Scraps are sometimes the leftovers of abandoned projects. Or the odds and ends of felt pants that somehow just weren’t meant to be…
In any case, good quality materials are meant to be used/reused/upcycled. I am advocating for natural materials here, with a preference for those:
- naturally colored
- plant dyed
- native fibers
- locally grown
- edibly non-toxic
- minimally processed
Quite a challenge you say? Not if you start with ecological fibers to begin with. They are not only better for your health, but when your clothes start to make a positive impact on the environment and the way that agriculture is carried out, then you can feel a oneness with the land, with your vernacular landscape.
Important? Well it is entirely up to you. Cotton may be grown in Turkey, shipped to China for processing and sewing, then hauled further to your favorite store for you to buy at a subsidized price for your convenience. What do you know about that shirt other than the size and color? If it matters to you to know the origin of your food, why not extend that consciousness to your clothing too?
It is a free world, but you don’t have to buy into it.
The very concept of consumerism is to buy, more and more, until perhaps we feel guilty about overbuying. The conscientious consumer stops to make ethical choices and ask questions along the way.
Which brings us all the way to felt. Scraps of felt. From merino sheep living in Hungary, where we also happen to reside at the moment. The wool is washed by hand, then carded by machine and sent in large 500 gram batts to the purchaser – that’s us. The wool was intended to be a pair of winter pants. They were most of the way done when life happened – shoes needed to be sewn, felt curtains needed to be made and someone needed a felt vest, otherwise the abandoned project might have made it all the way to the compost pile.
The wool was felted by hand and I didn’t want to lose all that pounding, slapping and hard work.
So from a pile of scraps and dissecting the pants that were mostly sewn, a felt vest was reborn. Quality materials saved!
With a stitch here, more stitches there (with flax weaving thread) and a couple afternoons worth of work the pile of scraps became a felt vest. The rest will become a new camera bag for my baby.
Going with the flow of the pliable felt I pieced together an amorphous shell for outside work as well as warmth in the colder months. The decoration is where the felt didn’t felt so well. Lesson – turn your mistakes into your advantage by twisting and wrapping where necessary. You are bound to come out with something you like, perhaps even subconsciously inspired by nature.
Find some scraps, make some felt and give it a try. Embrace the puzzle of your body and create a garment that is uniquely you!
Felt is a forgiving and kind texturous material to work with. If you are on the road to starting your own handcrafted wardrobe making a felt vest is a great way to debut!
Where does your ecological wardrobe begin?