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Top 5 Sources of Secondhand Fabric

Sewing your own might seem the ‘greener’ option, but fabric production is a pretty resource and labour intensive business.
Growing cotton uses vast amounts of water and pesticides, and has a heavy environmental impact.

An easy way to still sew your own, but lessen your ‘sewing footprint’ is to source your fabric secondhand.

Here’s my Top 5 places to find secondhand fabric.

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Top Tips for Using Secondhand Yarn

Following on from the Sourcing Secondhand Yarn post, I thought it would be helpful to include some pointers for using your yarn once you’ve managed to track some down!

Sometimes you can be lucky and get secondhand yarn complete with labels, so you know what type of yarn it is, what weight it is, and how to care for it.
But more often than not, especially with charity shop finds, there is no label, and it can be tricky to know exactly what you have, and whether it will work with a specific pattern.
In my Back to Basics e-book, yarn supremo Joanne Scrace of Not So Granny, has written a whole chapter on how to “Unpick and Knit Again” and salvage wool from old woolly jumpers.
In it, she tells us a couple of sneaky tricks for finding out not only what your yarn is (natural or synthetic) and also what weight it is.
And she’s very kindly allowed to share those pro tricks with you here!

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Where to Learn Really Re-Useful Skills

Do you see what I did there?!

Re-using stuff isn’t hard.
Anyone can take an empty jam jar, give it a clean and re-purpose it into a vase. Or a tin can into a pen holder.
Sometimes it might take a spark of inspiration, and often your first foray into re-use may well be driven by necessity (ie someone smashed the vase..!)
For our grandparent’s generation, during and immediately after WW2, re-use was an absolute necessity. And it was a way of life. They learned how to do all kinds of amazingly thrifty things, to make sure that they managed to get the very last ounce of use out of their precious resources.
Now, in the 21st century, in a time of seeming abundance, we are starting to run out of resources. And as our resources become scarcer, we will soon be forced to make better use of them. But that Make Do and Mend mentality has been lost to recent generations. And sadly, the skills and resourcefulness of that generation that live through the war appear to be dying with them.

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