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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Bag Lady, Ball Gowns and the Benefit of Hoarding

Ball season is upon us in NZ, with school balls costing parents an arm and a leg.
Katie had her second school ball last weekend, which of course required a different dress to the year before. Last year's dress still hangs in the wardrobe, despite listing it for sale.
I discovered a shop in Albany that hires out new gowns. They are still expensive at around $120 to hire, but generally half the price of a new one, plus they handle the cleaning of them. A much more environmentally friendly option too.
Katie found one that she liked, but it had a bare area over the breastbone - somewhat immodest for a 16 year old. I found a motif that I already had that worked perfectly, hand stitched it on and removed it prior to returning the gown.

Bags, bags, bags - that's what I've been making for the past week or two.
The first lot is to help a fellow zero waster who is running a conference and wants to include reusable produce bags with one topic of the conference covering environmental sustainability in the Early Childhood Education area. She wants 250 bags! So I have been busy with my overlocker and net remnants donated by our local curtain shops.
I've also had requests from people to make produce bags - one was a young mum needing chemical-free material. I whipped her up some made from damaged vintage sheets and a tablecloth from my stash (how can you let those lovely vintage materials go?) and she was delighted with them.

The other set was for a young lady in her early twenties. This young lady works in a supermarket and has got the produce manager to agree to stock reusable produce bags! (I gave her a link to commercial ones, I'm not making those) I find it really exciting that there are so many youngsters coming on board with zero waste.


  1. It's amazing what a perfect match you happened to have on hand to modify the dress! It's much prettier with the addition also.
    Where do you find attractive fabric for your bags, allowing you to make so many without going broke? I've made a few to give away but the cost adds up even using reused material.

    1. I don't buy any of the material Cynthia. The vintage lot was from my parents estate and otherwise material is kindly given to us by curtain shops, just remnants.

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  2. Oh those vintage sheets are to die for!
    I have a set of floral ones in yellow tones, that I used as a child, I think mum gave them to me when I moved out of home, I can't bear to part with them, nor can I bear to cut them up for bags!
    Maybe one day I will get the courage!
    Great sewing effort!

    1. Yes they are gorgeous eh Cheryl, no wonder the recipient just loved them - she paid me for them without seeing what she was getting - but they were damaged. I don't know why it's so hard to get sheets of that quality now.

  3. Love that dress and the fact that you were able to attach the motif without damaging the dress so it could be returned. I had no idea gowns cost so much. I don't wear dresses, the last time I needed a dress was for my son's wedding. I went to the local consignment store and found a perfect one for the mother of the groom for $12. returned it to be sold again after the wedding.

    Your news on reusable bags gives me hope that the demand will one day be as big in my little town. Lois

    1. The zero waste/ plastic free movement is catching on here - I hope it does in your little town Lois. It sounds like it is a harder road to hoe in the USA, with use of disposables of all kinds being deeply entrenched.


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