Sew 356 – Thanks for web support

Liz Jumelet wears upcycledKnowledge is power. And knowing people who know stuff, is pretty useful (and powerful) too. Today I thank the people who’ve given me website, social media and IT knowledge and support during this year – I couldn’t have done it without you.

Sew it Again is a labour of love run on ‘the smell of an oily rag’ for greater good, aided by volunteer effort. Technically speaking, you work from a place of good intention and the universe provides. There was that tricky spot halfway through the year though, when my laptop screen failed and it was a juggling act for a few weeks while my son Casey got my new laptop up and running. Obstacles, challenges and road blocks to get around.

I thank Casey and my long-standing friend Gen Robey for organising the WordPress blogs for sewitagain.com and textilebeat.com as well as facebook twitter pinterest.  Also thanks to Cassie Woolley from Bluerock Software for a hosting transition required along the way. And thanks to my photographer friend Patria Jannides for some beautiful photos.

Technically speaking, you work from a place of good intention and the universe provides. There was that tricky spot halfway through the year though, when my laptop screen failed and it was a juggling act for a few weeks while Casey got my new laptop up and running. Obstacles, challenges and road blocks to get around.

We’re up to Sew 356 which is a groovy ’60s inspired top created today with my friend Liz Jumelet in the Textile Beat studio. Knowing Liz (and Ron) were coming to lunch, I found a black and white cotton circle skirt in the stash (from an opshop somewhere) which Liz upcycled into a top. After looking at the patterning, Liz decided she wanted the stripes to be at the side, so she pinned and stitched from the bottom of the skirt about half way up to form bat-wing style sleeves. Then all that was required was to replace the white button with a pink button at the shoulder (the zip remains in place) to match her pink pumps. Liz has made some amazing quilts and Christmas stockings in her day. Sew pleased to have you upcycling too Liz!

Liz Jumelet upcycles

Sew 355 – Farmers, makers, donators

Jane Milburn wears upcycled linenNearly at the end of this crazybrave year dedicated to upcycling natural fibre clothing that already exists in the world. My aim? To model one way to dress with conscience in a society burdened by expanding resource use and dangerous climate change.

Melissa Breyer on the Treehugger website has put together some scary statistics on global fashion consumption habits and impacts along the clothing supply chain. Even though there are more than 7 billion people in the world, I believe small individual  changes can ultimately make a big difference.  

As I reflect on the people that made my Sew it Again upcycling year possible, today I thank the farmers who grow the natural fibres, the spinners who make the fabric, the designers and makers who magic it into clothing, the people who donate clothing then no longer want to charities and the volunteers who help run thrift shops – from where much of my clothing is sourced.  Continue reading

Sew 354 – Countdown with gratitude

visits to sewitagain websiteThank you! We are at the pointy end of another year, and on a countdown of 365 days of the #sewitagain journey of discovery, learning, restyling existing clothing and daily posting.

No one achieves anything worthwhile on their own and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way.

Today, I thank the 7000+ people from around the world who have engaged with this eco-social project to shift thinking about how we choose and reuse clothing and textiles. My model includes empowering individuals to reimagine and recreate their own wardrobe collection by resewing at home.

As these Google Analytics screen captures show (right and below),  two-thirds of those engaging with the project are in Australia – and the others involved mainly being in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Germany. And people in my birth-country of New Zealand are also very engaged considering the relatively small population! Continue reading

Sew 353 – Fashion skills at the table

Linda Zucco wears tablecloth refashionThis year I’ve methodically worked on this 365-day Sew it Again eco-social project to inspire positive change in the way we engage with our clothes – to embrace slow fashion, upcycle natural fibre clothing and dress with conscience.

I’ve brought expertise and knowledge to the table after working in agriculture and communications – while declaring that my sewing and design skills are largely self-taught through creative action.

So it was with delight that my new best friend Linda Zucco came to play in the Textile Beat studio yesterday for eco-dyeing as Sew 352 and tablecloth refashion for Sew 353.  Continue reading

Sew 352 – Bringing an artistic touch

Linda Zucco in eco-dye silk wrapMy friend Linda Zucco arrived for an upcycling session today carrying a bolt of pale apricot silk which had been sitting in her cupboard for years, left over from an earlier time when she sewed clothes for the living (more on that tomorrow).

Linda now paints oils on linen, creating beautiful street life paintings which are exhibited regularly at Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington.

The Vespas in the painting (below right) have such personality and impact, it is easy to fall in love with Linda’s beautiful creations. She brought an artistic perspective to our eco-dye project, despite having not done it before.  Continue reading

Sew 351 – Batik sees light of day

Jane Milburn wears refashionWe’re hurtling towards the end of the year and the completion of this 365-day Sew it Again project. It has been a relentless commitment, refashioning and posting every day without fail. It has also been transformational.

In documenting progress and learning, I’ve recognised the project is more than just upcycling natural fibre garments. It is about bringing heart, conscience and individual creativity to our wardrobes.

In the same way we are now more aware of the production integrity and nutritional value of our food (and the impact of processed food on our health), we are becoming conscious of the impacts of our clothing choices – on ourselves, on society and the planet.  Continue reading

Sew 350 – Giving while living

Jane Milburn, Annabelle Brayley and Gina FairfaxIt is the time of year for festive celebrations such as this evening’s fabulous QRRRWN event at Panda Pearls at Nundah in Brisbane which included a surprise talk by Gina Fairfax about philanthropy, giving while living and the great work of The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

It was also a lovely opportunity to catch up with author Annabelle Brayley from Morven who said giving is not just about money – it can be contributing and donating in many other ways.

Since we were all wearing black and white (me in opshop/upcycled Sew 349 left) it made a good photo opportunity with Annabelle (centre) and Gina (right). And the fabulous feedback from Annabelle (an accomplished dressmaker) is that she’s been motivated to upcycle unworn garments in her wardrobe as a result of the Sew it Again project. Hooray, positive behaviour change! Happy. Continue reading

Sew 349 – Lengthen skirt with linen

Jane Milburn wears upcycledOur tastes in clothing evolve over time so it is handy to have a few sewing skills and be able to lengthen or shorten hems and sleeves, without needing to replace garments.

Taking something from your wardrobe and making it work better for you is on the Guide to a Conscious Wardrobe created by Magnifeco which I came across yesterday and have included below because it is such a fabulous resource.

This 365-day Sew it Again project by Textile Beat aligns with Magnifeco’s guide because we mend, value the story, look for natural fibres, cherish second-hand, avoid fast fashion, use eco-dyes, read the labels and we make something better by resewing.  Continue reading

Sew 348 – Silk wrapped cinnamon

Bark and silk Christmas decorationsMr Darcy is so helpful. Suggest he pick up a bag of large cinnamon/cassia sticks when visiting a favourite Asian grocery and he arrives home with four bags!  The bark smells so good and represents great value. Some of it has now morphed into Sew 348 – Christmas decorations and potpourri bags created from a repurposed sheer silk shirt.

I’ve been looking at this op-shop found shirt (see photos below) for a while, wondering how to best utilise its embroidered silk fabric and clear plastic buttons after deciding I didn’t want to wear it as a top. With the arrival of the bark, it’s repurpose was determined.

I began the filleting process, cutting off the bottom of the sleeves to create bags and making strips across the bodice to become ribbons and bows. Continue reading

Sew 347 – Comfy two-shirt shift

Jane Milburn wears refashioned linen/silk dressThe thing I enjoy most about refashioning existing clothing is the organic process, turning what is readily at hand into something that works for your own shape and needs. Even though I’ve been steadily working my way through various wardrobes of opshop-found treasure this year, I still have an awful lot at hand.

My dear friend Kay is heading off the live in the Czech Republic early next year, sparking a clean-out in which she sends her natural-fibre cast-offs my way knowing they will be put to good use.

Sew 347 is a refashion of two tops into a cool and loose summer dress. The lemon linen was an almost new opshop found top, in a big size which I wasn’t wearing in its current state.  Continue reading