Did you know...
- For every single person in UK, we throw away the equivalent of 20 t-shirts every single year.
- UK fashion industry accounts for a yearly carbon footprint of 26.2 million tonnes.
- Of the clothing we give to charity shops, 1.7million tonnes are sent to African and Asian countries annually. Much of it is not used, but added to landfill. Only 32% of what we give to charity, makes it onto UK clothes racks.
Firstly, buy fewer clothes...
- Cut environmental impact. Cut climate pollution and resources. Cut landfill.
- Extend the life of clothes you already have. Repair. Reuse. Recycle. Make a statement and mend visibly.
- Think hard about the clothes you DO buy new.
- Make them ethical, sustainable, organic, fair-trade, natural, biodegradable fibres.
- Don’t buy the latest seasons colours. It’s a ploy to get you to keep buying. Buy YOUR colours.
- Buy classic styles that you can jazz up. Make it something you’ll still want to wear in ten years time.
- Buy quality, well made clothes that’ll stand the test of time.
- Make your wardrobe versatile, breathable and layer-able for different seasons and occasions.
- Take your time to choose the few clothes you need to buy.
The Witch’s Green Britches..
- Are all individually made by me! Where I can, I source organic, fair-trade 100% biodegradable natural cloth that's unbleached or naturally dyed. I design patterns that reduce fabric waste. Of that waste, I make baby bloomers, small herb pouches, bunting and patchwork. What’s left goes into prayer cushions and draught excluders. Really! There’s no waste at all.
- The style of clothing is loose and accommodates our changing shapes. Waistbands are elasticated drawstring. Where there are shoulder straps, they’re adjustable. The lines are classic, timeless and appropriate for layering in winter, and breathable in summer.
- The sewing is good quality (if I do say so myself) and almost all seams are double stitched. I’m happy to make items to your measurements, at no extra cost.
How to create new, with the wardrobe you already have...
- Consider home dyeing any natural fibres you have in your wardrobe. Even if they’re not the same colours, the combined dying will bring the items together in complimentary shades. While you have the pans out simmering (aim for natural plant dyes), look at pillowcases, or T-shirts that might benefit from a burst of colour. (Synthetic fabrics don’t dye well.)
- Look at your old clothes, the ones you put in the bin liner and forgot about. Can you use them to spice up other items? Is the fabric good for patches, ties, extra pockets? Can that old dress convert to a skirt? The trousers with a torn hem, can they be transformed into calf length bloomers? Can you replace the buttons?
- The beloved shirts and summer dresses that you’re keeping for sentimental reasons. Consider a patchwork shawl or jacket. Keep the memories close, and the heating bills low.
- Is there too much in your wardrobe already? Take decent clothes to a charity shop. Cut older clothes up for making bags/ dusters/ cloths/ plant covers or ties. Make a rag rug. Maybe the fibre is compostable. Try not to add your clothes to landfill.
- Take pockets out of trousers if the fabric is better used to repair knee or bum patches.
Finding inexpensive second hand clothes
- Don’t discount clothes that aren’t your size. They can be altered.
- Flowing cotton skirts make good petticoats.
- Choose clothes that’ll layer, and be good for all seasons.
- Plain linen/cotton trousers and skirts are great under a dress or pinafore.
- Make time to enjoy browsing for gems in your local charity shops.
- Consider community/ friends clothes swaps. Ebay. Vinted. Etc.
- Beware of the sweatshop, badly made, new clothes being sold on as second hand.
Alterations and repairs
- Use elastic and Velcro.
- If trousers are too long, cut the hem off and use that bit of fabric for a gathered look to the legs.
- If the skirt waistband is too tight, cut it away and make a simpler elasticated waistband lower down the skirt.
- Try a new look by taking the sleeves off a long cardigan and jazz the edges up with some crochet. Use the sleeves to add pockets.
- Go to your local green recycling store and pick up a basic sewing machine. Many of these places offer free teaching sessions.
- Youtube is a fantastic way of learning how to make easy alterations.
- If you can already find your way around a sewing machine, ask friends if you can help them out with alterations...in return for something they can offer you.
Help with more ideas and support
- WRAP ideas, research and support. https://wrap.org.uk/
- Look out for a Repair Cafe in your area. Consider starting one up. https://www.repaircafe.org/en/
- Search local small business repair and alteration folk.