Wednesday, 26 January 2011

‘We’re all mad here…’

Have you ever dreamt of filling Alice’s shoes and attending a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party? Perhaps you want to play the Mad Hatter and stage your own tea party but don’t own enough eclectic tablewear and equipment? Well look no farther than Wonderland Tea Parties.

Ok, I’ll be honest Wonderland Tea Parties is ran by my brother and sister in law after their fabulously extravagant Alice and Wonderland inspired wedding that sent guests through the rabbit hole back to their childhood. During the build up to the big day, Mark and Belinda spent a vast amount of time trawling shops up and down the country to collect vintage crockery, glasswear, accessories and furniture to stage their own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party inspired reception. Collected they certainly did, they managed to find almost 200 crockery items along with potion bottles, numerous vintage alarm clocks, beautiful lanterns and various Victorian styled accessories. (Might I add, I found the most adorable miniature tea set in a charity shop in Kenilworth that was added to their collection)

Finishing touches and accessories really brought the tea party into Wonderland, for example Mad Hatter tea bags, ‘take one’ sweet jars, ‘drink me’ potions, oversized playing cards and hand made (by me, using recycled fabrics) bunting.

Photography Copyright (c) 2010, PH Weddings

With such planning and articulation the wedding day went off without a hitch and received fabulous comments from the guests. This ultimately inspired the happy couple to help others hold a Wonderland inspired Tea Party, as Belinda says:

‘We had a great time planning our wedding. This inspired us to continue our love for all things vintage by deciding to hire out items from our large collection of crockery and accessories to people wanting to create a uniquely vintage event of their own.’

Wonderland Tea Parties are open for business hiring out their ever expanding collection of vintage crockery, accessories and furniture for any event; big or small. Hire now until 28th February 2011 and receive 10% off your total hire charge, there’s no better way to transport yourself to Wonderland.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Have you ever seen a garment constructed before?

I decided to set my self a challenge in November: to knit my brother a jumper for Christmas. It is now mid January and hurrah I have just completed it! Thankfully he is patient and wasn’t too disappointed (though rather confused) when opening his present of a knitted back panel.

I managed to complete the final pattern pieces (front, 2 x sleeves and a collar) in the following four weeks after Christmas; pretty good going I thought. On Tuesday (18th Jan) evening I texted him an update: ‘Just piecing your jumper together’. He immediately responded requesting I send a photo, to which I obliged via email.

‘Wow! It looks great. I’ve never seen a jumper opened out like that before!’

This made me think; there must be many people who have never seen garments in the process of construction. With clothing appearing on the high street at low prices, consumers rarely make their own clothing to understand the process of garment manufacture. This (I think) can lessen the value of clothing in the consumer’s eye; as they cannot relate or appreciate how things are made. Therefore I set about taking photographs of the stages during the construction of the jumper to evidence how a garment is put together.

Laid out flat, attaching right sleeve head:

Me wearing jumper with attached right sleeve head:

Laid out flat, attaching left sleeve head:

The mattress stitch – used for attached two pieces of knitting together:

Shoulder and sleeve head seam:

Fully constructed jumper:

Me wearing jumper:

The jumper appears somewhat too large for my brother’s skinny frame, I hope it fits! I’ll keep you posted as to whether it fits, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Warning - The plastic bag is on the rise

I just read on The Guardian website that plastic bag use in Britain is once again rising after an initial fall in 2009. Figures released by the New Statesman (an official Government source) reveal that the number of bags used a month by each person in the UK fell from 11 in 2002 to 7.2 in 2009. Unfortunately this could not be sustained and figures rose to 7.7 in 2010. ‘That’s not a big rise,’ I hear you cry, however it is equivalent to 475m bags in total per month!

This has sparked the question of imposing tax on plastic bags, as seen in Ireland. In 2002 Ireland imposed a plastic bag tax resulting in a fall from 27 in 2002 to 2 on 2009. These are promising figures, but is forcing people to buy single use plastic bags the answer?

Supermarkets could simply not supply plastic bags, which could be one way of irradiating their use. Customers would have to bring their own or buy bags for life - yet supermarkets are unlikely to want to upset their customers with such drastic change.

Perhaps there should be a minimum purchase spend or minimum number of items to allow the customer to receive a free plastic bag. A huge pet hate of mine is seeing a customer carrying a sandwich or a packet of batteries in a plastic bag. Would the sandwich (already over packaged!) weigh you down if you carried it in your hand?

Customer incentives, for example extra points for reusing bags, are great methods of encouraging customers to re-use or use their own bags. I loved the idea of Tesco’s Green Clubcard points, until I realised on my receipt I was rarely rewarded. Tesco cannot expect customers to re-use bags when they cannot reward them with what they are entitled.

The bags for life on offer in supermarkets, may I put it….are somewhat… lame. I would just about remember to take them to the supermarket, but nowhere else. Maybe they should invest in designing prints that people really want to carry on their shoulders or sell bags by trendy eco-bag producers, for example Bag it Don’t Bin it. Here are a few from Bag it Don’t Bin it’s range:

To be honest, I think people have simply forgotten about the problem of plastic bags, perhaps we simply need to reinforce the issue: this video is a little weird, the plastic bag narrates the story.

Friday, 7 January 2011

University of Arts Showtime

The University of Arts have set up an online showcase for us students to upload our work. Myself and members of my course MA Fashion and the Environment have uploaded blurbs about our work and images:

MA Fashion and the Environment

Katie Ledger Shed me Clothes

Take a look and see what we've been up to.