Would you like a Sustainable and Stylish hand made wardrobe?
At Selkie Patterns Ltd we make sewing patterns and textiles, designed and produced here in the UK with the environment in mind. More and more people are learning about the detrimental ways of how we consume clothing and how clothing is produced; more and more women are taking up sewing their own clothes as a hobby. We want to offer you a product that links the two together.
We are Caroline and Alexandra, co-founders of Selkie Patterns, and we see an opportunity to combine sustainability and sewing under the same roof. There is no other pattern company that puts care for the environment into their business, yet sewing your own clothes is such a logical step to take control over the sustainability of your wardrobe.
If you are already making your own clothes, we would love you to try our patterns. And if you haven't sewn before but you are interested, as you are learning about the impact of your clothes, please come and join us too. You already bring your own coffee mug, you recycle, you bring your own bags to the supermarket, and you are ready for the next step. When we say the 'sustainability of your wardrobe', we mean how the production of your clothes impacts the environment, the people who make them, and how it influences future generations. What is your T-shirt's life cycle, and how can we improve it?
Make your own clothes, learn more about how you can create a more sustainable wardrobe, and how sewing your own garments is great for ourselves as well as our environment.
Did you know?
- Every time you wash a man-made fabric, some of the plastic content ends up in our oceans: 34.8% of micro plastics in the ocean comes from clothing and textiles.
- Every time you dye a fabric, a lot of chemicals and water is used: 16-20 litres of water is used to dye a basic T-shirt, and 10-15% of the toxic, chemical dye used is lost to wastewater.
- Every time you buy a cheap garment, someone else has taken a very low pay check: it takes only four days for a CEO from one of the top international fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime.
- 350.000 tonnes of clothing goes to landfill every year in the UK.
- Every time clothing is mass produced, a lot of fabric ends up unused in the bin: 60 billion m2 per year, in fact.
(Sources: Plastic Soup Foundation, Fashion Revolution, Clean Clothes Campaign.)
But also did you know?
- Every time you make your own garment, you are joining a global, growing movement of makers.
- Every time you repair or alter a garment, you extend that item's lifetime.
- Every time you pick up a needle rather than a shopping bag, you are actively contributing to reducing our textile waste.
- Every time you make something for yourself, you are creating something that uniquely fits you and your shape.
- Every time you make something for yourself, your appreciation for what goes into making clothing grows.
Our first sewing pattern is called the London, and you will be able to buy it as a paper pattern or a digital download (PDF). What you will get:
- A full colour envelope, with a beautifully illustrated cover, and all technical necessities and measurements printed on the back
- Two A0 sheets of stock paper with your pattern
- The instruction booklet with a step-by-step construction method
- Sizes 6-20 (UK) printed in pattern nests
(Illustration by Helene Arnesen)
For our Kickstarter we are offering two Selkie Patterns fabrics which have been especially designed to accompany the London pattern. Our Clocktower print is printed on bamboo which has a luxurious and silky feel, the perfect fabric to use for the dress and blouse. We have also created the Skyline border print on an organic cotton panama, created especially for the London skirt. Both designs are printed using certified chemical free inks. Our prints are designed and hand painted in London by Alexandra.
To celebrate the launch of our Kickstarter we are also including a Limited Edition print designed by Alexandra. The exclusive print won't be available after the Kickstarter. Inspired by her first fabric design, Alexandra has revisited her Sweet Treat design, inspired by the fairgrounds of the 1950's. Printed on a stunning cotton satin (sourced from a Fair Trade factory and printed using chemical free inks), this fabric would make a sweet treat to any handmade wardrobe!
For our Kickstarter campaign we are releasing our first pattern, the Selkie London, which you can make into a dress, skirt, or blouse. It will be available as a printed pattern and as a PDF. The London reflects our love for the capital and our combined tastes of vintage inspiration and clean lines.
The London has raglan sleeves, a knee-length skirt, a keyhole neckline, loose bodice pleats, gorgeous shaping around the waist and a shaped waistband for the skirt. You can choose to leave the darts unstitched like in the blouse sample, or stitch them fully for a more fitted look. The neck tie is also optional. Both options are provided on the pattern. The blouse has playful gathers around the waist and makes a versatile, feminine wardrobe staple. The London’s clean shape features simple but flattering shapes, and suits itself to many different fabrics and many different occasions.
The Selkie dress in Clocktower bamboo with optional stitched darts and tie.
The Selkie skirt in Skyline organic cotton panama.
The Selkie blouse in Clocktower bamboo with loose pleats.
FSC: The Forest Stewardship Council promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. The paper used to print our product on is FSC certified.
What Is Our Aim?
Our goal is to set up a business that brings together sewing, which is our passion, and sustainability, which is our future. We want to be an online business, driven by women, where people can come and shop for stylish sewing patterns and textiles that don't cost the earth. We aim to release three patterns a year, with accompanying fabrics to make them in. The patterns and fabrics will work together like a collection, which is unique to the home sewing industry at this point.
We dream of owning a creative business where we live a lifestyle making products we feel passionate about, working together, continuously evolving our knowledge, brand and products. After having worked for major companies and theatre productions, we feel it's time to set our own stage.
Our main aim for our range is to offer you collections that are environmentally friendly without compromising on style. Bold colours and bold choices for bold women!
In the future we would love to be the one-stop-shop for everything to do with sustainable sewing: buttons and threads from earth friendly materials, plastic-free zips, beautiful textiles and inspiring sewing projects.
Brand mission: Create, Charm, Educate, Empower.
What women are saying about the London pattern:
What Is Different About Us?
- Our size chart is designed specifically for our company to accommodate how women go up and down in sizes when we reach the smaller or bigger sizes. We think you will find our size chart a more natural fit to your shape. A universal size chart will never fit all of us, but we have done the best we can. Our size range is 6-20 (UK).
- As part of our After Sales Care, we will guide you on how to recycle or donate your left over material, and how to mend your newly made clothing. To truly make our business what we stand for, our responsibility towards you doesn't end after a sale.
- All of our products are made in the UK. The only element that we import is the fabric that we print on. By keeping our suppliers close, we limit the air miles your product has travelled to reach you. By working with London professionals, we eliminate road travel. We pick up our London orders ourselves, and use our bicycles for co-working.
- We have deeply considered our impact, from who we bank with to who we host our website with.
- There is no other pattern company that combines sewing and sustainability. We would like to be the first, and we would like you to join us!
Our Biggest Challenge
Our biggest challenge is our fabric choice. We have chosen a combination of organic fabric, bamboo (bamboo is one of the most renewable materials, meaning it grows back very quickly) and fabrics from fully traceable sources. At the moment it is a challenge for us to find everything we ideally want in one single fabric, one single supplier or one single factory. We have chosen a mix of these materials for our Kickstarter as they reflect the different possibilities we have found to make sustainable fabric choices, whether that's sustainable in the way the factories operate, the way the crops are grown and treated, or how the crop impacts the planet. This is very much the start of an upwards learning curve, and not the definitive and final answer.
We met at the University of the Arts London eight years ago and proceeded to spend the majority of our day to day lives together, either by living together, growing into adults together or working together. Between the two of us we have lived in many countries, but we make London our home. The idea for our own company was born in August 2017, on a beach towel. Alexandra said: "Let's just start our own business." Caroline replied: "Okidoke!" And so the story of Selkie started. Alexandra's work background consists of luxury brands, costume designs for Edinburgh Fringe, and working backstage at major West End musicals. From a young age, she loved illustration, storytelling through character development, mythology and history. She is a pro in knowing what women want in clothing. Caroline is a freelance costume maker and sewing teacher. She has sewn costumes for all major West End musicals, worked for Disney, and teaches sewing privately and at university. She has been sewing since she was five and learnt on her grandmother's lap. Biggest fan girl moment: sewing for Emma Stone.
Between the two of us, we hold degrees in English Literature, Costume Design, Costume Making, Pattern Cutting, Fashion and Art. Here is us in a nutshell:
Alexandra: Designer & Social Media Pro
- Costume Design background
- Doesn't do casual
- Enjoys a red lipstick more than is healthy
- Vintage style enthusiast
- Yorkshire lass at heart
- Instagram: @sewhappy_alex
Caroline: Pattern Cutter & Sustainability Enthusiast
- English Literature and Costume Making background
- Doesn't wear weekend clothing she can't stretch in
- Firmly believes dogs are the best creatures on this planet
- Loves everything blue
- Once lived on a ship in the Bahamas
- Instagram: @caroline_akselson
Why Fund Us?
Because sewing your own clothes is amazing for the soul, the planet, and the mind.
Because we have an extensive background in sewing, pattern making, retail, social media and making it work.
Because our friendship and complimentary skill sets make us a strong business partnership.
Because the world is ready for more women to take the lead.
Because doing business with the environment in mind is what we will all strive for eventually.
Because we want to be with you on the path of discovering the joyful ways of sewing and how it will impact you and everything around you.
We have chosen crowdfunding as our means of funding because we would like you to get involved in our launch. Kickstarter has such a great community of people looking to help launch new and innovative products and brands, we think it would be the perfect platform for a launch like ours. In today's world there are so many other funding options than a traditional loan. We see Kickstarter as the perfect balance between raising funds and a pre-order system.
With your help, the Kickstarter money will go towards:
1. Covering the costs of our graphics designer, illustrator and photographer
2. Running our website for a year
3. Trademarking our brand
4. Printing the paper patterns and the packaging
5. Grading / lay plans / digitising of our first pattern
6. London launch event
Kickstarter YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/pgkA5ZAd8MM
Video and Photography by Peter (@peaksels) and Josh (@spicy.meatball)
Logo design by Emma (@emma_e_k)
Pattern Illustrations by Helene (@helenearne)
Support: Friends & Family (and caffeine) and everyone who generously lent us their locations, space and time for our shoot.
You can find us on YouTube and Instagram under @selkiepatterns
Risks and challenges
We are new business owners, but we have worked tirelessly since the beginning of this year to select suppliers and professionals to work with us on our business adventure. They all have years of experience so we are confident we can make a great product for you. We have all our suppliers lined up and ready to go, and all of our products have been sampled already. Our sewing patterns have been tested independently by a group of women of different sizes and abilities, to get feedback on our instructions and fit before the launch.
We receive monthly business mentoring to help us through our start up journey. This ensures we have support for the business elements that our new to us, and holds us accountable for what we set out to do.
Although it's hard to foresee absolutely everything that could cause a delay in getting our product to you, we are confident we have done the best we can with the information we have.
Please be aware that our campaign is all-or-nothing funding: if we don't get fully funded, we will get zero funds, no money will be taken from your accounts, and we will revert to Plan B for an alternative product launch.
- (30 days)