Safely Salvaged

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I seem to have been gripped by a level of inertia which has been difficult to shake. I suppose you could call it writer’s block. I have plenty of material for blog posts but have simply not had the will or focus to actually write and publish them. Part of the problem has been the heavy focus on our upcoming federal government elections on Saturday. The other has been the weather. The rain was relentless for several days and even when it was not raining the humidity was 100%. Today was a little better but a return of the heavy rain is forecast for the next 3 days with a high likelihood of greater than 100mm (4 inches) over the weekend.

Anyway, enough of excuses and back to the title.

Today I want to address textile waste – garments, household linens and unused fabric.

As with anything, the best actions we can take to minimise waste are:

  1. Buy only what we actually need.
  2. Buy secondhand where possible.
  3. Take care of what we have to increase its longevity.
  4. Repair or upcycle if applicable.
  5. Ensure it is disposed of or recycled responsibly at the end of its useful life.

Most of us at some time have donated to or shopped at op shops but do you have any idea of what happens with the donations before they make it into the shop for sale?

Donations are received, sorted, priced and made available for sale. Many op shops are overwhelmed by donations and sadly, a portion of what is donated ends up as landfill. Donated items may be unsuitable, dangerous, damaged, soiled or otherwise unacceptable.

I routinely receive donated textiles which are otherwise destined for landfill and our local Boomerang Bags group are often able to use some of the fabric for making reusable bags.

However, sometimes I am surprised by some of what I receive. Remember, op shops do not provide a laundry service so it is make sure that your donations are in a state which is saleable. It is even a good idea to fold garments so that the volunteers can easily identify them as clean and cared-for clothing.

Today I soaked and laundered these three dresses which were in the last bundle saved from landfill. I can only only surmise that at least 2 of them had been deemed unacceptable due to the fact that they had not been laundered prior to donation.

They are all natural fibres (cotton and linen) and in good condition.

I have now sold 2 of them and the funds received have been donated to our local Waste Action group.

We should all do everything we can to ensure that we minimise what ends up in landfill.

Buy Nothing November – Final Analysis

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There has been a bit of a hiatus as we were on holidays for part of the time and occupied with various happenings at home.

Since my last post the only additional stuff I bought in November was 4 items of clothing from an op shop while we were on holidays. I spent the princely sum of $13 for 2 pairs of white shorts, a black top with white spots and this lightweight pair of loose trousers.

I am not sure whether they are meant to be pyjamas but I will be wearing them for comfy loungewear at home.

Bargain Buy & Brains Trust

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On Tuesday I went to the dentist which is adjacent to my latest favourite op shop. I popped in and found a pair of fitted white stretch pull-on trousers for the princely sum of $4.

Of course, they were too long and needed taking up. The next question was what is the correct or most flattering length.

I was unsure and turned to the collective brains trust of some of my online fashionista friends. After a couple of attempts I settled on this length.

Here are the trousers hemmed, pressed and ready to wear.

Secondhand Rose

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Yesterday I popped into our local Salvos op shop (thrift shop) as I needed a long sleeve shirt. We were going on a walk in a rainforest area as part of a local Landcare group today. The dress code was long pants and long sleeve top plus closed shoes. The weather forecast was for a maximum temperature of 31C so none of my long sleeve tops were really suitable. I went to see if I could get a men’s business shirt that would do the trick but I was surprised to find this collared top with pretty pintucked detailing. The sleeves are actually 3/4 but almost wrist-length on me. My size and $5.

As an added bonus I found a scarf for $3 which goes perfectly with this jumper. I am sure I will find an opportunity to wear it before too long.

I have had several good op shop finds in the last few months including barely worn cotton shorts , canvas denim sneakers as well as a couple of tops.

Buying secondhand makes good ethical sense in my opinion but I am mindful of only buying what I need, regardless of whether it is new or secondhand.

Do you source clothes or other goods secondhand? Do you have a favourite store?

Winter Warmer

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We live in a temperate, sub-tropical area with relatively mild winters but that doesn’t mean that we do not need some warmer clothes for about 4 months of the year.

I try to predominately buy secondhand clothes and today was no exception.  We were in our local town and I popped into the Salvos thrift shop to see what was on offer.

I found this pullover which is completely devoid of labels.  I do not know the brand, size, origin or type of fabric.  However, for the princely sum of $5 it came home with me as it fitted and I love the colour.

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It may be too short on some people but is perfect for me.  I really like the fact that it does not have bands on the sleeves or the lower edge.

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I will not be pairing it with the green patterned jeans which I happened to be wearing today.

This piece will fit nicely into my smallish wardrobe.  I will team it with either black or dark denim jeans and one of my collared shirts or alternatively with a patterned scarf.  I will just need to find something suitable.

 

 

Share the Joy

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On two occasions recently, I have been able to pass along items that are not of use to me.

This is slightly different to decluttering because I never intended using either of the items concerned.

The first was when we were in Melbourne and I was having a good look around a large suburban op shop.  I found a Veronika Maine dress.

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While I have never owned any Veronika Maine clothing, I do know that they are good quality and it was made in Australia.  I knew that a size 10 would not fit me nor did I need a dress which would be totally at home in a corporate work environment.  So, I left it there even though it looked perfect and was priced at a relatively tiny $9.  After several hours of thinking about this dress, I decided to write a post for a Facebook group.  This group is simply a gathering of like-minded female friends, some of whom I know in real life.  I offered to buy the dress and post it (if required) if anyone was interested.  Sure enough, someone was keen and the dress is now in regional NSW with a new owner.

I am part of a small group in my local town who make Boomerang bags.  We regularly receive bags and boxes of donated fabric from a variety of sources.  Sometimes these include fabric which is not suitable for making the bags and we generally try to repurpose it in some way.  However, I was sorting through some fabric yesterday when I came across several pieces which defeated me when it came to thinking about how it could be used.

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It is a silky type of material with a floral pattern on it.  Most intriguing was the fact that is had been cut into long strip about 20cm wide and up to 6 metres in length.  This rendered it unusable for making any type of garment.  Once again, I offered it to my online group of friends for the cost of the postage.  Lo and behold, someone was very keen and the parcel is currently en route.  I will look forward to discovering what crafty project this will be used for.

The alternative was to send it to an op shop but I fear that it would have landed in the ‘too hard’ basket and subsequently in landfill.

I have found that it is worth spending a little extra time and effort to find someone to pass things on to directly.

 

Secondhand Stuff

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One way to significantly reduce our carbon footprint is to source pre-loved items in preference to buying new.

There are a number of ways of achieving this.  Thrift stores, garage sales and online groups as well as hand-me-downs and cast-offs from friends and family.

I think it is important not to simply use this as a way of acquiring excess possessions that will not be used.  However, if you are willing to watch and wait and be prepared to take advantage of what comes your way, there are plenty of bargains out there.

Here are some of my finds from the last week.

I was walking past the recycle boutique in our local town when I spied this dress hanging outside the shop.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered it was my size.

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After a relatively minor alteration it is ready to wear to a Christmas lunch tomorrow and probably on Christmas Day as well.

On Saturday morning I ventured to a clearing sale at a property not far from where we live.  I knew that there would be a wide selection and went with an open mind.

This was what I ended up with.  Total cost was $50.

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The 2 larger Pyrex dishes are for my daughter.

The doona set was for king-size bed but I modified it for our queen-size bed.  You can see the pattern better as it is on the line after being washed.

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The offcuts have not been wasted as I will be able to cut squares for the patchwork quilt which is a work in progress but will one day grace our bed.

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The bed linen is the perfect colour for our room.

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Another Quilt

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No, this is not turning into a quilting and patchwork blog, however, I am making another quilt using the same techniques as the one I have just finished.  This is for another work colleague – a retirement gift this time.

It is very different colours – generally autumn tones.

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Here are some of the squares cut out.  I had some of the fabric in my stash but nowhere near enough as it is not the colours I tend to use.  The remainder is made up of some new fabric specifically for the project as well as some that I found on an op shop crawl this morning.  We are fortunate to have no fewer than 4 op shops in the small town near where we live.

I spent the afternoon and evening cutting out and piecing fabric. It is coming together nicely and these are the first 5 completed blocks.  There are another 11to do before I arrange them to get the best balance of colours.

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While I was hunting out suitable fabric at an op shop, this piece caught my eye.

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A 1 metre length of brand new cotton fabric which is 112cm wide.  It cost me 50c and will be used to make a sleeveless shirt for me.

The other thing I bought was not fabric so I will save the story of that for another blog post.

 

Recycled Outfit?

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Here is some astounding news.  The Duchess of Cambridge is not afraid to recycle her outfits!  So says the media.  Their definition of recycling an outfit is to wear it in public 4 times, yes, 4 times in 6 years.

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The full article is here.

I prefer this story from a Facebook group.

“Just a few hours ago this was a bed sheet on a hanger in Goodwill!! For about $5, I made myself a crazy awesome dress! NEVER SEWN BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Easy as pie.”

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Now that is what I call a recycled outfit – a cute summer dress made from a secondhand sheet.

I would love to hear your stories of recycled outfits.

 

Flashback Friday

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As with all new projects, ‘Flashback Friday’ is being fine-tuned.  As well as linking back to the original post I am going to copy and paste it into a new post.  So, here goes…..this is from August 2012 just before Izz turned 3.

I have been making a gift for Izz for her birthday.  She has a doll’s bed which has been passed down to her but no bedding.

I bought 2 u-shaped pillowcases recently from the op shop.  Here is one that I have unpicked ready to use.  Note the roll of fabric which is the dismantled and pressed frill.

2012-08-06 01The Duke bought a piece of foam cut to size for the mattress and I have covered that using some of the pillowcase fabric.

2012-08-06 02The next step was to make a patchwork quilt.  I worked out the size and number of pieces I would need.  The plain pink is more of the pillowcase, plain mauve from a piece in my stash of fabric, Dora pattern is a few leftover scraps from the doona cover and curtains that I made for Miss O last year and the pink patterned fabric is from a blouse I picked up at the op shop.  The frill is the one I unpicked from the pillowcase.  The hemmed edge remained intact so I simply regathered it and reapplied to the quilt edge.

2012-08-06 03I bought a large piece of cotton/bamboo batting for a bed quilt I am working on for Izz’s bed so I used a small piece for this quilt.  (I think this is a rather spoiled doll!)  The backing is more leftovers from some op shop fabric.  I quilted it by simply machine stitching along the seam lines which is nothing fancy but seems effective.

2012-08-06 04The finishing touch was to make a matching pillow.  A couple more fabric scraps and some salvaged filling from an old cushion and I had a complete set of bedding for the doll.  Here is the mattress with the pillow.

2012-08-06 05The total cost of things I bought specifically for this project was $6.60.  This is a gift which I know will be loved regardless of the cost.  I am looking forward to seeing Izz’s face when she opens the gift.

Now I need to work on the the bed quilt I am making as well since her birthday is in 2 weeks and I want to be able to give her the present before we go on holidays.

2015-04-03 01In the interests of presenting a complete picture here are a couple of photos I took when she received her parcel.

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