Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sew 181 – Refashioned neckline

Jane Milburn wears upycledSometimes it is only takes a small change to render something eminently more wearable. This turtle-neck top became a boat-neck with a simple chop and sew, making for a more relaxed and comfortable look.

This is the last day of posting from KL, which has provided some great inspiration, multi-cultural colour and food for thought regarding dress customs and choices. Known as the fourth-best shopping in the world after New York, Tokyo and London, I’ve resisted the many temptations and purchased only a couple of pieces of batik (oh and the silk treats from Gulati’s Silk House). Continue reading

Sew 180 – Upside-down trouser skirt

Bev in trouser skirtBev brought a bundle of brown garments to the Biloela workshop that she was no longer wearing, including a pair of trousers. This outfit was created by flipping the trousers upside down and turning them into an elastic waist skirt, with the zip remaining in place to act as a front-slit feature.

We estimated how long Bev wanted the finished skirt to be, then cut off the bottom part of the legs accordingly. We then filleted the inside leg seams and instead of them being joined front to back (as when trousers) they are then joined front to front (and back to back) to form the skirt. It is just a matter of pinning then sewing the seams so they blend into the existing seam (which was top of trousers). The angle on the front seam was such that we did not need to add an insert panel. Continue reading

Sew 179 – Versatile linen cape

Jane Milburn wears Sew 179Linen is an ancient fibre made from flax which lasts a long time and is sustainable because its production does not usually involve a lot of water and chemical use. I love the crushed look linen gets after washing and wear it that way without ironing as a badge of honour – saving effort and energy.

The upcycled part of Sew 179 is the strip of linen fabric with frayed edges which I cut into two wraps a while back. One remains as a wrap, as worn below when I visited to Heli Lounge Bar to enjoy KL’s landmarks. The other strip I’ve turned into a versatile cape, secured in its many incarnations by fabric-covered safety pins. Continue reading

Sew 178 – Upcycled punjabi dress

Jane Milburn in Sew 178Seeing Indian women in colourful saree and punjabi are joyous sights I remember well from our Australian Rural Leadership Program trip to India in 2009 and of course many of us brought one or two of the traditional garments home. I purchased two silk punjabi kits at a craft market in Hyderabad, made them up when I got home and wore them on appropriate occasions. I have admiration for the way Indian women make wearing the scarf so easy whereas I found it needed constant adjustment. To make one of my outfits easier to wear, I refashioned it as Sew 178 and sewed the scarf to the neckline so it is attached in place. I wore it out and about in KL today with my aunt Kate McLachlan as we enjoyed seeing the full range of textile construction techniques and national costumes on display at Malaysia’s fantastic National Textile Museum, see photos below.  Continue reading

Sew 177 – History in the making

Sew 177 by BevHere’s the lovely and productive Bev in the History Skirt she made at our Biloela REfashion workshop which is still delivering dividends, including #upcycle number 177 of 365 in the Sew it Again year.

Although I have a few more days left to enjoy in Kuala Lumpur, I’m already planning for my next workshop Creative Chop and Change on July 12 which is being hosted by the Queensland branch of the Australian Textile Artists and Surface Designers Association – you can book here if you are interested in being mindfully creative with rejects from your wardrobe. Continue reading

Sew 176 – REfashion for celebration

Dr Wendy Relf wears Textile Beat refashionThe 60th anniversary of UNICEF’s presence in Malaysia is cause for celebration and I am proud that my sister-in-law Dr Wendy Relf chose to wear upcycled REfashion, namely Sew 176, instead of other available choices.

Photographed below is Wendy, with my brother Professor Tony Capon, Director of the International Institute for Global Health at United Nations University in Kuala Lumpur, as they headed off to this special event tonight. 

Many of us have many, perhaps too many, choices in what we can wear because there is a surfeit of clothes in the world. What happens to clothes when we tire of them, grow out of them, find they don’t suit our shape anymore?  Continue reading

Sew 175 – Skinny jeans wrap skirt

Upcycled wrap skirt from skinny jeansIt was very affirming to see Biloela upcycler Kerrie leap into her REfashion projects with confidence, enthusiasm, creativitity and commitment to getting results that worked for her lifestyle and existing local resources.

There’s been some interesting discussion on Facebook after my friend Gen Robey shared a photo of waste clothing at Reedy Creek refuse station at the Gold Coast, which prompted reflection on why charitable recyclers are swamped with cast-offs every day and end up dumping them. The reasons I put forward are these:

1. Non-transparent global supply chains mean you can buy new so cheaply (ask Q who’s exploited in process and remember Rana Plaza)

2. Many people have lost simple sewing skills to mend and alter – can’t replace a button or cut off wayward (once-on-trend) feature to revive garment for second life.  Continue reading

Sew 174 – Jumpers become history skirt

Kerrie's history skirtThe recent Textile Beat history skirt workshop at Biloela was ‘sew’ productive it is still providing a store of daily upcycles for me to post while I visit my brother Professor Anthony (Tony) Capon in Malaysia.

Tony is based in KL as Director of the International Institute for Global Health at United Nations University and it is always inspiring to have the opportunity to talk about big issues facing the world around our shared interest in disease prevention, ecological health and food production.

Obesity is a growing global epidemic and was the focus of a recent opinion piece Tony wrote for the New Straits Times which has since opened new dialogue about obesity as the ‘mother of all diseases’. Tony and I also enjoyed visiting Malaysia’s League of Extraordinary Women exhibition which features global humanitarian Dr Jemilah Mahmood, see photo belowContinue reading

Sew 173 – History skirt with local touch

Jane Milburn history skirtWhen in Malaysia, do as the Malaysian people do. Dressing for local conditions is practical and respectful. I don’t always wear a head scarf here, but it is certainly good to pack a few so one can blend into the local streetscape. I made this blue cotton scarf from a five-metre length I picked up at a Warwick op shop a while back. It had been in someone’s fabric stash then discarded before they did anything with it. It was lovely light loose-weave cotton which is quite hard to come by, so naturally I snapped it up and stored until I had a use for it. It was just a matter of cutting a length about 1.75m long, folding over lengthwise then sewing together while leaving a gap of about 8cm so it can be turned inside out to become a scarf. Good for sun protection, mopping a perspiring brow, and to dress as do many locals with the hair covered.  Continue reading

Sew 172 – It’s Fashion Week in KL

Gwen wears Sew 172It is amazing to be transported via AirAsia from the Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur in less than one day – and now be posting from Bukit Bintang.

People here are so helpful and it is great to catch up with family – my brother Professor Tony Capon, Wendy and boys Will and Hugh.

It is exciting to find I will be able to catch the last day of Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week at Pavilion tomorrow! That will an enlightening experience, as is the shopping immersion which KL offers with all the high fashion brands seemingly on every corner. Such a contrast to the way I live and shop in Brisbane!  Continue reading