fashion

What is Fashion Revolution Week? (And How to Take Part)

What is Fashion Revolution Week, the artyologist

Here we are already, almost at the end of April, and this means that Fashion Revolution Week is almost upon us. Next week, April 24-30th is Fashion Revolution Week 2017, and I am getting ready to take part. I thought though, that some of you may not know about Fashion Revolution, so I thought I would share with you some of the “events” going on next week, so you can get ready to take part too.

So, what is Fashion Revolution Week? Well, it is a global movement which seeks to create transparency, sustainability and ethical standards within the fashion industry. The fashion industry is one with more than a few dirty secrets, and the Fashion Revolution organization works to generate awareness about the issues and injustices garment and textile workers around the world face. In their own words, “We want to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.

Fashion Revolution Week comes once a year, and falls on April 24th, marking the anniversary of the tragic 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza factory collapse, which is the largest and deadliest garment industry tragedy to date, resulted in 1,138 deaths (including both garment workers and rescuers) and injured over 2,500 people. Sadly, even though it is the largest tragedy, it was not the first to take place within the fashion industry, and it has not been the last either. There are many factories which are, quite simply, disasters waiting to happen. When word of the Rana Plaza building collapse hit the news, back in 2013, many consumers at the time, expressed outrage, claimed that the situation was terrible, and shameful and demanded transparency within the industry and improvements in the working conditions of the garment workers. But, like many other tragic news stories: people move on. Fashion Revolution was created in order to keep the issues alive, to keep people aware of what is going on within the fashion industry, and to keep asking questions, and encouraging us, the consumers, to ask brands and retailers, “who made my clothes”?

The fashion industry is one that is not fully “automated”. Someone, somewhere in this world made the clothing on the rack at your local shop. It may have been sewn by a machine, but someone was running that machine, and feeding the fabric through it. There are an estimated, 60-70 million people worldwide who work in the garment and textile industries, and about 3/4 of those workers are female. Some of those workers are treated well and are paid a fair wage, but many are taken advantage of and mistreated. Fashion Revolution Week gives people an opportunity to ask questions about how are garments are being made, who made them and what conditions they made them in. And of course, the goal is to be a part of helping to create change for the lives of these workers.

This year, Fashion Revolution has come up with several great ways to get involved in the event.

The first way to be involved is to ask brands, “Who made my clothes?” You can do this by showing the label on your clothes (like my picture above) and then asking the brand #whomademyclothes? You can do this on twitter, instagram or facebook. I’ll be taking part on instagram. Don’t forget to tag the brand in your post, so they’ll get the notification, and see your question!

There are a few new ways ways I am going to be involved, outside of social media, this year as well.

One is by sharing a fashion “Love Story”. I thought this was such a great idea on their part- by getting people excited about the clothing we already own and love we will start to think differently about impulse buys, cheaply made garments and “fast fashion fixes”. I’m going to be sharing one of my fashion “love stories” next week.

Another idea, is to share a “haulternative”, (fashion “haul” and “alternative” combined). This is a chance to refresh your wardrobe, without buying new clothes. I will be sharing some of my recent thrift shop finds next week, but there some other ideas for ways to take part in the haulternative.  Some of their great ideas for taking part are upcycling, mending, swapping or second hand finds.

They also have a template for writing a letter to a brand, in order to ask more directly, “who made my clothes”. I might be sending a couple of letters next week too. As for as other ways, last year I remember that there was also an “I made my clothes” event going on, where seamstresses and textile makers were sharing what they have made for themselves etc. so I might be taking part in that too. A lot of this will be going on over on Instagram, but I have those two posts lined up for this blog.

*UPDATE* I have since found out that, yes there will be a #makersforfashrev event going on this year too, hosted by Emily of In The Folds. Here is the “poster” for that. And feel free to share this image, Emily said, as the more people know about this event, the better!

makers for fash rev

If you want to take part in the event this year too, (last year there were over 70,000 participants) there is a pdf created by Fashion Revolution, with all the ideas on how to take part, here. Also, check out to see if there is an event in your area, on their page here. I am really excited for this years Fashion Revolution- because as each year passes, the event gets bigger and bigger- and though at times it may seem like an uphill battle, I know that changes are taking place in the fashion industry, ethical fashion is becoming more and more available and some of the bigger fashion brands are taking transparency seriously as well. Little by little change is coming, and it feels so good to be a part of that, in my own small way. We can’t be responsible for the actions of others, but we can each take a bit more care in the fashion and purchasing choices that we make for ourselves. I can’t wait to see what everyone is doing next week, and I hope you’ll join in the movement too!

A Spring in My Step

spring in my step, feature, the artyologist

This may not look like it to some of you who are living in significantly balmier climes, but Spring is in the air! The pussy willows are out and the tulips and crocuses, and even our peonies are starting to poke their brave little heads up out of the dirt. The day we took these photos didn’t really feel like spring; in truth it did feel more like a crisp fall day, because it was overcast and rather chilly, and everything is still brown, but nevertheless I know that it is indeed spring. And that knowledge is indeed cheerful, after the many months of winter! I love my winter clothes, but I am more than ready to ditch the tights and the wool and the scarves and the many layers.

I think we might be wearing some of the warmer pieces and layers for a while yet, but I have been attempting to lighten up my colour palette a bit the past couple of weeks. This outfit I wore last week looks a bit more fall inspired than spring inspired to me, now that I look at, though. Maybe it is because of the mustard yellow, which is a bit more of an earthy colour. Oh well! I felt a lot more seasonally appropriate than I have felt for a long while. Changing seasons can be a rather awkward time for ones wardrobe. . .

This week I am planning to rotate my wardrobe to more seasonally appropriate attire. Mainly that means just putting my thick wool skirts away, and moving my winter coats to the extra closet and switching out my winter hats for my straw hats. It is so nice to switch things up and revive for the season. Because even if it doesn’t quite look and feel like it, Spring is definitely here!

Do you switch out your wardrobe seasonally? How do you transition for the seasons in your dress?

Outfit Details:

Pinafore Skirt: Made by Me

Shirt: Thrifted

Sweater: Thrifted

Necklace: Gifted

Tights: HUE

Boots: Thrifted

a Spring In My Step, without sweater and branch, the artyologist

spring in my step, tree, the artyologist

crocuses-2, spring in my step, the artyologist

a spring in my step, the artyologist, pearls

branch-and-pussy-willows, the artyologist

shoes, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking and peony, spring in my step, the artyologist

crocuses-coming-up, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking away, a spring in my step, the artyologist

Vintage Vogue Covers: Vogue April 1, 1956, The Spring Bonnet

Vintage Vogue Covers, Spring Bonnet, Vogue April 1, 1956, the artyologist

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. . . 

With the awakening of Lady Spring, a floral covered bonnet will surely not be amiss in your seasonal wardrobe. A natural coloured straw lampshade hat, completely covered in multi-coloured blooms of all varieties is the perfect statement piece for the early days of this season leading up to Eastertide. The white outfit and pale pink earrings recede, allowing the playful blossoms to take centre stage. A flourish of bright and bold lipstick is the perfect final touch for an ensemble that so clearly heralds “Spring”.

Inspiration for this fashion look from the magazine cover of Vogue April 1, 1956.

Vogue cover, April 1, 1956inspiration image source

The Green Caped Crusader, In Butterick 3642

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist

Capes are amazing, don’t you agree? Superheroes wear them. Medieval warriors wear them. Little Red Riding Hood wears one. Movie starlets wear them. In short- you should wear one too. (Except if you are talking to Edna Mode in which case she will advise you “No capes!”) I had a black cape once, a few years ago, but unfortunately it hit me right at the widest part of my hip and I discovered that was a rather unflattering length. So after many years of admiring capes, I decided that it was high time I finally made a cape for myself. After all, how hard could it be to make a cape?

Well, considering that it is now March 17, and this is the first project I have completed this year… apparently it was a little more work than I first thought it would be. . .

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, portrait

The first step to making my cape was choosing the fabric. My first thought was a length of plaid wool I picked up a few years ago. However, the mistake I made when I bought it was that I only purchased 1.5 metres, which is not enough to do much of anything with. I thought that I might be able to squeeze a cape out of it, but, alas, a cape takes a surprisingly large amount of yardage, and it was not to be. I was on the lookout for a nice wool, but the fabric stores didn’t have anything I wanted. Then, in January, when I was at the local thrift store, my sister noticed a length of green wool for sale for $10.00, for 2.8 metres. Thrift score!

I decided to line the cape in a gold/tan, because there was no green lining available. The other choices they had at the fabric store were brown or black, but I like how the gold picks up the warm tones of the wool. If you look closely at the wool, you will see that it is woven with gold, green, brown, cinnamon and russet coloured threads. If you can’t match your lining, it’s fun to contrast it so it becomes a feature.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape lining Butterick 3642

Now that I had the fabric picked out, the next step was the pattern. For a pattern I chose Butterick 3642. This was for no special reason, other than that I was at my local fabric store and this was the only cape pattern they had. I could have bought an indie pattern, but I never really thought about it, and this one seemed fine. I think that this pattern is actually out of print, and there was just one lone pattern left at my local shop! I was planning for a WWII nurses cape style, and the drawing on the back of this pattern looked quite similar in style to that. I decided that I wanted to make the cape knee length, which would put it at the hem length of most of my dresses and skirts. The pattern had two choices- mid calf and mid thigh- but it was simple enough to adjust the pattern to the length that I wanted it to be at.

At this point, I was a bad blogger and dove right into the project without taking any pictures! All, I got was a picture of the stack of fabric before I started cutting it. Oops. The cape went together fairly well, although it took forever to cut out the pieces as there was just enough fabric to fit all the pieces on, and it was like a puzzle to lay them all out exactly! It took me about two days to sew together the pieces, the lining, the collar and the buttonholes. . . and at this point you might wonder why I am writing this in March, not January.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, collar detail

Well, once I got the cape pretty much together, I realized that whoever designed this pattern must have planned to dress football players. The shoulders in the cape were much too wide and the shoulder point hung way off the edge of my shoulder. This resulted both in throwing the direction of the fabric off, as well as looking way too big. I was swimming in fabric. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a cape being too large- but this one was. At this point I was in the depths of despair at the thought of all the work I had done so far, and now had to undo, so I threw it away in disgust and didn’t pick the project up again for a month. (In defence, I was also busy during February preparing for my art show, so I didn’t have a lot of free time to devote to working on a fussy project that was turning out to be more complicated than I originally thought.) So, the abandoned project sat there until last week. I knew that if I didn’t do it now- it would never be done- and I really wanted to wear it! When contemplating what to wear for St. Patrick’s Day, I remembered that I own very little green, and knew that this cape would be the perfect thing. There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to hurry up and sew 🙂 (ps. I do have a small bit of Irish heritage, but have never done anything more to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than dressing in green!)

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape neck detail

In regards to fixing this pattern, I ended up pinching out about three inches of fabric from the shoulder and tapering it to the hem. Taking out that fabric made all the difference to the shape and fit of the cape. Instead of looking like I was wearing a blanket, it now falls somewhere between the fit and flare of a nurses cape, and a 40’s swing coat style.

The two things I do not like about how the cape turned out are, one, that the collar likes to roll out. I did everything, including cutting the under collar smaller, and steaming it in shape, but it does still like to flip out. However, if I decide that it bothers me too much, I can always wear it with a fur collar over top. The other thing, is that the hem puckers a bit. I’m planning on taking it in to my local dry cleaners for a pressing. I have gotten garments pressed before (without getting them dry cleaned), as it is actually quite cheap and gives a much more professional finish to a project that you just can’t achieve with an iron. I think getting home sewn garments professionally pressed is totally worth it- especially where wool is concerned.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape details

So there you have it. After all the trials that the fitting gave me, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the finished cape. I do have a history of getting my projects finished and then not liking them, but I actually love how this one turned out this time! I think I will be able to get a lot of wear out of this piece. This colour of green goes very well with so many colours, and capes are great for those chilly days where you need some form of outerwear, but not a buffalo robe. In other words, because I live in Canada, I am going to get a lot of wear out of this before Spring and Summer come around 😉

Would I sew Butterick 3642 again? I don’t think I would. The pattern doesn’t actually call for a lining, and adding a lining to a pattern is always tedious. The aforementioned fit problems were kind of bothersome too, so even though I have fixed them now, I don’t know if I would want to sew it again. I would also like to try a different style of cape, with a different kind of un-seamed shoulder. Maybe I’ll try an indie pattern next time!

Do you have a cape, or wish you had one? Do you have any recommendations for a different cape pattern than Butterick 3642? And, do you observe St. Patrick’s Day, and are you wearing green today?

Outfit Details:

Cape: Butterick 3642, now out of print

Hat: gifted

Shoes: Hispanitas

Dress: Thrifted

Brooch: Gifted

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, green cape

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, twirling

It passes the test: it’s perfect for twirling in!

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, twirling, vent detail

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, brooch detail and cape

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, shoes

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist