Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Dark Denim Obsession

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my recent skirty makes :D

So what's next in my sewing plan?
Could it be yet another Kelly Skirt?
It certainly looks that way!  My Japanese denim and mustard cord arrived, and I already washed the denim, ready to go.  The buttons I ordered are here too.

Jessica had some sound advice on the corduroy / Kelly Skirt combination:  watch out for those back pleats!  And I am thinking I might do some tweaking of the pattern - side zip instead of front buttons, flat back instead of pleats?  So I am "thinking" for now.

Meantime, dark denim and chambray seem to be everywhere I look.

There was a perilous moment when I received an email from Seasalt, promoting their Artists and Potters Collection.

Look at these clothes!

(And before you ask me, they are trying quite hard with their ethics:  some organic cotton, a few locally sourced items... just not everything - why not?!)

It is as if they have been reading my mind:  a practical pinafore for pottering around the house; an artistic smock for lurking in libraries.  And both in wonderful dark blue chambray!

The palette of the whole collection appeals to my Scottish eye.  Deep dark stormy greys and greens and blues, with occasional flashes of heather pink.  I love this big soft wool scarf!

Lily Linen dress - pockets!

And then I saw a new pattern over at Tessuti, for the Lily linen dress - ooh imagine this in indigo blue?!  I have some light blue herringbone linen in the stash that might benefit from a darker over-dye...

Lily Linen dress - hem detail

Or how about some of this over-printed herringbone linen from the Organic Cotton shop?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

FO: Quirky Quilty Kelly Skirt MN2201

Oh dear - I may have built your hopes up too high with my "inspiration" post!

I couldn't stay away from my Kelly skirt pattern, so Wednesday evening saw me slicing into this weird quilted lace to make myself a quirky quilty party skirt.  Thursday evening saw me storming ahead with the stitching.  Hark at me - I sew in the evenings!

Give that girl some lipstick please!
This skirt could be a triumph or a bland puffy beige disaster.   The colour makes me look completely drained without lipstick, hence lots of headless photos! The quilting supports the shape of the skirt... though it has definite "Does my bum look big in this?" potential.  I imagine it would look pretty wild if styled hard, in the manner of Marc Jacobs Fall 2012.  Oh yes, with one of those huge hats, definitely! 

Does my bum look big in this?!
The fabric is some sort of synthetic sandwich:  spam-beige lace on top and grey/green slippery lettuce stuff underneath, that glistens in the light.  Hmmm... like a snail trail...  It is the sort of stuff The Mother of The Bride might make a pencil skirt out of, or a Best Man might have as a waistcoat.
No, I really don't know what I was thinking when I bought it.

The quilting seems to have happened in two operations, so there was a strange overlapping stitch effect right down the centre of the piece.  This meant that I couldn't just fold it in half down the middle in order to "cut on the fold".  So I ended up using the whole length of my 2 metre piece, but not the whole width.  Stash-busting points galore!
Under artificial light - strange glowing green-ness!
Note to self:  stop buying fabric online on a whim late at night!

Pattern:  Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielson, MN 2201, size XS
Fabric:  2 metres of quilted lace at £6 per metre from Croft Mill and a scrap of stashed lining for the pockets
Buttons:  Vintage from Clover Crafts and Curios at Ebay, 8 for £3

Straightforward sewing.  Having made this pattern before, I knew what I was doing.

This time, I cut the waistband longer than indicated for my size, and I needed all of the extra length, which makes me think it was not just a fluke last time when I struggled to make it fit the top of the pleated skirt.  I recommend you add a couple of cm to be safe - you can always cut off the excess.

I didn't line it, but I think it needs a slip underneath.  This fabric is strangely sculptural and yet see-through in strong light!


The funny thing is... despite all my griping about the weird fabric, it is a really fun-to-wear skirt.

I would love to balance its shape with a big hat and a velvet bell-skirted coat with a big furry collar!

The rear view  is a bit scary and makes me doubt my plan to use chunky corduroy, but I will probably go for it anyway.

So yeah - a second successful Kelly Skirt!  Entirely different from the first, probably to be kept for parties and evenings out.  So I still need to make some practical everyday versions.  Strike while the mojo is hot!


The Inspiration
How Marc Jacobs sent a skirt down the catwalk:

from ohstyles.com

from The Sartorialist

The Distillation
How it looked by the time it reached the retailer for £740:  images from Matches website.

What it has in common with my skirt:
High waist, pleat placement, fabric that looks like it would stand up by itself, overall tulip silhouette.
Other than that?  Not a lot!  ; )

Friday, August 24, 2012

Marc Jacobs Fall 2012 Inspiration

Disclaimer:  All images found through a google search, so definitely not my own to use.

I am sewing a quilted lace Kelly skirt...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Season of the Skirt

It's that time of year again:  Back To School.  Term started here today.

My new autumn shoes:  Fly London Juno wedges

This year, I was very pleased not to be joining the queue in John Lewis for school shoe-fittings or having circular conversations about whether or not black skinny non-denim jeans adhere to the uniform code!  The Girl is away in London at Sixth Form College, with ... ahem...alternative clothing requirements.

But if you think I can shake off the concept of "new uniform for the new term", you don't know me very well!  This is always a time when I review the State of The Wardrobe.  And this autumn looks all set to be my Season of the Skirt.

Here's what I have in mind:

Tangerine Flip
I have wanted an orange skirt for ages, and was delighted when I found this burnt orange crepe in the sale at Dragonfly Fabrics.  It is perfect for a Betsey Johnson-pattern flippy panelled skirt.  I have made the trousers twice, so am optimistic about grading the pattern up to fit.

A Konflagration of Kellies
I am determined to get my money's-worth out of the Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt pattern!

I wore my hearts and rainbows print version to work yesterday (with my white Lisette Portfolio top) and I felt great in it. By the end of the day, I realised that it was doing a definite puffball at the back due to my lining method, but I was secretly thrilled by that - hee hee!  If nothing else, it is unique!

I also realised that I need to place a button directly below the waistband, as the fronts pull apart when I sit down - a lesson for next time!

I have ordered fabric to make two more:  mustard cord and a very soft dark Japanese denim, both from Our Patterned Hand.  Half a metre of Liberty print cotton jersey may also have fallen into my shopping cart to make a new batch of knickers! :)
I am expecting these to be staples in my everyday working wardrobe.

And I have plans for a slightly mad "party" version in a weird beige quilted lace which was lurking in the stash with no clear future...!

You might remember I was supposed to be making a Cynthia Rowley skirt out of Bluebirds and Pansies-print viscose?  I cut it out... and then I chickened out.  I have the feeling (unconfirmed) that the fabric slid out of alignment as I cut, and that it isn't going to hang properly.  I need to dig it out this evening and assess the situation.  It would be better to know than to have it growling at me from the sewing basket.

And I really must get on with my blue wool raincoat... I am too easily distracted!

What about you?  What are your new season sewing plans?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

FO: My First Kelly Skirt (Megan Nielsen pattern)

Dear sewing friends,
What do you look for in a pattern?
Me?  I want strong clean lines:  a style that I can wear now and look reasonably modern, but not so fashionable that it will look dated in in two years' time.  I want it to fit out of the packet without making a gazillion alterations.
I want strong pattern paper.  Clear instructions.  Nice illustrations.  A bit of indie street cred helps too.
So... here is my first making of the Kelly skirt by Megan Neilsen.  It fulfils all of my criteria above.  I will make at least three of these, if not ten.
So why am I a bit... resentful?
I'll tell you why:  this "design" is very VERY simple.  Think rectangles.  That's all it is.  Four rectangles of fabric:  back, two fronts and a waistband.  The end.  OK, there are some pleats, I'll give you that.  And curved pockets.
But does that justify what I paid for it?
Um... yes... and no.  Because I accept that I paid a premium for the beautiful presentation:  that heavy easily-traced pattern paper, the lovely little instruction booklet.  That neat envelope with the velcro fastener.  It represents someone's livelihood.  I am supporting their small craft business.  That's all absolutely fine by me.
But it could have been a pdf download, or even just a diagram on the web.  Because it is so very VERY simple. 
There - I've got that off my chest!  Now on to the project:

Pattern:  Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen. 18 Australian Dollars plus shipping.
Fabric:  One yard of heart rainbows cotton jersey from Girl Charlee ($5.25 plus shipping - worth it if you buy 3 yards!) and perhaps 50cm of polycotton from the stash (Crafter's Ceilidh swop).
Buttons:  8 cream vintage buttons found on ebay for about £1.60.

I made size "extra small" and it fits me well.  The pleats are a good width, adding plenty of shape to the skirt in this size.  I will be interested to see how it looks on a bigger gal, because the proportions don't change as the size increases.
The instructions are great for a beginner.
However, I made a mistake.  It might help someone else to know that you MUST NOT sew down the tops of your pockets until AFTER you make the pleats.  I stitched across them automatically, because I have always done that before, and then couldn't get the pleats to work as the pocket flaps were in the way of the fold.  I must have wasted an hour re-drafting the pleats (yeah, I know) with much cursing, before I realised that the solution was simple.
After all that kerfuffle, my waistband was too short - I think I stretched the top edge of the skirt with all my unpicking and re-pleating - tsk!  But with some careful light gathering, I got it to match up.  Just as well, as I had no fabric left.
Oh yes - my fabric was a maverick choice!  I loved the print of this not-at-all stretchy cotton knit, but it looked too busy next to my face, so I was determined to make it into a skirt. I traumatised myself making the pattern match at the pockets... but it had to be done!
On its own, it was far too lightweight, so I lined it with some woven polycotton I had in the stash.  Rather that trying to pleat the lining, I laid the pleated skirt onto my fabric and cut round it, so it has the same basic curve and the advantage of a bias cut.  I attached it to the waistband at the same time as the main skirt and folded it into the button plackets at the fronts.
Almost a puffball...
Hemming was a bit of an adventure.  I was in danger of creating a puffball skirt, as the inner layer was narrower than the outer - duh!  I got away with it, but next time I would leave the lining to hang free.

Despite the fact that I made a mountain out of a molehill by lining it, I am pretty much in love with this skirt!
Yes, I will wear it til it falls apart.  I might have to buy it a new pair of shoes and make it some plain coloured tees and a black cardigan.
It will have lots of sisters.  I want one in mustard as a matter of urgency.  It has the potential to be a major stashbuster if I continue to squeeze a skirt out of a yard, even allowing for pattern-matching!

But would I recommend that you buy this pattern? 

Back view with barley
Yes and no.  If you have ever drafted a skirt pattern for yourself, you do not need to pay this kind of money for this simple design.  But if you are a beginner sew-ist or want an easy life, it is presented beautifully and it works.  I can't say fairer than that.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Colours of My Day

The Girl flew south yesterday.
And so a new era begins.
Today I discovered that there are parking spaces to be found in the local market town if you get there before 10am - who knew?  And that M&S marks down its fresh foodstuffs to crazy cheap prices so that they don't hang around the shelves for too long on their sell-by date.  So this morning it was me and a little old lady racing round the shop in pursuit of the ticketing staff: packet of pitta bread 10p, broad beans 50p, fancy salad £1.50... hee hee!
Then home for coffee with the Saturday newspapers and the latest Knitscene.  So much to inspire!
And in the post:  the Kelly skirt pattern at last!
So you can guess how I spent the afternoon.
Who knows, there might be an FO to show you tomorrow!
FL has been visiting a friend in the hospice almost every day for the past week.  D. has now been moved into a "quiet room" and FL has had to concede defeat:  D. won't be coming out through the front door. 
I can't decide on a colour for the kitchen walls.  One day it's yellow, the next it's green.  Today it was violet.  FL says "White".

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Quick FO: PJs for The Girl

The Girl needed new pyjama bottoms, and they had to be black... which is easier said than found!
But she liked the bird-print of my Desperately Seeking top, which she reckons could be mistaken for bats (this is a good thing), so I offered to rustle up a pair with my leftover metre of viscose jersey.

It was simple enough:  I just traced round her old shop-bought pair and added three inches to the leg length. (Wow - she must be growing!)

Each leg is a single pattern piece, so the only seams are at the inside leg and from front to back round the bottom.  It was interesting to see that the waist curves lower at the front and the back seam curves away from the perpendicular, to accommodate the shape of a female body.  They are not like any trousers I have ever sewn for myself. Presumably because I was copying a jersey garment, all the shaping happens without darts.  And I have never sewn anything with such a low-slung waist.
I made a facing strip to enclose some wide (2.6cm) elastic at the waist, and finished the inside edge with black satin bias tape, for comfort as much as strength.

She opted to leave the hems unfinished, which works with this fray-resistant material.

Just what she wanted!
Cost:  £1.25 for elastic.  The fabric and thread were in the house already.
Bargain! :D

Friday, August 10, 2012

FO: Scarlet Suspender Skirt, Simplicity 8925

Oh look - I stuck to my plan!  I have been intending to make this skirt since (goes off to check the archive) March! 

Commonsense prevailed and I chose a plain red cotton drill rather than the hand-printed £35 a metre tangerine madness which strobed across my brain for a while.  I think the style is enough of a statement without throwing crazy (expensive) fabric into the mix!

The pattern was supposed to fit a 25.5 inch waist, so I added a quarter-inch to all the side edges.  I needn't have bothered.  I ended up having to sew  my seams twice to reshape the sides and fronts from waist to thigh - it was miles too big!  Ah, Simplicity and excess ease, don't you just love it?
I consulted the Colette Sewing Handbook before inserting the centre back zip, and I can report that their instructions improved my finish, although I will be unpicking stray machine-basting threads for months to come!

For a "mini skirt" it was mighty long.  I am only 5 foot 3 and had to cut off two inches and turn up another two.  Those decorative flaps were looking perilously out of balance, the nearer the hemline they crept.

I squeezed it out of a metre of fabric, but had to line the straps with another cotton as I was short of that crucial 1.5 inch-wide lengthwise strip.

I lined it with black dobby-esque polyester and used black satin bias tape to finish the bottom hem.  The knobbly / studded buttons were bought for another project but I thought they added essential edge to this skirt.

Pattern:  Simplicity 8925 from 1970

Fabric:  One metre of red cotton drill from Minerva Fabrics at eebaay for £8.99; maybe 50cm of black lining from mystery seller on eebaay, price forgotten... maybe £1.50?

Other:  Black buttons - eebaay again, about £3 for 5?  I used 4.
If I had 6, I would probably have put one on each flap, but FL said that would be "twee" and The Girl just wrinkled her nose.


Red is trickier to wear than I expected. 

I think it looks fab with black, but I looked completely washed out with a white top underneath.

The suspender straps look best with a sleeve.  I tried it on with my Raindrops on Roses top and I looked... undressed.  Same problem with my Polka dot top.

But since it is fully lined, it is not really intended for high summer.  (Just as well, living in these parts!)  The lining was essential - the drill is really good quality but creases easily.

It is still slightly too loose at the waist and through the hip, leaving room to tuck in a warmer sweater, but that's always a good thing.

If I want to, I can unbutton the straps wear it as a plain skirt with decorative buttons back and front... but I reckon the "suspenders" are the whole point!

Would I use this pattern again?

Hmmm... probably not in this view.  I was wavering over the button-front version, but now that I've seen the Kelly skirt, I have plans for multiple versions of that one, and I suspect that poor old Simplicity 8925 will be consigned to the pattern box for a long time to come!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

WIP Wednesday

On Sunday, I got stuck into my next sewing project:  a red 1970's pattern suspender skirt. I don't really have much more to do, but it will probably be Friday before I get to it.
I also restitched the seams of my blue raincoat above the waist and it is a much better fit now.  But it's the sort of garment that benefits from long periods of dedicated sewing, so I have set it aside until The Girl has come and gone again.  There are going to be too many entirely necessary and welcome interruptions over the next week or so.

In knitting news, here is Shalder, looking especially unphotogenic!
As you can see, I just have the yoke, pockets and front edging to complete.  The yoke has stitchy business on both the knit and the purl rows so isn't as speedy to work as I expected... but there is no rush! I am really liking the Rowan All Seasons Cotton.

In life news, I am managing to reduce the amount of time I fritter away in blogland by the simple trick of not switching on the router every evening!  At work, I am drinking water instead of tea... which means I am not tempted to plunder the office biscuit tin.  I have been cooking more veg-y meals and FL has not complained for at least three days!  There's still not much sign of exercise though... unless painting the walls counts?  So that's my goal for the coming weekend:  do something active!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Kelly Skirt Pattern Alert: Must Have!

You've seen it haven't you?  The new Megan Nielsen skirt pattern, Kelly?

But have you seen Four Square Walls' test-sews?

"IncredILBY flattering" : )

Seriously, these are the skirts of my dreams.  I love button-fronts but the Colette Beignet is the wrong shape for me:  it's neither straight nor A-line and I know I would struggle to make it fit my flat-bottomed, straight-up-and-down frame without looking like I was wearing my mother's hand-me-downs.

I have a vintage (1970) pattern that I was on the point of trying out, but I had the nagging suspicion it was too insubstantial and plain - I wanted a little bit of swish.

Kelly?  You've got the high waist that I love / need, combined with side pockets and look - best of all! - those neat little pleats either side of the button band.  So you get skirt width without bulk over the tummy.

I'm thinking:   linen, denim, chambray, cord, tweed, madly-printed cotton, suiting, broderie, polka dots, checks, stripes, lace, velvet...

I am feeling quite feverish!  How long does shipping take from Australia?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Flooded with Sunlight

I had the afternoon off work on Friday.

For so many reasons:  a head full of ideas that demanded to be thought through;  because the sun was properly shining for the first time since May;  an urgent appointment with a paintbrush, a pot of eco-primer and my bedroom wall;  and because I had reached the point with my day job where I was likely to say / write something I would later regret.

Step away from the Send button, Roo!

I took the time to cut some flowers from my herb garden to brighten up the kitchen table.

What a difference!

And all the time, your lovely supportive comments were pouring in.  Thank you!

I'm still here, don't worry! 

Here I am, paintbrush in hand, posing in an artificial way, but marking the occasion when I finally got round to making my bedroom into a pleasant place.

The primer is covering horrible damp sooty stains that drove through the chimney wall perhaps six / seven years ago, during one of several floods which rotted the carpet and destroyed some lovely old leather-bound books which I had stored in that cupboard to the right of the picture.

Despite almost continuous rainfall over the past three months, I have not had to mop dry the floor for at least two years.  It was time to lift the "carpet" of mouldy newspapers and start afresh.

It would be so lovely to sink my bare toes into a soft clean rug in the morning... instead of reaching for thick socks and outdoor shoes to negotiate the cracked tiles and concrete.

So today I set to with the Claypaint, and spent the entire day working my way round the walls, one by one.  I still need to tackle the bed-end of the room.  My bed is in the former milking shed, knocked through from the main farmhouse in the 1970's, creating this one much larger space.  It used to be a "granny flat".  In an ideal world I would have a sewing table in here, but FL won't be parted from the two big ugly armchairs which monopolise the floor.  As you probably guessed, they are heaped high with his stuff...

And do you see what's on the mantelpiece?
Yes, it's a radio.
Do you know how long it is since I let the music play?  FL can't bear to have music on unless he can really hear it (which is too loud for me), and I know he doesn't "get" modern music... unless you mean Bartok.  So I don't play "my" music anywhere except when I am alone in the car.
Don't get The Girl started on this subject.  She can't believe anyone can live without music.

And actually that was today's biggest revelation - I realised how much I missed having good old-fashioned Radio 2 playing while I worked.  It was lovely, bouncing around at the top of my ladder, singing along! So  even if I occasionally have to  relocate to the bedroom and leave FL in "splendid isolation" as he puts it, I reckon its worth suffering the "little boy lost" look for half an hour for the change in outlook it inspires in me!

Tomorrow?  Tomorrow is a sewing day.  I can't wait!

Oh... and you know my "ethical" cardigan?
Read the label.
"Made in China".
I tried SO HARD!  Was it made in the one and only ethical factory in China, or have I been duped again?

It is lovely.  I will wear it every day.
I don't have the energy to send it back.

Friday, August 03, 2012

A Change of Pace

OK, things have got to change around these parts.

I have noticed an increased level of "blog dependancy" in myself of late.  Rather than knit, I browse the internet to look at other people's knitting.  Rather than sew, I spend hours browsing Etsy for fresh pattern ideas... when I have a big box of unused inspiration.

And worst of all, I sit around waiting for people to comment on my blog... and think I have written something offensive / embarrassing when readers come and go without a word....  which is crap and I know it, because how often do I read a blog post and enjoy it and move on without throwing in my tuppence-worth?  Pretty often!

This is how it is:  next week, The Girl comes home for her last week with me before she leaves for Sixth Form College in London.  Until then, it's just me and FL and a dog called Hero... and that, my friends, is what my life will look like all the time pretty soon!  And I need to to get into some good habits NOW, before I find myself suffocating to death on the sofa with only my laptop cable peeking out from underneath a pile of FL's discarded newspapers.
So, today I want to make some plans.

Nothing too ambitious.

Just a collecting-together of things I want to do, places I want to go, books I want to read, films I want to see.

Thinking a little bit more long-term.  Buying that wooden ironing board to press my hand-embroidered linens upon.  Buying a fit-for-purpose receptacle to tackle the newspaper mountain, which is probably the biggest source of stress in my life.  I'm not kidding.

And consider the habits I want to get into:  EXERCISE!  Healthier eating.  Making my house into a home.  Finishing things I start.

All of which might lead to some changes on the blog as I try to make more of a life for myself.

I thought about taking the blog down altogether, but I think it will help me to document the ups and downs, as long as I am not just doing things in order to write about them.  I catch myself doing that sometimes, and it's no good!


Vintage ledger notebook available from Cabbages and Roses - I just might have to get one!

Newspaper collector and wooden ironing board from Torquato ...for the same cost as a new washing machine.  Scary.  But isn't it time to start thinking like an adult?  Buying good-quality items that will last me all my days?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Designer Approach: A Cardigan

In my quest for an ethically-acceptable RTW cardigan,  several commenters suggested I look at People Tree.  I did try there, but they all looked a bit too "hand-made" (yeah, I know - the irony!).  But it made me think I should explore a higher price-point than is my norm, and in the process I came across a number of smaller European "designer" labels whose hearts appear to be in the right place, many of which can be found at online shops like Fashion Conscience.  Sadly, the one I liked there was sold out, so I kept looking.
A small, "slower fashion" company does not have the same pressure to produce huge quantities of garments at minimal cost and high speed. They can afford to think a little more about how and where their clothes are manufactured.  Yes, it will cost more, but if they are already pitching their wares at a more affluent consumer, this is less of an issue.
Inevitably, if you slap the label "designer" on a garment, you are allowed to multiply the retail price by five because your customer-base is different.  I found myself exploring online shops I had never heard of, whose bricks-and-mortar shops are sited predominantly in the well-heeled post-codes of West London, shops I would never dare to venture inside because they are too darned posh.
But, hey, guess what - the summer sales are on!  It's the recession!  The really well-off are on their summer holidays in sunnier climes and everyone else is hiding from the Olympics.  What does this mean?  Potential bargains!
... and so it was that I found a cardigan.

Hello new cardigan!

Do not be swayed by the camera necklace (though I have to say I was delighted to discover it is part of the deal!).  What you have here is a classic mid-length navy v-neck cardigan with front patch pockets.  It is a neutral work-smart garment which I will wear to death, but whose high-quality quirky details save it from total anonymity.  Those are real leather buttons.  That striped back-neck-lining is lovely and also appears inside the pockets.  It is not pure wool but it looks like a firmly-knitted fabric and is hand-washable.

OK, cut to the chase girl, what are its ethics?

It comes from a small Amsterdam-based company formerly known as Scotch and Soda, but this cardi has the label "Maison Scotch".  I think it is worth quoting their ethical statement in full, because it is clear and straightforward, and after some thought, acceptable to me.  Really, it just sounds like commonsense - no flash community initiatives or microcredit deals for franchisees, just fair. 

They call it their "Code of Conduct":

"•All suppliers have to operate in compliance with the laws of the countries in which they operate.

•No supplier will engage in forced labour or labour which involves physical or mental abuse or any form of corporal punishment.

•Workers must not be younger than the age for working in any specific country and not less than 14 years, whichever is the greater.   I wondered about this one - but it is in line with the minimum UK working age.

•No discrimination shall be tolerated in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on gender, age, religion, race, disability, ethnic and national origin, union membership and/or sexual orientation.

•Wages and benefits must be fully comparable with local norms, must comply with all local laws and must conform to the general principle of fair and honest dealings. Illegal, unauthorized or disciplinary deductions from wages shall not be made.

•Suppliers must ensure that regular working hours or overtime do not exceed the legal maximum according to local law.

•Overtime hours are to be solely worked on a voluntary basis and to be paid at a premium rate.

•All workers should be free to join associations of their own choosing, and they should have the right to bargain collectively. Disciplinary actions against workers who choose peacefully and lawfully to organize or join an association are unacceptable.

•Suppliers must provide a safe and hygienic workplace to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or accruing in the course of work.

•Suppliers must ensure that products (fabrics, clothing articles, trimmings, packaging, hangers etc.) do not contain hazardous materials (incl. AZO-dyestuffs, PCP's, Cadmium, chrome, copper, formaldehyde, lead, nickel) in higher concentrations than permitted and/or as described in the production manual Scotch & Soda provides on a regular basis, whatever is the more stringent. Supplier must ensure to follow REACH Regulation.

•Supplier confirms that it will not, now or for future orders, use any production technique that involves sand-blasting or any other production technique that is directly harmful to the health of its workers.

•Supplier agrees to maintain on file such documentation as may be needed to demonstrate compliance with this Code of Conduct, and further agrees to make these documents available for Scotch & Soda or it's designated auditor's inspection upon request. Actual factory inspections would obviously be better.

•Procedures and standards for waste management, handling and disposure of chemicals and other dangerous materials, emissions and effluent treatment, must meet or exceed minimum legal requirements. "

Now, obviously I am trusting Scotch and Soda to carry out regular audits against these principles.  They might not! But I like the language of their Code of Conduct and elsewhere on their website.  They sound like honest people. 

And how much did this cost me?

£60 (reduced from £140 in the summer sale at FussyNation in Bayswater.)

That's less than a Boden bobble-tastic cardi, but about 5 times the price of a Primark special.  There is no way on this green earth that I was ever going to fork out £140 for a cardigan, but I can justify £60 if it lasts me several years without looking worn-out or "dated". 

Only time will tell if I have made a mistake.  But for now, I have done all I can to appease my conscience.

And now I need to get knitting so that this does not have to happen again!