I’ve always loved the challenge of creating something entirely new and different from something old. Consequently, I find it difficult to discard anything! I’m definitely a hoarder (but an organised one!) from baby clothes to coats - my mind races with the endless possibilities of what they could become! It is ultra satisfying to create something new, unique and very beautiful from something old or used.
There are many reasons why I love to use vintage and recycled fabrics & trimmings in my studio:-
Old fabrics in particular can carry memories of times past or of people we no longer have with us.
Last year, I worked on a very special & sentimental project. My mother-in-law had given me a tweed jacket which had belonged to my lovely father-in-law. I made this tweed headpiece for her which incorporates tweed from the jacket, finished with felt flowers and pheasant feathers. It is always very special to create something from a fabric that holds so many memories.
I also love creating these cute little Tweed Hearts from sentimental fabric or indeed fabric left over from another project.
There is also the question of sustainability and protection of the environment from the damaging effects of modern fabric production which will hopefully encourage a move away from “fast fashion”. I regularly receive old damaged and vintage hats from ladies who are doing a clear-out. I love to cut them up and re-work them into other projects I may be finishing, especially if they have an unusual or difficult to source colours or textures. Sometimes, I remove the stiffeners, flatten them and mould them into an entirely new shape using my trusty millinery blocks, especially in the case of good quality felt. The navy embellishment on this headpiece was actually created from the brim of an old hat but it could be reshaped into something so different!
Whenever I can, I re-use old buttons, jewellery, fabric and ribbons in my studio. The downside, of course, is that I find it impossible to throw anything away! Vintage fabrics in particular are so interesting to work with. I recently had the pleasure of reshaping this piece of vintage fur brought to me by a client. After lining it and repairing the damaged fur (which was separating in places) - it is now a gorgeous and unique collar.
It inspired me to repurpose the fur from an old vintage fur coat into some new chic little Fur Collars which are available to purchase in the studio and online. They are lined with the beautiful original lining and trimmed with petersham ribbon. I wear one with a winter dress or coat - it is so snug and warm!
Recently my nine year old asked me to keep a bag of scrap fabrics for her as she was making something for her doll. It looks like the tradition is continuing!!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any query in relation to having an old fabric incorporated into something new!