Lately, I have not had much luck with my secondhand eBay purchases. The disappointment when that parcel arrives to find it’s too big/too small/not the expected colour/ not the expected fabric (*delete as necessary).
I was excited to score this lovely M&S midi length dress in a beautiful drapey viscose in a black and white polka dot. BOOM – just what I was looking for.
So it arrives…. and, firstly, it’s navy – OK so not the end of the world but annoying when the description had said “black” and secondly for some reason I had bought a size smaller than I would normally wear… face palm emoji! I honestly don’t know what I was thinking….
As you can see, it’s a little on the tight side to say the least! Those buttons ain’t gonna do up!
So I have 2 choices – resell it or refashion/readjust it. To be honest, having had very little success in reselling, I can’t be bothered. Plus I do like the fabric, the shape and style, so I started to have a look at the construction of the dress to see what could be done.
I noticed there were 2 bust darts taking in around 3-4 inches before it skirt was attached. I thought it I could release the fabric in the darts, it would then fit my chest/waist. Then i would need to reattach the skirt lower down where it was wider. So, I picked up my trusty unpicker and set to work….
The trickiest part was to reattach the zip lower down than it’s original placement. I don’t have an invisible zipper foot so it’s not as close as where the zip was original attached at the top.
I am really happy with the result (I know, tell the face!) – a few puckers around the waist and I hadn’t thought about the splits being a little higher than I would go for but I may stitch those up slightly but I will definitely wear this now. A dress saved from the back of the wardrobe!
Well, it’s been a strange year… 2020, since I last wrote my thoughts on a Sustainable Christmas. And following suit, Christmas here in the UK will be strange too – social distancing, isolating, who to visit, who not to. So we need to make sure that what we have left is the best we can make it! For me, Christmas will be a smaller, sporadic affair but we will get round to see as much family as possible in some capacity or other! Which brings me onto my gift ideas this year.
The rise and rise of Amazon was inevitable during lockdown – so convenient, Christmas shopping can be completed on the sofa in an evening – done! Not doubt there will be some sustainable options on here but I’m going to bring you some gift ideas from other parts of the internet… plus some you can make yourself!
My ideals in the search for To-Buy gifts are:
- supporting small businesses
- finding ethical and eco-friendly crafters
- highlighting secondhand marketplaces
- quality not quantity
- keeping an eye on costs – Christmas shouldn’t need to stretch
*Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of the companies here – I just love the products!!
For the feminine adults in my life (without being gender-specific):
*Gorgeous plastic-free make-up from Love The Planet – UK based with gift sets of beautiful eyeshadow shades and more. I use their foundation which is lovely.
*Statement earrings to die for from Trend Tonic – cork earrings that are lightweight, vegan and stunning. She has guides to find the perfect pair to suit all face shapes and colourings. Can see lots of these in my shopping basket!!
*For the sewists amongst you, anything from reuseable make-up rounds, sleep masks or anything with personalised embroidery – I love the idea of upcycling some napkins or a RTW jumper with something meaningful.
*For the bakers – literally anything homemade with sugar and I’m happy!! Add Christmas spices and I yours!! hahaha…. Gingerbread is great as it lasts for a long time so can be made a few days in advance and some quick icing can look super effective (something the kids can help with too?!) I make a Scandinavian gingerbread ring each year for those who don’t like a traditional Christmas pudding/cake but this can be deconstructed and posted this year. For extra sustainable brownie points (ooh brownies…) , try to pick up your dry baking ingredients and spices from refill shops – I think my local shop SeaChange is doing a christmas cake baking pack! Yum. I’m doing mini baked in baked bean tin christmas cakes for some hampers.
*Best of the rest: Hampers are a great idea and we can get really imaginative e.g. “Me time” hamper with DIY reed diffuser, a good book or puzzle, refill tea with a tea pod and a DIY “Do not disturb” sign as a bit of fun!
For the masculine adults in my life:
*Community Clothing – literally anything from here – social enterprise bringing sustainable manufacturing to deprived areas of the UK. Classic and quality socks, t-shirts and jumpers, jackets if your budget allows.
*Vintage clothing – I’ve got my eye on some awesome retro gaming jumpers, geeky Christmas jumpers, classic bow-ties and accessories
*Safety razor – sleek, reusable and plastic-free. tick, tick, tick.
*Bow ties are geek chic and can be made relatively simply.
*DIY apron – yes, it will be cool and ‘manly’, I promise. I like the Japanese cross over aprons with some pockets in a sturdy denim or linen.
*Hampers with local craft beer or gin, cheese and local chutneys
For the older kids:
Always a tricky category!
* Classic vintage sportswear on Depop and Ebay. Teenagers and young adults can be tricky so vintage designer brands can be a good shout with good eco-credentials!
*2020 has difficult for young people so to have something to look forward to can be give a big moral boast to those in lockdown… An experience for when the world opens up – cinema vouchers, skateboard lesson, tickets to a theatre show or exhibition, indoor climbing sessions or outdoor sporting activities.
For the Little Ones:
For me, the key here is quality and not quantity. I’ve seen my own children become some overwhelmed with the number of presents that we have had to spread them across a few days. I like the old adage:
Something you want,
Something you need,
Something to wear &
Something to read
For little kids you can’t beat secondhand or a bit of re-gifting. This is where some careful charity shop (online only at the moment – sad times), Facebook Marketplace and eBay can be perfect for grabbing a secondhand bargain. For my own children, I have looked for quality (mostly wooden) toys and have picked up some fantastic items – rocking horse, skittles, play kitchen and you can’t go wrong with a train track! (You can usually resell on once they have grown out of them… don’t forget the resell value!!)
*Christmas sacks or stockings – something they can use every year
*Personalised bunting for their bedroom
*Dressing up! Let your imagination run wild – dragon tails, fairy wings, crowns and capes
I hope that helps with some ideas or at least gets the creative juices flowing with some big-brand alternatives! Check out my previous post for more sustainable Christmas ideas on eco wrapping and decorations. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!!