Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Me-Made Clear Out: Round Two

This post is the second part of my cathartic clear out of much-and-not-so-much-loved me-made garments. I really appreciate the supportive comments that the first instalment received. I know that it's not the most fascinating topic for not only one but TWO blog posts, and I am grateful to everyone for letting me get this out of my system!

A couple of commenters asked me about what I did with dead garments. I took them to a TRAID (my former employers) textiles bank. I roughly explained the process of what happens to items that are donated into the banks in this blog post (with pictures!). But in short, if textile items aren't appropriate for resale in their current state (and I'd been hella surprised if mine are considered as such!), they are sorted into ENORMOUS piles that get sold on to a recycling processing plant. This recoiling plant will then shred up the old textiles to create fibres that will be used in a variety of purposes, from creating polar fleece to stuffing sofas. And the charity then makes a bit of cash even, if the garment can't directly be sold in their shops. This is why I always bag up my left over scraps from sewing projects and chuck those into textiles recycling banks rather than the bin because I know it'll do more good going in there than heading to the landfill.

So, on with the cull....


It really pains me to part with this ruffle front jumper. It absolutely saved my life during the first ever Me-Made-March, which I undertook as a solo effort before thinking perhaps others might like to join me and give it a go (hence the birth of the Me-Made-May and Self-Stitched-September challenges). Why oh why can you wash a garment a squillion times, then one time you wash it again on exactly the same setting you always use and it shrinks beyond wearability?! Riddle me THAT!


This was the Port Elizabeth T-shirt pattern that was available for free via Burdastyle a couple of years ago (though kindly designed and uploaded by a member, not Burdastyle itself I am quick to add), but good luck finding free stuff on that site anymore! I made it because I was intrigued by the silhouette, wondering if it would suit me. Plus it looked like a super-quick project to make (it was) and I was just about to start a new job that required black clothing of which I had none. Turns out it suited neither my sense of style nor my body shape, although I still have a fondness for it!


How I loved these cheeky Ruby shorts! I spent my 30th birthday party in them and many other happy times. I would never have approached making or wearing such revealing clothing before living in Barcelona. But I guess a combination of suddenly living somewhere where everybody is showing far more flesh for a big part of the year than I was previously used to, plus it being just way too hot for wearing my usual jeans, I had to get used to exposing my own limbs!


Ah, the school boy trousers. These are still as comfortable as pyjama bottoms, but I've come to realise they aren't particularly flattering (saggy bum by the end of the day!) and not really the kind of silhouette I want to wear these days, although a 20 year old me would have lived and died in them. Does anyone else have an attachment to a garment because they know a younger version of themselves would have adored it?! Anyways, I also got some bloody latex glue split on them at my part-time hat-making job, which really hammered the final nail in the coffin. That said, I'm still going to wear them to that job, seeing as any newly made nicer trousers would be at risk of the same fate. 


I love this use of two unwanted mens shirts to create this cute blouse, however mine was always a good size too big for me. I'd rather make another than try and fanny around with this one trying to achieve a better fit. 


Oh my poor darling Ship Shape blouse! I virtually lived in this when I lived in Spain. It was made from the softest navy cotton sateen, and was a joy to wear as well as neatly reflecting my personal style whilst simultaneously being work-appropriate when I went to the posher of my English-teaching clients at that time. So many trips round the washing machine meant the detail on the buttons wore clean away and the collar had started to fray, along with other terminal signs of over-use. 


What can I say? My machining machine hates me.


Ok, I had to finally admit I made this refashioned sweatshirt top too short. This has found a new loving home with my friend Kirstin though, so this one has a happy ending.


I must admit I had very low expectations of the lifespan of this stripey T-shirt. When Breton and stripey jersey tops came into Vogue again a few years ago, I fell in love and yearned for my own. However, the selection available in the fabric stores I frequented in Barcelona was pretty limited at that time. This jersey was some of that fairly nasty, papery feeling stuff that gets super stiff when it dries after washing. The weave was also really wonky, so cutting out the pieces was a real challenge, and trying to get properly horizontal stripes resulted in twisty annoying sleeve seams. I really expected this top to last perhaps twenty wears, however several years of near constant wear and washing and it's only just given up the ghost. RIP, stripey T-shirt. I have already made a kind of replacement, and there will be more stripey jersey tops made this year, of that I am sure.

Thanks for your indulgence, dear readers!

12 comments:

Xenia Kathryn said...

While I'm usually big on "sew what makes you happy", I do find that there are some things I need to steer clear of, now that I'm a mom AND I just turned 30 (btw, 20-year old me would love those trousers, too!). My husband and I started a family in our early twenties, and I struggled a lot with my outward appearance/identity. I didn't want to look "old" just because I was a mom, but I didn't want to look like a teenager, either. Now that I'm thirty, I still want to have fun with my wardrobe, but I need to be realistic, too.
I love your clothing items and the stories behind them. Good for you for getting so much mileage out of the gems! Hope you save a few of these retired items, too! If you should ever have a budding seamstress for a daughter or granddaughter, she'd probably LOVE to discover what you made by hand as a young adult. Then again, I'm a hoarder, so don't listen to me :D

phil said...

I hope you will have some clothes left Zoe!!

Sølvi said...

YOu´re so good at getting rid of stuff! I need to make more room in my wardrobe as well, but I am finding it a little hard, like "oh, this blouse is so pretty (but REALLY uncomfortable to wear". I probably should get a friend over to help me be more ruthless.

If it can be to any consolation about the bib-style blouses you are getting rid of, I am just about to finish sewing one, after longing for your navy one for years. ;-) I am finally making one (white), just to get it out of my system. So you could say that the idea of the blouse still lives on even if yours had to retire. :-)

Rebecca Wagner said...

Omg I would love that unwanted men shirt blouse..its so cute!!! Did u follow a pattern or just get creative:) x
www.becstitches.blogspot.com.au

Helen said...

I absolutely need to do this and equally can't bear to throw my me-made items out! Well done on being so brave!

Lisette said...

I envy your resolve. All my me-made garments that don't fit (most of them, actually, as I've lost a good ten pounds since I started sewing) are stuffed in a plastic bin in my closet.

Tasha said...

This is actually helpful for me to read! It's good to reflect on what we've made. I'm only just now getting to the point with my sewing where I'm making more for my wardrobe, but I already see a couple of things I've sewn in the past that may eventually have to leave my closet. You give me courage to make that happen!

LLADYBIRD said...

Oh god, you are brave. I really need to do this with my wardrobe - I have an overflow of garments that don't fit and/or were made with bad fabric choices. I have a million excuses why I haven't started a handmade purge yet, but the fact of the matter is I'm just scared. Maybe I'll hide them in a box in the shed for a year and see if I still miss them after the fact.

Anyway, you're kicking me in the butt right now. So thank you!

ShanniLoves said...

Wow wee! Donation bag to me please!! ;) You are awesome because I don't know if I could do it. I tend to hang on to everything especially me made items!

Adrienne said...

What are you talking about, "indulgence"! I loved this post! I generally love reading about what happens after "happily ever after" -- as in, what happens after the big reveal? This is the genius of your Me-Made events.

Penny-Rose said...

Great post (and the previous one too). I think your self-critique is excellent and for many people its difficult to be so honest.

Amy said...

Hello! I was wondering if I could ask a quick question about bagging up scraps and putting them in the charity bins? I've been taking my scraps (and holey jeans/stained t-shirts/old socks) to Cash 4 Clothes for ages now, it's not about the money (which is nothing really compared to what you put in, I'd happily do it for free) it's about knowing that I'm recycling material that couldn't be reused or sold in a charity shop. Anyway, recently the guy questioned me about what was in my bags and gave me a leaflet stating that they only accept things that are in good condition that can be resold. They don't even take homeware stuff anymore, like blankets and duvet covers. I'm a bit confused, where can I take old, unreusable, unsellable material to be recycled?

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