Getting Crafty for Christmas

December 07, 2018
Getting Crafty for Christmas
With each Palava collection, we aim for zero waste. This means we do our absolute best to avoid fabric being discarded or left for landfill, however big or small. From the leftovers of our dress production, we make our scraps into our accessories: hair bows, notebooks, tote bags and more! And now it’s your chance to get your hands on some and get crafty yourself. That’s’s time for our annual autumn-winter fabric sale! The last leftover off-cuts that we weren’t able to make into little Palava extras are now available to purchase and transform with a crafting project of your own.

This year, we’ve had a go ourselves at making some little items - a makeup bag, lavender pouch and even some rather original Christmas wrapping! We’ve included a printable pattern so if you’d like to try your hand at our very special make-up bag, now’s your chance.

In even more exciting news, we’ve teamed up with Vicky of Sewstainability blog (@sewstainability), who has been crafting from Palava fabrics for several years and has created something rather special in preparation for this year’s sale. Hint: it’s something duck-themed and dapper! 

Before we get started on our crafting endeavours, we wanted to let you know why a zero waste approach is so important to us. Did you know….

  • Last year the worldwide consumption of textiles reached about 73 million tonnes and is expected to grow at nearly 4% annually through 2025 (APIC 2014), yet only 20% of textiles are recycled each year around the world 
  • It is estimated that a single textile mill can produce from 5% up to 25% of pre-consumer textile waste on its total yearly production. Over-production runs and liability stock from manufacturers and mills are often absorbed by the local market or sold via third parties. Damaged clothing and discarded rolls of branded and/or recognisable fabrics are regularly slashed, landfilled and incinerated to protect intellectual property and brand image. This reality is hidden. Investigative reporters have tried and failed to find out what really happens with pre-consumer waste.
  • In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year and only 16% of that waste is ever reused. That’s roughly £140 million worth of waste.
  • Meanwhile, 80% of textile waste going to landfills can actually be reused (WRAP, 2015). Of the clothing donated to charity in the UK, only 10-30% is actually re-sold; the rest is exported overseas. In Uganda, some 81% of all clothes sold today are cast-offs from the west. 

    Source: FashRev

    Now it’s time for our guest blogger, Vicky of Sewstainability - who has made our first ever seen Palava tie and bow tie set! We have long admired Vickey's crafting skills. She is extremely creative with her use of fabrics, making tops, skirts and even slippers! And she's passionate about zero waste and all things sustainable fashion. We highly recommend her blog and instagram for more insights into her wonderful crafting projects!

    “I am so excited the Palava scrap packs are back! I purchased three last year and I had so much fun playing with all the scraps – mixing and matching them together and imagining what they could be! When I am working with scraps, I tend to let the fabric, size, and shape dictate what they should be. Large pieces could be the front of a top, medium pieces might be a clutch bag, small pieces can become slippers. I am primarily a garment sewist so I tend to lean towards trying to make something that can be worn. When I saw the long thin pieces of the gorgeous flying duck fabric I immediately thought of trying to make a tie! And if I am making my husband a tie then obviously I have to make my little boy a matching bow tie – we all know twinning is winning!” 

    “Both were made by following free patterns/tutorials I found by searching on the internet. I found a free pdf tie pattern which I printed off and the bow tie was made out of three rectangles (8.5x6.5in, 2x14in, and 2x3in).”

    “The bow tie was really simple to make, I folded the rectangles in half (right sides together) and sewed up the long edges. I then turned them right sides out so that all of the raw edges are enclosed in the tubes. I pinched the centre of the bow rectangle until it looked how I wanted it to and then I stitched it by hand a few times so that it would hold its shape. I then used the little rectangle to hold together both the bow and the neck strap. Finally I sewed up the short edges of the neck strap and stitched some Velcro onto both edges of the strap.”

    “The tie would be a great make for anyone who doesn’t have a sewing machine but is interested in learning to sew as they are almost completely hand-sewn. It looks like a lot of pieces but it’s honestly simple to make! I used the duck fabric again but chose to use some of the smaller ruffled feathers scraps for the lining pieces – doesn’t it just look so cool?!”

    “Once the edges at the ‘point’ of the tie are turned up 1/4inch and ironed, the lining pieces are hand sewn to each end of the tie. I then sewed the three tie sections together to create one long piece - the fact that ties are made in three sections make them great for using in scrap projects like this!

    "Once it is a long piece, then it is hand-sewn together up the centre back. After a good press it looks incredibly professional! The tencel is an excellent fabric for ties, it looks and feels quite a lot like silk but it’s a much more eco-friendly fabric and best of all, it’s washable!”

    “I absolutely love working with scrap fabrics, I love that they are a sustainable source of fabric – I would rather make something than them be sent to landfill! I also love that the restrictive size and shape force me to be creative and inspire me to think outside of the box. If I hadn’t had this awkward shaped piece of fabric to work with, would I ever have made my husband a tie? Possibly not - this would have been a real shame as he loves it and has now asked for more! Now getting my three year old to wear the bow tie might be a whole other challenge…”

    And here are the finished ties, expertly modelled by Vicky's family! What a festive treat.

     Another great and simple idea for use of scrap fabrics is to use them for wrapping up your Christmas presents! It feels terribly old-fashioned and elegant to present fabric wrapped gifts - our scrap pieces are big enough for small books or a box of chocolates. 

    Bryony had fun crafting some lavender pouches this week! These are perfect for slipping into drawers and keeping clothes smelling fresh or to decorate with. For the simplest project, simply sew the little pouch at the bottom an sides and use pinking shears to neatly finish the top. Fill with lavender, tie with a piece of string, and voila!


    We’re in love with these little Palava print makeup bags. We made them using material from one of our fabric bundles and think they would make a perfect Christmas present (that is if you can bear to part with them…!)

    To make your own, you will need :

    20cm zip

    Palava Makeup bag template (download HERE)

    2x outer fabric of choice from your bundle

    2x lining fabric of choice from your bundle


    1. Place zip on top of one of the pieces of outer fabric, matching the edges, right sides facing.

    2. Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew the zip into place


    3. Match the other edge of the zip to the second piece of outer fabric, again, right sides facing. Sew them together.

    4. Your zip should now be attached to the outer fabric. 

    5. Now to attach the lining - sandwich one long edge of the zipper to between the outer fabric it's already attached to and one of your linings. At the point of sewing this you should have the wrong side of the outer fabric facing the right side of the lining fabric as per image below. Stitch through all three layers (outer, zip and lining). 

    6. Repeat this process for the second piece of lining fabric only this time, you are attaching it to the other long edge of the zip. Your makeup should be looking like this.

    7. Undo your zip 3/4 the way and fold your bag so that the outer fabrics are facing each other and the lining fabrics are facing themselves also. The wrong sides should be facing outwards. Make sure that the outer fabrics are exactly edge to edge by the zip. 

     8. Changing back to a normal sewing foot, stitch continously around the edges of your bag using a 1cm seam allowance and leaving a 7cm hole at the bottom of the lining fabric (you leave this hole so you can turn the bag the right way out - so don't forget it!)

    9. Clip corners, making sure not to cut through your stitching and turn your bag the right way out. 

    10. Where you left the hole in the lining, fold the raw edges in and topstitch along the edge to close the hole. 

    TA-DA! You now have a gorgeous makup bag with an original Palava print. Enjoy!

    For those who are new to crafting and would like to give it a go....but maybe feel a little nervous - here are our top tips!

    1. Don't worry about making mistakes! Even the most experienced crafters do. Most errors can be corrected, just take things slowly and double check as you go!
    2. Always double check measurements before cutting
    3. For simple, traditional finishing, use pinking shears - they give a lovely patterned edge with no need for sewing
    4. Start on something simple and small! Then let your confidence grow 
    5. Enjoy using your hands to make something - use this as your time to unwind, listen to the radio, listen to some music. Enjoy it!

    Our fabric bundle sale is already in full swing - now is the perfect time to choose a bundle and get started! 

    This year, 50% of the proceeds will go to the charity 'North London Action For The Homeless (NLAH)' -

    Based just around the corner from our design studio, in Stoke Newington this small charity  runs a drop in centre for homeless people and those in need.  Twice a week NLAH open their kitchen to provide a hot three course meal for those that need it most - all free of charge.  

    Shop our fabric bundles here!

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