The following article came into my news feed in a blog from Fashion University.
“Instead of researching for inspiration, research a current problem in the fashion industry.
Instead of producing more fashion industry waste, use waste from the fashion industry to produce.
Instead of using extensive (and often toxic) processing to achieve a new finish, explore a new process to reduce the fashion industry’s footprint on the environment.
Recently featured in an issue of Hue, a magazine published by FIT, Stacy Flynn and Christopher Stanev are a dynamic duo who have set out to change how clothes are made, in effect proving the “everything’s been done before” argument dead wrong. Formerly with DuPont, Target and Eddie Bauer, Flynn had sourced millions of yards of fabric and seen first hand the pollution produced by textile factories—in particular those factories using recycling technology.
While using plastic from bottles to create polar fleece may sound like a move in the more sustainable direction, unfortunately, the process necessary to transform plastic into fleece is almost as detrimental as creating polar fleece sans recycled plastic bottles. And those retailers who have started recycling programs in which consumers bring in clothes they will no longer wear are only making a small dent in the current landfill crisis in the US. Of the 16 million tons of textiles Americans dispose of each year, on 16 percent is reused or recycled.
And so, Flynn and textile chemist, Stanev began to research how they could create a virgin fiber by dissolving and purifying donated clothes, then extruding the results for use in creating new garments. The pair did not find answers overnight—Flynn started asking questions in 2010, partnered with Stanev and together they invested their savings and retirement accounts to discover a way to liquefy fabric, extract the raw cellulose (which makes up 98 percent of cotton) and turn it into a reusable sturdy fiber.
Stanev’s team of researchers developed safe, reusable solvents to break down fabric and in 2015, Patrice George (Flynn’s former weaving teacher) began to weave what Stanev and Flynn called Evrnu yarn into denim. At first the yarn was very weak. George described it as “a cross between cotton candy and peanut brittle.” Stanev worked to make each new skein of Evrnu he sent George stronger and she created 4.5 yards of denim with Evrnu as the weft and cotton as the warp.” (Credit From Fashion University blog)
To me this was super exciting! And I discovered they are in Seattle! And they had partnered with Levi Straus to incorporate this technology. I have spent a little bit of time digging deeper and can’t find a Levi product made with this. Unfortunately. I guess I will have to dig a little deeper on a day with a little more time. Does anyone have any knowledge of this or other partnerships using this technology? Would love to support it. Especially with an American made textile by the yard using this product technology. One can always dream.
If you have been reading this you know that this blog is like the impromptu speeches I have given at Toastmasters. A challenge to myself that I don’t always succeed at, that meanders all over the place with no point. It’s purpose has been to explore my style and figure out what to do when I grow up.
Along the way I wondered if I wanted to be a personal stylist (I know pretty odd considering all those awkward photos of awkward outfits). I wondered if I could teach classes on finding your style (but that has already been done in a much better way than I could do it). Could I be a blogger that links to items I like and gets a small return? (Now we’re back to the awkward photos). For a while I experimented with a sewing blog thought. With patterns and instruction. Then I asked myself could I design women’s clothes and or patterns? Maybe but there is still a lot of learning that needs to happen there.
Then there is the question of the guilt over adding to the mounds of products we already produce and consume. I really couldn’t bring myself to add to it. Or else it was that secret fear that always lingers in the back of our heads of “I’m not good enough”.
I decided to go with the guilt. At last after a year plus of awkward writing and exploring I have decided to launch a line of up cycled and refashioned bike bags that are pretty enough to use everyday even if you don’t ride a bike. They would also work on a stroller handle or walker handle if life has taken you there. They can carry your bike equipment or your life equipment. They are designed to be easy on and easy off and bring joy to your life.
Most items are made from pound store purchases (rejects from even the thrift store) on their way to be turned into rags. I LOVE the challenge of looking at something that was once something else and turning it into a useful well loved item again. Everything gets thrown in the washer and dryer and put in a stack for future creations. It is a slow process that provides unique items.
What isn’t a pound store rescue is a remnant from a project in my life or someone else’s life. Buckles and webbing are new and I am exploring which options are most eco friendly. I recently purchased some past their prime leather coats that may provide handles or other bag pieces.
With this launch I am officially changing my blog page name to The Weekly Ride. Yet another way to walk my talk.
I’ve finally found my joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
What have you found to bring joy?
cutting roof felt is like sewing right?
Life has been a little too busy to sew for the last month or so. I was lucky enough to travel to Germany, Slovenia and Iceland for beer drinking, biking and backpacking so all I did during that time was think about the subject on those long uphills.
Now that I’m back and it is officially summer here it is back to those DIY home improvement projects. This time re roofing some storage sheds. I won’t know if we were successful until the rainy season starts again but it felt good to try something new.
Measuring and cutting felt and piecing together shingles felt like sewing. I was utilizing those same skills. Different muscles – same skills.
As a bonus I got to customize an old t shirt by slashing a v neck and tearing off the sleeves to turn it into something I thought a professional roofer might wear. What do you think?
What sorts of DIY projects do you enjoy?
At first I hesitated. The “spring fling” was the day after we got back from a three week trip. Didn’t I need to stay home and catch up? Then I remembered – Catch up for what? I am on a 2 year leave of absence. I can schedule what feel like frivolous things back to back.
I also wasn’t a member of ASG – The American Sewing Guild.
But a sewing meetup acquaintance had sent me a link to their spring fling and I was trying to learn more and meet new people to see what sorts of opportunities open up. So this wasn’t even really frivolous. I signed up and I am glad I did. I even became an ASG member and hope to attend some local meetings.
Even though I don’t look too happy about it (not sure why – probably tired) the day started off with me realizing this was the perfect place to wear my Michigan dress. And I was right. It was one of the best parts of the event to see what others made for themselves and wore. I even had a young woman (20’s) tell her mom she needed to figure out how to make one. Sewing can be a solitary hobby so it is wonderful to meet others and see what they are doing.
I am happier than I look
I was happy to discover coffee and a mix of healthy and tasty snacks to fuel us up for the day. The event had four speakers who were all well informed, poised and good at giving presentations.
The day began with a presentation where I learned about textile basics, how they are made and where to learn more.
Next up was a hilarious and reality based presentation about padding out a dressform to be your body double.
A former costume maker shared her embellished wardrobe and brought some beautiful reference books on details. One was on sleeve details and I must say I NEVER imagined there could be so many variations on sleeves, their cuffs etc.
The final presentation was on Draping and the speaker did an impressive job of thoroughly explaining the process as she draped a bodice with neck detail.
The event was fun. I learned a lot and I won one of the door prizes. What more could you ask for? Do you belong to any online or offline sewing groups? What do you enjoy most about them? How could they improve?
This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.
My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!
OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.
I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.
Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.
Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.
My latest shiny objects
Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.
I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.
How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?