Wellington Mayoral candidate Celia Wade-Brown on dressing sustainably

August 24th, 2010

We were stoked to get the chance to talk to Celia about dressing sustainably while still looking snappy as a Councillor. Especially in the lead-up to the Wellington Mayoral elections, it’s great to see how an environmental conscience doesn’t stop at the fashion gate (so to speak), and, at any time, it’s refreshing to see politicians do what they preach. Celia, you got my vote!

What is your motivation behind making sustainable fashion decisions?
Getting ready for the Mayoral campaign has been a learning curve I’ve relished. As well as explaining new policy and good achievements like safer cycling, light rail, computer access for refugees, cleaner city harbour, ultrafast broadband, Fairtrade Capital and community gardens, now I have to dress to show I can lead the city, without sacrificing my values – or over-spending. Fortunately, choosing clothes can be fun and sustainable!

How do you go about finding the right stuff?
After a few colour tips from Samantha Hannah, I met some very sympathetic Wellington fashion designers and added to my op shop collections. A quick explore when I’m passing the Salvation Army in Rintoul St, Taranaki St or Tawa is usually worthwhile, even for basics like jeans. In more up-market spots in Cuba Street like the Recycle Boutique or, for something really special, Ziggurat, I often find a beautiful bargain. Jewelry is either a few well-loved pieces from my mother, made by myself or sourced from Trade Aid for a splash of colour.

What did you score in your latest quest?
I wanted smart pieces in cream so I enjoyed choosing a linen jacket from Untouched World, a silk shirt from Starfish and an end-of-line bargain from Voon. I’m sure these choices will last me for many years. Janet Dunn has set up ReDunn Fashions to up-cycle pre-loved clothing and I bought this amusing jacket at her first soirée. Natural fabrics, recycled gear and new ethical items make a happy combination -lovely clothes and good businesses.

Salvation Army jacket / Andrea-Moore top

Janet Dunn jacket / 'Annual Preloved Fashion Sale'-jacket and Starfish blouse


A note to our readers

August 22nd, 2010

It’s time to give you guys out there a little (very little) update. As some of you may know, we’ve had a recent addition to our team a few weeks ago now, and his name his Otis Forrest. He’s still pretty small, so can’t do any editing jobs yet, so bear with us over the next while if our blog is a bit slow. He’s provided us with great joy already and we’re looking forward to all the future time with him.


-Thomas & Hannah

Fabric-a-brac this Saturday!

June 17th, 2010

Once again I’ve left it a little late to blog about this, but if you’re in welly this weekend I’d HIGHLY recommend popping by St Anne’s Church hall at the end of Emmett St in Newtown for Fabric-a-brac, to stock up on your sewing stash, and help someone else clear out theirs.

Bring along your sewing scissors if you need to get them sharpened, and they’ll also be able to answer your sewing machine maintenance questions and have sewing machine needles at great prices.

There will be the usual selection of vintage and modern fabrics, with highlights being special European designer fabrics and trims, some oh-so-cute Japanese fabric, high-quality upholstery fabric and a huge selection of buttons.

I’m especially excited about getting some goodies from Stitchbird and that lady with the amazing vintage buttons… See you there!

Craft 2.0 this Saturday!

June 9th, 2010

We’re excited to announce that we’ve managed to track down a limited number of back issues which have been sold out for a while now, so for our last hoorah at our favorite fair this weekend, we’ll have some COMPLETE SETS of World Sweet World for sale.

As well as the sets, we’ll also be selling single copies of issues 3-9, so if I were you, I’d head out to the Dowse this Saturday (June 12) from 10am – 3pm to make sure you get those issues you need to complete your collection.

After the fair, if there are any left, we’ll pop them up on the website for sale, but as we’ve had lots of people contacting us, wanting to get hold of them, I can’t guarantee there will be any left by the end of the day.

Looking forward to our last fair (behind a stall anyway) for a while. There are so many fantastic stallholders on the list that I imagine we’ll be doing quite a bit of buying this time, as well. Check out the Craft2.0 blog for more info on which crafters will be there selling their wares, and hopefully we’ll see you in the Hutt in a couple of days!

Be a conscious consumer

June 7th, 2010

If you’re out and about and just don’t know what cafe is really cutting the carbon, or grinding those fairly traded beans, or steaming organic milk, here is a great idea, freshly launched, to help you make the right choice: consciousconsumers.org.nz, a project developed by the Wellington based 42collective.

The site is reviving the idea of using badges to reward certain behaviour, and this collection of badges makes it easy for you, the consumer, to pick your favourite cafe with a conscience. You can also follow the Conscious Consumers Wellington group on facebook!


Solar convection heater

June 4th, 2010

Winter is almost upon us and, knowing how cold it can get in our mildly insulated flat, we welcomed this making idea Anthea forwarded to us: a solar convection heater made out of pop/beer cans. Apart from wondering where to get that many empty cans from, I do appreciate the idea of giving them a second life.

If my workshop wasn’t that small and east facing I’d consider installing something there. The more I look at the idea though, the likelier it becomes I’ll work on a properly sized version for our flat – maybe 100 cans instead of 50, as in the example. The instructions for this project you can find on a blog all about cars, strangely enough; car enthusiasts do spend many hours in cold garages, after all.

I’m also quite intrigued by the commercially produced solar heater now (oh, them inventive Canadians!). A testament to the efficiency of the product is that it was actually developed in the cold North.

Now, don’t start sending me your sticky, empty pop cans (in fact, avoiding them in the first place would be much better), but I may have to arrange for some fun dumpster diving times.


Not mine!

May 20th, 2010

Ours, not mine!

A very clever visualization by Natasha Vermeulen of the core values of the anti-mining protests – free to download and share at endemicworld.com.

– Thomas

Calling all stitchers!

April 26th, 2010

Freakin amazing embroidery by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching

I’ve just received a very exciting email from the incredible Leanne Prain who wrote Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti. After being interviewed for The knitty-gritty of craftivism in issue 8 of WSW, Leanne has gotten underway with a new book project . She’s really keen to have submissions from all over the world for her new title, Hoopla, The Art of Unexpected Embroidery, and asked me to pass this on to all keen stitchers:

Do you design unusual or unexpected pieces of needlepoint? If so, you should design a pattern for Hoopla, The Art of Unexpected Embroidery, to be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in autumn 2011.

Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery rebels against the traditional notions of quaint embroidery with motifs of flowers and songbirds. The book will feature unusual stitch work on a variety of surfaces and textures. With off-beat patterns including subway maps, feminist Girl Guide badges, and metal band letterforms; Hoopla will demonstrate that modern embroidery artists are as sharp as the needles that they work with. If you describe your stitch-work as arresting, subversive, quirky, or conceptual, Hoopla should feature your design work.

Yeehaa! Check out the unexpected embroidery site for more info on how to get involved.

Curtain call: part two

April 26th, 2010

Homemade thermal insulated curtains

In last autumn’s issue of World Sweet World mag we published the great project by Christine Reitze (check it out here) showing you how to make snuggly winter curtains out of blankets. We have the beauties from that project hanging in our bedroom already, but with winter looming again I figured I needed to kit out the rest of the house. The only problem is that, living in a villa with super-tall windows, I’ve been struggling to find blankets that will be long or wide enough to do the trick.

On a recent trip to the fabric shop I stumbled across the perfect solution: Lining tape. Now this may sound kind of obvious, but using blankets as lining instead of the main act means that it doesn’t matter if they don’t reach the ground, and they don’t have to be as wide, because the lining doesn’t need to be gathered. Bingo!

Because our windows are so big, I opted for a cheap ($5m), medium-weight fabric, knowing that with the blankets they’d still feel nice and heavy. I made some simple curtains (check out the previous post if you don’t know how to do that), sewed lining tape to the top of a blanket, and then hung the blanket to the back of my curtains with hooks. I now have full-length, totally insulated curtains that look heavy and drape well, and they only cost me around $60, including the blankets, tape and hooks.

I’m stoked with how much difference they make to the room, and our landlord is getting a grant to install insulation and a heatpump through the EECA energywise scheme , but we’re still keen to do further winter-proofing before we have a tiny child in the house.

Any ideas? What are you doing to keep your diggs toasty this winter?

Curtain call: part one

April 23rd, 2010

Homemade blanket curtains

This project by Christine Reitze was published last autumn in issue 5 of World Sweet World. Stay tuned for more curtain-related goodies next week – I’ve been sewing up a storm in preparation for the chilly months ahead. ~ Hannah

It’s always good to be prepared, so here’s an autumn project that will get you ready for winter. In the grand scheme of things, winters in New Zealand aren’t really that cold, but because of practically nonexistent insulation in many of our houses (especially flats), we tend to feel it more than chillier countries.

If you’re flatting in a cold house, chances are your landlord isn’t going to fork out to get the entire place re-insulated (although it’s worth speaking with them about the EECA energywise funding scheme), but there are things as tenants we can do to keep a bit warmer as winter approaches.

These warm woolly winter curtains are sewn with old blankets you can find easily in op-shops for cheap, or if you’re brave enough, you could pinch them from your granny or your dog. For even more warmth you can add thermal lining (you can use your old curtains for this), which is then hooked onto the main wool curtain.

  1. Measure the length of your curtain track and double it, adding an extra 12cm. This is how much of wide curtain tape you’ll need.
  2. If you decide to have the extra thermal insulation you will need to buy the same length of narrow curtain tape for it. Make sure that the wide tape of your woolly curtain can be used to hook the lining onto (they can tell you this in the shop).
  3. Decide how long you want your curtain to be, and add 5cm. I reckon down to the floor looks best, plus it provides far more insulation that way. If you want to hem your curtain you will need to add extra length, but wool blankets are usually nicely hemmed anyway.
  4. Make each of your two curtains the width of the curtain track. Depending on the size of your wool blankets, you might need to cut off or sew more blanket material on to get the right dimension for your window. You can get creative here and sew stripes, have a different coloured border or make a woollen patchwork. If you sew two different blankets together, make sure you pin them first (even if pinning isn’t usually your style). Different weights of blanket will stretch differently, and you’ll end up with one piece that looks flabby like the knees in a cheap pair of trackies. Not cool. How to sew the tape on
  5. Cut the curtain tape in half. Before you start sewing, unthread the three cords 3cm from one end of the tape. Tie the cords together, then smooth out the tape  FIG 1.
  6. Place the tape right side up on the panel, 2cm below the edge of the curtain. Fold in the excess tape 3cm from each end and pin the tape in place.
    Sew the top edge of the tape about ½ a cm from its edge onto the curtain and repeat the process with the bottom edge  FIG 2. Be careful not to sew over the string!
  7. Pull all strings at the unknotted end at the same time, gathering your curtain to the desired width  FIG 3. It should end up half the curtain track plus about 40cm. Knot the three strings together and cut the excess off.
  8. Insert hooks into the middle of every second or third loop of the tape.
  9. Repeat the same process with your second curtain panel, hang them up and feel the instant warmth! For extra thermal insulation
  10. To add extra warmth to your woolly drapes, you can make an ungathered thermal backing. For the width, measure the gathered width of your wool curtain and add an extra 20cm. The length will be the same as the wool curtains, minus 20cm.
  11. Fold the side edge of your lining over 5cm and iron, then fold it over another 5cm, iron and sew in place. Repeat the process with the other side.
    Pin the lining tape on, folding 3cm under at the edges, and sew in place, as you did in step 7.
  12. Insert hooks into every fourth loop and hook the lining onto the bottom row of loops on the curtain tape.

If you’ve taken old curtains down from your windows, these will work just as well for lining. All you have to do is move the hooks from the middle of the tape to the top, hook them onto your curtain, and you’re sorted!