I'm so flipping excited right now. Not only is the next edition of the awesome Kid's Clothing Week sewalong just round the corner (2nd - 8th February 2015), but it's about upcycling/refashioning/reworking old clothes!!! Literally my favourite things in the world right now (aside from hanging with my fam, drinking margaritas and eating) is making children's clothes and reusing unwanted textiles. Niche, I grant you, but it massively floats my boat.
I'm sure that this season's KCW challenge will encourage participants who have never reused old clothes to realise the wealth of hidden potential that already lies in their wardrobes or local charity shops. Plus I'm guessing that it'll encourage participants who do already upcycle/refashion to think of new and exciting ways to do so. I, for one, cannot wait to see the results. If you are interested in learning more, check out the excellent KCW blog. There are some fabulous posts up there providing inspiration for reusing clothes like men's button up shirts, adults t-shirts and jeans which are well worth a look. Plus there are heaps of awesome refashioning/upcycling clothes into children's wear ideas on my Refashioning Project Ideas Pinterest board.
Obvs reusing adult clothing to make children's clothing is nothing new. Cavemen were probably cutting down their old animal hides when they got a bit shabby for their little ones! However it was during the Second World War when most consumables were being rationed in the UK that a lot of literature was published to help mothers be resourceful by reworking theirs' and their husbands' clothing into items for their children. I'm very much aware that life during the Second World War must have often been horrendous, both for those fighting and those trying to get by in the UK, and it must have been very stressful trying to provide for your family with such limited resources.
However, the inventiveness, creativity and techniques that many would have needed to deploy as represented in the vintage images in this post are things we as sewers today can study, celebrate and be inspired by. Plus I very much feel that treating textiles as a valuable commodity, worth reusing rather than discarding, is a lesson that should be learnt by us all, and quickly. Fabric production, processing and transportation is very damaging to the environment in many ways. I really hope that those of us in the West start trying to get the most from existing textiles rather than constantly buying new and therefore creating demand for more and more fabric production. And if those of us who sew as a form of creative expression and to clothe ourselves and our families begin to reuse unwanted clothing for many more of our projects, then that will surely go at least a tiny way towards limiting that demand for fabric production. Not to mention that we will be contributing towards a sea change that will hopefully, finally, make limiting environmental damage a priority.
(image published in this book)
But back to this challenge.... I am planning to work on a variety of projects during this KCW. My aim is to upcycle/refashion/rework a variety of different garments, plus treat one/some of them purely as a source of fabric whilst with another/others I'll try to use or incorporate features from the original garment. I really want to make the most of this challenge as it inspires me so much, so I've already started some of the 'boring' tasks like tracing patterns and buying elastic in preparation so that I can spend more of the challenge week on the construction part of the process.
What about you? Does this kind of challenge interest you? Are you planning on taking part in this season's KCW? If so, any ideas so far?