Thursday, October 22, 2009

But I'll have a sailor laddie and dye my apron blue

This evening I attended Re-loved 2 at Craft ACT, a fashion parade with all the clothing made from recycled clothing and fabric. There was quite a range of styles, with several different designers involved. Some was more to my taste than others (of course), but the show was definitely worth a look.

A similar thing goes on, at a more personal level, with Wardrobe Refashion where people pledge to avoid buying new clothing for a set period, instead renovating and remaking existing stuff to satisfy the need or desire for different clothes. I've also recently come across Project Remake, a new group in Canberra who are exploring ways to recycle textiles. And I've been thinking about what textiles and other materials I can reuse and repurpose in the things I make.
kimono shrug
Not the best photo but this shrug made from a kimono was gorgeous.

My pears are stuffed before felting so they need a stuffing that doesn't felt, dries quickly and can stand up to rough treatment. I've been using polyester stuffing or wadding (a bit firmer) - both probably quite environmentally unfriendly, though I haven't researched it yet. At times I have also used the stuffing from old worn-out cushions. Now that I think about it, there are probably a couple of misshapen pillows in the cupboards that could be sacrificed this way too. Whatever I use gets such a thorough washing with hot water in the felting process that I don't think there could be any hygiene issues.

This week I'm working on some prototypes for a different stuffed item and this time I'm planning to felt them before stuffing. So I've started keeping little fabric scraps and all the wool ends from various knitting projects, to be used as stuffing.
Of course there is my new button stash, much of which has come from op shops. Some of them are scratched or damaged, which make for an interesting look - but then some of them are better covered up. Some of the covering fabric was from a bag of leftovers and scraps that came to me from a friend leaving town (along with a sewing machine).

Once upon a time I did some knitting with cut-up t-shirts. I thought I might make a shopping or lunch bag with the resulting tough, thick fabric, but I didn't persevere as I didn't enjoy the feel of knitting it, at all. Many people do successfully knit with fabric strips (making floor rugs, for example). Alwen at Lost Arts Studio has instructions for how to spiral-cut a t-shirt. She was using the strips for weaving, too.


Michelle said...

It was a really interesting parade, wasn't it? Loved the Polbymade collection. We commented afterwards that we would have liked to have known what went into the garments. The second last designer, for example - did she make that square cutout fabric herself, or was it a curtain with the checks cut out of it?

Mind you, it was fun muttering "shower curtain", "nana's kitchen curtain" and "jeans jacket" to each other.

Good luck with your recycling textile and stuffing challenge. A friend in Finland uses clean rags as stuffing for her dolls, but she also doesn't wash them so doesn't have to worry about drying, etc.

Donna Lee said...

Some fiber fill is made from recycled plastics and so might not be so bad.

Alwen said...

The clothing is fascinating.

Thanks for the mention - I find it tough to knit with the strips, hard on my wrists, but I keep thinking it would be easier on a knitting frame/loom. Weaving them was definitely easy!

Michelle said...

Found out something interesting yesterday at our craft group. One of the girls makes Steiner dolls, and she was using wool slubbing (aka roving apparently) as the stuffing. I can find out who her supplier is, if you like.

Betty said...

Enjoyed your post Liv. The shrugs made from kimonos were definately my favourite though they must have been beautiful objects before. Would they really ever end up in landfil? I suppose that's not the point. Inspiring collections and it would be a fun challenge to make a line of clothes like this. (In one of the project runway series the contestants have to make outfits from car accessories and apholstry!) Bet they used any old new car for the tv show though. I'll have to look at the wardrobe refashion site - am trying to last at least until christmas but I'm sure i can do better than that. I found a faded single doona bed cover with jungle animals all over it on the weekend but I don't know if i can bring myself to cut into it.

Jejune said...

I got the invitation to this too, it looked really interesting, but I couldn't get there - good to have your report on it. I love the whole recycled clothing / fabric idea.