STOP TEXTILE WASTE THANKS TO THESE TIPS!
MEND OR UPCYCLE YOUR CLOTHES
Prolong the life of your garments, creating less need to buy new items and reducing demand for fast fashion. CHECK OUT THE REPAIR CAFE CLOSEST TO YOU For complex mends, seek advice or a helping hand from advanced sewers at your local Repair Cafe. INVEST IN GOOD-QUALITY PIECES FOR YOUR WARDROBE Better clothes last longer, saving you from buying new ones regularly. FAVOUR NATURAL FIBRES Unfortunately, polyester clothes are not biodegradable and shed microplastics when washed. Opt for natural fibres instead!
ON THE MEND Darning is one of many embroidery techniques that could breathe life into your old clothing
Charity shops struggle to cope with the quantity of clothing that cannot be resold
completely different garments or items,” explains Melissa. “Participants learn how to sew either by hand or using a machine and make or embellish items like face masks, aprons, seasonal decorations, bunting, cushions and clothes.” Many simple techniques may be learnt and applied to most clothing. “Darning is a brilliant tool for woven materials, and you can use contrasting fabrics as a creative option, while extending the life of things you love,” continues Melissa. “Sashiko is a beautiful, repetitive, mindful stitching style. It was traditionally used in Japan to mend clothes for manual workers. We use it in workshops on jeans, denim and bags, either as mending or decorating stitching. It’s easy to learn – and a really therapeutic way of sewing – we always get great feedback from these workshops!” The mindful element of sewing is a fundamental part of Sew Positive’s mission, supporting mental health while at the same time promoting sustainable habits. “We run one-off workshops for the wider community in libraries and public spaces, including the Grand Arcade. We do this to highlight the link between sewing and wellbeing, get people to rethink textile waste and recruit volunteers to support our services,” says Melissa.
Sew Positive has recently been awarded £14,000 by Cambridge County Council through its Cultivating Cambs scheme, which will help enable the charity to develop a new ‘social prescription’ programme for anybody with chronic mental or physical ill health. “We’ll teach basic mending and upcycling, providing ‘sewcialise’ sessions on prescription from a GP,” explains Melissa. “As the NHS is struggling to meet increased demand for mental health services since the pandemic, charities like ours are delivering different ways of supporting wellbeing, alongside traditional medical treatment.” Initiatives like these demonstrate how a more mindful approach to fashion might benefit not only the environment, but also our own welfare. This is true for the textile industry and fashion habits. But taking time to make informed decisions about how we interact with the planet’s limited resources is a pivotal way to take climate action in our day-to-day lives. To stay up to date with Sew Positive events and services, subscribe to linktr.ee/SewPositive or follow Sew Positive on Facebook. You can also show support by donating, fundraising or volunteering for the charity
DONATE TO CLOTHES BANKS
Unwearable items may be taken to a clothes bank, then resold for use in lower-grade textile products.
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