My new job is dangerous, really dangerous. You’d expect I work for MI6, NSA, ASIO but no, I’m volunteering at The Red Cross shop in Newport Beach and it takes soooo much self control to not spend the money I don’t earn! We get some really amazing donations (and some not so amazing donations obvs). I volunteer a half day every fortnight and finally get to use some of those hard won sewing skills.
Some ‘brands’, you know, like ones with tags, pass us their stock that is a little broken. We take them home and repair them and you know how much I like to rehab a garment! It’s such a thrill to spend 2 minutes on an invisible zipper repair and send it off to someone’s wardrobe for money that we know goes to a good cause. On the downside I can’t believe the great stuff we get and how often that stuff has a button missing. Is it because folks don’t know how to mend their gear?
I’m starting to see op shops as a kind of garment lease arrangement. You buy armfuls of quite nice clothes at very little cost and when you’re bored with them, you donate them back to the shop with all profits benefiting charity – guilt free consumption. Overall the scheme promotes less wanton manufacturing and waste but assuages our thirst for the new and interesting. Has this scheme got legs? Or am I late to the party as per usual?!
What if you could upcycle those charity shop finds? Here’s my first example of upcycling a pair of designer jeans. I actually bought them in the local designer consignment shop (not a charity shop) for $35. They fit like ‘boyfriend jeans’ and were comfy, but the holes plagued me. Is it old age or does everyone get cold knees with this intentional distressing? Anyhow, I tried my hand at Boro, a japanese mending tradition that uses Sashiko stitching to cobble broken bits of fabric together, very therapeutic sewing in front of winter TV. How incredible is The Crown BTW?
I basted some nice non stretch denim behind the holes and then set to work with sashiko cotton. Do yourself a favour, use your sharpest needles and a thimble, denim is tough stuff. Random people tell me they like my jeans and that puts a smile on my dial!
Also, if you’re in Sydney and desperately need to sate your fabric shopping appetite, Achieve Australia has a dedicated warehouse brimming with donated sewing and craft supplies. Money raised helps “support people with disability to achieve social inclusion.” It goes without saying that if your fabric stash is causing you grief and regret, they’ll relieve you of the burden. But if you have designer duds you want to get rid of, come and see me on Friday afternoons at The Newport Red Cross Shop all the better if the items are a 10 bottom 12-14 top 😉