Taking part in Joanne Hawker's #meetthemakerweek has really got me thinking. Day 4 is Why? Why be a maker? Why run a small business? Why do I enjoy it? I realised that although the short answer is.. because I love it, there is actually a lot more to why I have chosen ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects at as many parts of my business as possible.
In the late eighties I went to a lecture and day workshop by one of the founder members of the Centre of Alternative Technology in Machynlleth about sustainable living. I realised I was not alone in my thought process and from then on have always endeavored to live by these ethics.
Much later whilst raising three children, finishing a degree and earning much needed cash by customising clothes for a London jeans company a friend suggested I sell my own work. I surely had plenty of time right?!
From starting over twelve years ago at local fairs the produces had to be ethical which was always at the core of my projects, even on my degree. It was never a subject I preached loudly about, I have always believed the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so the full circle for material resources for a product should be an essential part of the design stage. The business was always to function by that concept. We have never given out plastic bags for example, we found recycled newspaper bags from a charity which our customers adore. We have given many free workshops at shows and local events to children and adults alike. Showing and helping to see how a product is made and where the resources come from. Sewing seeds of thought that ripple through their daily lives.
Then if a product can sell on its own aesthetic merit, customers who have busy lives can confidently buy and are not left with the responsibility of disposal of packaging because that has all been thought through. So.. why run this small ethical business.. well to prove that it can be done!
Your guide to making a shopper using recycled fabric and how to add a feature pocket
We are thrilled that both the Watchet Town Council and the Watchet Harbour Community Bookshop have sponsored the design of the Watchet Shopper made from recycled fabric plus three FREE sewing workshops as well as a set of instructions so you can make your own at home! There are two pages which can be downloaded below.
We have has some very generous donation of fabric for the project which means there are some beautiful, bold and wild fabric designs. We are also printing a small image onto the pocket piece (shown in the picture left) which will make the bags unique to Watchet!
We hope you enjoy making your shopper bag from recycled fabric! We would love to see your creations and what image you choose on your pocket! Please share them on our facebook page.
Happy making! Love Jacquelyn and Georgie
How to make a yarn from t-shirts or other old garments:
We are always asked where do we get the balls of recycled fabric from. The answer is we cut up old clothing and other fabric ourselves! In the last year or so there are now companies that are turning the leftover selvedge of fabric into the yarns too, but as these were not available when we started we have developed a way to do this.
Preparing your old garment for use as a yarn:
So with your t-shirt, dress, trousers or jumper the first thing to do is to cut all of the seams away from the garment. The hem along the edge, the seam on the sleeves and any detail around the collar. If these are decorative you can keep them for other textile work! Picture two shows that you are then left with the panels that make up the garment. In this case the front and back of the t-shirt and the sleeves.