Keep Your Clothes On!
Monday, May. 12, 2008 | 05:28 PM AT
Okay, if you've been reading this blog you know that:
The average Quebecker buys 23 kg of clothes a year.
(not the end of the world, right?)
Umm hmm, until you consider that that same average Quebecker THROWS OUT 21 kg of that 23 kg PER YEAR!
That'sTHROW, not donate or reuse or recycle.
That's bad. Because a lot of the fabric is still good. And with a little time and creativity, it can become something totally funky.
That's the credo of a pair of Genevièves:Geneviève Dumas and Geneviève Flageol who opened an 'eco-fashion' boutique on St Denis called Moly Kulte
All the wild and funky clothes and accessories in their store come from donated or salvaged materials. And these ladies are SERIOUSLY fashionable. So I went on down for a primer on how to reduce and reuse by recycling my threads.
Of course, we're not exactly going to learn how to make a gorgeous skirt like this one. It's entirely possible and truth be told, not that hard, but it DOES assume basic tailoring skills and the ownership of a nice sewing machine. I preferred to go with something simple and no-fuss. So Geneviève Dumas suggested the sweatshirt bag.
It's simple, chic in a grungy, punky sorta way and certainly practical. The project will probably take you less than 15 minutes to finish if you have a machine and less than an hour if you're sewing by hand.
And you don't have to have any prior experience with a needle and thread. What a perfect way to save that beloved sweatshirt that's too threadbare to wear!
Next up I wanted to try something for the home. So the other Geneviève (Flageol) offered to show me how to make the ultimate recycled pillow (not the ones pictured above, but just as cool, I promise!)
Here's what you have to do:
1. You take some firm material (i;e. not stretchy knit material like most T-shirts. You want woven fabric like old bedsheets, a silk dress, denim or curtains)
2. You'll also need fabric scraps and or old socks, soft scarf-type material and that sort of stuff to ... well stuff your pillow.
3. A sewing machine helps, but isn't vital.
4. A needle and thread (to close the hold from stuffing).
If you need directions, check out the video link posted above.
The finished pillow that I'm holding in the piece also has some awesome silk-screened detail on it. Don't know how to silk screen? Simply crack out the fabric paint or Magic Markers and go wild. This would be a great project to try with kids.
The recycled sweater bag
Handcraft in a hectic world...
Okay, I'll admit that this pair of bags is what got me on this whole recycling kick in the first place. There's a wonderful free tutorial on how to make one of these from a thrifted sweater in under 30 minutes. Check it out at whipup.net (I love her tagline: handcraft in a hectic world)
You can also make a pair of lovely fingerless mitts (or handwarmers, if you prefer) by felting a pure wool sweater (you HAVE to make sure it's pure wool that's not marked "superwash"). Felting simply means "shrinking on purpose" and can be achieved with any top loading washing machine (or even with a bucket and some muscle).
You have to use hot water and a little natural fabric detergent..oh, and an old pillowcase to keep the wool fibres from clogging up your machine. What happens is that the heat and wet and slippery soap makes the wool fibres open up. In the machine (or with a wooden spoon if you're felting by hand), the agitation then causes these fibres or hairs to knot together. This shrinks the fabric and makes it thick and very warm. It also allows you to cut knit fabric without it unraveling.
You can get a more sensible tutorial here.
For those who are very crafty and would like to take felting to a whole new level, you can try needle felting. This looks a little like embroidery and can be used on a sweater that you've felted by machine. Check it out on Youtube here. Warning, if you're offended by the word "titty", you might want to give this a skip. Otherwise, it's pretty G rated!
Other techniques include this one that you can use to embellish jeans and bags.
If you're crafty and are bored by the basic stuff I've described here, considering trawling through Etsy pages. That's what I do when I'm looking for inspiration for recycled projects. Watch out though, it's addictive and can cost you a fortune in clever, handmade recycled goodies!
So, today's question is this: Do you or have you ever recycled or modified your clothes? What did you do? Do you have photos? What sort of stuff do you like to do? Tell me all and send any photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
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