Ahh! The Great Studio Purge of 2017 is complete! It's amazing to me, as someone who preaches minimalism, how much STUFF I can accumulate in such a short time. 18 months ago I had a large-house-in-the-suburbs quantity of sewing fabric and supplies - downsized once to fit in a POD when we were between houses - and downsized again when we moved into our present space. And yet - I still found things to purge!
4 bags of patterns to recycle
6 bags of fabric to donate
1 bag of notions and sewing supplies to donate
And of course, lots, and lots, and lots of trash.
But this all begs the question - what's a sewist to do with all her excess supplies?? Certainly there are better options than a landfill! And even if you're not in studio-purge-mode, where can you get your hands on someone elses' excess, and build your own creative arsenal for a fraction of the cost?
In addition to the usual thrift stores, there are a growing number of Creative Reuse centers and Sustainability initiatives designed specifically with your textiles/sewing room stash in mind. Below is a reader-submitted list of such places and organizations, as well as creative ideas for using up your sewing related odds-and-ends.
Thank you for sharing your LOW-WASTE sewing practices! Please add any others you know of in the comments.
H&M Foundation (Every H&M Store Across the Globe)
Recycle Fabric in all it's shapes and forms to produce 20-100% recycled fibers per garment. "You can drop off your unwanted garments - no matter what brand and what condition - in all our H&M stores across the globe."
Lancaster Creative Reuse (Lancaster, PA)
Recycle Fabric (Yardage) Arts, Crafts and Sewing Supplies.
Simple Recycling (Various Locations)
Recycle "unusable" scraps, WADS, muslins to be processed for raw materials:
St John's Lutheran Charity Quilters (Lexington, KY)
Donate Fabric (Yardage), Scraps, Machines to this charity quilter's group, who will in turn provide blankets to those in need!
Shop Low-Waste Goods
In addition to shopping thrift stores, and creative reuse centers listed above, you can also cut back on retail waste by buying Designer Remnants online or in-person:
- Fabric Mart: "At Fabric Mart, we buy closeout fabric from some of fashion's biggest names, including J.Crew, Calvin Klein, Maggy London, Marc Jacobs & Ralph Lauren. And we pass the savings on to you!"
- Emma One Sock: "Many of the fabrics are purchased "post production", meaning that I select from fabrics that are remaining after designers and mills complete their samples for a season, or complete a production run."
- Fabric Recycles: "Fabric Recycles is a one-of-a-kind fabric store that gets its entire inventory from other people's stashes and resold at prices you can afford. "
- Good Will: Buy secondhand machines, fabric, and more - all online!
- Check your local library about children's events - many hold mechanical events where children deconstruct donated items, like that old sewing machine gathering dust in your closet!.
- Patchwork like-fabrics to make one-of-a-kind garments, like this:
- Browse infinite "Scrap Busting" activities - like those shown below - or donate your scraps to someone who will! Teachers, Youth Groups, and others are always looking for craft supplies:
- Lover of Vinyl or applique? Turn those scraps into wall art by cutting them into triangles and ironing them to canvas!
Special thanks to those who shared their Low-Waste sewing practices - especially Stephanie of Swoodson Says for consulting on this project!