Greater Manchester is now Greener! Thanks to Recycle for Greater Manchester and the Sew Recycled Project. Junkshop’s Dan Clarke looks back over the last 9 months of free sewing classes.
As the high street became dull, bland and focused on disposable fashion – Junk Shop stepped in with Recycle for Greater Manchester to put creativity and individuality back into fashion. We felt it was time to inspire the people of Greater Manchester to tackle the astonishing amount of textile waste produced (£140 million per year in the UK).
Textile waste in the UK
Showing care and respect for our clothing can make a difference and give people the power to express themselves through sewing and up-cycling out of style fashion items. No need for big budgets and designer labels; creativity and imagination would lead the way. We wanted our classes to set the trends and not be a slave to fast fashion.
Over the last 9 months we have delivered 31 sewing classes over 9 districts reaching 454 people, injecting creativity and confidence with new ideas for up-cycling into everyday life.
“I am no longer scared of my sewing machine!”
Our step-by-step demonstrations on our Elna Sewing Machines meant that sewing machines collecting dust at home, could now have a new lease of life.
Using scrap textiles for a ‘bow making’ exercise, built confidence on the sewing machine; it was such a pleasure and a great sense of achievement to see residents sewing skills improve in such a short space of time.
The bows can be used to adorn head wear, shoes, bags, cover stains and gifts… the possibilities are endless. We encouraged participants to step away from the high street and take a look around their homes or even local charity shops for unwanted textiles. There is an abundance of fabric available from used curtains to bed sheets, which are easy to sew and will brighten any drab wardrobe.
“really chuffed with my dress, it would have never seen the light of day”
Everyone loved our simple but effective ideas of up-cycling and reworking their pre loved clothes. The fun has been put back into sewing! As a result, we found that 76% of those attending classes have been inspired to repair their own clothes. Up-cycling clothing doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated it’s all about having fun. We wanted people to think about textile waste and take action; anyone can organise a clothes-swapping party for friends, family or even at work. Also by taking unwanted textiles to clothing banks or charity shops we are helping to stop them going into landfill.
We took the approach to teaching that was adaptable to individual needs in an exciting and inclusive way. People felt that sewing was no longer a chore and could become an enjoyable hobby. We think that we have given people confidence and life-long skills.
One participant said “I have done several sewing classes in the past but this is by far the most useful, I will be able to use these new skill all the time”
By inspiring over 450 residents of Greater Manchester to up-cycle, a new generation of ‘sewing bees’ have been created!
As a result of the classes, people now have the skills to make clothes last longer for all the family. It’s brilliant to see that people will now think about the potential of what is being thrown away. We have loved receiving feedback from participants. We set up a Sew Recycled Facebook page especially, allowing people to leave their comments, share ideas and images of what they made; it has been great!
Here’s just some Facebook feedback:
“I would like to thank the girls for the class held in Bolton library last night. It was great fun and learned lots many thanks. Keep up the good work x x”
“Absolutely cracking day at Bury Met with Junk. Made a groovy bow and remodelled a dress! Highly recommended :-) Thank you x”
To mark the end of the free up-cycling classes, we held an open day on 5th April at our Northern Quarter shop where over 70 people came together and took part in a free Easter bag/bonnet making activity.The day ended with a parade that brought everyone together.
Up-cycled Easter Bonnets at Junkshop
All of us at The School of JUNK would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part, your enthusiasm was inspirational!
Keep posting on the Sew Recycled Facebook page. We hope to see you soon…