Category Archives: sustainability

Sew 365 – All stitched up!

Jane Milburn celebrates 365 days of upcycling natural fibresWhat 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.

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Sew 360 – Thanks upcyclers, models

Steph wears upcycledToday 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

Sew 359 – Upcycled White Christmas

Jane Milburn wears upcycledWhat can I say? Even though it’s Christmas Day, it is a day like every other in 2014 when I’ve been upcycling and posting ways to reuse clothing that already exists rather than buying new.

Consumption often peaks at this time of year and it is great to see groups like 1 Million Women #nowaste and The Story of Stuff #buylesslivemore focusing on changing behaviour. Reading this poignant story from The Guardian exposes the uncomfortable truth and hidden cost of frivolous consumption. Be the change.

With a background in agriculture and interest in the material world of natural fibres, I’ve been fortunate to spend time re-creating clothing and learning more about the clothing footprint we (the collective 7-billion strong we) make on the world. My model for change includes empowering individuals to reimagine and recreate their own wardrobe collection by resewing at home to gain individual, conscious clothing.  Continue reading

Sew 357 – Leadership is an action

Liz Jumelet upcyclesFive years ago, I was down a dry gully in the remote Kimberley region on the Australian Rural Leadership Program when one of our spiritual travellers mentioned a quote which resonates with me to this day.

“Leadership is an action you take, not a position you hold”, was the quote repeated by my C16 team mate and attributed to Donald H. McGannon, an early American broadcasting executive who believed in the industry’s potential for good. The quote is powerful because it demonstrates a process for every one of us to influence outcomes, not just those with positional or assumed power. 

I’ve been taking action every day this year on a 365-day campaign of my own making – refashioning existing clothing instead of buying new. This campaign is about dressing with conscience – reducing our clothing footprint on the world through reuse and choosing natural fibre clothing because it has less embodied energy than synthetics. And it is great to see the influential 1MillionWomen campaign for individual action against climate change pick up the Sew it Again story.  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 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 344 – Upcycled Christmas bunting

Upcycled Christmas buntingIt’s been a tradition for the past few years in our neighbourhood to put up red bows rather than energy-consuming light displays in a green Christmas concept initiated by real estate agent Doug Disher.

Although our red felt bows have weathered well on the verandah posts, it was timely to upcycle them into Sew 344 of the 365-day Sew it Again project reusing what we have rather than buying new.

To make the bunting, cut the strips of red felt into triangles and decorate each with pieces of unused white linen napery (gathered from op shops) – including doillies, napkins, glass-covers along with some white net tulle – all secured by bias-binding created from a quality white sheet (cast off by a friend).  Continue reading