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How to Elevate Your Basics with Trims & Appliques

Whether you call it upcycling or repurposing, I’m going to show you how to breathe life back into your basic wardrobe favorites! I’m not affraid to admit that I tend to hold on to some items longer than I should. We all have that one pair of jeans stuffed in the back of the dresser drawer that we don’t wear but refuse to get rid of! What about that one tee shirt that you wish had a little “something, something” to help  add some spice to your look? Well, with a little trim and appliques, you can upgrade just about anything! Let’s have some fun with a little DIY project sure to get your creative juices flowing! What basics are you planning to upgrade?

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Basic Tee

Trim, appliques, DIY, Update, Upcycle, DIY Tutorial

A basic blank tee shirt can be the perfect canvas for adding trim and appliques. Try to look for inpiration to help guide you through your creative process. Here’s how I took this simple black tee, and made it into a one-of-a-kind exclusive piece.

  1. After choosing my trim and appliques, I played around with a few different layouts before stitching anything down.
  2. Once I decided on a layout, I used a fabric marking pen to trace my desgn to indicate where I wanted everything to go.
  3. I use a little quick dry Tacky glue to hold some of my trim in place until I was able to hand stitch it down.

Trim, appliques, DIY, Update, Upcycle, DIY Tutorial

Purchase Materials Used Below:

Distressed Jeans

Trim, appliques, DIY, Update, Upcycle, DIY Tutorial

Distressed jeans have quickly made their way into the wardobe staples category. Everyone should own a good pair of distressed jeans! Jeans can be very pricey depending on the brand. The damaged and distressed look can hike up the price tage even more! Here’s how you can distress your own jeans and look like a rockstark without the hefty designer pricetag!

  1. First, fold your cardboard and insert it in the pant leg where you would like to make the distressed rips.
  2. Use your rotary cutter to make small slashings in the jeans.
  3. Use either a tweezer or straight pin to gently pull threads from the slashed opening to fray the outside edges.
  4. Keep fraying until your desired distressed look is achieved.
  5. Hand stitch a stunning mesh trim to the opening of the distressed areas. Include a chain detail for a one-of-a-kind look.

Trim, appliques, DIY, Update, Upcycle, DIY Tutorial

Purchase Materials Used Below:

Additional items needed:

  • Pair of jeans
  • Cardboard
  • Needle and thread

Solid Backpack

Trim, appliques, DIY, Update, Upcycle, DIY Tutorial

No outfit wouldn’t be complete without a matching bag! Try adding some trim and appliques to your solid backpack or purse to bring your look to the next level! Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you get started.

  • Make you you have a clean solid space to work with.
  • Plan out your layout before gluing or stitching anything dow.
  • Once you have you design maped out, glue trim, appliques, or patches to your bag and let the glue dry.
  • After everything has dried, you can now go in and hand stitch your appliques to your bag for a more permanent result.

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Additional items needed:

What items are you looking to show some love to? We’d love to hear your ideas on how you use trim and appliques to elevate your look!

The post How to Elevate Your Basics with Trims & Appliques appeared first on Mood Sewciety.

Made by a Fabricista: Cozy Wool Stripes

The more I sew with wool, the more I love it.  It presses so well, it’s easy to sew, and when the weather turns cooler, it has you covered!  I’ve been slowly adding more and more wool into my wardrobe from base layer tees, more scarves than I care to admit to, and even some wool workout gear.  This year’s goal was to make some wool garments for my lower half.
See, I’ve been terrified of doing just that for years because of my husband’s uncanny ability to shrink all my wool.  It’s so wonderful to have a hubby who helps with the laundry, but being a set it and forget it person, and me being a little careless myself with where I put my laundry, there have been more wool sacrificed to the washer than have lasted.  The last skirt I lost hurt–a navy one with swishy vintage lines that I had worked so hard to fit *perfectly* to me.  Until it got eaten in the wash.  I ugly cried over that one.  But this time, I’m determined!  As God is my witness, I’ll never shrink a skirt again!
That giant intro aside, for this month’s project, I turned to a favorite skirt pattern: Burda World of Fashion (pre Burdastyle!) 2-2007-113.  This is my 3rd time making this skirt.  I’ve previously made it in linen and also cotton double gauze.  I love the bias panels set into the skirt body.   The bias gives a lot of flow to the skirt and also some visual movement in the stripes of this cream and tan viscose/wool crepe.
I wear a lot of creams in cooler months, so I had plenty to pair it with including this fun asymmetric sweater I found at a consignment shop.  I need to fit the sweater a little for me, and I’d love to add a zipper to it’s big cowl, but I love the idea of the opposing stripes together.
This skirt comes together really quick with the exception of the hem.  Those 4 bias panels make a level skirt a little dicey.  This was my first time using the combination of my dress form and a vintage hem marker.  
I let the skirt hang for a day after making it to let the bias settle.  The yellow poly lining is cut on the bias too per the pattern, so I gave it a chance to hang as well.  
My dress form is a little less hippy than I am, so I had to anchor the skirt with pins so it was level before I started marking.  I will always use this method going forward though.  With the hem marker it took me about 10 minutes to add pins to the right length for my skirt.  Sure enough, the bias panels had dipped down further and were about 1/2″ longer than the straight grain portions of the skirt.  I then hand basted along the pin lines and used my thread as a pressing guide.  I basted my basted just to double check before cutting anything.  To my amazement, I had a respectably level skirt!
I’ve made skirts with bias bits before and gone through all sorts of acrobatics/monkey business to get a nice level hem.  I see now why people love those old hem markers!  They’re such a good tool!
I also paired it with one of my favorite tees.  It’s a supima cotton tee I refashioned from a RTW tee.  There’s a hummingbird applique that I added with some geometric stitching.  I often use this as a layering tee, so it’s nice to have a wardrobe buddy for it to wear on its own! 
When I had finished cutting everything I had one long strip running parallel to the selvage.  As I noted, I really dig wool scarves.  Colorado is cold and when it’s not particularly cold in spring/fall/winter, it is often windy.  A scarf is such a lifesaver of a garment for keeping me from turning into a little popsicle!
Bonus–because my very weird remnant of fabric was running along the selvage, I was able to cut a scarf that would make excellent fringe on the edges.  Fringe on cross grain edges is never quite as nice looking.  The wool fringed really easily, and I topped off each edge with some free form yoyos.
They’re a little different than circle yoyos.  I cut these from strips of the leftover fabric at whatever angle was available to me.  I gathered the top edge, then overlapped the edges to form a circle.  Because there’s just one layer of fabric, they’re a little less bulky than a traditional yoyo where the circle turns into basically a little drawstring bag in on itself when you gather the center.  
So that’s how I’ll be keeping warmer in the cool months.  Now I’ll just have to keep my skirt away from laundry doom!
How do you keep your wool garments from getting tossed in the wash?

Until next time!
~Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This
Sew something creative

northern tidings

it’s supposed to be the ‘happiest time of the year’, but the festive season has – justifiably so, really – come in for a lot of criticism over the past few years for it’s negative effect on collective mental health, as well as the environment. 

i’ve spent my own fair share of years bemoaning christmas festivities but i’ve made peace with the season in recent times, developing my own traditions and setting personal boundaries that allow me to enjoy the holidays in my own way without over-extending myself and risking burn-out. there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to this, so i’m afraid i won’t be departing too many pearls of wisdom in terms of how to achieve this peace of mind for yourself, the only thing i can recommend it really being mindful and considered in everything you agree to over the season, both from a financial and mental state of mind.

it would be easy to say that to avoid playing into the consumerism of the season you should just forgo buying any gifts and instead focus on spending quality time with your loved ones. this is something my friends and i have done for years now; spending the money we might have used for gifts on travelling from our four corners of the country to ensure we all spend time together in the run-up to the festive season, and on good food to enjoy together. but not everyone has the luxury of having loved ones nearby and i don’t think you need need to shun gift-giving entirely if the process is one that brings you joy, and in turn brings joy to the recipient.

there’s also a third-party in play when it comes to the joy of gift giving, and that is the person from whom you have purchased the gift – which doesn’t have to be a small business or independent maker either. the high street comes in for a huge amount of flack at this time of year, but i think its important to remember that your local high street retailers employs a large number of people from your region – including temporary staff over the holidays who don’t usually have permanent employment –  and the purchases you make in these stores can help give people a steady paycheck at a time of year, when every penny counts. having spent a number of years when i was younger working at a high street department store over christmas i know firsthand how hectic retail can be at this time of year, but also how important the holiday season is in keeping staff in secure employment for the rest of the year. things are rarely black and white in this world, and while it is so easy to paint high street retailers as villains and encourage everyone to shun them in favour of supporting smaller local businesses, the reality is they often contribute far more than you know to your local community. i’m a firm believer in supporting local makers and neighbourhood boutiques where you are able, but the most important thing is to be making to right purchasing decisions for you. 

ok, festive rant over. the items i’ve pulled together in this year’s guides come from the incredible wealth of northern-based designers, makers, craft extraordinaires and curated boutiques i’ve uncovered over the past few years living up here in manchester. i’ve written before about how i like to dedicate a good chunk of time to considering the people i’m shopping for this season, thinking about times we’ve spent together, things they’ve expressed interest in and anything they may have said that could spark an idea for a gift for them. all too often in the past i’ve just headed out to the shops without a clear idea of what i might want and been left bewildered and panicked trying to find something meaningful in the sea of shelves jammed with gift ideas.

so my advice is to set aside an evening, pour yourself a mug of something warming, light a candle, put on some music (festive, or otherwise) and take some time thinking about what you want this christmastime, who you want to share your festive cheer with and how best let them know how much they mean to you..

THE CLICHÉS

cedar (manchester)

Room 356 (Bolton)

old man & magpie (lancashire)

Ara the Altar (Manchester)

Ajoto (Manchester)

Just Mono Studio (Leeds)

Hello Day (Cheshire)

WXY Candles (Cheshire)

Trove (Manchester)

a lot of people consider scented candles to be a ‘lazy’ gift idea but they are often one of the first things i consider for my friends. most people i know like to throw a cheap scented candle from ikea in their trolley as they make their way around the marketplace, but would baulk at the idea of spending a little more on a premium quality locally-poured candle made with environmentally-friendly natural ingredients, because it feels a little too extravagant to indulge in for themselves.  to me these are the kind of things that make the perfect gift: luxury toiletries, a premium spirit, indulgent chocolate, fancy stationery. all of these make great gift ideas in my opinion, no matter how ‘cliché’ they may feel, because they are telling your loved ones that they are worth it. the same goes for jewellery, which i always think is a winner provided you’ve considered the aesthetic style of the recipient. it’s so easy to go wrong with jewellery but when you get it right, it really hits the spot. small independent makers are always a winner in my book because you have a great story to accompany the piece; from how you discovered the craftsmen to how you came to choose the piece you settled on. be sure to consider the usual style of jewellery your loved one usually wears, as well as the colour (gold, silver, copper etc.), and then let yourself be drawn to the maker or the piece you feel truly captures their spirit.

 

the originals

grey suit clay (sheffield)

pottery west (sheffield)

clay elm (liverpool)

Rebecca England (Manchester)

Anna-Lisa Smith (West Yorkshire)

Ruby Creagh (Yorkshire)

Rebecca Morris Ceramics (Manchester)

Studio Romuu (Manchester)

Nove Lighting (Macclesfield)

coffee cups are my weakness. i have a million of them (only a slight exaggeration) but if you find a beautiful handcrafted cup, believe me i’d be happy to receive it! one-of-a-kind contemporary ceramics are definitely my new go-to when it comes to unique gift ideas for my close friends and family, many of whom are just getting on the property ladder and have new homes to decorate. a quirky handcrafted original gift is always a fantastic way of letting your loved one know you consider them to be one-in-a-million too. there are loads of handcrafted makers markets happening all across the country in the coming weeks so my advice would definitely be to check local listings and head on down to be inspired by both the local craft and the artisans themselves, who will be out in force manning their stands. i can’t think of anything more festive them visiting a christmas market and strolling the aisles with a mug of mulled wine in hand, chatting away with the makers to discover their processes, inspirations and passion for their work. far more enjoyable that a scrummage in a department store any day!

 

small sentiments

Idaho (Altrincham)

Know the Origin (Warrington)

Nordic Muse (Manchester)

Attire Care (Manchester)

The Lakes Gin (Lake District)

Just Between Friends (Manchester)

Idaho (Altrincham)

Form Lifestyle Store (Manchester)

Object Style (Chorlton)

don’t underestimate the power of a good stocking filled with goodies on christmas morning, or a small ‘secret santa’ gifting scheme in your workplace. a lot of the time people overlook small gifts as insignificant because they don’t believe they can find anything of value under, let’s say, £10, but i disagree. its really not about the price of a gift, but the thought behind it. many of my most memorable and cherished gifts were handmade by loved ones, but if you’ve not quite got the crafty genes (or the time) there are still plenty of fabulous small gifts that can be just as gratefully received. whether it’s something small and decorative, or small and functional, as long as you’ve considered your purchase and the reasons why your recipient will love it, you’ll be fine. colourful resin jewellery, a posh bar of chocolate, beautifully scented incense, a quirky key ring. i once bought a multi-pack of candy canes and gave one to every person i worked with (department store days, I had 50+ colleagues!) each tied-up with a little bow, and felt satisfied i had spread some festive cheer amongst my team.

it’s the thought and intention that counts, my friends!

The post northern tidings appeared first on fabric of my life | UK interior design, lifestyle & travel blog.

Made by a Fabricista: Mad for Olive

Happy Fall Everyone!  
Where I live, we typically have a beautiful fall, except for this year.  It’s pretty much been non-existent but that hasn’t stopped me from making some fall tops in trendy colors.  
For this months post, I knew I wanted to use Olive green and I knew I wanted a cosy knit.  I found this lovely fabric in the ITY knit section.  Isn’t that color so pretty?  
Here’s the link to the fabric: Olive ITY knit

Yes, I am back to indoor photos.  It was just above 30 degrees today and the wind was howling.

I make a lot of flat pattern measurements before I start.  With this pattern, I knew it would be snug across the back shoulder area, so I widened that area for a total of an inch.  This is a typical adjustment for me when I use StyleArc patterns.  
I spend a lot of time on my necklines and hemlines.  I used this notion from FM’s site: SewkeysE-White-Fusible-Knit-Stay-Tape-Interfacing.  It’s sold in various widths and for necklines I use 1/2″ tape.  I also used 1/2″ on the hemlines.  Simply fuse the tape, stitch the neckband on, turn, and topstitch.  

This knit is so soft and it behaved so well when I was sewing it together. 
The pattern I used is the Oakley Knit Tunic from Style Arc.  I thought it would be perfect for this fabric.  I think it was a very wise choice!  
Oakley Knit Tunic By Style Arc - Tunic top featuring a panelled swing back and a 7/8th length sleeve with optional tie.
This went together fast and I love the style of it.  It’s perfect for an ITY knit, and those sleeves!  Aren’t they clever?  They are simply a button hole with a tie that goes through it and is tied.  So simple yet so fun.

This top deserved a fun and colorful scarf, so I used a fun knit stripe to make one.

Here’s a link to the fabric: crochet knit

This project literally took less than ten minutes.  Cut a piece of fabric the width of the fabric and about 1/2 yard wide (at least).

Sew the short sides of the piece together with right sides together.  Next, sew the long edges together leaving about a 2″ opening.

Flip the entire thing right side out and stitch the opening closed.  That’s it.

I love my new top and scarf!
Thanks for reading!
Sue from Ilove2sew!

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!

Here’s a tool which shows you which stations you can reach on direct trains from every station in Great Britain

The Duchess of Cambridge meets Paddington bear. Image: Getty.

Have you ever wanted to know exactly which other stations you can reach on a direct train from Basingstoke? Go on, own up, you have, haven’t you?

Well, Tom Forth – thinker, data-wrangler, professional northerner, and author of some of the most interesting articles we’ve ever run on CityMetric – Is here for you. Earlier this week, he tweeted this:

And reader, he did not resist. He instead used publicly available timetable data to build a “reachable stations” tool, which allows you to click on any station in Great Britain, and instantly see where you can go without changing.

And if you’re in Basingstoke, you’ll be pleased to hear, you have options:

But you have more options if you’re starting at Birmingham New Street:

Here’s Liverpool Lime Street:

Other places, such as Hull, are served by a narrower range of trains, presumably because they’re a) smaller and b) a bit out of the way:

You can also use the tool to see the difference in service patterns from cities’ different stations. Compare Manchester Piccadilly, from which trains run all over the country:

…to Manchester Victoria, from which they mainly serve the north:

Honestly, I could keep doing this for hours. Probably will, too.

The tool isn’t perfect. It doesn’t label the stations – you have to zoom in on the map to work out what you’re looking at (when I clicked Basingstoke, I genuinely thought it was Reading). And sometimes the data is formatted unhelpfully in the databases from which Tom is drawing – there are currently two London Bridges for some reason:

But it’s still a fascinating tool, if you’re a rail nerd which obviously you are, so go have a play.


Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.

See Where You Ranked in the Gingerbread Houses Design Challenge

 See Where You Ranked in the Gingerbread Houses Design Challenge | Spoonflower Blog

1. 317 votes for Christmas Gingerbread Village – Large Scale – Gingerbread House Xmas Winter Holiday by heatherdutton
2. 280 votes for gingerbreadhouse by gaiamarfurt
3. 262 votes for gingerbread village by mirabelleprint
4. 261 votes for vintage gingerbread town by scrummy
5. 261 votes for Gingerbread Houses by lifes_peachey
6. 256 votes for Holiday Gingerbread Neighborhood by m_harrison_design
7. 242 votes for Gingerbread Homestead by nanshizzle
8. 240 votes for Sugar and spice and everything nice by kostolom3000
9. 240 votes for Gingerbread House by emikundesigns
10. 218 votes for Gingerbread house by adenaj
11. 211 votes for Mid Century Retro Gingerbread Houses by juliagreenillustration
12. 211 votes for gingerbread bird houses by designed_by_debby
13. 200 votes for Holiday Gingerbread House – DarkTeal by oppositedge
14. 200 votes for Gingerbread_Town-01 by mariana_valladares
15. 198 votes for Gingerbread Houses and Gnomes by irina_skaska
16. 197 votes for Waiting for a fairy tale by sandra_bereg
17. 197 votes for Gingerbread Chicken Coop by katie_hayes
18. 190 votes for Swedish Gingerbread by heyletsgetmikey
19. 190 votes for Gingerbread Village by cynthiafrenette
20. 189 votes for Gingerbread Houses by leilaandpostudio
21. 187 votes for Gingerbread Houses and Christmas Florals – Navy Background by squirrelcoffee
22. 186 votes for Mid Century Gingerbread Houses by ceciliamok
23. 185 votes for Arctic Gingerbread-ville by helenpdesigns
24. 183 votes for Gingerbread village with candy by heleen_vd_thillart
25. 177 votes for Gingerbread Igloos by justcallmecameron
26. 175 votes for Gingerbread Houses by cjldesigns
27. 175 votes for Gingerbread Cats and Houses by boszorka
28. 172 votes for Edible Town by studio_amelie
29. 169 votes for Gingerbread Farm by rebelform
30. 165 votes for Gingerbread House and Cookies by morecandyshop
31. 165 votes for Whimsical Gingerbread Christmas Village // normal scale // blue and brown by selmacardoso
32. 164 votes for MaisonEpices by jaunepop
33. 159 votes for Gingerbread houses in the woods by ellila
34. 159 votes for gingerbread village large by panimoni
35. 159 votes for Gingerbread Candy Land by lidiebug
36. 158 votes for Gingerbread Village (vintage)50 by chicca_besso
37. 156 votes for Gingerbread Adobe Houses by byre_wilde
38. 154 votes for Sweet little Christmas by circe_oropeza
39. 150 votes for Gingerbread on Aqua by oliveandruby
40. 149 votes for Sweetest Home by aliz_arteta
41. 146 votes for WINTER WONDERLAND GINGERBREAD TOWN by shellypenko
42. 145 votes for Gingerbread Lane by jaimecromer
43. 143 votes for Gingerbread House Snow Globes by michele_norris
44. 139 votes for Gingerbread Lane by fabric_rocks
45. 139 votes for Gingerbread Village by groovity
46. 139 votes for Gingerbread and Eggnog by hollycejeffriess
47. 138 votes for gingerbread winter village by bamokreativ
48. 137 votes for Gingerbread Forest by scarlette_soleil
49. 136 votes for candy house town by glitterstreet
50. 135 votes for ginger sweets by mil_papeles
51. 135 votes for Gingerbread Houses and Sweets Candies by silvia_mangiacavallo
52. 134 votes for Gingerbread village by gemmacosgroveball
53. 134 votes for Gingerbread House Cookies by penguinhouse
54. 134 votes for Let it Snow – Gingerbread Town – Blue by new_branch_studio
55. 134 votes for Gingerbread Houses in the snow – Navy by cecca
56. 132 votes for Christmas gingerbread houses by whimsical_brush
57. 130 votes for Vintage Gingerbread Campers ©studioxtine by studioxtine
58. 129 votes for Frosty Village by lisa_kubenez
59. 129 votes for Glorious Gingerbread by bethschneider
60. 127 votes for Shhhh, the Quiet Gingerbread Village by vo_aka_virginiao
61. 124 votes for Gingerbread House Bunny Hop by rosalindmaroneyillustration
62. 120 votes for Gingerbread Houses by bluemoondesign
63. 120 votes for amsterdam houses by torysevas
64. 119 votes for Gingerbread Village by robyriker
65. 119 votes for Gingerbread winter landscape by magic_pencil
66. 118 votes for Gingerbread Bird Houses by vintage_style
67. 118 votes for Gingerbread houses by snarets
68. 118 votes for Gingerbread Houses // Festive Christmas Holiday Cheer by emily_caraballo
69. 117 votes for Ginger Bread Town by trace_of_colour
70. 117 votes for Gingerbread Houses 01 by hotpinkstudio
71. 116 votes for Gingerbread houses by nicsquirrell
72. 116 votes for Cookie town by katerina_kirilova
73. 116 votes for Gingerbread dog houses by ringele
74. 114 votes for Candyland by farijazz
75. 108 votes for Ginger bread houses in the village skandi colour scheme by susyrdesign
76. 107 votes for Gingerbread village by ikerpazstudio
77. 106 votes for christmasoranges by audrey_jo
78. 103 votes for 6D0D84E5-2E11-4007-B25D-287D92A577E2 by melissaknapp
79. 103 votes for Gingerbread Village by nadyabasos
80. 102 votes for Peppermint village 18×18 by leroyj
81. 102 votes for Gingerbread Neighborhood by innamoreva
82. 102 votes for GingerBread Creature Comforts by lise_sen
83. 102 votes for Gingerbread Village by little_shot_of_happy
84. 101 votes for Gingerbread houses in the snow by aliciacambridge
85. 100 votes for Gingerbread Village by annewashere
86. 100 votes for Ginger world by talanaart
87. 100 votes for Gingerbread Lane by julistyle
88. 98 votes for gingerbread houses by nanamira
89. 98 votes for Gingerbread by ramarama
90. 96 votes for Santa Claus Gingerbread House by gnoppoletta
91. 95 votes for Geometric Gingerbread by sarahparr
92. 95 votes for Gingerbread Dreams by joannadee
93. 95 votes for gingerbread by kh_textiles
94. 93 votes for Gingerbread House Roof by colour_angel_by_kv
95. 93 votes for Gingerbread Houses Pattern – Blue by dawsurfacedesign
96. 91 votes for Gingerbread Town in the Snow by norcadesign
97. 91 votes for gingerbread house-edlund by catharina_edlund
98. 90 votes for GingerbreadFairiesLg by blairfully_made
99. 90 votes for Winter Gingerbread Hamlet Large Scale by winkeltriple
100. 88 votes for Spectacular Speculaas by slumbermonkey
101. 88 votes for Gingerbread houses in snowy forest by movezerb
102. 88 votes for Gingerbread Town by 51st_and_maxwell
103. 86 votes for Gingerbread Houses by heather_hughes
104. 86 votes for gingerbread village candy delight by magentarosedesigns
105. 86 votes for Gingerbread Architect by lellobird
106. 85 votes for Gingerbread Town by ksharpstudio
107. 84 votes for Gingerbread_Houses by jill_o_connor
108. 81 votes for Gingerbread Window by kimruss@thatcatart
109. 80 votes for Gingerbread House Roof by elliottdesignfactory
110. 80 votes for Iced Gingerbread Houses by mgdoodlestudio
111. 80 votes for Gingerbread Shack Skegs Shells Shakas by honoluludesign
112. 79 votes for Let’s Make a Gingerbread House by kelly_korver
113. 79 votes for Gingerbread Village by vinpauld
114. 79 votes for Gingerbread Greenhouses and Terrariums by irishvikingdesigns
115. 78 votes for Gingerbread Bird Houses with Winter Birds ©Jennifer Garrett by jennifer_todd
116. 77 votes for Snow Gingerbread house – XL by pakanta_handmade
117. 76 votes for Gingerbread Houses Teal Background by reneeciufo
118. 76 votes for Gingerbreads Yellow by xoxotique
119. 76 votes for gingerbread village by kelsi_designs
120. 73 votes for Christmas gingerbread village by elena_naylor
121. 73 votes for Gingerbread Alpine Village large scale by happy_by_design
122. 72 votes for gingerbread houses star cookies by handypanda
123. 72 votes for Gingerbread Cottages on Pink by salzanos
124. 72 votes for Candy land by amyjacobusdesign
125. 71 votes for gingerbread bird houses on grey by florodoro
126. 70 votes for Gingerbread Castles by sombrasblancas
127. 70 votes for Gingerbread Runner by soulyautographed
128. 70 votes for Iced Gingerbread Shingles © Autumn Musick 2019 by autumn_musick
129. 68 votes for Gingerbread village by mellie’s
130. 68 votes for Sweet holidays by avisnana
131. 68 votes for gingerbread village by swoldham
132. 68 votes for gingerbreadHouse-01 by amywilliamsdesign
133. 67 votes for Gingerbread Bird Houses by miart
134. 67 votes for Holiday Cookies – © Lucinda Wei by lucindawei
135. 67 votes for Friztin_GingerbreadHouses_MASTER by friztin
136. 66 votes for Gingerbread city by cat_hayward
137. 66 votes for Gingerbread houses, red (large scale) by sveta_aho
138. 66 votes for GingerbreadFrenzy by juliesfabrics
139. 66 votes for Gingerbread Wonderland (Festive) by brendazapotosky
140. 65 votes for Holly Jolly Gingerbread by taranealart
141. 65 votes for gingerbread house mug huggers by cleorie_designs
142. 65 votes for Gingerbread Carousel by pinkowlet
143. 64 votes for Gingerbread Town by abbilaura
144. 64 votes for Gingerbread Village by writtenbykristen
145. 63 votes for gingerbread village on green knit by michaelakobyakov
146. 63 votes for Gingerbread garden by dariara
147. 63 votes for Gingerbread house pattern by simut
148. 61 votes for vintage gingerbread trailers by lilcubby
149. 61 votes for gingerbread village (ef) by analinea
150. 61 votes for Layered Gingerbread Houses by claireandlucia
151. 60 votes for gingerbread houses by avot_art
152. 60 votes for Gingerbread Forest by milaandwillow
153. 60 votes for Gingerbred houses by denesannadesign
154. 58 votes for Gingerbread Neighborhood by anneostroff
155. 58 votes for Gingerbread City by amy_maccready
156. 58 votes for Little Pink Houses by kittenmoonstudio
157. 58 votes for Gingerbread-01-01 by klynnludwig
158. 58 votes for Gingerbird Houses by harmonycornwell
159. 57 votes for Sweet Cozy by chris_jorge
160. 57 votes for Gingerbread Houses by clementine_designs
161. 57 votes for Gingerbread Village by katie-anne
162. 56 votes for Chris house by anna_winsnes
163. 56 votes for Gingerbread village by gkumardesign
164. 55 votes for Winter houses by maria_galybina
165. 55 votes for Gingerbread Farmhouse by susan_long
166. 55 votes for Gingerbread Wonderland by emily_christensen
167. 55 votes for LH_Gingerbread Pattern by lexiharris
168. 55 votes for Gingerbread village by orangeroselab
169. 54 votes for Gingerbread House Blueprints by ArtfulFreddy by artfulfreddy
170. 54 votes for Hello Little Robins by sweet_sisters
171. 54 votes for Gingered Woods by jjtrends
172. 54 votes for Small town vibes by everhigh
173. 54 votes for Gingerbread Houses by heckadoodledo
174. 54 votes for XmasGingerbread by beverley_glanville
175. 54 votes for Gingerbread cottages by drawfaring
176. 53 votes for Gingerbread Forest by pattern_prints_repeat
177. 53 votes for Gingerbread Cottages on blue raspberry by ms__contrary
178. 53 votes for Cookie Town / Gingerbread house Neighborhood by franbail
179. 53 votes for Ginger “Bird” Houses by cottonstitchesco
180. 52 votes for Gingerbread houses in the snow by diseminger
181. 52 votes for Gingerbread houses on teal background by juliahartsoe
182. 52 votes for gingerbread garden by dragonli
183. 52 votes for Snowy Gingerbread Houses by sarah_nielsen
184. 52 votes for Gingerbread with icing by nina_leth
185. 52 votes for Ginger Hood by orangefancy
186. 52 votes for Gingerbread Deconstructed by lierre
187. 51 votes for Gingerbread winter by kat-designs
188. 51 votes for Gingerbread Houses by edrouga
189. 51 votes for Gingerbread Houses by cassandra_riley
190. 50 votes for g11-copy by karena_rozin
191. 50 votes for Ginger village by isio_rizado
192. 50 votes for Watercolor Desert Gingerbread Village // Holiday Houses with Saguaro Cacti, Poinsetta, Snowflakes, Glitter // Mid-Century Modern, Retro, Vintage Christmas by zirkus_design
193. 49 votes for Gingerbread Beach Huts by bitter&jaded
194. 49 votes for Gingerbread Pattern by svetlana_kononova
195. 49 votes for Rats making gingerbread house by tossaniska
196. 48 votes for Rainbow Gingerbread Houses by eternalsummerhawaii
197. 47 votes for christmas town by kay’s_illustrations
198. 47 votes for Gingerbread Birdhouse Budgies by mountvicandme
199. 47 votes for gingerbreadpastels by birdie_lane_designs
200. 47 votes for Gingerbread Birdhouses by boundingsquirrel
201. 46 votes for Southwest Arizona Desert Gingerbread Adobe House by vagabond_folk_art
202. 46 votes for Gingerbread village by nagorerodriguezdesign
203. 46 votes for Gingerbread Houses by lemon_chiffon
204. 45 votes for GingieTeaPot by benoot_art_and_design
205. 45 votes for gingerbread block by fleabat
206. 45 votes for Cozy Gingerbread Cottage by jenniferparent
207. 45 votes for Gingerbread House Christmas Time by nadia_to_art
208. 44 votes for Gingerbread houses by sziszigraphics
209. 44 votes for Gingerbread Holidays Te x 99t you copy will automatically show here by flixydoodles
210. 44 votes for Gingerbread street stripes by marlenewagenhofer_art
211. 43 votes for Gingerbread Spice Cityscape by viktorcraft
212. 43 votes for Sweet Life of watercolor by isamelisa
213. 43 votes for Gingerbread Pets by happytownart
214. 43 votes for build-it-ginger by wren_leyland
215. 42 votes for snowy gingerbread lane by boots_and_belly
216. 42 votes for Gingerbread cottages by rachelmacdonald
217. 41 votes for gingerbread happy on pink by miraparadies
218. 41 votes for Gingerbeard Houses Purple by bruxamagica
219. 41 votes for Gingerbread Happy by teawithxanthe
220. 41 votes for gingerbreaddarkbrown-01 by cathleenbronsky
221. 41 votes for gingerbread cookie fiesta by kate_dunne
222. 40 votes for Gingerbread house village by lisakling
223. 40 votes for Gingerbread Houses blue by mirimo_design
224. 40 votes for Christmas in the city by veata_atticus_store
225. 40 votes for Gingerbread Snowflakes by beckarahn
226. 40 votes for Prancing over Gingerbread dk green by lorloves_design
227. 40 votes for actual sizing by drplagueart
228. 39 votes for Gingerbread_Pattern-02-02 by ehansondesign
229. 39 votes for SF Gingerbread Offset by wbbeardie
230. 38 votes for Wonder 2019 by catherine_hopkins_designs
231. 38 votes for Gingerbread Midnight Forest by lucysconway
232. 38 votes for Gingie’s Fancy Houses by buns_&_bubbles
233. 38 votes for New Home New Family Gingerbread Man Wife by mariastar
234. 38 votes for Cookies and Spice 1 by annavonaard
235. 38 votes for gingerbreadhouse by pixabo
236. 37 votes for Gingerbread Outhouse by argyleimp
237. 37 votes for Gingerbread Houses by mistletoe_art
238. 37 votes for Gingerbread House by victoria_massey_design
239. 36 votes for Gingerbread town by dominika_fasciszewska
240. 36 votes for GINGERBREAD VILLAGE by blue_platypus_fabrics
241. 36 votes for Gingerbread House Village by bdarbydesigns
242. 35 votes for Happy Ginger Village by leicorredor
243. 35 votes for Gingerbread Cookies on Teal Gingham by marcy_horswill_design
244. 35 votes for Gingerbread Lane by handmade_joy
245. 35 votes for Gingerbread Town-kimBLiSS by kimbliss
246. 34 votes for LOGCABINS-01 by katemcclure
247. 34 votes for Gingerbread Houses by helga_scandinavus
248. 33 votes for A gingerbread village by bycornelia
249. 33 votes for Gingerbread Christmas House on Pink by 13moons_design
250. 33 votes for Gingerbread_ by notbrownplaid
251. 32 votes for Glitter Gingerbread Cookies by koko_bun
252. 32 votes for Gingerbread Village by what’s_in_hollye’s_head
253. 32 votes for Gingy Christmas Houses by mformagpie
254. 31 votes for Christmas gingerbread by mitrushovaart
255. 31 votes for gingerbread houses and man by marta_strausa
256. 31 votes for eKenneally Gingerbread City by ekenneally
257. 31 votes for christmas_eco_seasmless1 by koelschartlab
258. 31 votes for Gingerbreads (on dark blue) by ruthenia
259. 31 votes for GingerHousePatternTileDark by ljudmilakopecka
260. 31 votes for Gingerbread Street by mary_lou_warren
261. 31 votes for Christmas rats by inna_alborova
262. 31 votes for Gingerbread Village by createmyworld
263. 30 votes for Festive Ginger Bread Houses by artonfabric
264. 30 votes for Gingerbread Street by leffka
265. 30 votes for Geometric Ginger Bread Print by genebrown
266. 30 votes for Sweet houses by kondratya
267. 29 votes for 09350642 : © gingerbread houses by sef
268. 29 votes for gingerbread houses by by_mountain_by_sea
269. 29 votes for Lebkuchenhaus 10 by ruthjohanna
270. 29 votes for Gingerbread House Village by jolynart
271. 29 votes for Gingerbread Town by dorinus_illustrations
272. 29 votes for Gingerbread City by veronicasalvioni
273. 28 votes for iced gingerbread houses by rysunki_malunki
274. 28 votes for gingerbread sweeties by nora_semenova
275. 28 votes for Pink gingerbread icing by tiffanyagam
276. 27 votes for Gingerbread house, cookies, Christmas by taningreen
277. 27 votes for dutch gingerbread red by dessineo
278. 27 votes for Gingerbread Dogs and Their Houses by illucalliart
279. 27 votes for Ginger village by vilmosvarga
280. 26 votes for Gingerbread Village by sweetseasonsart
281. 26 votes for Gingerbread Icing by cote_house_design
282. 26 votes for Gingerbreads by dolcheta
283. 26 votes for Alaska Gingerbread Igloos by snow_bird_designs
284. 26 votes for Gingerbreadhouses by stoffdoktor
285. 26 votes for Home Sweet Home by chickensandwallfulls
286. 25 votes for Gingerbread houses in rosa by prinzessin_auf_dem_hof
287. 25 votes for Gingerbread Biscuit by seesawboomerang
288. 25 votes for Gingerbread Village by thewellingtonboot
289. 24 votes for Gingerbread Town by harrietharkerdesigns
290. 23 votes for 750747C5-17B5-49F2-A315-63D0FAD06F39 by nlcreative
291. 23 votes for F42A2F42-9D60-4FDA-BE9C-ACA6B8FC4946 by abbeyrow
292. 22 votes for Gingerbread Family Christmas by bravenewart
293. 22 votes for Ginger bread print by anne_hvidt
294. 22 votes for GingerBreadHouses-01 by danny’sremakeremodel
295. 22 votes for Gingerbread Village by anniemontgomerydesign
296. 20 votes for Cookie Cutter Construction by newyearpatterns
297. 20 votes for pastel gingerbread house by kela_designs
298. 20 votes for Gingerbread Sweet Shoppe Deluxe by tammyleebradley
299. 20 votes for Gingerbread by hayleyblythedesigns
300. 20 votes for sweet gingerbreadhouses taupe by lamalou_design
301. 20 votes for Gingerbread Men by ericam1028
302. 20 votes for gingerbread lights-01 by emma_by_design
303. 20 votes for Gingerbread Cookies by rivlo
304. 19 votes for Winter Gingerbread Home by melanderdesigns
305. 19 votes for YLE_Pattern_Assignment_Start by katy_le
306. 19 votes for Gingerbread Village by anissa_craig
307. 18 votes for Gingerbread + Peppermint by keatsyeats
308. 18 votes for Bringing Home the Gingerbread by adorablewatercolors
309. 18 votes for Ginger Bread Houses PNG 3 by herbal_things
310. 18 votes for Gingerbread Castle Lovers at Midnight by gracelillydesigns
311. 18 votes for F3FEBA06-5E6B-4661-9CC5-DBFA6CE17D2F by sprouts_n_sketches
312. 17 votes for GingerBread Men on Mint by tiffanyaryee
313. 17 votes for Gingerbread beach huts by rapunzelle_design
314. 17 votes for gingerbread wonderland by melanio
315. 17 votes for Gingerbread Houses by jadegordon
316. 16 votes for Gingerbread Village by megmarchiando
317. 16 votes for Christmas Cheer Gingerbread Man by pampering_for_paupers
318. 16 votes for gingerbreads sp by minyanna
319. 16 votes for Gingerbread Houses by meredith_watson
320. 16 votes for Gingerbread House by suse_kopp
321. 16 votes for Adobe Gingerbread House with Gum Drops by kandyceartstudio
322. 16 votes for Gingerbread House Outlines by jeneta
323. 15 votes for Gingerbread house by erymis
324. 15 votes for In a Gingerbread World by edsel2084
325. 15 votes for Gingerbread House by kingery
326. 14 votes for gingerbread drop 3 10xgreenSF150 by sheri42
327. 14 votes for Hut in the woods by j_buchanan_art
328. 14 votes for MY DREAM GINGERBREAD CRISTMAS HOME green by melt_bluebell&rose
329. 14 votes for TARS Project 542 Gingerbread House by bohobear
330. 14 votes for Haunted Gingerbread House low-res by serenity_ii
331. 14 votes for Gingerbread Cottage Holiday by nancy_lee_moran_designs
332. 13 votes for White Trash Christmas by whyitsme_design
333. 13 votes for Zaanse Gingerbread by hahndiek_creative
334. 13 votes for Hawaiian Gingerbread Tiki Hut by kedoki
335. 13 votes for gingerbread village by paprica_studio
336. 13 votes for Run run as fast as you can by chipperandperk
337. 13 votes for Gingerbread House in Pink by twelvelittletales
338. 13 votes for JOLLY TIME by lulu-mimi
339. 12 votes for Christmas Gingerbread Houses by uponthemountain
340. 12 votes for Christmass Houses by maryamaziz
341. 12 votes for Gingerbread house envy by lkm3s
342. 12 votes for Gingerbread Townhouses by cynbog
343. 12 votes for Little Gingerbread Houses by nalsu
344. 12 votes for Gingerbread-01 by maddiethemaker
345. 11 votes for winter scene gingerbread by zaramaisie
346. 11 votes for Gingerbread Houses and Snowflakes by hmooreart
347. 11 votes for Gingerbread House Polka Dots by emilypatriquin
348. 10 votes for bent_line_designs’s letterquilt-ed by bent_line_designs
349. 10 votes for Gingerbread Houses Around the World on Blue Snowy Glitter by fabric_is_my_name
350. 10 votes for 3E8AED18-8EF1-41B0-BDAF-31CD06823FE9 by taida_design
351. 10 votes for Carnival Gingerbread Street party! by theitsiegypsy
352. 10 votes for Sugar cookie witch + gingerbread cottage by sparkleworks
353. 10 votes for Candies by sarah_jane_asplund
354. 9 votes for Gingerbread houses by pennyroyal
355. 9 votes for The German Gingerbread Home by csturges
356. 9 votes for Gingerbread Neighbourhood by amaparker
357. 9 votes for Gingerbread Sand Castle by sohankhalsacreative
358. 9 votes for Gingerbread House by little_gray_monster
359. 9 votes for Gingerbread House by dizzybeedesigns
360. 9 votes for Three Little Pigs & Their Gingerbread Houses by kristachan
361. 8 votes for GingerbreadHouseJJ by sherry-savannah
362. 8 votes for winter_gingerbread house by isabella_asratyan
363. 8 votes for foam gingerbread by opalia
364. 8 votes for Gingerbread Treehouse Woodland by starlene_designs
365. 8 votes for ginger-bread-christmas-22x18in-new by gifts_4_all
366. 7 votes for double ginger bread by kae50
367. 7 votes for Gingerbread Homes by fox_&_shrew_co
368. 7 votes for gingerbread-blue by k_tolman
369. 7 votes for Gingerbread3 by grannynan
370. 7 votes for BE6D5511-5532-4D06-BF2B-9E07633286DB by srivatsava
371. 6 votes for Gingerbread by how-store
372. 6 votes for Making Gingerbread Houses by anobledesigner
373. 6 votes for Haunted Gingerbread by twilfley
374. 6 votes for Gingerbread Houses and Huts Village-Kaorina style by kaorinadesigns
375. 6 votes for All Things Nice by tigerbeetle
376. 6 votes for alpine villages by sue_halstead_
377. 5 votes for home town-01-ch-ch-ch by lucy_feeney
378. 5 votes for Sweet, sweet house by veve3
379. 5 votes for Gingerbread House Fun by krisstoyer
380. 5 votes for Gingerbread Townhouse by dreamcustomartwork
381. 5 votes for Ginger everything! by creative_kitty
382. 5 votes for C67CBEA5-ED8C-438D-B1E5-776A392577F3 by givenday
383. 4 votes for SNOWFLAKE PATTERN-07 by killian16d
384. 3 votes for Micanopy (FL) MOO by valerie_dortona
385. 3 votes for Candy Land by meganne_jarvie
386. 3 votes for Lebkuchenhaus by g-franziska-m
387. 2 votes for Hansel and Gretal by lori-reid
388. 2 votes for gingerbread heart house purple by nijibeat
389. 2 votes for Gingerbread Town by DulciArt,LLC by dulciart,llc
390. 2 votes for gingerbread house cookie on peppermint stick stripes by victorialasher
391. 2 votes for Gingerbread houses by plumblues

Community power is a hopeful new vision for the future of Britain. Shame the party manifestos will ignore it

Preston bus station. Image: Getty.

Produced by a political elite in a state of confused panic, the election manifestos stand as a pretty good metaphor for what passes for democracy in the UK these days. Inevitably, they will miss a major trend which, if only their authors knew it, has great potential to address our deepest divisions and challenges. 

It is a trend emerging on the frontline of cash-strapped public services. It can be found in thousands of voluntary initiatives springing up around the UK. It is there in a plethora of micro-economic enterprises. It can be read about in the writings of a handful of thinkers whose number is growing.

And like all the best political visions it is remarkably simple. So simple in fact that just two words sum it up: community power. Or if you prefer a little more detail: it is the idea that local communities and networks need to take the initiative to solve their own social and economic challenges sometimes with, but just as often without, the help of the state.

The instances of community power are growing so rapidly and working their way into so many different areas of life that any attempt to list them risks being woefully incomplete. But here goes.

Within the public sector there is now a welter of initiatives designed to challenge paternalistic ways of working by handing power over to communities. Let’s name just three. In Morecambe Bay, key parts of the NHS such as communications and diabetes care are now run by the local community. In a new school in Doncaster networks of students are designing their own learning in close collaboration with the wider community. Cambridgeshire County Council is completely rethinking its services so that neighbourhoods get to shape how social care is delivered – an approach also transforming services in Wigan, Gateshead, Islington, Camden and others.


The voluntary sector is home to one of the most radical initiatives where the Local Trust is handing out one million pounds of Big Lottery money to each of the 150 most deprived neighbourhoods to spend as they see fit with no strings attached. An approach that has led to hundreds of community power initiatives ranging from anti-loan shark movements to litter-picking teams. Local Trust is now seeking to go even bigger by bringing pressure on the Government to use billions of pounds in dormant assets in the same way.

Community power also reaches into the economic realm. In recent years, people have established thousands of community businesses – motivated more by the desire to meet local social challenges than to generate profit. Many have been set up with the help of local councils putting unused buildings, theatres or libraries into community hands. Many more have been launched with the help of social investment or grants and support from groups like Power to Change.

This approach is also seeing transforming local economic policy. Preston Council has inspired many other councils with its idea of community wealth building. And councils and many others are increasingly recognising that the revival of their high streets and town centres is to be found not in standard retail but in creating spaces for communities to solve their biggest challenges.

The causes of this burgeoning community power movement are multiple: the increasingly apparent impotence of Westminster politics to address everyday problems; the need to move to more humane, holistic public services that prevent rather than simply treat crisis; the growing sense that the solution to climate change may be a re-localisation of our economy. Maybe people have simply decided to make “take back control” mean something more than a convenient campaign slogan for over-ambitious Old Etonians.

There is a growing realisation that the people delivering community power are part of a wider movement. That new self-awareness can be seen in the popularity of recent publications such as the New Local Government Network report, The Community Paradigm, or Hilary Cottam’s Radical Help  and the much more established work of Elinor Ostrom. The self-awareness also stretches well beyond the UK in the form of the New Municipalism – a mixture of ideas and increasingly networked practical initiatives that is inspiring community power in places as diverse as Barcelona, Sao Paulo and even Frome.

So, if in the midst of this uniquely pessimistic election, you are seeking a spring or two of hope, you can find them in thousands of increasingly networked local, autonomous solutions. They remind us that our real power as humans is not found in the confected division of high politics but within communities that solve problems together.

Adam Lent is director of the New Local Government Network.

Made by a Fabricista: Cozy Loungewear

It’s November and time to get cozy inside!  We had our first snow on Halloween in about 30 years, which I’m taking as a warning that this could be an extra cold winter.  I’m ready though, with the help of some new homemade loungewear using Fabric Mart’s velour.  These fabrics are all from the group that said it was from a “Better Spa Wear Manufacturer”.   There were hundreds of yards of the pale jade velour, so maybe you got some of it.  The white terry velour that I used on the robe is still available.  These fabrics were really nice quality, so I have high hopes that Fabric Mart will get in more from this company!

This heather gray velour tunic was made using McCall’s 7979.  I made the cowl neck version, and added a kangaroo pocket to the front.    This is a super easy pattern and I was a little worried that the velour might be too thick for it, but it turned out fine.

You can see in this photo that it’s got dropped sleeves with extra low armholes.  No bust adjustment needed on this one!

I also made the leggings from this space dyed polyester/lycra jersey.  This is a nice activewear fabric that doesn’t feel too slick.   This is an outfit that I can change into as soon as I get home for the day, and snuggle up with a good book to relax. 

For the pale jade velour, I decided to make a matching pajama set using Kwik Sew 3393.  I had ordered 5 yards of the fabric, and didn’t want to try to wash it all at once, so I thought that I would make my outfit, just a little longer than I needed it to be, expecting it to shrink in length about an inch, once I washed the finished pieces.  Well, that didn’t work out too well- the pants were really, really short after washing, so I had to add a 3″ wide cuff at the bottom!   Lesson learned- never guess on how much something will shrink!  I also made the pants in the gray velour too, so I will have more than one pant option with the top.

Here’s the pattern cover for this one:

Lastly, I decided to make a robe from the white terry velour. This is really more of a summer weight robe fabric- not a heavy weight terry.

You can’t see it unless you are upclose, but there is a design in the terry, where the word “SPA” is repeated.  Here you can see it a little better:

I used Kwik Sew 2646 for the pattern, which indicated that I could use a woven fabric for the contrast pieces, so I used a peacock print woven cotton for the collar, facing, and trim.  This was not the best choice, as the terry velour was really stretchy, and it was difficult to attach the collar and facing.  If I make it again, I would either use a more stable fleece or a stretchy contrast.  But, I do like how the contrast on the pockets and cuffs  really stands out against the white.

Here’s a close up of the tops and pants to try to show you the texture.  I wish you could feel the velour- it’s ridiculously soft!  And I think that the colors are so relaxing.

Do you make your own loungewear?  Did you get any of the velour or terry velour that I used?  If yes, what are you planning for it?  Stay comfy and warm this November!

Happy Sewing!
Ann

Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top & GIVEAWAY!!!

Contents:


Angel-Wing Chambray-and-Lace Top

A few months ago Mood Fabrics seduced me in that way they do. I had purchased some denim and they sent me one of those “you may also like…” emails. It featured this Denim and Ivory Novelty Cotton Lace, and I was smitten. This fabric is a bit misnamed: it is not denim. It is a cotton chambray, but it is denim colored. 🙂

I purchased 2 yards. I rarely buy or wear lace, but I have been focusing on hot-weather clothing (for Florence and NYC this summer) and this was just.so.pretty!

I played with the fabric and quickly decided that I wanted to use the lace vertically, rather than horizontally. (I posted these pics to Instagram and Facebook and most people thought I should use the fabric horizontally, but I didn’t like it as well when held up to my body.)

I quickly decided I wanted a simple angel-wing-style top. I didn’t bother with a pattern, so I started with a tape measure. The fabric is 60″ from selvedge to selvedge, or 58″ if you ignore the lace peaks. I measured from wrist to wrist and my wingspan is 52″.

What… you don’t tape your tape measure to your body?

That means I needed to remove at least 6″ from the width. I didn’t want to cut the lace, or mess with the lace at all, so I had to remove the extra fabric from the section between the lace. That section is 16″ wide. To complicate matters, I didn’t want to remove width in the area where I would have a neck opening, and I needed about 10″ for the neck hole, so I had to remove 3″ on each side of the neck opening (or 6″ total). I sewed the tucks so that they would end above the bust—they release above the bust, providing my full bust adjustment (FBA).

Sheesh, I didn’t have a lot of room because, as it was, I had only 3″ on each side of the neck opening. So I decided to take 1/2″ tucks, directly on top of each other, at each side of the neck opening. This required careful marking, sewing, pressing, and topstitching.

Next, I drew a standard round neckline opening, but it was too small for my head. I added a slit. It now went over my head, but I didn’t want a slit, so I turned the slit into a v-neck. (A boat neck would have been easier, but I avoid boat necks – I don’t like them on my frame and, anyway, I didn’t have enough width for a boat neck once the tucks were sewn in.)

I used a scrap of fabric to make a neckline facing.

I wanted to place the hem on a lace “valley”. The valleys occur every 4-1/4″, so I experimented pinning the hem at different lengths, but always landing on one of the valleys. I even tried a hi-low hem, but I ended up choosing a longer hem that was the same front and back. I thread basted the hem.

Thread basting
I hemmed the chambray portions by machine and the lace portions by hand

I finished the top by strategically tacking the front to the back at the side bust and side waist. I also tacked a pleat into the front, below the bust, to control the volume a bit.

Twirling
This top was made from a rectangle and has no shoulder or side seams. I used a 60″ by 69″ rectangle, plus some tucks and tacks for shaping and taming the fullness.

Do I like this top? I think so. I made it specifically for hot weather and wore it over a cream tank top for these pics at 7am this morning. I was freezing, so I take that as a good sign, as far as hot weather goes. I wore it over a sweater for a local arts festival today and it is fun to wear with those lacy wings. I can’t wear a sweater or jacket over it, and I put my cross-body purse under it, which maybe wasn’t the best look, but I didn’t want to carry a satchel. I doubt I’ll take it to Florence, because the cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, but I think it will be a cool and fun wear on a hot day!


Style ’17 & Giveaway

Last year I blogged about Style ’16. The Style show provides a great opportunity to buy gorgeous wearable art and jewelry directly from the artists. I love events like this! I made sure to get Style ’17 on my calendar many months ago—April 29th and 30th. This year the event will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View—walking distance from where I work one or two days each week.

Then, last week, one of the co-producers of Style ’17 kindly reached out and offered me two free tickets. I bought my ticket months ago, so I asked if I could offer the tickets to my blog readers. She agreed, so, if you would like two free tickets to this fabulous event, please leave a comment indicating your interest! I will post the winner next weekend, so you have until Friday to enter.

For those who don’t win, you can still save! They offered my blog readers 40% off the ticket price, so it will cost $6 instead of $10. (To be honest, I don’t mind paying full price for this event because it benefits Art in Action, a national non-profit that provides visual arts curriculum to 75,000 students each year, including children in 185 Bay Area schools.)

To get the ticket discount, enter SHAMS40 on the last page of the checkout. If you do come and you see me, please say hi! In short… a fun day at the Computer Museum, great shopping, benefitting arts programs—it’s a win-win-win!

(By the way, two of my artist-friends have booths at this event. Winnie of Eccentric Designs jewelry, and wearable artist Carol Lee Shanks, who sometimes teaches at Design Outside the Lines.)


Can you believe it’s April already? My weekend calendar is becoming uncomfortably full. Things are heating in my History of Italian Fashion class. In fact, we are each giving a presentation while in Italy and I’ve selected my subject. I am giving a short preso on designer Antonio Marras. Mr Marras has been designing for Kenzo since 2005 and he also has his own line—his designs are quite compelling. I plan to visit his high-concept store while in Milan this summer. I hadn’t heard his name before, but it was instant love when I googled his designs. You might check out his Fall 2017 line.

I’ve just washed the fabric for my next Britex project, and I’ve selected a pattern, so that’s my activity for next weekend.

Please join me on Patti’s Visible Monday. I hope you have a great week!