Save the Date: Handmade Philly at the Philly Swap

We are glad to announce we’ll be participating in the Philly Swap this year. Members of Handmade Philly will be onsite all day presenting a workshop on how to make jewelry from your textiles and t-shirts.

The Philly Swap will be held at the Broad Street Ministry on Saturday, May 12 from noon to 5 pm.

What is the Philly Swap? It’s a huge clothing swap complete with sewing machines and workshops, so that you can embellish and re-create all those fabulous finds.

Here’s the back story: In 2005, the Swap-O-Rama-Rama was created as an event to offer alternatives to consumerism.  Its creator and founder, Wendy Tremayne, saw an opportunity to showcase the creative talents of local artists and DIY specialists through recycling clothing and textiles while addressing consumerism head on.  Since then Swap-O-Rama-Rama has reached an international level with clothing swaps happening in cities like Istanbul, Jerusalem, Panama City, and hundreds of others.  Through the sponsorship from the New York Foundation of the Arts the program obtained its status as a 501.3C giving it a non-profit status.  A Creative Commons License protects the Swap-O-Rama-Rama while allowing the event to continue to be affordable and open to the public.

For three years (2008-2010) the Philadelphia Sewing Collective held the Philly Swap here in Philadelphia.  New producers have now stepped forward to relaunch the Philly Swap in Spring of 2012.

This will be Handmade Philly’s 4th year leading a workshop at this event. So come on out, don’t be shy! Whether you leave with a sack full of goodies, or just one or two special treasures, you’re also bound to leave having gained some new insight on reusing clothes and textiles.

Design Curator: Simply Clutch

It’s Labor Day! The end of summer and the start of fall. Why not get a clutch for your re-emerging fall outfits? As the design curator, I’ve talked about simplicity, timelessness, and uniqueness in design. A clutch is a timeless fashion accessory in and of itself, but when Karina from Simply Clutch sets her hands to work her designs also have a beautiful simplicity in them; making the finished product strong.

One of my personal favorites from Karina’s shop is the Blush Silk Clutch with Black Lace. How can you get more timeless than black lace? Another personal favorite of mine is the Black Silk Clutch with Hot Pink and Aqua Chevron. This clutch retains a timeless factor, while keeping simple lines, appealing to trends, and using color blocking.

I was able to interview Karina from Simply Clutch before Labor Day weekend:

How did you get started making clutches? Why clutches?

First of all, I have always had a special obsession for clutches and purses. The holiday season had just passed and I was disappointed in myself for not thinking of a unique gift for my friends. It was January at this time and I set out to learn how to make clutches for my friends for the following holidays. It took me about 5 months of trial and error to learn how to make the clutches the way I wanted them. From there I spent the next few months making them to give out for Christmas.

How did you come up with the idea for Simply Clutch?

After the Christmas that I gave my friends their clutches they were obsessed with them and really urged me to consider selling them. I thought about it and decided that I would give it a try and see if people responded to my style outside my supportive group of friends.

What is the inspiration for your designs?

Colors and lines. Sometimes I see color combinations and think that it would make a great clutch. Even just walking through the fabric store inspires me!

Is there a specific kind of aesthetic you’re going for? If so, what?

Elegant and fun! I am a simply classic person with my tastes and I think that’s reflected in my clutches.

How do you find inspiration for developing new ideas?

Again it depends… sometimes different color palettes, fashion magazines, and also just life!

What is your favorite clutch in your shop and why?

This is a hard question! I like all my clutches for different reasons. For a formal or dressy event, I would pick the cobalt blue clutch with the large flower on the side, but maybe in red instead. For fun, the black chevron clutch with hot pink and aqua.

What kind of materials do you typically work with?

For my store I mainly use raw silk. I love it and it’s really versatile. At home, I’ll make cotton printed clutches but I would love to start using vinyl and leather too. Also, for most of my frames I use a nickel-free frame with a silver coating. Many times frames are made from nickel but people tend to have allergies to it.

So far on my monthly posts for Handmade Philly I’ve talked about 3 different aspects or categories of design: simplicity, timelessness, and uniqueness. What aspect or category of design would you place yourself in? Why?

Despite my store’s name I would pick timelessness. I certainly hope that my pieces will transcend trends and be used for years.

Elizabeth Wann ~ Writer & Designer