I have a passion for fabric, but I didn’t realise how deep it ran until I began sorting through the contents of these bags.

Bags

As you know, I rescue fabrics from landfill.  I loathe the thought of something being thrown away if there is a use for it elsewhere, so when I hear of fabrics that are on their way to the tip I feel compelled to step in and find someone who wants them.

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Whether it’s fabric that has sat unused in someone’s spare room for a number of years, or an upholsterer’s sample books that are no longer current, I guarantee I will find a home for it.

The benefits of my rescue missions are many:

  • people wishing to get rid of fabrics no longer need to organise their disposal, they simply contact me and I will collect them;
  • collection is swift which frees up valuable storage space;
  • schools and charities (along with a number of fellow craftspeople and textile artists) receive bundles of material to use;
  • I can boost my own fabric stocks by taking out a few pieces that catch my eye;
  • everything is kept out of landfill.
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Can you imagine this simply being thrown away? What a waste…..

Usually I deal with sample books which I spend hours disassembling before redistributing the fabric swatches, or remnants of material that were originally destined for a long-abandoned sewing project by their owner.  However, Friday’s haul was a completely different kettle of fish, and altogether more exciting.

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It’s just as well I have a large car!

The bags I collected were from a fabric merchant who supplies the top designers and London stores and the quality and variety of the contents was breathtaking.  The pieces of material measure approximately 50cm x 30cm (and sometime much larger), and include jersey, cotton and silk, along with a variety of synthetics.

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The swatches themselves are beautiful in their own right: I have kept a couple like this to display on my workroom wall

I couldn’t wait to sort through the bags and with every new piece of material I uncovered, came another exclamation of joy and wonder at its beauty.  A bit OTT?  Perhaps, but you should have seen it, felt it.  The colours were stunning; the texture and feel of the silks, pure luxury.

Retro

An amazing selection of retro inspired silks from Italy

As I mentioned, I usually keep a very small amount of the fabrics that I rescue to use in my work and pass the rest on to good homes; however, I didn’t want to let any of this go.  Not one piece!  Even if I couldn’t think of a use, I found myself justifying keeping it purely because of its quality and beauty.

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Could you part with fabrics like this?

If you have seen the inside of our house then you will know that it simply isn’t possible to fit any more material in and so, reluctantly, I am passing the bulk of the fabric on as usual.

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Quantities of silk samples destined for GCSE textile projects

Two sacks have already left the house and others are on their way to a number of schools, a youth art project, and a few local crafts people (including one lovely not-so-local lady who will be receiving a large bag full the next time we go to Wales).  In addition, my daughters have syphoned off a carrier bag full for use at their dad’s house (they would have taken a bin bag had I let them…….where did they get their passion for fabric from I wonder?) and there is a bag of jersey and woollen samples for Richard’s mum to use in her rag rug projects at Rosemary’s Rag Rugs.

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The photos don’t do the colours justice

I am due to collect more samples next week and am looking forward to the delight of opening the bags: it’s almost as much fun as working with the fabrics themselves, which I will start to do……….when I have finished sorting……

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