This week is Zero Waste Week in the UK, and the theme this year is an issue very close to our hearts: ‘Reuse’ – stop wasting money by saving resources!

So here are some top ways to reuse clothing, fabrics and other things.

1. Buy reclaimed fabrics, patterns and haberdashery. If you make your own clothes or homewares, seek out secondhand fabrics at charity shops, car boot sales and online on eBay or Etsy. All these places are also excellent spots to find buttons, zips, trims and vintage sewing patterns – especially good if you’re a vintage lover!
You can buy all of the above from Stitched Up HQ during opening hours.

Yard Sale 2

2. Learn to alter & repair your clothes. If something has a broken zip or needs the hem taking up, take them to a local tailor, or alternatively learn to fix them yourself!
There are loads of places around the UK offering classes in altering clothes – check out the directory on Make Do & Mend-able for listings. Mancunians can learn the most common clothing alterations at our Nip/Tuck Alterations workshop – taking things in, out and replacing zips. If you have something more specific that you’d like with, drop in to our new Saturday Surgery which starts this month, and where you can get our help with your mending, repair and upcycling projects.

nip tuck

3. Use a secondhand sewing machine. We love vintage sewing machines – they’re built better and can deal with heavy fabrics and regular use better than modern machines. If you don’t have a machine already, ask around among your friends and relatives – so many people have a machine gathering dust in the loft! Or failing that, try eBay. For anyone based in Manchester, we usually have a few vintage machines on sale at very reasonable prices and you can try before you buy.

4. Get inspired to upcycle! If clothes are beyond repair, can you turn them into something else entirely? Pinterest is jam packed with ideas – sit down with a coffee and get those creative juices flowing!

5. If you have any fabrics, buttons or patterns hanging around that you don’t need, consider selling them on online or donating them – you’ll be surprised how many things will be happily snapped up by crafty types! This gives them another chance at being used and thus saved from landfill. We both donate and receive things from Freecycle and Streetbank – both excellent resources that we thoroughly recommend! Streetbank is also great for borrowing things – this year so far we’ve borrowed a ladder and a saw to help us get our new HQ up to scratch. It’s awesome, and a great way to get to know your neighbours.
We take donations at Stitched Up of anything sewing and craft related which we’ll use in our workshops out and about in Greater Manchester. If you’re based near us and have something you’d like to donate get in touch!

w Spring 2015 Clothes Swap

6. Swap your clothes! Organise a clothes swap with your friends, find a local one here, or for Chorltonites, come to our Autumn Clothes Swap on Thursday 17th September. Clothes swaps, swap shops, or swishes, as they’re sometimes known, are a fantastic way to rehome your garments and avoid chucking them away, while also keeping your wardrobe fresh and seasonal for next to no cost!

Have you been inspired to make a pledge this Zero Waste Week? If so, please share it with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – we’d love to see your ideas to ‘extra reuse’ this week, clothes-related or not. Our pledge is to buy absolutely no plastic-wrapped anything all week. Been trying to do this for ages, with only limited success… :0/
We’ll let you know how we get on.