I am Angela and I love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. All me-made. I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill, and encourage you to repurpose fabrics and clothes I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, You can pass your knowledge on to others. What is there not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . . I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Re-use, recycle. Will you take the challenge?

 Re-use, recycle.  Make Do and mend. What is this all about?  Why should it affect me?

I am alarmed after doing some research  just how much clothing, some of it unworn, goes to landfill. We purchase a lot of cheaper clothes which soon lose their appeal and out they go. Our wardrobes are crammed with things we hardly ever. Or never wear.

Not just clothes, I have been rescuing furniture too

Did you know that Dunelm take back textiles? I shall be doing this 

The website is Dunelm Take Back Scheme

 When I was young I was taught to buy fewer "good" pieces which would last forever , and they actually do.so why do we do it? And more to the point how are we going to dispose of our unwanted fashion without damaging our planet even more.

Read this, taken from a statement  from WRAP - textiles

  Facts on clothes recycling

The UK could save £3billion per year from the cost of the resources we use to make and clean clothes if we changed the way we supplied, used and disposed of clothing. This would reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing consumption by 10-20% each. Being part of the Wrap 2020 Commitment we aim to reduce our own and help others to reduce their environmental footprints

350,000 tonnes, that’s around £140 million worth of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year

This equates to more than 30% of our unwanted clothing currently goes to landfill.

                                               Watch this YouTube  video 

We Great Britons send 700,000 tonnes of clothing to recycling centres, textile banks, clothes collections and to charity each year. That’s enough to fill 459 Olympic-size swimming pools.57% of people say they recycle their textiles with 41% of people saying they’re not aware of recycling facilities .

Another alarming fact is that charity shops send a huge proportion  of our old clothing to landfill , so that is not the answer! So. while you may donate your old clothing to charity, the truth is, even then, a whopping 84 percent of our clothing ends up in landfills. This is wrong, we feel good when we give to charity shops don't we. I often wondered what happened to old stock, this is shocking.

Large clothing manufacturers have waste fabric too. What happens to that? Do you know?

So, what is the answer? Obviously sewing is the long term answer, it is sustainable, Well, we could go into ethical and non ethical fabrics, but that is another blog!

When you can sew , even just a little bit , you can make things, wear things, sell things, it is a massive thing to give yourself the gift of sewing because with it you and your family can be clothed according to your finances. Duvet covers from charity shops can be repurposed into almost anything , for next to nothing. And yes, I have been that poor. Eating nothing but baked beans for weeks on end, eventually getting a job as a school dinner lady so myself and my son could have a free hot meal every day. I was so glad that I could make clothes and I became popular at school for being able to rustle up costumes for school plays out of just an old sheet. So, I could not only make some of our clothes, (coats and dressing gowns were favourites then,)   I could also do odd jobs for cash, shortening curtains, knitting. Anything.

So, it helped me all those years ago, now I can pass this knowledge on to you and together we can help reduce waste ,and that in turn will help our planet for generations to come. 

fabric is from Minerva.com a selection of stretch jersey fabrics

What to do with old clothes?

The obvious thing is to transform and upcycle them  into something new. ...  I have been altering dresses to make tops and altering garments to fit better, and altering necklines.Another great idea is to make dolls clothes , especially  lovely if you have garments which mean a lot

We all need shopping bags and they can easily be made from almost anything. If you do nothing else make shopping bags!

For inspiration  read this blog post Learn to sew / Dolls clothes

 Check out local textile & fabric recycling spots. ... Look on the Internet or ask your council about textile collection points 

I gave my evening gowns and heels ( I prefer trainers these days) to a group supplying girls with prom outfits. Similarly I give coats and so on to a charity which gives them to people in need.

You could pass on your clothes to others or have a swop  evening where  you and your friends have fun exchanging garments. I went to one of those and exchanged some dresses I had grown tired of for other clothes. We all ended up with new clothes for nothing! And no waste.
There are apps such as Vinted, Ebay and local free sites on Facebook.  Can you think of any more?
What  about craft supplies including fabric.?

One idea is to use them to teach others. This is a great thing to do.

How wonderful it would be if you taught someone else your craft, whatever it is 

I have been looking at my  stash of fabric and thought how pointless  it is to have such a large collection of fabric which is not being used. Its silly isn't it, I had a think and a sort out. I divided the fabrics into summer and winter and started work on the winter pile.  I took the shorter pieces of Jersey fabric and turned them into tops. 

I believe in reusing patterns too , it's my thrifty side, so once I find a pattern I love I iron it onto cheap interfacing to help preserve it and happily change it and hack it and use it time and time again.
Here are just some  of my new tops. There are others which you will find on my YouTube video  

Another thing I decided to sew is pyjamas / loungewear  for winter. I have always used cotton lawn in the past to make them with but they are not nearly as comfortable as cotton Jersey. Plus cotton lawn gets terribly crumpled! 
Pyjamas are pricy and there is never anything different.So, that was the next task .I did not purchase a particular  pattern, I used what I had . The pants are just simple straight leg elastic  waist trousers and the tops were adapted from two patterns, details below 
They are also comfortable for sitting around in and won't scare the postman.

The Cotton Jersey fabric is from Abakhan Fabrics  to purchase it is always better to pop along to your nearest store if you can, the stock changes constantly 

Love the fabric don't you? It is super soft and has "love" all over it.

Another pair, fabric again from Abakhan this fabric is cute with lollipops all over . Love it.

These are the various patterns I used, you need to refer to my previous post to obtain the direct links to purchase them as I used the same ones 
My Lurex pants suit


I went to the skip earlier this week and this old chair was being disposed of. I regret that I forgot to take before pictures.
Structurally it is sound. I stripped it back and removed the ancient horsehair stuffing, disinfected it and left it overnight

The next day I stuffed it with fire proof stuffing and covered the top with foam. Again this has to be fire retardant 

I started pinning the fabric in place, stretching it as much as possible .Then I stitched and glued and stapled until I was happy.

This is my finished chair, free! 

Some fringing completes the look 

A perfect addition to my sewing room 

When I was making the curtains for my sewing room I also covered my sewing chair and an old footstool

The small footstool lives in my living room, that too was a rejected item

For more  ideas,  books such as these two are available,  you can then make gifts and home wear from your odd bits of fabric 

This book was issued in 1943 by the Board of trade , and its intention  was to show you how to get every single possible use out of clothes , textiles,  food and so on.
It is still readily available and whilst you would not  want to take on board all the  advice there is certain  to be something of use. It is a fascinating  read actually, so if you can get hold of one do.

So, will you join me in pledging to do at least one thing to stop sending clothes etc to landfill? You could pledge to purchase no new clothes for a month. You could buy from a charity shop. If you can have a clothes swop party . Whatever you do, dust down your sewing machine, knitting needles or crochet and make something.
I look forward to seeing your ideas and hearing about your projects

Best wishes and happy recycling

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