Unforeseen toubles

Well, I didn’t think of this possibility when I started my 365 days of no clothing shopping… I’ve lost 10 kg (that’s 22lbs) since July. The new pair of jeans I had got then are so loose I can pull them on and off with the zipper and the button closed. They look really baggy. I have another pair of jeans that fits somewhat better but those are the ones I needed to replace, and had been dedicated to be playground jeans. They’re back in regular duty now, in spite of looking rather worn…

I’ve been wearing a lot more skirts lately. The only problem is that it’s too cold to wear them on their own – and my leggings are too big too! Which ones are easier to make, jeans or leggings??

I haven’t got any t-shirts made yet either. The fabrics I was so happy about shrank in the wash (and this, children, is why you always wash your fabrics before sewing…) and they’re now barely enough to make a 1980s crop top. I didn’t wear those in the 80s, I’m not going to wear them now. But I need t-shirts. I didn’t find any t-shirt jersey from Our Social Fabric last time, and I couldn’t make it to today’s sale, I’ll have to figure something out. Maybe I’ll pull one of the big ones from my material stash and refashion it, and see what comes of that.

Three months into the challenge. We’ll see how this goes.

Our Social Fabric

Our Social Fabric is a textile recycling initiative, a non-profit that collects donations of fabric and sells them to anyone who wants to buy. The fabrics come from individuals as well as from businesses – garment factories here in Canada (yes, they do exist), film industry, and so on. They are fabrics that aren’t needed and would end up in the landfill, thus adding to the massive volume of solid waste that we dispose of each year.

Instead, volunteers sort out and price the fabrics, organize them in bins according to colour, or leave bigger amounts on bolts – you can buy the whole thing, or get a piece cut for you. OSF announces their sale dates on their website and their Facebook page, and people go and shop. You can also find patterns, books, notions and other sewing-related stuff.

It’s like a treasure hunt – you never know what’s there. In October I scored a 3-meter piece of gorgeous purple silk that’s going to become a dress. (Part of it also became a cape for my little boy, now also called Captain Purple – the only preschool superhero with a genuine silk cape.) And here’s my loot from yesterday’s sale – also called a new dress, a new pair of pants, and who knows what else…

There’s a second piece of the same purple silk, some beige linen-like fabric (although I suspect it’s a blend of some kind), and the light blue, heavily woven, wonderfully drapey, unknown fiber pieces of fabric that will become a wearable muslin (I hope) for the purple silk dress. Missing from the lot is a 4-meter piece of blue cotton that someone (aka. Captain Purple) was turning into a fort when I took the photo… 

Ah, here he is, after pulling down his fort when he needed a scarf instead. 🙂

So that’s yards and yards of fabric that cost me $24 (but only because the silk was a bit more expensive than others) and didn’t end up in the landfill.

The only question I have is, why didn’t I check OSF out years ago?

Fabric shopping

I took a good look at my t-shirts last week. The truth? I started to wish I had done that a week earlier so I would have been able to run to the store and stock up… But no, that would have been cheating. I need new t-shirts, unsurprisingly my cheap “Made in Bangladesh” shirts have lasted for one summer and have no life left.

So today I stopped at my friendly neighbourhood (well, downtown) fabric shop Dressew. I picked up some jersey knits. The lady who was cutting my fabric asked me what I was making. T-shirts? Great, they’ll last so much longer than the store bough ones, she said. So I told her about my project, and she was excited. She had done a similar one a few years ago, for six months, and said it’s surprisingly hard. We talked for a while about the garment industry, then about reliable fabric sources. They’re all machine made, she said. But someone uses those machines. Someone takes the bolts and packs them up. There’s labour involved. She nodded, and said there are so many facets to this. What about fabric dyes? Sure, I bough organic cotton blend for my t-shirts, but where do the dyes come from? So many things to consider.

Baby steps. I’ll make some t-shirts first. I got enough fabric for two or three shirts, depending on what I’ll make. The price for the two pieces of fabric was $16 – I don’t think I’d get an organic cotton t-shirt anywhere for that price.