Who Made Your Clothes? – #insideout @fashion_rev

red who made


Fashion Revolution is an organization created to build awareness for how and where our clothes are made as well as awareness as to who makes these clothes. Read their mission statement HERE.

The date of April 24 is significant for this is the day one year ago where 1133 people died making clothing at the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. It was a horrific event, which left over 2000 people injured and over 800 children orphaned. It is the deadliest garment-factory accident in history as well as the deadliest structural failure in history.

Out of this disaster a Fashion Revolution was born as a means to bring awareness and ultimately an end to child labor, sweatshop practices and factory related deaths. In addition  The Bangladesh Safety Accord was created after the Rana Plaza tragedy with the idea of building safety, fair wages and safer conditions for those that create the garments that we wear. There are many events going on world wide to commemorate Rana Plaza and to enact long lasting change.

If you would like more information please go to the websites at the bottom of this post. It’s guaranteed that for most of the images and posts that you read  you’ll never look at store bought clothes and other items in the same way.

Child forced to make Christmas items.

Bangladesh Factory Fire

Victims from 2012 Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire

Seamstresses are a lucky lot, for many of us can make a lot of what we long to wear. Or, we can Make Do and Mend, which allows us not to go out and purchase clothes every few weeks, like we’ve grown so accustomed to with this Fast Fashion world we live in.

I hope you join this thought provoking Fashion Revolution, or at the least give pause to the clothing on your back (and front) and how it got there. With a shift in thought and action, albeit a colossal one, in how we dress ourselves, we can go from the horrific images like those above to this.


“Behind every article of clothing, is a world; a person with dreams and hopes who wants to get ahead”. Doris Restrepo, a garment worker in Medellin, Colombia.


Thank you,

Jill Case

who made square_2

Further Reading






A Year Later



Books on the subject of fashion fashion


How To Read A Sewing Pattern Envelope

Many would-be great seamstresses get cold feet right after looking at the back of a sewing pattern. There is a lot going on on such a small piece of paper. A foreign language, metric, diagrams, and good grief body measurements most women would rather not think about! Let’s have a look at the back of a sewing pattern envelope. In the end, not such a big deal and there’s no metric, calculus or foreign language learning involved.

The Front

On the front of the envelope you will see the design in its completed version, usually on a pretty model. You will also see various other version that are offered, usually in a drawing of some sorts. The pattern below has four different styles. This is a nice view of four of the versions on a live model plus the artistic renderings of each. The different version show what can be done with the pattern following the directions. As you become more adept at sewing you can go ‘off book’ so to speak and create something all together different.

pattern evnelope 2
The front also has the pattern number as well as the sizes that the pattern will accommodate.

pattern envelope description
Now, as we all know photos can be deceiving. If you see a model’s arm weirdly behind her back, you can bet she’s probably nipping it in at the back etc. Or if her arms are hanging strangely close to her sides, there’s something going on with the garment either not being sewn correctly or maybe that model didn’t fit it quite right. So, seamstress beware.

The Back

The back is where things can get a little tricky. And, as you can see there is a lot going on here.
back of pattern envelope


There front of the pattern shows the garment or project in its completed version and usually just the front view, unless there is a unique back version. On the back of the evelope the back side is rendered in a simple line drawing. There you will see if there is a zipper, darts, and further back side details.

There is a written description of the entire garment. This pattern states: “Misses knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations.” More complicated garments will include more details. Take note of this description for it will tell you all that you will be getting in the pattern. If the description calls for princess seams and you’re not comfortable sewing princess seams, you might want to try another pattern etc..

Most patterns will have the size range and the body measurements for each on the back. Some patterns have it on the pattern itself. You will need to know what size you are in order to get the correct amount of fabric.

Fabric Type

Pay close attention to what type of fabric the pattern calls for. Especially important when a pattern calls for a  knit. Actually, it’s important even for wovens. If a patterns call for something drapey like silk, don’t reach for a cotton twill unless of course that’s the look you’re going for. The views that are on the live models are made with the recommended fabrics that the pattern envelope calls for.

Pick A Knit Rule

This is for knits only. There will be a gauge on the top or side of the back of the envelope. You will take your knit fabric and following the instructions test to see if there is enough stretch in the fabric to use for that particular pattern. If there isn’t enough stretch it may not work.

Fabric Yardage

This tells you how much fabric to buy for a particular version. Very important detail. It will give you choices usually based on 60″, 55″ and 45″ wide widths. Be sure you know how wide your fabric is before getting it cut, or ask at the counter. Show them the pattern and what version and size you want and they can help you in getting the right yardage.

If you fabric has a nap, like velvet, one way design, stripes, large designs, even or uneven plaids you will need more fabric. Also, if buying a fabric that is new to you, you may want to purchase a little extra to experiment on.


On every pattern envelope is a list of notions that you will need to complete the project. This might include zippers, elastic, buttons and so on. It will also give you the exact measurements of these notions, for example, a 7 inch zipper, 5 5/8″ buttons and so forth.

Finished Garment Measurements

I find this very helpful. Especially with width of a skirt or pant leg width. Some patterns don’t always have this. But, you can get a good idea of what the finished width or length will be and make adjustments to the pattern beforehand.

See? Not too bad after all. Your homework is to head out to your local fabric store and grab up a half dozen or so patterns and get to reading!


L is for Leather aka: The Medieval Times Dress

L collage cropped watermarked

For my 12th Sew All 26 160 post, the letter “L”, I’m sewing with leather, something I’ve never tried before. Simplicity 2584 (designed by Cynthia Rowley) had been in my pattern stash for awhile - long enough that it’s now out of print. 2584 includes 2 dress styles, 2 tunic styles, and a headband. I decided to sew the view B dress, mainly because I thought I could use a free to me thrift store leather skirt for the ornately shaped yoke. Style B is the dress shown on the model on the pattern cover. It’s hemmed above-the-knee and has 3/4 length sleeves. Continue reading

How to Make Kanzashi Flowers & FREEBIE!


I love flowers and origami and fabric (of course) so it is natural for me to be drawn to flowers made from fabric using origami techniques. I learned how to make Kanzashi flowers perhaps a more than a year ago just following tutorials such as this one. The flower on the left above was created using what I call the traditional method of fabric folding. It was a little more time consuming than I expected at the time and I soon lost interest. Continue reading

Denver Mini Maker Faire

DenverMiniMaker Logo 1 small

Have you ever been to a Maker Faire? Maker Faire’s are held through out the world and they’re all about creating, inventing, learning  and leaving inspired and full of ideas to take home.  These faires are multi-generational and encourage kids and adults to get outside (or inside) and build something, anything! From robots, to cat armor, better prosthesis’ to crazy cars there really is no limit to what is seen, heard and experienced at a Maker Faire.  Exhibits are in the areas of engineering, ham radio, kinetic art, furniture, crafts, space, steampunk, rockets, GPS and wearables just to name a few.

Denver is having it’s first Mini Maker Faire, and, guess who’s coming to dinner!? Denver Sewing Collective was invited and we even had a lovely, anonymous donor donate our booth to us. The Denver Mini Maker Faire will be in just a few short days, May 3-4, 2014.

If you have ever been to a Maker Faire please tell me what you thought, or if you have any ideas that you think the Denver Sewing Collective should do (in way of sewing, wearables, up-cycling, crafts etc) please let me know!

Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing my adventures with DMMF here on the blog.

Jim Howard Fashion Illustrator

paper dolls

Jim Howard’s Paper Doll Illustrations and Collections.

It was a last minute invite from Tish Gance of HISS Studio, but I’m so glad I went. Fashion Illustrator Jim Howard spoke at the Brush Strokes Gallery on South Broadway and charmed and entertained a standing room crowd of his adventures in fashion and art.

Getting his start doing grocery store adverts in his native Texas he quickly outgrew this work and had his sights set on Neiman Marcus. But, first he joined the army, saw the wonders of Europe and then came back to the states.  He would become Ad Manager for Neiman Marcus and later Assistant Art Director. Later moving to New York as any young up and comer in the fashion world would do. He has illustrated for Revlon, Bon Witt Teller, Franklin Simon, Saks 5th  Ave and several couture houses. He has met Mademoiselle Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and drew a stunning portrait of Isabella Rossellini when she was modeling for Lancome. He credits his 40 years of illustrator success with simply knowing how to draw, not just women but everything.

He drew women early on but adapted well to drawing men too. He has worked with live models (as illustrators did back in the day) as well as taking Polaroids and then drawing based on the photos.  Some of his works are now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Before finally (?) settling down in our beautiful Denver, Jim worked in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico working as an illustrator as well as in theater. Jim spends much of his time now creating and illustrating beautiful paper dolls, which you can purchase at Turn of the Century Antiques as well as on Amazon. We are so privileged to have Jim call Denver home. I am so glad I got to meet him and learn more about his amazing and wonderful life in fashion.



Jim Howard’s charcoal/pencil fashion sketches.

jim and me

Me crouching weirdly while talking to Jim Howard. This was right after I accidentally took a flash selfie of myself. Hair looks good though. Win.