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. 

Linda’s mother learned the trade of dressmaking in Italy at age 15, where she was apprenticed with a woman in her village of Poggiridenti in the country’s north-west. After migrating to Australia, she kept up these skills by sewing for her family while share farming in New South Wales. Linda herself did home economics at school, three years of fashion study (at the former Seven Hills Art College), before working in London for five years creating her own collections and collaborating with others. After returning to Australia, Linda did a range of other projects and is now known as an oil painter on linen who exhibits regularly at Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington.

Linda and I collaborated on this tablecloth refashion, admiring the beautiful hand-stitched work in the cotton cloth (origins unknown, opshop salvaged) and problem-solving around a few stains, updating the collar on the linen top (opshop fill a bag $2), and integrating the two into a cool, comfortable and creative eco-dress.

We decided to use all four corners of the table cloth, overlapping each one and stitching together, before sewing to the shirt and including an extra portion to wrap across the front and a tie underneath at one side. After cutting off the linen collar of the shirt and neatening one side at the front, Linda created a new collar by joining offcuts from the tablecloth edges, making a few random tucks as this was sewn underneath to then asymmetrically wrap and drape softly as a collar. The photos below give some idea of the process. We had fun, Linda went home with her tablecloth dress that has a story to tell and two pieces of eco-dyed silk (leaving the rest of the bolt for me to use). On the countdown now – only 12 upcycles to go!

making a tablecloth dress