What an amazing experience. To do something repeatedly for a whole year and come out the other side with an entirely fresh perspective.
It has been challenging and lonely at times. The reward is the transformative journey of honouring the commitment I made in December last year to upcycle existing clothing every day. And daring to start a conversation about resewing clothing and textiles.
Hats off to the professional makers and designers of clothing which I admire from afar and I am proud to be part of the Fashion Revolution.
In the same way we have become conscious of food, it is time to become conscious about where clothing comes from and ask more questions about where, who and what it is made of, and consider the true cost of our clothing habits. My personal choice is to seek out pre-loved clothing from local op shops and use creative methods to adapt them to suit myself. That way, my clothes have a good story to tell about how they came to be.
Many regard shopping as recreational sport at this time of year with sales everywhere – yet shopping is ultimately unsatisfying because there is always more bright, shiny, new merchandise to buy.
OK, I did send Mr Darcy into the fray this week for new pots so we could pension off old ones that have seen decades of service and too many burning experiences. There was a need, not just a want.
Reducing consumption of new stuff is at the heart of this counter-culture Sew it Again project, which is exploring ways to reuse existing clothing and textiles rather than always buying new.
I admit to bulging wardrobes, which I’ve been trying to whittle down all year and only made a small dent in. Most of the stockpile is natural fibre-clothing from op shops which I can re-donate at any time, in the same way I bought it, so no harm done. Continue reading
Exciting to collaborate with Julie Hillier from Ministry of Handmade, when she popped over to the Textile Beat studio today as part of the final countdown of the 2014 Sew it Again project.
Julie has been developing Ministry of Handmade over the past three years to teach handmade skills with a contemporary twist. From her studio on Brisbane’s northside, Julie encourages people to slow down and take time to embrace the joy that comes from making something by hand. It was fascinating to talk with Julie about her workshops (which include lampshades, ottomans, cushions and picnic frocks) and how she engages people in the process of making, not just the end results. Sew wonderful to spend time with someone who has shared values, and who also believes home-sewing as a life skill just like home-cooking! Continue reading
While I’ve not resorted to singing and dancing, I have been spruiking at every opportunity this year about ways to resew and restyle unworn clothing into something fresh.
I’m grateful to those who created those opportunities to present talks and workshops in three Australian states and raise awareness about ways to dress with conscience and reduce our clothing footprint on the world.
There’s a global rethink happening about the way we dress, as people begin to ask more questions about where clothing is made and what from, and there’s a trend back to local and handmade. Continue reading
Today I thank the many upcyclers and models I’ve had the opportunity to work with during this Sew it Again year.
Looking back at the 360 photos (to date) taken during the year pinned here on Pinterest is a great reminder of the breadth of both old and young who’ve been involved with the project.
Upcycling appeals across generations and of course was a practise routinely undertaken in earlier times when clothing was valued for the natural resources it represents. People refashioned and reshaped, mended and passed clothes along as hand-me-downs.
We’ve been reclaiming some of that conscious and conservative culture during 2014 – and I thank those who have been part of the journey by engaging in workshops at various locations or at the Textile Beat studio in Brisbane Australia. Continue reading
Knowledge 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. Continue reading
This 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
We’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
Mr 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
Admiring some beautiful big pink decorations on a Christmas tree in our local Brisbane News newspaper inspired me to create a variation using lily pods and an unworn jacket repurposed into flowers.
The jacket was amongst a bundle of clothes given to me for refashion by my friend Robyn Sheptooha earlier in the year and it was likely to be moved on (not natural fibre) until I saw its potential to return to Robyn as bespoke Christmas decorations.
Taking lotus lily pods (which Darcy gathered from a north Queensland friend’s property) and cassia bark (similar to large cinnamon sticks), I glued them together to create flowers bases (see photos at bottom). Continue reading