In the book Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder writes of Almanzo's mother weaving cloth for a suit of clothing she would sew. The Wilders struck me as decidedly more wealthy than the Ingalls, because the Wilders were able to own that weaving device. Imagine how prized that suit would be, for the one who wore it would surely know of the time and effort it took to keep the sheep alive, shear them, comb and clean the wool, spin it into fiber, weave it into cloth, and sew it into the garment that fit and kept the body warm.
Fabric no longer holds such value in our minds, but maybe it should. Cotton is a thirsty crop. Tencel, rayon, and viscose require trees. Polyester guzzles oil. Fabric ends up in the landfill by the ton...because we can always get more...right? But new materials need to be mined, clearcut, planted, watered and harvested constantly. Each of these endeavors not only requires natural resources, but creates pollution through manufacturing, dying, transport, and disposal.
While focusing on sewing additions to my fair wardrobe this year, it's been interesting to note how much clothing can be made out of what I already have. Clockwise from top left: A seldom worn top that I loved too much to let go became a top that I wear once a week now (another Bantam). Scraps leftover from other projects, a worn garment + a worn tea towel became a little jacket. A cover for our fireplace became a pair of pajamas. Two existing garments + the scraps left over from their making became a new jacket.
Scraps leftover from previous projects or worn garments could be used to purposefully sew a well put together top or dress. Sewing meets zero-waste. Obviously, this is not a new principle...people have been creating clothing + quilts out of their scraps + used cloth for probably all of time. I'm simply rediscovering this save-it-from-the-landfill...and maybe even the thrift store (where they often are not sold)...way of thinking. It's been interesting to reinvent pieces of fabric whose previous shapes no longer appeal.
Once pieces in the wardrobe or linen closet are past their presentable or desirable state...reinvent them. They might end up becoming part of a whole new favorite!