Creating Islands of Slowness: Slow Textile Group

Above is the lookbook of the Slow Textile Group; a social enterprise whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of textiles through exhibition, education, innovation, application and debate.

Everyone is welcome to join and together the group explores the many possibilities of how to change the textile industry in both big and small ways. Anyone with an interest in textiles professional or amateur can take part. Annual memberships start at £40 GBP.

Isn’t that an interesting way to connect people?

One part of the group is the Slow Design School, which offers an even more in-depth educational experience, with a unique combination of study, dialogue, support, skills development and intellectual honing to prepare students for the creative industry in the UK.

Being slow in a fast paced world presents its own challenges as many of you know. Embroidery and hand-sewing and in fact most manual craft techniques are very slow and it often seems impossible to make a living at it.

Ezio Manzini, a pioneer of sustainable design once said that “because everything moves so fast and we cannot stop it, we have to create some islands of slowness.”

Islands of slowness. I love the sound of that.


Gift Wrapping How-To….

Images by Charissa “The Gifted Blog”

Look what Charissa from “The Gifted Blog” created to gift wrap the purses….

I like everything about these envelopes. They’re sustainable, colorful, simple and beautiful. And I love that they reference the aspect of hand-sewing by incorporating stitching. Please visit her blog to learn how to create your own personal gift envelope. I will definitely make these.
Thanks so much Charissa!

Gift Wrapping Challenge

Here’s a little sneak peek for tomorrow’s gift wrapping challenge on The Gifted Blog. What gift wrapping challenge you ask? Well, first things first:

A few months ago I found Charissa through her “The Gifted Blog” while searching for Japanese gift wrapping ideas. To be exact I was looking for information on “How to Wrap Five More Eggs“, a brilliant book about the art of Japanese packaging. Charissa had written a fantastic review of the book and I was hooked. Her blog on gift wrapping and the art of presentation brims with creativity and environmentally friendly ideas. After I won her beautiful gift card holder we played with the idea of a cooperative challenge.

I love wrapping gifts, but am in no way a master. One item I find particularly difficult to wrap because of their odd shape are the coin purses pictured below. So I asked Charissa if she was up for the challenge of finding a creative way of wrapping and/or presenting these purses.

Purse Tutorial

And what she said was…

Dress Form in the Making

Dress Form Cutting and Removing
Dress Form Cutting and Removing
To create a dress form with my measurements my daughter artfully wrapped me in yards and yards of silver sticky duct tape. This was the moment my husband liberated me from the cocoon. But first thing’s first.

When I told my 8-year old daughter she could wrap mom in duct tape she was thrilled. There are many sites with instructions on how to make a dress form your size. I even found one from 1938, which uses tissue paper and duct tape, so the idea has been around for while ( Here’s a contemporary, and possibly more useful one: (

The supplies are quite simple:
- a fitted long t-shirt
- rolls of duct tape
- scissors
- helpers
- patience (and possibly a margarita if you’re trying this on a summer day when it’s hot)

Here’s what I’ve learned:
Even though the tutorials are quite simple and easy to follow, when I was wrapped by my cheering child, it was hard to tell how tight the whole thing had to be. Breathing should be easy, because otherwise the final dress from will be too tight and so will your the garments. And don’t we all have one or two of those in our wardrobe. (“Oh, I’ll lose 3 pounds and it’ll fit beautifully”). Applies to shoes as well. I have some pairs which “almost” fit perfectly. Almost. So I really wanted this to work.

Dress Form in the Making
Make sure, you have a helper who is rested and NOT hungry. Invite some friends and make a party of it. Making a dress form feels like spending an hour or two in a neon lit dressing room in a mediocre chain store trying on bikinis in the middle of winter. I strongly recommend creating an atmosphere….you don’t need bright light to wrap someone in duct tape.

Dress Form Ready to be Cut

The worst moment is when you’re fully wrapped, sweating, uncomfortable and the “wrapper” says : “One more minute, I’m almost done…” about 500 times.

But the moment of freedom makes it all worth while. The form in the picture below is a deflated version of myself. I’ll stuff it tomorrow with some paper and think of a better surface, because the shiny tin man thing is not lending itself to sensual draping, in my opinion. I’m not sure yet how to stick pins into it (or for that matter get them out). But I’ll finish it first.

Dress Form Delflated

Do I have any good tips? Yes, here’s one: I would definitely wear a more fitted t-shirt and take more time. The shirt I used, was a bit bulky under the tape. Number 2: Look at the weather forecast. If it’s in the 90’s go swimming instead.

Other than that, you definitely need some food, laughter, patience and humor……just the things that make practically any situation work.

How To Get Rid of a Background with Photoshop

Here is a little How-To if you want to eliminate a background for your photos. I recommend taking a photo of your item on a white (or cream) colored background. Unless your image is really well lit, you will likely have a background with a tinge (in my case blue). Here is an easy way […] Read more »