Buy Nothing New Month October

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tomorrow, October, marks the start of Buy Nothing New Month. An annual global movement for collective, conscientious consumption.

Buy Nothing New Month, is an idea that commenced right here in Melbourne, and is spreading to the Netherlands and USA.

"Buy Nothing New Month isn't Buy Nothing New Never. Nor is it about going without. It's literally about taking one month off to really think, "Do I really need it?" If I do, “can I get it second-hand, borrow it or rent it? What are my alternatives? Can I borrow from a friend? Can I swap with my neighbor?"

It's about thinking where our stuff comes from (finite resources) and where it goes when we're done (often landfill) and what are the fantastic alternatives out there to extend the life of our 'stuff'." *Buy Nothing New

This alternative consumption campaign really isn't that hard to do, mainly because it does not mean buying nothing at all, but instead, encourages a sustainable approach of obtaining goods by way of recycling, buying second-hand, swapping, or borrowing, and only for a mere 31 days.

Thrift shopping, charity shopping, or op shopping would be the obvious consumer choice during your high street retail dry month. (I still have places left on my next op shop tour next Saturday if you'd like to join me on a guilt free shopping experience!)

Should an occasion present itself which requires a gift purchase, perhaps you might consider making your own gift instead, using materials you have around the house?  Sites such as Recycled Market, Recyclart, The Junk Wave, or Craftbits might inspire you to get creative with your household trash.

If craft is not your forte, you can always trawl through online sites such as eBay or Gumtree, Trading Post or similar for second-hand stuff you really can't do without.
If you're specifically looking for clothing and accessories during for the month of October, you might consider organising a clothes swap party between your friends and family, otherwise attend an organised clothes swapping event (known as swishing in the some parts of the world).  The Clothing Exchange's National Swap Day takes place on 8th October, there is an event taking place in Melbourne CBD that night, more details here.  We all have clothes in our wardrobe we don't wear, why not replace them with items of clothing that will get an airing.

One of the sponsors of Buy Nothing New Month Australia, The Botherhood of St Laurence, is also the sponsor for BragYourBest Buys thrifty fashion contest which ends today!  We'll be arranging a live online poll starting tomorrow, with which you can vote on the outfit you like the best.  The winners will be announced in a week.

Do you, or would you, participate in a Buy Nothing New Month campaign?


Book Review: Remake It Clothes

Friday, September 28, 2012

I have my hands on a newly released book; Remake it Clothes by Henrietta Thompson.

The book is second in the Remake series, the first being Remake it Home; a selection of resourceful household DIY ideas.  You can read more on Remake it Home on designfiles here.

Remake it Clothes, is described as an essential guide to resourceful fashion. A beautifully presented encyclopedia of global recycled fashion designers, with the added bonus of instructional DIY fashion ideas, illustrated by Neal Whittington.

The introduction to Remake it Clothes, touches on the history of dressmaking at home, the way DIY fashion has evolved from the original shop purchased Vogue or Butterick patterns and fabric, to new trends which enable us to create our own fashion pieces, that go way beyond a sewing machine.  We always think of a make and mend culture to be born out of necessity, which is certainly the case during the 1940's, but today, many of us choose to make our own fashion not only due to financial restraints, but also for ecological reasons too.

Remake it Clothes is split into chapters for womenswear, menswear, everyone, accessories, children and pets.  A book filled with stylish recycled fashion inspiration and ideas, from high profile fashion designers, through to step-by-step DIY fashion tutorials, and other useful resource pages including fabric files, care and storage.

'Design Examples' listed throughout the book profiles fashion designers from around the world, who choose an ethical approach to their collections by choosing recycled, organic and sustainable fabric for their work.

For example, Milch, an eco-fashion label from Vienna, takes traditional menswear garments, and radically transforms them into womenswear.

:: Mens suit trousers, turned upside down and made into a dress ::

Gary Harvey's collection of recycled couture, dramatic dresses made from old pairs of Levi's jeans, army jackets, and newspaper pages.

:: Pink newspaper dress (left), made from 30 copies of the Financial Times ::

Swedish designer Sägen Butik's broken crockery necklaces, brooches earrings and hair accessories.

:: Jewellery fashioned from porcelain tableware sourced from flea markets ::

The step-by-step DIY fashion ideas scattered throughout Remake it Clothes, are not photograph tutorials, but are illustrated instructions.

 Step-by-step pillowcase skirt tutorial

Other step-by-step projects include making sequins out of plastic packaging (definitely want to give this one a try), make a top out of two scarves, a laptop case out of a shirt, draping a sheet to become a top, fusing plastic bags to become material to sew with, how to cut a t-shirt to make yarn, and much more.

Remake it Clothes would be an excellent go-to book for anyone with an interest in recycled fashion, both to admire ethical fashion designers resourceful ideas, and to have a go at a handful of step-by-step DIY fashion tutorials that you've always wanted to try.


Pre-loved Yellow

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lemon frocks graced The Emmy's 2012's red carpet last week, as yellow proved a popular choice with four prominent female celebrities.

Julianne Moore , Kaley Cuoco, Claire Danes and Hannah Simone 
Image c/o

Whilst yellow is thought of as a happy and cheery colour, it can be difficult to wear.  Some individuals can wear yellow particularly well, the entire Pinkett-Smith family prove this by wearing bright lemon on different occasions here, here, and here

Color icon yellow.svg
 c/o wikipedia

Paler skinned folk such as I, may struggle to pull off yellow without it looking too garish or washed out.  When I fumble through my own wardrobe, I can see that it consists of only three (pale) yellow pieces.  This shirt,  a pair of flares, and this cardigan. I must admit, I don't wear them too often, but when I do, it is usually to brighten an otherwise dull day. 

For those that do love to wear yellow, below is a selection of lemon, mustard, and golden recycled, pre-loved garment goodness, found on the web:

80's Golden Yellow Pumps

 80's Military Mustard Yellow Dress

Yellow Faux Leather Jacket

 from vincent1731 on ebay

1970's Canary Yellow Long Sleeve Dress

Flea Hoodie made from Recycled Hospital Sheets

by Finnish company Tauko seen on ecouterre

Recycled Vinyl Ring

 by OverIt on Recycled Market

Hand Dyed Dip-Dye Sunset Shorts

 Reclaimed Skateboard Earrings

by Mukee

 Bright Yellow Doc Martens

seen here (unknown if still for sale)

Floral Vintage Dress

seen on seesaw (not for sale, sadly)

Yellow Bridesmaid Dress

found on weddingbeepro

Do you dare to wear yellow?


Turning a Bra into a Bikini Top

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I don't know about you, but trying to find a bikini that fits well when buying retail, is quite a battle.  I find that shop purchased bikini tops are particularly uncomfortable and unflattering (you may also remember my blog post about vintage swimwear vs the string bikini here)

After finding a sensational sewing tutorial on pinterest by Tasha Delrae; how to turn a old bra into a bathing top, my excitement and curiosity got the better of me.

Tasha's bra-turned bathing top

A visit to a fabric store in Mentone which is closing its doors for relocation this month, and therefore heavily reducing its supplies, meant I found the perfect material for a fraction of its usual retail price.

Swimwear Lycra $19.99 reduced to $3.49 per metre.


This is the first time I have purchased new fabric.  Ever.  Usually I'll source my material second hand from op shops or markets, however,  Lycra is not a fabric I've found much on my thrifty journey's.  After completing my project, and finding that I did not use that much of it, I did think that perhaps I could have instead sourced a second hand swimsuit, cut it open, and use its material.  Something to consider for next time...

So, can we really turn an old bra into a bikini top, and one that fits perfectly?  The answer is absolutely yes.  Following Tasha's picture tutorial, here is my version:

I had the perfect bra to choose for this project; an unworn bra that's been sitting in my drawer for about three years, in the hope that one day I'd find its missing strap.

In action




As with Tasha's bikini top, I also chose to go with a halter strap around my neck too.  It is not absolutely necessary, but I do find suits me better than strapless.

I mentioned before that I have quite a bit of fabric leftover.  I'm unsure whether to make a matching pair of bottoms, or perhaps go with a beach skirt cover up.  I'll more likely to go with the latter.

Now Tasha does mention on her blog, that she road tested her new bra-turned-bathing top in Mexico, and that it is, perfectly swimmable.  Can't wait to road test mine this Australian summer.

Thank you Tasha for your brilliant idea, and step-by-step tutorial

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Brotherhood of St Laurence Fashion Parade, Boronia Library

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Readers, this one is for Melbourne residents. On Friday 12th October, Boronia Library is hosting a fashion parade, in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The event will raise money for the Jane Mcgrath Foundation, with a $5 entry fee (which includes refreshments) going toward the breast cancer support foundation.

All fashion items featured in the parade are pre-loved, and for sale on the night, plus they'll be a chance to win two tickets to see fashion Meets Fiction - The Darnell collection at Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey.
Brotherhood of St Laurence Fashion Parade
I'll be there on the night, providing some up-cycling fashion advice, and will also be selling my pink zipper brooches, with all profits on the night going toward the McGrath Foundation.

Zipper Brooches

More details on the fashion show here.  Maybe I'll see you there?

Boys Clothing Inspiration & Recycled Fashion Finds #55 Link Up

Friday, September 21, 2012

Before we begin with this week's Recycled Fashion Finds, where you can link up your thrifted finds or upcycled creations from the past fortnight, I'd like to share with you a kids upcycled sewing project by Jacq, who blogs over at beginwithb.

I found Jacq's funky upcycled boys trousers via Project Run & Play (the blogger's version of Project Runway, but for kids)

It's not often we find cool clothes for boys, particularly when it comes to sewing.  Jacq made her little boy a pair of khaki trousers with an interesting feature:

She has sewn bias strips onto the back left leg, complete with a pocket to stash toys, resulting in the coolest pair of skinny leg boys trousers I've seen!

Look at her fabric lining choice underneath the bias strips too, so cute.

What is even better about Jacq's cool trousers, is her choice of fabric. The khaki fabric is an old bedskirt and the truck fabric is a thrifted sheet her mom found.  Upcycled fashion at its finest.  Jacq tells me that most of the clothes she creates for her little boys are made using upcycled fabric.  Her favourite project is this vest made with seersucker fabric from old pants, alligator fabric from a sheet, pockets from an old knit tee, and leftover batting pieces from a quilt.

Great work Jacq and thank you for letting me share your project with Recycled Fashion readers!

Now over to you, Recycled Fashion readers.  Have you been thrifting, refashioning, sewing or crafting?  Would you like to participate in Recycled Fashion Finds this week?  Feel free to share more than one project or thrifty find, I always love to see what you've been up to.

And don't forget, if you've an outfit to share, you have one more week to enter it into the BragYourBuys contest, for a chance to win prizes!  Just leave a comment below if you'd like to enter your outfit into the competition.

Click here for Recycled Fashion Find's rules, don't forget to grab yourself a Recycled Fashion Finds blog badge for your blog post or side bar, or link Recycled Fashion Finds in your blog post.

Recycled Fashion


Adding a Textile Pocket to a Plain Tee

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A trend in clothing pieces with brightly coloured textile pockets added to shirts, t-shirts, jeans and denim shorts, began gracing the streets of the fashion world when global fabric became the seasons must haves a few years ago.

Labelled 'tribal' or 'ethnic' fashion, the focus in ethnicity appears to filter between Navajo to Ikat, Southwestern to Aztec, but the trend itself is far from over, with cultural patterns and colourful textiles crafted into many a fashion outfit on the streets of the Western World.

Whilst I do not consider myself a follower of fashion per se, this particular trend is one that I am fond of.  Brightly coloured abstract textiles in our clothes and accessories, introduce a touch of worldliness and mystery of far away places that we'd all like to explore.  (This skirt refashion explores that)

Sewing a colourful textile pocket to a simple garment, such as a plain tee, or a pair of jeans is so easy to do yourself, it could be done by hand with a needle and thread, although it would be quicker if you do have access to a sewing machine.

Example of ready-to-buy pieces:

 Seen on ASOS marketplace

 Aztec Navajo Southwestern Print Pocket Handmade Denim Shorts

 Seen on

 Tribal pocket tee

Seen on

Green tribal pocket sweatshirt

 seen on etsy by caseykaui

 Denim shirt with tribal print pocket

Seen on

Whilst not Ikat or Navajo, I do have some Hmong fabric which I have used for this DIY pocket refashion project. You may remember I used remnants from my Vietnamese shirt refashion, to add a strip to this bag.  All I had left after the bag restyle, was one lonesome pocket, without a home.

I found a plain 3/4 sleeve tee from my local op shop, half price (thanks to changeover season sale) for a bargain price of $1.75.

The fit was not ideal so I removed both sleeves, and used 'The Mummy' dress form to refit to my shape, using safety pins to pin to the appropriate size.

On re-attaching both sleeves, I've simply pinned and machine stitched the lonesome pocket in place, but placed it on the bottom of the top, rather than create a breast pocket, which, I believe would have been too much.

1 thirfted shirt = three projects, total cost for all three projects $4.25.

description of photo

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