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Sunday, 29 May 2016

The High Cost of Cheap

This train of thought started with a book I have been reading called "Over-dressed, The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion", but more on that later.

We have just had visitors staying the weekend. They are from England, and arrived via China. Nicky popped these on to keep her feet warm inside, as we all take our outdoor shoes off at the door. They came with a quick explanation that she was going to wear them until they became unwearable, having been provided with their room in a Chinese Holiday Inn. Personally, I would have left them there in their plastic packaging, unworn.

What horrifies me is that they make these (ugly) things to be worn once or twice, and then be thrown away. Cheap as can be, and hugely wasteful and environmentally unfriendly. 

That reminded me of another incident that happened recently. Our teen had a sports day at her school where they dress absurdly in their house colours. This time young Katie wore a pair of orange tights - without shoes, and they came home with the feet very muddy. When I suggested that she needed to soak and then gently scrub them, she replied - "ah no, they're just really cheap - I'll get some more". Well no, that's not how it works here.
See photo of nice clean tights, and hopefully lesson taken on board.

That reminded me of some young female tenants of mine who moved out of my house (they didn't last long), planning to dump their fridge because none of them wanted to clean it. I said they could leave it there - it worked perfectly well. I gave it a good clean and sold it for $80.

What is wrong with people?? Things are so cheap that people just don't care, and the impact on the environment by this kind of thinking is huge.

Back to the book.
"Overdressed - the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" has a lot in it about what super cheap clothes have done to the US garment industry. Elizabeth Cline glimpses into attitudes of those buying cheap, fast fashion, and plenty about the biggest fast fashion sellers in the USA. She travels to countries investigating factories where they make these items for so little. 
I thought this comment on donated used clothing was an eye opener...
"The Quincy Street Salvation Army may be on a quiet street, but it is in fact a major distribution centre serving eight Salvation Army locations in Brooklyn and Queens. It processes on average five tons of outcast clothing every single day of the year and much more during the holiday season when donations spike. From that astonishing mass, the sorters choose exactly 11,200 garments a day to be divided up evenly between the eight thrift stores they serve."

I just wonder when the world will run out of resources. Things will be a changin' some decades down the line. We are on a runaway train. 

So it was refreshing for me to join the Facebook group Mend it May! It is a closed group that anyone can request to join and everyone has been posting their mendings for the month, or asking for help and advice. There have been all sorts of repairs, and they are still taking members if you want to go and have a look. I think it will be carrying on because it has been really popular.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Library of Things, Days for Girls

A Library of Things
There are some great initiatives out there around the world, that would be fabulous to start up in every small town and city. But it takes a lot of work and dedication to start any initiative and keep it going, as I have seen with the ones I am involved in. It needs a dedicated team, or sometimes just one person with a lot of energy.
Here is one idea that I spotted a few months back A Library of Things - where you can borrow almost anything. 

A Library of Things 

You could try out musical instruments to your heart's content, try camping, or do all your mending on a sewing machine. That would be a terrific use of resources - particularly of items that are not used often.

Days for Girls
This one was new to me. What a wonderful way to support underprivileged women worldwide. In many countries girls stop attending school when menstruation starts as they have no means of managing it adequately. This initiative has volunteers worldwide sewing reusable pads, which are then sent to women in need. I came across it via a Facebook page I follow Just Zilch - Palmeston North's Free Store.....  A mother and daughter duo in New Zealand have been making them to give out via the store to New Zealand women who can't afford sanitary supplies (as well as sending them to some of the Pacific Islands). 
When I have finished sewing market bags for our Plastic Bag Free work, then this will be next on my list.  

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Mend It Monday

Last week I had my first day running SewGood Whangarei - the community sewing space that is getting started again after having a year off.
We have a free room to use, and loads of donated sewing machines, material, zips, threads, patterns, fasteners - in fact everything we need for people to walk in and get sewing.

Some of the donated goods free to use at SewGood

One lady came along to check it out, with a pair of her son's shorts to mend as her own machine was no longer working. She said "I know this sounds silly, but I'm really proud of that" with what she had done when it was finished. She will be back next time with a bigger pile of mending.
Do people who throw stuff out when it breaks or becomes less than perfect, realize the sense of achievement of mending things? I think not.
So here are a few of my little projects today on - Mend It Monday.

My leather wallet had seen better days, as a result of overloading it with too much coinage most likely.
I have restitched it on the sewing machine and given it a clean up with some bees wax leather conditioner that I use on my boots.

Before and after - wallet mend, clean and condition

It's still not perfect - but it will last a bit longer, and hopefully the kids won't keep saying "You need a new wallet'

This dear little brooch that I had been given had a broken pin on the back, so I have added another one that I had among my supplies, using that wonderful E6000 glue. Done.

An old pair of jeans that really, I did consider throwing out as I have so many home clothes. But then I thought, no, I'll just mend them. Most people reading my blog will know how to mend jeans, and I'm sure there are more ways than one. I found a piece of similar coloured material, which I pinned and sewed on the inside, then zigzagged all over the split part. I then turned it back inside out, trimmed away the excess material and zigzagged over the edges.

I love how the look of something mended has become trendy.

So are you are mender? Have you had a great success lately?