The Story of Bottled Water

Friday, July 30, 2010

A few years ago, a friend sent me a link to The Story of Stuff Project.

Annie Leonard, creator of this groundbreaking internet documentary has put together three more great short films, including the “Story of Bottled Water”:

Annie makes the viewer reconsider bottled water consumption; the unecessary invention of a developed world, where tap water is completely safe and drinkable, yet billions of non-biodegradable plastic bottles are discarded as a result.

There are many inventive ways to re-use plastic bottles such as the recycled bottle boat sailing accross the world. The Plastiki recently reached Sydney, Australia after an 8,000 nautical mile journey. Made from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, the Plastiki set out on its mission in March from San Francisco to help raise awareness about waste by sailing right through the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Image c/o inhabitat

Here are some other links to creative ways in which to use plastic bottles; I particularly like the winter star garlands.

So what can we do with plastic bottles in fashion? Can we do anything? Well, maybe.

There is a material called eco-fi; a polyester fibre made from 100% post consumer plastic bottles.

"Eco-fi is a high-quality polyester fiber made from 100% certified recycled plastic PET bottles. It can go into any textile product such as clothing, blankets, carpets, wall coverings, auto interiors, home furnishings, and craft felt. Eco-fi can also be blended with other fibers, such as cotton or wool, for enhanced qualities. Fabrics made from Eco-fi fiber are chemically and functionally nearly identical to those made from non-recycled fabrics. The difference is that Eco-fi fiber is made without depleting the Earth’s natural resources. With properties such as strength, softness, shrinkage-resistance, and colorfastness, market applications for Eco-fi are expanding every day"

Where can you buy eco-fi? Here is an online retail / wholesale guide.

There is not so much eco-fi used in clothing fashion as yet, but I'm sure we will be seeing more of this type of eco thread in the future.

There are however, other clever ways to utilise plastic bottles in accessories, such as pretty bracelet cuffs. There are a few tutorials online to make simple cuff bracelets, such as the felt fabric bracelet (use eco-fi, and have a double whammy recycled plastic bottle bracelet!) Below are some pretty handmade bracelets for sale on etsy:

US $24 by BeBox

"Take one plastic bottle and recycle, add one vintage flowered handkerchief, add a few faux pink pearls, embellish with vintage hanky flower, add a little craft magic, and you have a flower bracelet as cute as Anthropologie or Free People, but better.... handmade one of a kind."

"The base of this unique and eco friendly bracelet is cut from a plastic bottle! Next it is layered with hemp, then adorned with glass beads in coordinating shades of blues, greens and purples. 4mm wood beads are strung on at intervals as accents. The bracelet is somewhat flexible, and fits an average wrist - the inside opening is just over 2 1/2". The height is 1 1/2".

The Social Studio

Something very awesome is happening in Collingwood, Melbourne, and I'm not referring to anything AFL related...

The Social Studio at 128 Smith St, Collingwood, is a training initiative in fashion design for refugees and people from disadvantaged communities in Melbourne. Recycled and excess manufacturing materials are gathered from local industry and re-configured into original clothing.

Photographs below c/o The Social Studio's facebook page, taken at the recent RISE fashion parade

The Social Studio is open 7 days a week. There are workshops, events and a cafe serving fair trade roasted coffee.

The Saturday Re-Mixed Workshops are on every week from 10am to 1pm.

"Learn how to give life to your old clothes, it doesnt matter whether its an old favourite, op-shop gem, or shocking Christmas gift. By taking part in our workshop you'll learn all the skills you need to get started cutting, sewing, and styling for yourself. One of The Social Studio's very talented teachers will guide you from frump to fashionista"

$30 fee includes one garment that you can take home. Register on The Social Studio's website.

From baggy bum shorts to refashioned 'Qantas' skirt

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I did it; my first refashioned clothing garment, woooot! I thrifted this material for 50c from my local op shop.

I showed Mr Recycled Fashion aka husband, and he says 'Looks like its from a Qantas airline flight attendant'. He's not far off, I hadnt thought about that:

So I had a pair of denim shorts, with a baggy bum:

Yuck, baggy bum!

I took 'em apart, stitched the 'Qantas' material to the inside gaps, added some leftover doilys from my clutch bag refashion, and here it is

I am very proud of myself considering its my first ever wardrobe refashion...well, a wardrobe refashion that isn't another bag.

Check out more flea market and thrifted delights at HerLibraryAdventures.

Recycled Outfit

Todays recycled outfit is relatively 'new':

Jacket: 99p from
Boots: $15.50 from
Skirt refashioned: 50c (for material)

Jacket: by British high street retailer Principles. Tag still remains (RRP £85!) I had this shipped from the UK by my Mum, that was three months ago; I received it last week. I love the back panel of the jacket, still a bit wrinkled, I should have ironed it before the photograph.

Boots: bought from seller johndeb44 on ebay

Skirt I refashioned myself from a pair of shorts, left over doilys, and some op shopped material bought for 50c. More details to follow on the next post.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Through twitter I discovered Magnifeco; 'the daily eco-fashion blog featuring gorgeous products that are fair-trade, recycled, reusable, sustainable, organic, and/or vegan'.

Magnifeco tweeted link to a blog post referring to Canadian fashion designer Preloved. Preloved creates beautiful one of a kind clothing from reclaimed vintage fabrics.

Some of my favourites:

Izar Dress $198 CAD

Charming, classy and utterly timeless dress with a slightly exaggerated a-line silhouette, delicate boat-neck across the front, adjustable straps at the back and original pockets. It’s as perfect for lunching with the ladies as it is for cocktailing. Constructed from 2 reclaimed trench coats.

Julietta Dress $159 CAD

Dishy A-line halter dress with angular seaming and original button placket detailing. Constructed from 4 reclaimed cotton dress shirts.

I have selected both of these dresses from Preloved's online boutique, however there are three Preloved stores in Canada, and retail outlets that stock Preloved clothing all over the world.

Global Street Fashion

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I found a blog post on (Mostly) Manila Style The post of interest, dated November 2008 featured an article in Lucky Magazine, listing 'the best sites for global street style'

I find it fascinating to see what folk are wearing on city streets of the world. From Copenhagan, to Sao Paulo, here is Lucky Magazine's shortlist:

I would like to add:

Japanese Streets
Melbourne Street Fashion

Facehunter may trot the globe documenting the very latest global fashion, however if anyone knows of more dedicated country/city street fashion blogs, feel free to comment below.

In the meantime, here are some of the latest global fashion treats:

Leather and Docs in Buenos Aires c/o OnTheCorner

Lace dress in Berlin c/o Glamcanyon

Cropped T Shirt in Copenhagen c/o copenhagenstreetstyle

Paisley scarf tie in Osaka c/o JapaneseStreets

And finally, some upcycled treats going on in the streets of Melbourne with this DIY cord necklace tutorial:

c/o Melbourne Street Fashion Melbourne Street Fashion

Take2Market Recycled Womens Wear, Melbourne

Monday, July 26, 2010

Melbourne, the 'fashion capital of Australia', is home to an abundance of fabulous second hand clothing. We are privileged to live in a city with such an array of vintage stores, op shops, and pre-loved markets for the frugal fashionista to explore.

There is a pre-loved market a friend told me about, the Take 2 Markets held in Hawthorn Town Hall.

"Take 2 Markets was launched in June 2007 we filled a major gap in the recycled fashion sector. Take 2 Markets has become Melbourne’s premier recycled fashion event, and women from all over Victoria have embraced our fun, affordable and environmentally friendly way of buying and selling quality women’s wear. Take 2 Markets celebrates women of all ages, shapes and sizes, and you’ll find fabulous preloved (and new!) clothing and accessories in a wide range of sizes, with everything from chain store bargains to vintage treasures and Australian or overseas designer fashions. You don’t have to spend a fortune to look fantastic."

Some quotes from buyers and sellers of Take 2 Markets:

"Im really impressed with the standard of the market. And I'm really looking forward to being a seller this time round!"
Carly shopper turned stallholder

"We attended the last market at the Hawthorn Town Hall and were very impressed by the set up and the variety."
Linda N – Shopper Nov 09

"Just a quick note to say what a great day I had yesterday. I felt the market was exceptionally well organised, and in a great location. I made $1450 which kind of blew me away."
Sophia D - Stallholder Jul 09

"Mum and I had a fantastic time last weekend, our first time as stall holders at the Take 2 Markets! We sold so much of our stuff"
Amy G – Stallholder Nov 09

Take 2 Markets have expanded to Preston & Geelong, stay tuned to the website for more details.

The next Hawthorn market date is fully booked, which means lots of recycled fashion available for sale! Check it out, maybe I'll see you there..

Hawthorn Town Hall
360 Burwood Road Hawthorn
10:00am - 3:00pm - $3 Entry

*UPDATE * 23rd July Take2Markets will proceed on Saturday 21 August despite the election!

Doily Vintage Charm

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The doily (or doilie) is an ornamental mat, originally the name of a fabric made by Doiley, a 17th-century London draper. They are crocheted and sometimes knitted out of cotton or linen thread. Openwork allows the surface of the underlying object to show through. In addition to their decorative function doilies have the utilarian role of protecting fine-wood furniture from the scratches caused by crockery or decorative objects. * Wikipedia

Doily's it appears have become trendy again. No longer associated with your Grandma, the doily adds a certain vintage femininity to an outfit or accessory. Here are some handmade, upcycled doily treats

Crochet Lace Necklace - 'trefoil' - unbleached cotton US$25

Alice in Wonderland blue green fantasy slipdress makeover, size medium large US$48

I popped into my local op shop this week to donate some clothes that I no longer wear, and came out with three little beauties, a clutch bag, and some doily’s for a total of $1.

I have been inspired by Moo Bear Designs Gina Purse Range, utilising doily's on purses, and created my own upcycled creation.

I didnt use my sewing machine, for fear I would break the needle through the clutch bag's thick PVC fabric, I stitched by hand with 'invisible thread' and a good needle. The little jewel is pinched from a pair of heels I op shopped ages ago that I haven't worn.

Check out Herlibraryadventures for more Flea Market Finds

Photographs from Bayside Op Shop Tour

Some photographs from the Bayside Op Shop Tour two weeks ago:

Today I shall be leading the Inner North Melbourne Op Shop Tour, photos to follow!

Recycled fashion for your home

Friday, July 23, 2010

As many of you may have noticed from my previous posts, recycled fashion need not stop with clothing and accessories.

Michelle from Paper Tree Designs is an artist living in Brisbane, Australia. She is studying interior design, and creates beautiful paper art for the home.

Much of her art is utilising vintage and recycled books, many which have been sourced from op-shops, and are often damaged in some way.

These previously caught my eye, 3 vintage atlas tags hand stamped with fauna from the Webster's Dictionary, so beautiful:

And look at this lovely 'Ride em Cowboy' wall art. This design shows 9 cowboy images taken from a rare copy of 'Cowboys, a junior golden guide', published in 1964. A perfect piece of art for a child's bedroom:

Michelle is currently holding a generous competition to giveaway one of gorgeous artwork pieces (for Australian residents) or two sets of tags (for residents living outside of Australia) on her blog. For more details check out Paper Tree Designs.


Op Shopper's Guide to Adelaide, SA

People tell me Adelaide is filled with many op shops. If you find yourself in South Australia's capital, and feel the need to shop thriftfully, fear not, your guide is here!

Bec, a student blogger from Adelaide has a blog called The Secret Lives of Op Shops showcasing some of her op shop delights to the blog reading world. Bec has very kindly created a google map guide to op shops in Adelaide

Here is the link to her Adelaide op shop map

Realistically you'll need a car to get to all of these op shops, but if you're a visitor in the city, and don't have access to a car, why not join an op shop tour?

You Us And A Bus tours are renowned for their 'Mystery Op Shop Tours'. Shelly and Rowena have been taking people tours since May 2009. They take off to the Op Shops on the last Saturday of every month.

Shelly and Rowena have themed op shop dress up days when they dress up in the "theme of the tour" and have a bit of a laugh. Such themed op shop tours include op-shop bridesmaids (for the Hen's Tours), Christmas elves, Vintage Diva's in vintage nighties and very soon there will be the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy on the 'Wicked West Op Shop Tour'!

Sounds so much fun. Check out the You Us and a Bus website

Vintage coat for me, and refashion for the boy

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A few weeks ago I purchased a beautiful bright blue vintage coat from Salvos for $7.

When I got home, I found a check print handkerchief in the pocket; result! Two things for the price of one! I washed it, and put away with my new fabric stash. I had an idea this week to refashion one of my sons plain long sleeve tops using the handkerchief material. I bought his top for $2 from a pre-loved childrens market a few months back. I found a scotty dog shape online, printed it, cut it out, and stitched onto his top, and here it is. So easy!

Upcycled plastic bag pointy kittys

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm teaching myself to sew, which is no easy task, but thanks to the world wide web there are hundreds if not thousands of sewing tutorials to try. I would very much like start creating some lovely upcycled clothing items, similar to those seen on Wardrobe Refashion. Clothes that have been reworked into something more flattering, unique and special. Recycled Fashion at its best!

I am trying out some online sewing projects at home, which are not always related to clothing, but are great to get familiar with fabric, patterns and sewing machine settings. I found this cute little 'pointy kitty' soft toy tutorial c/o WeeWonderfuls.

Here is my attempt, made from fabric scraps my Mum gave to me. It turned out OK?

A flickr group has been created, whereby other people upload their completed pointy kitty's using the WeeWonderfuls pattern:


But what I really love is someone going by the name of 'eco tabby' using the pointy kitty pattern to make cats out of plastic bags, and uploading funny photographs to the Flickr stream:

grabby tabby

mordy tabby

hipny tabby

adi tabby

siddy tabby

Glutty Tabby

Arent these just the most ridiculous yet hilarious upcycled things you've ever seen? Particularly the cats with the shopping bag handles left on! Genius.