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
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
When we think of creativity, most think of art with a capital A, when really it is about having a sense of festivity, fun and playfulness. One of my academic friends said the sense of play is what she most enjoys about Sew it Again because we need more creative play in our lives and workplaces.
In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron quotes Stephen Nachmanovitch: “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form” and C. G. Jung: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” Continue reading
Nearly at the end of this crazybrave year dedicated to upcycling natural fibre clothing that already exists in the world. My aim? To model one way to dress with conscience in a society burdened by expanding resource use and dangerous climate change.
Melissa Breyer on the Treehugger website has put together some scary statistics on global fashion consumption habits and impacts along the clothing supply chain. Even though there are more than 7 billion people in the world, I believe small individual changes can ultimately make a big difference.
As I reflect on the people that made my Sew it Again upcycling year possible, today I thank the farmers who grow the natural fibres, the spinners who make the fabric, the designers and makers who magic it into clothing, the people who donate clothing then no longer want to charities and the volunteers who help run thrift shops – from where much of my clothing is sourced. 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.
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
This means the greenest clothing of all is clothing that already exists – so if we are to be authentically sustainable, we revisit what we have, rather than buy new.
When my sister Jo came over at the weekend, we rechristened my sewing machines and I’m pleased to report they’ve recovered from their drenching.
This brown linen is what Jo calls her lucky dress, because she won a job wearing it to a significant interview. Jo has worn it for years and decided to refresh and lengthen it by incorporating a Canteen bandanna. Continue reading
Shell buttons are beautiful unique treasure from the sea and deserve to be used again and again. I have old hand-made trochus shell buttons from my mother-in-law’s collection and am still incubating an upcycling project worthy of them.
I’ve salvaged many shell buttons over the years and find the variety and natural beauty truly amazing. They’re special because they won’t always be available in future. ABC Rural reported recently that a small trochus shell industry remains in Great Barrier Reef waters to cater for the high-end fashion market but the reality is that most buttons are now plastic. Continue reading
It seems we’ve just blinked and now we’re at the beginning of the last month of the year, reflecting on 2014 and considering what might be up next.
The storms last week had a silver lining – they forced a tidy-up of the Textile Beat studio (for those following the details, I’m still drying out my machines under the overhead fan and have not tried to plug in yet – hence hand-sew projects).
One useful rediscovery during the tidy-up was my seven-point note-to-self written during study last year that provides some homespun perspective and direction for day-to-day actions and reactions. The points are: 1. Being is enough 2. Follow the heart 3. Live and work to your values 4. Make health a daily priority 5. Stay connected 6. Respect process and planning 7. Give/ask for help, and keep learning. I’ve mostly stuck to that philosophy this year, with just a few deviations. Continue reading
My opportunity this year is to spend time every day refashioning and upcycling existing clothing – demonstrating a creative way of dressing that doesn’t involve always buying new stuff. I’m working through my stash of op-shop found natural-fibre clothing, playing with ideas to reshape and resew them.
I’m not trying to become a clothing designer and I don’t pretend to have fashion qualifications – I’m coming at this from the perspective of conserving natural resources in our finite world. I believe refashioning existing clothing also enables sewing – a dying art in most communities – to be a useful life-skill for the 21st century now that it is uneconomic for women in developed nations to sew clothing from scratch. Continue reading