Christmas markets and beyond!

Commission, Festivals, Homeware, Textile work

So, 2017 was my first Christmas season trading…and it’s time for some reflection.

To launch my festive trading I designed and made some alternative Christmas jumpers, which Webster is so wonderfully modelling here…

24131246_757891847754095_130766881781489052_n

With a winter animal theme and complimentary colours, each one unique and hand embroidered. They have been selling well, but I was not expecting to sell as many scrunchies as I have!

IMG_8546

We have also had very good responses to our ‘baggies’ (set of 3 or small, medium and large sold separately) which are very useful for filling with individual or personal presents, or simply on their own!

During the lead up to Christmas I also turned my hand to some cushions, which have not had much time on the shelves but we have also had some purchases and lovely feedback!

In total, oo arh! has attended 4 Christmas markets and overall I feel the ones we did best at were the ones like Bath, where we could have a larger range of all the stock on display. The marquee, although it is a lot of work to set up for one day events, worked to make the stall look inviting and different, even eye-catching!

IMG_8594

Nevertheless, even the smaller events were ways to get the name out there and to show a different way of reducing waste, which everyone can do themselves, through making or purchasing upcycled or reclaimed items. And without these advertising opportunities, I would not have been able to be involved in some of the personal commissions I have taken on this year!

It has been lovely to meet more like-minded people, friendly and encouraging traders and to get some wonderful feedback and suggestions of where to trade next, etc.

IMG_8507

…………………………

Looking towards 2018, it is going to be a busy year! I have some new exciting lines to look forward to, including some footwear and even more sari skirts! I am also exploring the idea of having some lines in small independent shops around the South so keep in touch for more news on that as it develops!

We may be attending a few Christmas markets this time next year but not too many as we have our wedding coming up – however we are super keen to go back to music festivals and possibly some new ones too – more information will surface in the New Year, so cannot wait to see where it takes me!

Also my soft furnishing services keep me busy on the side lines and I will still be offering these through my website. And am always up for taking on commissions, be it fashion, gifts or upholstery orientated!

A final thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, through buying your own unique oo arh! item, or commissioning one. To those who have hosted events and festivals, or simply popped into the stall for a chat and a browse! You make it all worth while and I cannot wait to get stuck into the next chapter!

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, one and all xx

Unique Upcycled Jacket!

Commission, Construction, Textile work

I was contacted by a lovely lady I met while trading at the Marlborough Christmas Shopping event in November. She loved my jackets but was not sure they would suit her or if she would really wear one with a long skirt. So I suggested she looks for her own which I could upcycled for her – she went straight out and found a bargain in a charity shop – a Giorgio Armani jacket! Sian also had ideas of what she wanted me to do with it, which was great for my first jacket commission:

Autumnal colours, trim around the neck and opening, pocket square, elbow patches and maybe some embroidery on the back, but that bit was left up to me!

23619122_1934372303245969_682017148_n

So, I got to work! Picking out some autumnal buttons to ease myself into the design process…

And then finding some beautiful fabric to make the pocket square and matching elbow patches out of…

IMG_8525

I then started in on the patchwork and embroidery to further the autumnal feel – I tried a few arrangements and sent my favourite to Sian to give the go ahead and hand embroidered an elegant flower over the top…

IMG_8576

We also decided on some trim to go round the whole jacket, excluding the cuffs, which really helped lift her jacket!

IMG_8577IMG_8580

It was so much fun to work on this personal project with Sian and I was thrilled when she said she loved it as much as I do!

And it looks even better on…!

Memory Pillows

Construction, Homeware

I was very honoured to receive a commission from Tamsin through my Wix website (although it turns out we met at Boondocks a few years ago!) to create a cushion out of her Granddad’s cardigan and also to make some mini memory pillows out of the off cuts to give to family members to hang on their Christmas trees! Such a lovely, personal, and sentimental idea, which I was thrilled to be able to accept.

I went a head and bought a 16″ square cushion and worked around the idea of keeping as much of the front as possible, so I decided to use the original zip as the opening for the cushion cover and place a panel underneath to cover the cushion exposed by the neckline. I measured and cut a front and back panel out of the shoulder section so they were already joined and added the panel over the top and stitched the three sides together.

IMG_8511

I asked Tamsin about the collar, as it would have looked excellent stood up or neatly stitched down with the rest of the cushion, but as it was a main feature I wanted to make sure she would like it…

In the end she went for the stitched down approach, so it looked more like a cushion than a cardigan and the final outcome was one filled with memory and comfort.

I then started cutting out small 8cm squares from the excess cardigan, patching together the different colours and features, like the cream cuffs, the zip, the ribbed pockets and the Icelandic pattern.

IMG_8518

To construct the decorations, I simply placed the two squares rights sides together, and stitched around 3 sides of the shape, catching a loop of maroon ribbon in one corner, then stuffing them with some high grade hollow fibre stuffing and hand stitching the opening closed…

IMG_8538

All in all, I was able to make 22 little memory pillows out of the off cuts and I am very proud with how they turned out. I hope Tamsin’s family are as pleased with them as I am – what a lovely reminder of a loved one at Christmas time.

IMG_8539