Tag Archives: #sewitagain

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 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 22 – Repurposed trousers to skirt

trousers become skirtThis was a pair of reject promo trousers that I converted to a skirt by adding an A-line extension from an orange dress which I decorated with circular frills cut from the trouser legs.

Everyone I know has excess garments in their wardrobes. The world is awash with clothing that is no longer fit for purpose, so it makes sense that instead of dumping it in landfill we convert it into something else.

It is disconcerting to read that Australians have the largest homes in the world – after the United States and Canada – and I’m sure this equates to having the biggest wardrobes too!

According to Lindsay Wilson from Shrink that Footprint, the average new home in Australia is 214 m2, the US 201 and Canada 181 m2.  The countries with the smallest homes are Hong Kong 45, Russia 57, the United Kingdom 76 and Italy with 81 m2.

I live in a big old Queenslander in Brisbane and I’m mindful that our family has accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. In our defence, most of it is pre-loved treasure, gathered from relatives, flea markets, op shops or friends cast-offs – and a lot of found stuff from nature including rocks, driftwood and shells.

On my 365-day upcycling journey this year, I’m working my way through the wardrobes of natural fibre garments I’ve gathered from ops shops and other sources in recent years.

Today’s upcycle was black cotton trousers from the $2 rack at an op shop, which was branded with advertising but appeared new. I cut them off below the zip and added new front and back panels cut from an orange dress to extend the skirt to above-knee. I cut open the leg off-cuts and used a circle pattern (sorry forgot to photograph this) to cut lengths of frill which I then sewed around the skirt. I made flowers from the leftover bits and sewed salvaged buttons at each centre. The top was one I made years ago with the sleeves rolled up.

Sew 22 construction web

Sew 1 – adding value to cast-offs

history skirtA new day, a new year and a new creative, sustainable and unique way of dressing in upcycled natural fibre garments.

You are what you repeatedly do. During 2014 I’m following my heart on a creative journey through this values-based Sew it Again project which has evolved from study with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

The project is inspiring upcycling of natural fibres through daily posting of repurposed garments, such as this History Skirt, right, created for bright university student Belinda in my Textile Beat studio from pieces of discarded cotton dresses and shirts. Continue reading