Tag Archives: #dresswithstory

Sew it Again an award-winner

Social Media Award winner Jane Milburn with co-ordinator Edwina Close and Rural Press Club president Brendan Egan

Jane Milburn with awards co-ordinator Edwina Close and Rural Press Club president Brendan Egan

It is fantastic to have this work recognised by journalistic peers. Sew it Again was judged Social Media category winner in the Excellence in Rural Journalism 2015 Awards run by the Rural Press Club of Queensland.

The judges comments were: Jane Milburn’s Sew It Again project engaged with the community, had a call to action and was transformative. It actually made a difference in the world.

I am a natural fibre champion and believe that dressing is an agricultural act, unless you prefer synthetic fibre clothing derived from petroleum, coal or gas.

My work has a clear connection to agriculture through its focus on natural-fibre clothing, which now only makes up 1/3 of apparel consumption (see table below). The other 2/3 of clothing are made of synthetic fibres, which 2011 research shows are shedding microplastic particles into the wastewater stream with every wash and these particles are entering the food chain.

This is the message I am now sharing at Textile Beat workshops and talks on slow fashion, natural fibres and dressing with conscience – consistent with my goal to travel the world inspiring creative upcycling of natural fibres.

World Apparel Fiber use

RPC journalism award winners with Minister Bill Byrne

Congratulations to the other award winners, photographed with Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne, including overall winner the ABC’s Marty McCarthy

Sew 54 – Wool for winter comfort

wool knit upcycledThis plum outfit is from op shop wool separates linked by scarf pieces hand sewn with vintage buttons to dress up skirt.

Wool drapes beautifully, is comfortable and toasty warm in cold weather. Merino wool is particularly soft, with amazingly superfine wool being produced in cooler parts of the nation.

Athough Australia no longer rides on the sheep’s back, it still leads the world in wool production by supplying high-quality natural fibre for the world of high-fashion in Europe and the bourgeoning Chinese market.

The National Farmers Federation website says total production of wool in Australia was 368,330 tonnes (greasy) in 2011, with wool exports valued at $3.047 billion and major markets for Australian wool being China ($2.2 billion), India ($209 million) and Italy ($178 million). Continue reading

Sew 52 – History Skirt from jumpers

history skirt from wool jumpersThis history skirt is refashioned from pieces of eight wool jumpers, with another jumper as waistband and hem.

Being winter in the northern hemisphere, I’m doing some woolly upcycles since there’s growing interest in sewitagain.com from United Kingdom, Italy and United States.

Nothing is ever entirely original in this world it just evolves from something or somewhere. In his book Think! Before It’s Too Late, Edward De Bono says the human brain is designed to set up routine patterns and to use and follow these patterns.

He says all valuable creative ideas will be logical in hindsight. Creativity is not a mysterious gift or special talent – it is the behaviour of a self-organising information system that makes asymmetric patterns (the brain).  Continue reading

Sew 51 – Jeans to rara skirt

jeans to rara skirtLinen jeans becomes rara skirt by chopping below zip, extending skirt and adding frill made from off-cuts.

Reusing and resewing from existing clothing is an easy way to upgrade/revive/extend your wardrobe and I’m on a mission to do that for better or worse for 365 days this year.

Why? One reason is the ecological impacts of constant consumption. Society’s endless chase of new clothing consumes resources at the production end (water, energy, nutrients and/or petroleum) and results in pollution at the disposal end (dumps, leaching and/or methane).  Continue reading

Sew 49 – Renovation by resewing

upcycled peasant dressTwo so-so garments of matching colours merge to be a brighter whole, with silk top sliced and diced to embellish linen dress.

This Sew it Again task I’ve set myself is a labour-of-love resewing a garment a day during 2014 to demonstrate a different way of dressing and I find inspiration everywhere.

“One of the best skills a girl can learn is to sew.” As I read these words last night, my heart sang.

Social activist and blogger Mary Dickinson said this in U on Sunday’s Inside my Wardrobe column: “I have been sewing since I was 10 so now I can buy something, if necessary, that is too big and take it in or chop the sleeves off and change it. I think one of the best skills a girl can learn is to sew.”  Continue reading

Sew 45 – Love for natural resources

upcycled silk skirtBusiness attire is dress code for today’s Rural Press Club lunch at Tattersalls so I’m wearing this black silk top (found in op shop as is, never worn) teamed with silk-embellished linen skirt.

Speaking today is National Farmers’ Federation president Brent Finlay about the future for family farming in Australia, in what is the UN’s International Year of Family Farming 2014.

About 99 percent of Australian farms are family-owned and operated, but the challenges involved in growing food and fibre for the world include drought, low profitability, rising debt and a dwindling rural workforce.

In addition to being NFF president, Brent is a wool producer from the Traprock region of southern Queensland whom I met 15 years ago at a Wear Wool Wednesday fashion parade in the Red Chamber at Queensland Parliament House when I was working for then Minister for Primary Industries Henry PalaszczukContinue reading

Sew 44 – What is it all for?

silk/linen upcycled dressThis dress was created by sewing a linen skirt to the top of a cotton/silk shift because the blue and yellow shades in both looked as if they were meant to be together.

Some things are just meant to be – and I think this year in the rhythm of sewing, photographing, writing and posting about my resewing experiences is one of those things.

I’m currently working out how to manage this rhythm while in Western Australia next month, my third trip west during the past year since my youngest brother Paul lost his life in an excavator accident there.

Losing a much-loved sibling is painful, as well as a wake-up call for what really matters. Paul was living an adventurous life in his Mercedes Sprinter van fitted out as a mobile home/tool kit, working as a builder in remote parts of the state. He had no children, was twice married and twice divorced.

Paul didn’t leave a Will, so part of my journey this year after being appointed as administrator is deciding what to do with his possessions. Less is more and quality remains long after price forgotten were codes by which Paul lived – and I’m fortunate he gathered a couple of high-quality friends who are helping me work through this process. Continue reading

Sew 42 – Go Green for greater good

upcycled cotton muumuuResewing adventures are a way of creating and sharing ideas to magic discarded clothing into something else – long white cotton skirt turns muumuu by cutting armholes.

Our fashion habits and mores have led the world to the point where mountains of perfectly good clothing are being shipped around the world or sent to landfill.

This year I’m investing time, energy, creativity and skills to devise ways to refashion 365 outfits from old stuff in my wardrobes (yes, that’s plural) with the Sew it Again project.

The project is an initiative of the creative business/social enterprise Textile Beat, which made a splash last year at Brisbane’s Green Heart Fair. Notification came yesterday that the next Green Heart Fair run by Brisbane City Council as part of our city’s sustainability agenda is on June 1 and I’m looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, it’s Go Green Week in the United Kingdom (Feb 10 – 16) and I enjoyed these comments from University of the Arts London’s new Chair of Art in the Environment Lucy Orta. Continue reading

Sew 41 – Heart in the right place

eco-dyed cottonTo liven up this cotton $2 op shop dress, I eco-dyed it along with some silk which was then used to lengthen hemline and embellish neckline along with beads.

I’m making it my business this year to reinvent existing clothing to demonstrate how using creativity and effort enables us to dress in a different, more mindful, way.

My inspiration comes from seeing and reading what others are doing around the world, as documented by people such as Sass Brown in her books Eco Fashion and Refashioned.

Brown also has a website ecofashiontalk.com and today posted an article about creative challenges involved in upcycling post-consumer waste. Continue reading

Sew 39 – Towards zero waste

upcycled silk suitTransformed from two jackets, this outfit is for tonight’s opening of the Love Up-cycled exhibition at Reverse Emporium in Brisbane, which includes Textile Beat’s Sew it Again.

Am looking forward to meeting upcyclers likely to have similar values to mine – integrity, creativity, autonomy and purpose.

I’m proud to live in a city with a sustainability agenda that includes a Towards Zero Waste Strategy, and events such as the bi-annual Green Heart Fair which I attended last year. Other cities with zero waste strategies include San Francisco (they’ve just introduced a textile waste program) in the US, Vancouver in Canada and Kaikoura in New Zealand.

Brisbane City Council’s says on its website: “Zero Waste is a goal, a process, a way of thinking that profoundly changes our approach to resources and production. Not only is Zero Waste about recycling and diverting materials from landfills, it is also about restructuring production and distribution systems to prevent waste from being created in the first place. Zero waste ensures that resources already in existence are used to their maximum potential.”  Continue reading