Tag Archives: Brisbane

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 331 – A white washout

Nina wears upcycledVery quick post tonight after terrible storms in Brisbane and being caught in hail and howling winds on Coronation Drive. Scary, but pleased to arrive home safely – only to find my studio saturated as the storm had pushed open the windows and it rained all over my machines. And no power in the neighbourhood. I’m sure there are many worse off, so won’t moan too much.

Son Casey (electrical engineer) says if I dry the machines out well (with hair dryer) they should live again. Fortunately I have a few restyles up my sleeve, so the 365-day postings continue regardless – just another obstacle to be overcome.

Sew 331 is Nina’s restyle from Tuesday, which was a cotton dress brought back from India by a family member that was not now being worn.  Continue reading

Sew 314 – Linen tops the list

Relax, it's linenThe casual crinkled look of linen is naturally beautiful. I have a crush on linen which I’ve written about before and believe it to be the most sustainable of all natural fibres. Just machine wash, shake and hang to dry and wear as is – and if you want a nice even crinkle, give it a short tumble-dry. I haven’t ironed linen for years – saving lots of energy and effort.

There is a sign (right) in one of Brisbane’s fabric stores (Spotlight) promoting the casual wrinkled look as being the way to wear linen these days. Hooray – hope it leads to more people wearing linen because based on the embodied energy information outlined below, linen is the most energy efficient fibre available. I’ve sourced this table from the O Ecotextiles website, which used an academic study done for the New Zealand Merino Wool Association as its original data.

Embodied Energy in fibres

Continue reading

Sew 307 – Most clothes now synthetic

My home city of Brisbane, Queensland, is in the final stages of planning to host the largest ever gathering of world leaders in Australia’s history with The G20. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this year’s focus will be on building a stronger world economy – because economic growth means more jobs, higher living standards etc.

This is juxtaposed against the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which says human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents.  The latest report says continued emissions of  greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of widespread and profound impacts affecting all levels of society and the natural world.

Climate change is not on the G20 agenda. Despite the fact that there’s a link between continued economic growth (read consumption) and emission of greenhouse gases, particularly in Australia where coal is our second-largest export earner and underpins our economy.  Continue reading

Sew 298 – Change clothes to wear

Elle wears upcycled dressAm I imagining there is too much clothing in the world? We (in the west) have bulging wardrobes already and the shops are full of new season temptations, with slightly different prints, shapes and styles from the last.

People in the business of selling more do not want to hear talk of reduced consumption. They are selling newer, better, brighter, shinier, prettier. The recent opening of a Forever 21 fast-fashion store in Brisbane even made the Nine News nightly bulletin and Brisbane Times newspaper. As the story goes, it is all about ‘something new, something fresh every day’.

I am adopting an alternative approach to something fresh everyday. The Sew it Again project is posting something fresh every day by upcycling clothing that already exists, rather than buying new. It is a social-change project, based on the premise that the ‘greenest’ clothing is that which already exists in the world. By upcycling garments from our own and others wardrobes, we can have something ‘new’ created from reject or unworn garments.  Continue reading

Sew 274 – Three-quarters sewn-up

Jane Milburn wears upcycled dressOne of the interesting things about a 365-day project is that you are conscious of each passing day – and October means my Sew it Again year is three-quarters complete.

The six key learnings so far are:

  1. Two-thirds of clothing today is made of synthetic fibres, which are derived from petroleum. The other third is natural fibres (mainly cotton, but also wool, linen, silk)
  1. We each consume 80 percent more clothing than we did two-decades ago – annual individual consumption now 11kg per person compared with 7kg per person in 1992
  1. Based on UK statistics, nearly one-third of waste clothing ends up in landfill if it doesn’t become part of the global used-clothing trade or turned into rags  Continue reading

Sew 241 – Little black dress lives on

Keri wears upcycledGreat to have more of my New Zealand family involved in the Sew it Again project, with cousin Keri being the latest to upcycle and wear a Textile Beat refashion as Sew 241.

We went op-shopping in Brisbane during National Op Shop Week, as you do, and Keri found a little black dress of dated style with good potential because of its viscose fabric and pretty neckline.

After washing it, Keri grooved-up the hemline by cutting it into a modern curve and cropped off the puffy sleeves. When teamed with a red top and tights (from my stash) this is ideal work-wear for Keri whose management role within childcare centres straddles the office (add a black jacket) and occasional hands-on involvement.  Continue reading

Sew 184 – Darn holes in wool

Jane Milburn in upcycled wool skirt and topFor those preferring an eco-lifestyle, winter means delving into the wool stocks to keep oneself warm rather than heating the entire house – especially in a climate like Brisbane’s where the winter sunshine works its magic by late morning.

That’s how I found one of my favourite scarves had developed a hole – which I darned using an op-shop-gathered ball of wool of similar tone. I like the idea of wool being visibly mended – it’s a badge of honour that says upcycled, sustainable, care of natural resources.

After mending, I used this scarf as a wrap skirt teamed with an opshop found wool skivvy from which I removed the high neck and turned it into a head band.  Continue reading

Sew 152 – Sustainable fashion at the fair

Eco-dyed cotton dressEndless consumption can’t rule. To sustain our lifestyle into the future we need to be mindful about the resources we consume and the waste we create in doing so.

It’s wonderful to be living in a city that promotes sustainable choices through the biannual Green Heart Fair and share ideas with friendly Brisbane residents and visitors.

Textile Beat was part of the action, and thanks to City Smart, family and friends for enabling that to be. Some of the Sew it Again collection found new homes – and others were paraded by the gorgeous Em and Maddy. Continue reading

Sew 151 – T-shirts reworked

upcycle with crochet necklineThe fabulous City of Brisbane Australia demonstrates that it values sustainable living by hosting the Green Heart Fair twice each year – and this free community event is on again at Chermside tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to engaging with eco-aware locals on the topic of sustainable and ethical dressing – discussing ways we can reduce our clothing footprint.

With the 365-day Sew it Again campaign approaching the half-way mark (well nearly), there are plenty of garments to fill out the Textile Beat tent this year.

Although time is against me now, I’m working on a few t-shirt upcycles we can do – sans sewing machine with just scissors, hand stitching and crafting. Continue reading