Dec 3, 2010

Preventing Textile Waste = Visa Justification

I took a sewing class when I was 13 and hated it. The teacher was an obsessive compulsive frustrated home economic wanna be teacher who actually made us put tailor tacks on our pattern pieces and made everything so complicated I thought I'd never learn to sew and figured I may not want to learn to sew....zzzz zzzz zzz zzz.

My mom came to the rescue and after one brief mom lesson I never looked back. In high school I made all of my own clothes. I remember a boy named Perry who sat behind me in 10th grade English complimenting my dress one day. When I informed him that I had made it he replied, "I know.You left the basting thread in the zipper." Turns out Perry's world was over flowing with sisters. He probably knew what a tailor tack was as well.

My best friends in high school sewed as well. One in particular whose initials were LSD (we got a lot of mileage out of that in the 60's) is a seamstress to this day. In high school she created a patchwork robe from velvet scraps which was displayed in a glass case in the high school hall way. I'll never forget it.

I would come home from school on a Friday, cut out a dress and finish it in time for my date that night.

In the olden days I used the sewing machine my dad got my mom as a wedding present (No, he's not very romantic) in 1944. I still have the machine but I am currently using a sewing machine given to me as a gift in the early 80's.

The closets are over flowing with stock piles of vintage fabric. My brain is over flowing with ideas I am desperate to implement. Ideas that involve re-purposing and rescuing these vintage fabrics giving them new meaning and new life. In doing so I also get the satisfaction of knowing I'm saving them from the landfill. The quilt pictured above was found yesterday at the local Weigh n' Pay for 50 cents a pound. I saw one of my dumpster diving buddies looking at it, "OOOOOO! You found a treasure!" "No," he answered. "It's a piece of crap."

OOOOOO! One mans piece of crap is another womans' treasure. I snatched that crap quilt right out of his hands.
Gimmee! Gimmee!

Lovely old quilt, do I have plans for you!

This grocery bag made from all discarded materials is almost done.

Textile waste accounts for 5% of landfill waste in this country. And even though
93% of textile waste that is recycled is successfully re-used 85% of perfectly viable textiles still go in to our landfills releasing noxious fluids and gases into the environment. High end department stores have been busted cutting up new clothing with tags still on them and throwing them in dumpsters rather than giving to the poor and needy.

This morning I am a woman on a mission. Armed with an over whelming urge to create i start working on a bag made from a patchwork fabric I made myself using two discarded women's outfits.

The sewing machine poops out...again.

I gotta say after being up ALL NIGHT LONG with a singing baby who decided to serenade me between 10 pm and 5:30 am my patience with temperamental sewing machines was zilch.

I recently took it in to be cleaned and repaired and when I picked it up the receptionist informed me the repair man was "cussing and swearing over this one. He had to grind the bobbin by hand and ...." And she droned on and on and on like a sewing machine in a sweat shop.

Today, I'm charging a new machine. I'm breaking my hard and fast rule of no credit cards because I'm backed into a Christmas corner. Even if I was brave enough to bring it back in to the swearing man it would be weeks before he had it ready. Now days you can get a new machine for the price i pay for repairs. It's time to say good bye.

Joann's fabrics here I come!

Armed with my Visa and the sweet spirit of justification I know I
am doing this to keep those creative juices flowing and to contribute to a cleaner environment.

One crappy, rescued quilt at a time.


Dani said...

I'm htting the one over at tyrone mall here soon. Hope I catch yah there. :)

Elizabeth said...

The only sewing I've done is a pair of blue polyester gaucho pants that I made in a Singer sewing class at the mall in the eighth grade. I'll pay you to make me some large bibs with cute fabric for my daughter. Seriously.

Jennie said...

Yay!! Do it. Do it.


Hey Elizabeth bibs for larger kids and adults are on the menu! I'll send you some photos as you may not like them...if you do then you can be my test pilot...Free bibs for honest critquing. Deal? It's the least you could do for me now that I have the mental image stuck in my head of blue polyester gaucho pants.

Island Rider said...

I use my grandmother's sewing machine. The manager at Hancock Fabrics actually talked me out of buying a new one last year when she heard I had my grandmother's machine but it was broken. She sent me to a repair shop to have it fixed and I have been using it again. And I make sure to buy all my fabric and notions from her because of her kindness. But, maybe I will be checking out Goodwill, too!

Elizabeth said...

Yes! Send me the photos! My email is

To add to your image: I wore the gauchos with argyle knee socks and buffalo sandals. I also had rose-tinted glasses with rose-tinted lenses and a puka bead necklace.