Market Bag Tutorials & Patterns

Farmer’s Market season is nearly upon us!  This is something I just realized the other day…I also realized that I’ve been really bad about remembering to bring my totes to the grocery store.  Market totes are the kind of thing you can’t have too many of….(especially when you’re forgetful.)

I thought this might be a good time to offer a tutorial on totes, but I’ve got so many unfinished projects going on right now that I figured it may be better to simply share some of the great free tutorials that are already out there!  Check out these free patterns and instructions and make some today…

Folding Grocery Tote instructions by Yarn Geek:

(Adorable!) Paws and All Cat Tote Sewing Pattern by Orange Betty

Fold-Up Market Tote how-to by Purl Soho:

Also by Purl Soho, The Twenty Minute Tote tutorial:

Reversible tote how-to by Skip to my Lou:

And I nearly forgot this little illustration I made years ago…see it here.

This is also a lovely pattern for those who crochet; the French Market Bag Pattern by Two of Wands:

And for the knitters…the Eastern Market Tote Pattern by Tanis Gray

Do you have a favorite tote or favorite pattern?  What features do you like or need when bagging up your goods?

Favorite Fabrics: The Feedsack Dress

There is something so appealing to me about the feedsack dress.  Though sometimes viewed as a symbol of the necessary frugality (or, poverty,) of the Depression era, it was also a way to “[give] rural women a sense of fashion.”  I’d love to see this type of practical reuse come back (though granted, less people are living in rural settings and don’t usually find themselves purchasing large bags of feed…)

I know “the good old days” were not always a fairy tale, but you have to admit this aspect of past times is pretty dreamy.  And aside from the upcycling aspect, the prints were so fun and cheerful!

Yellow tiered feedsack dress from Dreem Co, $165
’30s feedsack dress from Vintage Clothing and Co, $114.99
1940s Dress from Carla and Carla, $145

When searching for examples, I even found this children’s play costume of Cleopatra!

Vintage feedsack from Maudelynn, $98

Of course, these colorful fabrics were also utilized for crafting quilts and other items that were useful around the house…

Yo-yo Twin Size Quilt from Upswing Vintage, $225
Floral Feedsack Apron from Hatfeathers Vintage, $32.49

Craftsy has a lovely post about feedsack quilting that talks a bit more about feedsack fabric, which you can read here.

Breton / French Sailor Top! (Free Sewing Pattern.)

{This pattern was originally published July 2016 on my now defunct blog, Prairiesque.}

I’ve been wanting to make my own striped blouse/Breton top/French sailor shirt for a long time.   I had made the pattern, but it was surprisingly difficult to find just the right fabric.  I finally found a great fabric at Needle Nook Fabrics here in Wichita.  (One of my favorite shops, by the way.  Check them out!!)

sailor top fabric

This is my original pattern, which I’m offering for free–please use as you wish!   (If you plan to sell a finished product based on the pattern, it would be much appreciated if you would mention Moth & Rust as the source of your pattern. Thank you!)

This particular pattern only covers a small range of sizes; however, it is a fairly basic two-piece pattern, which can be easily adjusted at the sides and in the middle or hem.  Also, it may fit differently depending on how stretchy your knit fabric is.   The best thing to do is experiment with some comparable but inexpensive fabric before making the final piece!  Instructions are as follows:

  1.  Print all pages (in the gallery below) and piece together with tape, using the picture below and alignment bars as a guide.
  2. The front and back of the bodice are the same, except for the neckline.  Place on fold to cut.  The sleeve is also placed on the fold when cutting.
  3.  With right sides together, stitch at shoulders.  You can use a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.  I would also suggest stitching some non-stretch lace or ribbon along the shoulder seems to keep them from stretching.
  4. Pin armhole side of sleeve to bodice armhole, right sides together, and stitch.   Make sure your stripes align, at least close to the armpit/bottom of the armhole.
  5. With right sides together, pin garment so that sleeve edges and side edges are together (again, aligning stripes) and stitch up sides.  Be especially careful when matching up the stripes on the bodice!!  I learned the hard way that stripes may be together, but if you don’t match the corresponding stripes, you will end up essentially with a spiral going around the body, which makes getting a straight hem impossible.
  6. Hem arm holes, bottom, and neckline. You may also want to use ribbon or a running stitch in your neckline to prevent stretching.



The chart here shows how the sections will print and how they are pieced together:breton pattern layout

To print the pattern pieces, click on each thumbnail below and print directly from that page, or save to your computer.


Gypsy Belle Jacket

This is just a little project/prototype I made for myself, and I wanted to share it…it was somewhat inspired by the lovely jacket Belle (Emma Watson) wears in the live action version of Beauty and the Beast.  (#nerdalert)

This was my first version of the jacket from the pattern I came up with.  There are quite a few things I will change when I make it in the future, most notably the style of peplum, but this particular garment is still special to me for a couple reasons.

As you can see, it has a super patchy, ragamuffin vibe, which, incidentally, is totally fine with me.  The yellow linen outside and the blue plaid lining are both repurposed fabrics taken from old garments.  The darker beige/green lustrous fabric you see in places on the outside are silk remnants.

I’m really pleased with the texture of the fabric and I’m glad I took the time to do some hand stitching around the edges…I always forget how much I love hand sewing like this.  I really love the buttons as well.  This was a fun exercise and inspired me to focus even more on repurposing/upcycling of garments and fabric in the future…