I try to re-purpose items all the time. I reuse, recycle and re-purpose as much as I am able to do.
Take Hubby’s socks… I darn and save them. When they are beyond darning I re-purpose them. I have used some for cleaning rags. I have one that is to the point where I cut it up and it is now sitting under the hand soap in the bathroom…remember this sock has had some years of cleaning and bleaching so if there are germs on it from Hubby’s feet they are damned hardy beasts. The hand soap drips when wet right? well it drips on the rag and I then use it to clean the hand basin and it will get tossed into the wash and another cloth will be folded and put in its place… a daily event
One lot of socks had the bit above the ankle cut off it and these tubes were doubled over and sewn into bags, filled with rice and sealed to make pocket sized hand warmers for the winter. I have seen people use them folded over and put on their arms to hold their iPod when exercising… what you do with something is limited to your imagination.
I converted two flannelette shirts into three teddy bears last year. I had some leggings that I shortened. Having the left over pieces of leg I turned them into a beanie for a grandson. A t shirt into a pair of bike shorts…. it is imagination and what you need and you have recycled unwanted or unusable clothing and it costs you the time, the cotton and electricity to run your machine to make these things usable again.
Pinterest guys 😉 is always helpful here….
After moving home we have many boxes of ‘stuff’ sitting in our garage. Over time we want to reduce this down to nothing except the extra furniture we wish to take with us when we retire… our home of the future is bigger than the one we live in presently so furniture is stored in the garage for now. Today we pulled out some boxes to see what we are prepared to part with.
Some items are going to our children and some are being donated. We did however find a little treasure. It is an old MP3 that we are able to re-purpose as a USB drive…who needs an MP3 nowadays with the improvements in phones and the invention of iPod’s., where as we still use USB’s in this household.
Re-purposing, reusing and recycling is not restricted to clothing. Try it save money, think outside the box.
War on waste: Meet the home sewers saying no to fast fashion by making their own clothes
Interest in home sewing is on the rise as people embrace the craft of making their own clothes and limiting fashion waste.
Australians are the world’s second largest consumers of textiles, buying on average 27 kilograms of new clothing and other textiles each year, wearing each garment an average of just seven times.
And the more we buy, the more we throw away.
Australians are currently disposing of 6,000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes, and while some of it may go to op shops, only about 15 per cent of donations are actually sold again locally.
The rest is turned into rags — or if it is poor quality, it goes to landfill where it may take 200 years to break down.
Home sewing back in fashion
Bucking this trend is the growing resurgence in home sewing.
Sarah Mummé is the founder of the Vic Park Sewcialists, a Perth branch of the Australian Sewing Guild that has grown from five to 30 members in less than two years; most of them in their 30s.
“There was an extended period I think when sewing just wasn’t very fashionable,” she said.
“It was a women’s art in particular and people were hesitant to be involved with those sorts of things.
“But I think increasingly sewing has become fashionable, in part because of the acknowledgment of the talents and skills and time that you put into these things.”
(ABC Radio Perth: Emma Wynne)
Net helps sewing resurgence
A large part of the resurgence is thanks to the internet.
Where a home sewer once had to leaf through a pattern catalogue and travel to a bricks and mortar shop to buy fabric, they now can access international resources at the touch of a mouse.
Independent pattern designers, working from all corners of the world, sell designs online that can be printed from a home computer and sewists share their finished creations with millions through blogs and social media.
While the home sewing world does follow trends in patterns and what is appearing in the shops, it is also a way to take control of one’s wardrobe and not be dictated to by the mass-produced fashion industry.
“Sewing provides me with the ability to take control and not have to wait for the shops to dictate to me what might be available at the time,” Ms Mummé said.
“I can sew a dress in a day that fits me beautifully, that is in a fabric that I like, whereas sometimes people go shopping for a day to buy a dress that might fit them OK, depending on what their body shape is.
“I’ve also got a dress that nobody else has got and that feels really special.”
Rethinking ‘fast fashion’
Learning about what goes into producing clothes from scratch prompted many sewers to lose interest in ready-to-wear fashion altogether.
“When I was in my early 20s I would work in the city and every lunch break I would go out into the mall,” Ms Mummé said.
“I might pick up a $10 t-shirt here or a $20 cardigan there, but I would shop all the time and I would spend money and I would buy things without a lot of thought.
“The other day I walked past one of the major department stores in Perth city and realised I haven’t been in there in probably a year-and-a-half.
“And so, while it has not really been an intentional thing, I think I just have become more purposeful about the clothes that I choose to wear and the clothes that I choose to invest in along the way.
“Shopping has kind of fallen by the wayside.”
Catching the sewing bug
So while sewers like the fact that they are not buying poor-quality clothing made in sweatshop conditions, that is not really the reason why they get out the needle and thread.
It’s a bug — a hugely absorbing hobby, according to scientist and teacher Ylenia Casadio.
“I was in Ikea one day and I saw they had these really cute little sewing machines, and they were really cheap and I thought, why not?” she recalled.
“I was also pregnant at the time, and I think when you are pregnant your nesting instinct comes into things and I wanted to make something.
“So I bought the sewing machine and discovered blogs and looking for things online and the rest is history — it’s been an addiction ever since.”
She said she hadn’t bought any new clothes in over three years.
“You realise how much you do waste when you do make clothes and that is a bit of shock,” she said.
“It makes you think — do you really need four pairs of jeans or do you just make a couple and make sure you use them?”
Environmental ‘grey area’ on fabric
But making clothes yourself does not necessarily address all of the environmental issues around fashion.
“We actually don’t know much about where the fabric itself comes from,” Ms Mummé said.
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that it takes 2,700 litres of water to make enough cotton for one t-shirt, and in south-east Asia, rivers are turning blue from the dyeing process of producing denim.
“Possibly we might be removing the social impact but not the environmental impact, so nothing is perfect,” she said.