So, I'm a sucker for tartan. And wool. Tartan and wool together = match made in heaven for me. Add in recycling and thrifting and you've got yourself an orgasm of awesome in my book.
Those of you on Instagram may have seen this little teaser a while back...follow me @craftandthrift
So what happens when you take an out-dated kilt and a shrunken sweater? Well read on m'dears!
I bought a sweater much like this one (I don't have a before of mine, apologies, it looked just like this one), for my Grandad for his birthday last year. My Grandad is of the wearing-cable-knit-sweaters-until-they-literally-drop-off-him ilk and his oldest, scraggiest, purple one was looking worse for wear. So I bought him a new one...which my Gran promptly washed on 60 degrees with the bedsheets.
Sigh. Thanks Gran, that's why you're on the team.
I bought this kilt from a charity shop, back in the day when I sold vintage on Etsy. It got many a 'like' on Etsy but no one ever bought it and it was too nice a tartan (and 100% wool) to give back to charity when I shut down the shop, so I kept it for the material. For £7.99 I got nearly 3 metres of 100% wool tartan fabric - a complete thrifty bargain. I've already made a tartan tablet case from it and wanted to make a Scottish themed cushion cover for my friend Imogene when she moved from Edinburgh to London so I sent the kilt and shrunken sweater off on a blind date together. They hit it off, moved in together, got married and produced this adorable little creature...
I was really pleased with the outcome. Ideally I wanted to make a set, one with more tartan than sweater and vice versa but sadly there wasn't enough sweater for two covers. I've still got plenty of tartan and sweater left though, so more projects to come from these guys.
The lessons, fellow thrifters?
o When you're shopping for second hand fabric, always check out the clothing, especially larger women's sizes and the men's section. The bigger the size, the more fabric you'll be acquiring and what may be hideous or out-dated as clothes can be made from lovely material that is often expensive to buy off the bolt in a haberdashery. Kilts, cable knit sweaters, tweed jackets and tartan trousers are all good examples of this. If you're looking for leather, try old jackets or trousers.
o Never throw away clothing just because it's 'ruined' in some way. Look at it critically. If it's a wool sweater that's shrunk, use it for cushion covers, camera cases, children's toys or smaller clothing projects. If it's a t-shirt that's stained, maybe salvage the clean fabric for use in other t-shirt DIYs - to make sleeves or straps for example. We've all tried the classic jeans-to-skirt project with our old jeans. Think along those lines and the world is your oyster (or denim skirt). But! don't be afraid to send things to the clothes recycling if you don't see a use for it. There's no point holding on to 5 pairs of holey jeans if denim ain't your thang. This leads onto my last point...
o Recycle your textiles! I know the Salvation Army are a bit controversial at the moment with their stance on homosexuality (not something I want to get into here folks!) but they run a textile recycling scheme - Wear 2 Bank - where 99% of what's donated is used in some way, either resold in charity shops in the UK, sent abroad for humanitarian aid, or shredded and recycled into mattress filling, sound proofing in cars or industrial wipes (WTF are these??). This means only 1% of the donations are sent to land fill. Personally I bag up all my fabric scraps from sewing, old t-shirts with holes or pit stains (we've all got them!), old undies, socks, jeans...basically anything textile based that I can't or won't reuse myself and isn't good enough for a charity shop, and pop them in my local Salvation Army bin when I do my grocery shop. So much more satisfying than throwing them away! Anything for the charity shop I pop downstairs to the bricks-and-mortar Salvation Army shop, I basically live directly above one so it seems silly to drive that stuff all the way out to Asda to donate. You know, I've lived above that shop for a year now (it used to be a stationary shop) and only ever bought 1 t-shirt. I must have donated at least 10-15 bags of stuff there though. What a smug end to this post!