recycled fabric heaven

So far I’ve mostly posted about food-related making. But another great love of mine is sewing. I grew up with home made clothes and had my first go on my mother’s machine when I was about 10.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that the idea of making my own unique clothes, saving money in the process, and avoiding overpriced sweat-shop-made items really grabbed my attention.

The last piece of the puzzle came a few years ago when I discovered that an abundance of 2nd hand, very inexpensive fabric was available in many op-shops. I am constantly dismayed by the wastefulness of modern society, and recycling/re-making/re-using/re-inventing things is part of my response to this trend. Now my great passion for recycling and making have come together in their most happy symbiosis!

I’m going to let you in on a secret – there’s a place that delights both the sewer (sew-er?) and the recycled-bargain hunter in me. It’s the best source of 2nd-hand fabric I know of and until now I haven’t spread the word.

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This is the craft room at the Goodwill Op Shop on Cavan Rd, Dry Creek. (Apologies to anyone not from Adelaide, South Australia). Wall to wall shelving filled with all manner of fabrics, sorted by type and colour and neatly labelled. I have to admit I get just a tad excited each time I walk in: my mind reels with the possibilities. And not surprisingly I invariably walk out again with more than I intended – and new ideas of what to make. Obviously with recycled materials you can’t be too picky, but I have almost always found something to suit what I’m making, or have adapted my ideas to suit what I find.

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Here are some examples of what I have made with 2nd hand fabric:

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This beautiful little polar fleece jacket will keep my son super duper warm this winter.

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Finding nice fitting long sleeve tees was always a challenge, but this one I made fits perfectly

Using new and recycled fabrics I made a whole stack of bibs in March

Using new and recycled fabrics I made a whole stack of bibs in March

Bonnet, dress and pelisse for a Jane Austen party all made from 2nd hand items.

Bonnet, dress and pelisse for a Jane Austen party all made from 2nd hand materials.

So I issue a challenge to all my sewing compatriots: if you haven’t already, search your local op-shops for the material for your next sewing project.* You never know what treasure you might find!

* The same goes for wool, buttons, zippers, threads, lace etc. And I have found some truly fabulous 2nd hand patterns.


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