Crafting for a Reason


When I read today’s post at Down to Earth I realised that much of it rang true for me.  None more so than this section where Rhonda writes:

“Many of the older readers here would know that I don’t consider craft to be a hobby. For me it’s part of my housework. I sew, mend and knit so we have good quality and long wearing scarves, cardigans, jumpers, hats, dishcloths, tablecloths and napkins. I see that as part of my homemaker’s work, not a hobby. Back in my great grandmothers’ day, making clothing and woollens for the family was part of almost every women’s home tasks. Somehow those tasks where either moved to become separate hobbies or were not done at all. They still hold an important place here, I still do all of them, still enjoy them, and they’re a part of my work.”

Any craft that I do is almost exclusively for practical purposes.  I remember being invited to join a patchwork group some years ago.  I probably could have been a bit more tactful but my response was along the lines of, “Why would you cut up perfectly good fabric so that you can sew it back together again?”  I also reminded my friend that I had had quite enough sewing to fill my days making clothes for all the members of my family.

I am appalled by the amount of time and money that is spent on useless and impractical craft materials such as patchwork fabric.  Patchwork evolved as a way of making use of every last bit of fabric, often being unpicked and re-made into other items.

Here are a couple of examples of making the most of scraps of material.

I made this bag last week using the facing from the hem of a dress.  You can read more about it here.  Scroll down towards the end of the post.

Here is a photo of Belle (in 1993) wearing a patchwork jacket I made using up scraps of sweatshirt fabric.  I sewed the scraps together to make a large piece of fabric and then cut the pattern pieces out as if it was a normal piece of fabric.

Do you do any practical crafts?


Shopping For Something Special

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In my quest to live a greener, simpler life with less stuff I rarely go shopping except for basic foods.  When I do shop it is for a specific purpose such as buying a gift or something I need for a sewing project.

I also buy from op shops where it is feasible and appropriate, as buying second-hand goods stops those things being sent to landfill and there is no additional carbon footprint from the production of new manufactured items.

Whether it is second-hand or new, I do not go browsing and shopping for the sake of it.  I know of people who go op shopping to minimise the cost of their need for a “shopping fix”.  This still tends to result in lots of extra “stuff” being bought.  It can actually be worse in terms of acquiring stuff as op shop goods are generally cheaper, thus enabling more to be bought.

Today I went to an op shop in the city but it was almost like a boutique compared to the basic op shops in the suburbs and country towns.  There are 2 op shops in Maleny so I went there is the hope of finding what I was looking for.  The purpose of my expedition was to find some things I needed for my costume for the themed dinner at a work conference on Thursday evening.  Our table is 1960’s and we have chosen Woodstock as our theme.

Here is what I bought.

A cheesecloth sundress which I am going to turn into a long skirt – $6.50

A single bed doona cover to make into a tablecloth for our table – $8.50

And finally, a top from the Nepalese shop in Maleny – patchwork,tie-dyed and hand-painted.  It even has bell sleeves.

I need to make a shoulder bag and I may make a vest as well.

Now I am off to start re-fashioning.  Next week I will post some photos of my outfit.