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Using recycled materials instead of new

Using recycled materials over new wasn’t a decision I made consciously – it was instinctive. There are so many fabrics, buttons, threads, yarns, old sewing machines – the list could go on and on and on – that are out there to be found. The only problem is that trying to find them is just a little bit addictive.

I’m mainly interested in all things fabric and sewing related. If you take a look around any charity shop/thrift store, you’ll immediately see a snapshot of the amount of textiles that people no longer want (and, having volunteered in one, that’s just the stuff that makes it to the shop floor). Dated curtains aren’t the only things that have been abandoned (abandoned may be a little dramatic), there are sewing boxes filled with interesting bits of haberdashery, vintage laces and trimmings, panels of exquisite embroidery, pretty table linen – so many usable things! I do not see the point of wasting finite resources making unnecessary amounts of new textiles when there is so much already in existence, especially when most of the textile industry makes such a mess all the way down the production line.

When I hold an old piece of fabric or embroidery I like to wonder about the story and past that it might have had, the hands it was made by and passed through, on it’s journey to where I found it. I love playing a part in the continuation of that story.

Not everything can be used. There will always be pieces that are too damaged, too worn, and too small – even to be adapted into something else. These are the bits that should end up at the recycling centre to be turned into rags.

There is potential in so much of what we throw away.


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