Saturday, November 28, 2009

List of Op Shops in Perth

I just found a list on Vogue forums of all the op shops in Perth.

Compiled by user, Fairydust, this is a work of extreme generosity and, it must be said, stamina.

You can visit the original (updated) list here, but I've also reproduced it below, and if you do read this, Fairydust, please get in touch so we can credit you properly.  Or come along to the SwapORamaRama, where we will give you a very large round of applause!

***UPDATED! 28-3-09
As usual, no guarantees they're still around.
Applecross The Pink Room 31 Ardross St Applecross WA 6153 ph: (08) 9315 1577
Applecross Two By One Recycling Boutique Ardross St, Applecross (down toward Applex jetty)

Armadale Drug ARM WA 56 Fourth Road, Armadale Ph: (08) 9399 9426
Armadale Good Sammy 40 Fouth Road 93991367
Armadale Salvation Army Unit 7 / 40 Fourth Road (08) 9497 8320
Armadale. Anglicare 1/227 Railway Avenue KELMSCOTT WA 6112 Ph: 9394 9206

Balcatta Good Sammy Stirling Gate, Shop 10,257 Balcatta Rd Ph: 93447553
Balcatta Salvation Army 207 Balcatta Road (08) 9240 2047

Balga Salvation Army Balga Shopping Centre, Princess Rd


Bellevue Broken Chains Ministry 189 CLAYTON STREET 9250 3046

Belmont Anglicare 9/ 199. Abernethy Road, Belmont Ph: 6253 3520
Belmont Salvation Army 11 / 199 Abernethy Road (08) 9277 6578
Belmont ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY 175 Abernethy Rd Belmont WA 6104 ph: (08) 9277 7003

Bentley AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) Shop 14-15 Bentley Plaza Shopping Centre 1140 Albany Highway 9356 6398

Bibra Lake RSPCA Unit 1, 2 Port Kembla Drive Cnr Port Pirie Drive N/A

Bull Creek House of Zonta SHOP 17 PARRY VILLAGE SHOPPING CENTRE 9332 2505

BUNBURY Good Sammy 140 Victoria St Ph: 97218516

Canning Vale Good Sammy Corner of South St and Bannister Road 94556320
CANNING VALE Good Sammy 47 Magnet Road Ph: 94551222
Canning Vale Salvation Army 2A / 256 Bannister Road (08) 9455 7374

Cannington Good Sammy Hometown, 1480 Albany Hwy 93582898
Cannington Salvation Army 1299 Albany Highway (08) 9356 5399
Cannington Anglicare Unit 9/10, Hometown, 1480 Albany Hwy Ph: 6424 7607

Carlisle "Uniting Church:
Low Cost Clothing Stalls (WEDNESDAY)," 43 Star Street Carlisle 6101 9470 3218

Claremont Recollections Recycled Designs Shop 10/ 337 Stirling Hwy Claremont WA 6010 ph: (08) 9383 3377

Clarkson ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Shop 1/5 Ebb Way 9408 5468


Coolongup Salvation Army Shop 7 / 2-4 Elanora Drive (08) 9527 8565

Cottesloe Foreign Exchange 10 STATION STREET 9385 6408
Cottesloe Snobs Shop 9 Napoleon Close ph: (08) 9385 2610
Cottesloe Twice As Nice Station Street Cottesloe WA 6011 ph: (08) 9383 3042

DIANELLA Good Sammy 51 Walter Rd (furniture) Ph: 92724588

Duncraig AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) 10/50 Marri Road, Duncraig WA 6023 9447 2755

Ellenbrook Salvation Army Shop 1, Woodlake Village Shopping Centre, Sunray Circle (08) 9296 9841

Forrestfield Salvation Army Forrestfield Forum Shop 33, 20 Strelitzia Avenue (08) 9359 2389

Fremantle DOWN TOWN RAGS 45 HIGH STREET 9336 7742
FREMANTLE Good Sammy 142 High St Ph: 93357921
Fremantle Pongee Recycled Clothing Shop 8 124 Cnr High & Queen St Fremantle WA 6160 ph: (08) 9433 3774
Fremantle Take 2 Recycling Boutique 3B BANNISTER STREET MALL
Fremantle Anglicare 181 High Street Ph: 6424 7655
Fremantle Salvation Army 3 / 5 Josephson Street (08) 9336 2026
Fremantle ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Shop 2, 142 High Street 9335 6890
Fremantle (SOUTH) Get Lucky Clothing 6 Sheedy St ph: 0412 773 534
Fremantle (SOUTH) Salvation Army Shop 7/47 Douro Road (08) 9335 1422

Geraldton Good Sammy 171 North West Coastal Highway Ph: 99216961

Girrawheen ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Shop 39, Newpark Shopping Centre, Templeton Avenue 9343 3201

Gosnells Good Sammy 2288 Albany Hwy (FURNITURE) Ph: 93983952
Gosnells Salvation Army 23A Gosnells Shopping Complex 2158 Albany Highway (08) 9398 2184
Gosnells ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Unit 2, 2316 Albany Highway 9490 3398

Greenfiels Zoilas Community Op-shop Shop 4 Cnr Murdoch Street & Mississippi Drive 9535 4626

Greenwood Salvation Army 3/10 Canham Way (08) 9247 3855

Guildford People Who Care Op Shop Rear 48 James St Guildford WA 6055 9379 1944

Hamilton Hill Ree Play Fashions 4 Simms Rd Hamilton Hill WA 6163 ph: (08) 9314 5303
Hamilton Hill AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) Shop 4, Simms Road, Hamilton Hill Shopping Centre 9314 1122

Heathridge ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY 5/ 89 Caridean St ph: (08) 9402 4011

Hilton, Save the Children 38 Paget Street 9314 1559

Inglewood Mums Retro & Recycled Clothing 879 Beaufort St ph: (08) 9271 0441
Inglewood Rubbish Recycled 879 Beaufort St ph: (08) 9271 0441

Innaloo Drug ARM WA Shop 4 Morris Place Shopping Centre, Innaloo Ph: (08) 9204 3322
Innaloo Switch Boutique SHOP 4, 11 MORRIS PLACE


Joondalup Good Sammy Unit 2/143 Grand Boulevard Ph: 93003169
Joondalup Salvation Army 2/116 Winton Road (08) 9300 3788


Kelmscott Drug ARM WA 2 Gillam Drive, Kelmscott Ph: (08) 9495 4495
Kelmscott Lifeline Recycled Fashion 255 Railway Avenue 9399 3658*
Kelmscott Salvation Army 227 Railway Parade (08) 9399 7773

Kensington Vista House Inc 53 Brandon Street Kensington 6151 9367 1918

Koondoola Good Samaritan Industries Koondoola Plaza ph: (08) 9342 5983

Kwinana Good Sammy Shop 22, 40-46 Mears Avenue 94394777
Kwinana Salvation Army Kwinana Hub S/C Meares Ave, Kwinana 9419 7268

Mandurah How B a z a a r SHOP 7, 5 SMART STREET 9535 9771
Mandurah Salvation Army Unit 2/21 George Street (cnr Davey St) (08) 9581 4104
Mandurah AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) 13/14 Tuckey Street 9581 5779
Mandurah City Gate Salvation Army Unit 16 City Gate Business Park, Magneta Terrace (08) 9582 0105

Maylands Petticoat Junction Vintage Clothing 206 Whatley Crs Maylands WA 6051 9271 9044
Maylands Salvation Army 203 Guildford Road (08) 9272 3851

Medina Kwinana/Rockingham Op-Shop Rear of 22b Pace Rd A. Hills 9419 6216
Medina Uniting Church Thrift Shop Cnr Medina Ave & Atkinson Rd "F. Hadfield
9439 1750"

Merriwa Salvation Army Shop 3 Merriwa Plaza Shopping Centre, 44 Baltimore Parade (08) 9305 2898

Midland Good Sammy 3/164-168 Great Eastern Hwy Ph: 92742572
Midland Salvation Army 284 Great Eastern Highway (08) 9274 2893
Midland, Anglicare 360 Great Eastern Highway Ph: 9394 9207
Midlands Marmalades Of Midland 11/ 2 The Crescent ph: (08) 9274 2594

Mirrabooka RSPCA 20 Cobbler Place (08) 9207 1893
Mirrabooka, Anglicare Shop 5, Mirrabooka Plaza Ph: 9247 9777

Morley Baptistcare Bargain Centre Unit 2, 8 Dewar Street
Morley Funky Fashion Op Shop Shp3/ 13 Paine Rd 9375 5508
Morley Salvation Army 156 Russell Street (08) 9371 9817
Morley Anglicare  (just opened last Monday, near Textile traders)

Mosman Park, Save the Children 600 Stirling Highway 9384 5318

Mount Lawley Memory Lane 768 Beaufort St ph: (08) 9370 2262

Mt Hawthorn 2nd Time Around 165B Scarborough Beach Rd ph: (08) 9443 6470
Mt Hawthorn Save the Children 19-21 Green St 9201 2722


Mundaring Salvation Army Shop 23, Mundaring Village, 7295 Great Eastern Highway (08) 9295 2576

Nedlands Dress Circle Shop 35 Broadway Fair ph: (08) 9386 7408
Nedlands Fusion Clothing 168 Hampden Rd ph: (08) 9386 3936

Nollamara ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Shop 61A, Nollamara Shopping Centre 161 NOLLAMARA AVENUE 9349 5372


Northam Good Sammy 140 Fitzgerald St Ph: 96223047
Northam Salvation Army Shops 8 - 12 Northam Arcade, 187 Fitzgerald Street (08) 9622 7906

Northbridge ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY 267B William St ph: (08) 9228 4877

Ocean Keys Salvation Army 6/35 Ocean Keys Bvd (08) 9407 9847

O'Connor Salvation Army Unit 2/354 South Street (08) 9331 2866

Osborne Park Good Sammy Unit 3 320 Selby St (FURNITURE) Ph: 92442100
Osborne Park Salvation Army 2/320 Selby Street (08) 9244 1979
Osborne Park ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY 59 Edward St ph: (08) 9443 3364

Palmyra RSPCA 59 Carrington St ph: (08) 9319 1985

PERTH Good Sammy 116 Murray St Ph: 94211960  
PERTH Good Sammy 381 Murray St Ph: 93215986
Perth City Salvation Army 119 Barrack Street (08) 9225 7912

Port Kennedy RSPCA Unit 3, 1-5 Sunlight Drive (08) 9524 5257
Port Kennedy Salvation Army Unit 3/50 Fielden Way (08) 9524 6987


Rockingham All Saints Anglican Op-Shop Rockingham " K. Wheeler
9419 2065"
ROCKINGHAM Good Sammy 8 Livingstone Rd, Business District Ph: 95925089
Rockingham Jacky's Recylcing Boutique 1 KENT STREET 9528 2327
Rockingham Salvation Army Family Stores Shop 2/Suite 7 Elanora Drive 9527 8565
Rockingham ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Unit 15, Rockingham City Commercial Centre 17 HURRELL WAY 9528 1071
Rockingham Uniting Church Opportunity Shop R/Ham 169 Parkin St 9527 4660
Rockingham Beach Salvation Army 6 Patterson Road (08) 9592 7459

Scarborough AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) 164A Scarborough Beach Road 9245 1823
Scarborough ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY Shop 3 160 Scarborough Beach Rd ph: (08) 9245 4370
Scarborough, Save the Children 166 Scarborough Beach Road 9341 6282

Shenton Park Opportunity Knocks 10 Selby St 9381 0111
Shenton Park Secondo Mondo 223 Onslow Rd ph: (08) 9381 5920

Shoalwater AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) Shop 14, Shoalwater Shopping Centre Safety Bay Road 9592 9968

South Fremantle, Save the Children 272 South Terrace 9335 2619

Spearwood Salvation Army Showroom 6, Phoenix Plaza, cnr Phoenix & Rockingham Road (08) 9418 7948

Stratton Re-Vamp Recycling Boutique Shop 7/ Stratton Park Shopping Centre ph: (08) 9250 5588

Subiaco Good Sammy 28 Rokeby Rd Ph: 93816242
Subiaco Boutique Salvation Army 86A Rowland Street (08) 9380 4149
Subiaco, Save the Children 8/165 Hay Street 9341 6282

Success Salvation Army Showroom 7, Southgate Commercial Centre (08) 9498 7418

Thornlie Salvation Army Shop 1, 318 Spencer Road, Thornlie Shopping Centre (08) 9452 1248

Tuart Hill and Save the Children 77 Wanneroo Road 9328 3111

Two Rocks AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) Shop 4, Two Rocks Shopping Ctr 9561 6032

Victoria Park Good Sammy 818 Albany Hwy Ph: 93610077
Victoria Park Nulsen Haven OpShop 907 Albany Highway
Victoria Park Salvation Army 642-644 Albany Highway (08) 9355 5459
Victoria Park (EAST) Ngala Bargain ****** 732 Albany Highway 9361 3176
Victoria Park East Save the Children 911 Albany Highway 9472 7171

Wangara Salvation Army 1-2/ 2 Prindiville Drive (08) 9409 8668

Wanneroo Salvation Army 10 Rocca Way (08) 9306 8794

Wembley Merry-Go-Round 149a Jersey St ph: (08) 9387 5454
Wembley St Edmunds Op Shop Wembley Church Hall, 54 Pangbourne Street 9387 6467

Willagee AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS (WA) 1b/62 Archibald St 9337 9255

Willetton Good Sammy Unit 4 147 High Rd Ph: 92594600
Willetton Salvation Army 165 High Road (08) 9354 4890

Yokine Save the Children 2/201 Flinders Street 9344 4453


Thank you so much, FairyDust!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Link Fest of Restylers

I'm an infovore. There, I admitted it. A what the...? Well, just as a carnivore devours meat, and a herbivore munches away on plants, I consume information. I can't help myself, my brain will wither and die without it.

The internet for me is like an all you can eat buffet. You may not have as large an appetite as myself - few do - but let me guide you around some of the most info-calorific sites around.

The DIY crowd:
These creative and prolific bloggers have generously posted many tutorials for restyling clothes.

Love Maegan:  What a girl!  She has the amazing ability to take the essence of a catwalk look and whip it up out of bibs and bobs she has lying around.  If there's a criticism, it's that her site has so much on it that it takes forever to load.  Worth the wait.

Refashion: Great ideas, has published of book of projects, and is Australian.  Yay!

My Mama Made it:  The queen of the frilly ruffle, and can make magic happen with an old tee shirt.  So doable.

Ecostitcher: Medium level sewing skills required, but she explains her reasoning behind each restyle, and shows that even wardrobe wrongs can be made into wearable rights.

Wardrobe Refashion:    Not so many tutorials, but here you are encouraged to take the pledge ( 2, 4, or 6 months, or life!) to not buy new clothes, choosing instead to restyle or buy secondhand.  And so many people add links to their post that you could be following interesting links for days.  You'll need a packed lunch and a ball of string to unwind as you go for this blog!

Outsapop: Wow!  Just...... Wow!  But it's such a cool site, and with so much content, that my old computer can't take the pressure.  Fortunately, you can also see her tutorials at Cut Out and Keep,  and the Flickr group she started, Trashion Nation is going to make you reconsider the contents of your recycling bin.  And surely it's not entirely wrong, as a mature, happily settled woman, to consider having this as my new screensaver.  Fortunately, she has given us a tutorial. 

Sew I Thought: Cute girl, great ideas, pop in for a look-see.

The Designers:

Rachel Cassar:  Swoon.  Sell the plasma TV to buy one of these dresses, and I really doubt you'll regret it.

Heidi and Seek:  Cute, cute, cute.  Sell the Tamagotchi collection for one of these cute tees, and I really doubt you'll regret it.  

The Deep Thinkers:
These people have taken on projects that question our relationship to clothes, sometimes by asking if we can get away with fewer altogether, some by pointing out that we can be our own designers.

Smockshop: Stop Shopping, Start Sewing say the artists who have developed Smockshop.  You can download a PDF of the smock pattern, and do just that.

The Uniform Project: New Yorker Sheena Matheiken has posed the question, can I wear one dress every day and not get bored of it?  So far, yep.  And she is raising money to educate illiterate children in India through the Akanksha Foundation.  I like to pop in to get ideas for outfits.  This lady has a future in styling.  And through her blog I found Raffaele Ascione whose clothes are so beautiful they make me want to cry.  Somehow I don't think I could create such poetry from my mother's old curtains.
Geraldine Juarez's Freewear, The Manchester Collection:  Hmm, what if you could learn the skills to get a whole new wardrobe for free?   

And finally, for those whose interests take an intellectual turn, try getting to know Otto von Busch. He gets around a bit, and has written a PhD dissertation on the concept of disrupting the fashion system through DIY and reverse engineering fashion, Abstract Hacktivism.

Well, that should keep you busy :-) 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Restyling Designers

Events like SwapORamaRama are fantastic fun, and really make you think about not buying so many cheap new clothes just to throw them away.  But so many people do still, and there are more clothes waiting to be restyled than people to do it.  So if you simply don't have the time, or if you want your clothing to be sustainable but not too creative for corporate or formal, what can you do?

Some designers are developing business models that take cast-offs as their starting point and make clothes that would completely fail to raise eyebrows at Great Aunt Thelma's 60th birthday.

More importantly, they are findng ways to be profitable when they are competing with mass produced clothes that don't need to be individually crafted.

Some of the pioneers are English companies such as Junky Styling and Goodone.   In the US they have  Alabama Chanin.

These are well known companies, who have made it part of their mission to spread the word about recycling garments.   Junky Styling and Alabama Chanin have published craft books sharing their style with consumers-turned-creators.   Goodone has a consultancy and educational department.

However, there are lots of businesses whose goal is to make a living while not being tied to other people's agendas.  They don't need to make a big splash, because becoming successful at that sort of level creates responsibilities they don't want.  They are the type of business that gets overlooked by government bean counters, but their economic contribution is vital to their family and their community.  You can't buy shares in them, but because they are local, the money they make circulates and strengthens their local economy, and because they are small scale and personal, they are responsible about the decisions they make.  You can meet them face to face, and when they impress you with their product, you know it wasn't because a psychologist was paid a fortune to determine what impresses your demographic.  It's real.

So when I met Julie in fabric shop, I liked her.  Her business is Jewel Designer Alterations.  We swapped business cards, and admired each other's cute graphics.  At first I thought she just hemmed and fitted.  Heck, I used to work at an alterations place, and that's what we did.  But a visit to her website certainly put me straight.  She does complete restyles of wedding and ball dresses and she's good!
So, I'm going to share some pictures.


 A plain neckline has been ornamented with Swarovski diamantes and bronze crystals.

This dress was very simple, with a plain skirt, until Julie added texture with ruching and appliques
Lace, beading and tulle added to a plain gown.

 Makes me want to get married all over again ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reclaimed tablecloths

As a lover of all things vintage I do tend to find the most beautiful tablecloths in all sorts of places. Careful or I just might swipe the cloth on your table :)

Re-invented jeans

As an interlude from making dresses from 'found linens' and spurred on from the whole concept of SwapORama here is my lateset THANG!
Take one pair of fave jeans that have become a little ho hum, take a big ole skirt with beautiful silk embroidery, and combine :)
I had loads of fabric to work with as the skirt was enormous and I have enough to do another pair, yipee!
With sheer luck the length of the two tiers worked perfectly so I just used the front part of the skirt, bottom 2/3 and cut in half. Joined each one with a seam that ran down the inside leg and attached them to the jeans with a seam, then turned them over and did a top stitch.
My new very eyecatching hippie jeans!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So How Does This All Work Then?

Like any clothing swap, the idea is to pass on clothes that for one reason or another you can't see yourself wearing again, or that you like but want to refresh.  The twist is that the clothes that go home with you will have been personalised.  Just think, you can head into the party season with a whole new designer wardrobe..... and the designer is you!  

The entry fee consists of small amount of cash ($10) as well as a  bag of clothes to contribute.  These clothes will be the raw material for the restyling.  Of course, you are also welcome to bring old favourites, and keep them for yourself to restyle.  Remember, the point is to look at stuff around us as potential resources, rather than waste. 

So make sure that it's stuff that you'd be OK with wearing again if the style was more flattering, or it still fitted after eating all that chocolate / taking up salsa dancing.  Maybe you, like myself, got caught up in Royal Show fever, and bought a Hoff bag, and now you have a nice coloured tee shirt that fits badly and has David Hasselhoff grinning maniacally on the front.  I think you can see my problem. 

Please don't bring stuff that really is past it's useful life - it costs money to dispose of, and we'd rather give the proceeds to people who can use it well than waste it on being allowed to throw things into a big pit.   Some ideas:  last year's New Year's Eve dress, those bootleg pants that look just so 2007, the pyjama pants your sister gave you for Christmas last year and you never actually fitted into (but you really appreciated that she under-estimated your size), skirts, high heels because you only wear flats, flats because you only wear heels, belts, accessories, jewelry, sunglasses, bags, etc.  Feel free to also bring bibs and bobs to decorate with - the pretty ribbon from the chocolate box, the necklace with a broken clasp, pieces of lace that you found in an op shop, or the spare buttons from clothes that are long gone. 

Only clothes please!  If you can't wear it, please don't bring it.  While I'm the first to admit to having an extreme fetish for restyled furniture and trash art,  this isn't the right  time or place.  Maybe a hardier soul than mine would like to start a similar event for the creative woodworker.   I would certainly be first in the queue with my collection of random drawers waiting for a cabinet maker. (Oh yes, it's truer than you think)

Quantity is not important. Come with a little or a lot, whatever you got.

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is for boys, girls, men, women.  Young people are very welcome, as it's an alcohol-free event, but we ask that people under 16 are accompanied by a responsible adult.  Little kids may be overwhelmed, use your judgement.  If they can't cope, remember it is at a farm.  There are  chickens :-)

 See you there, only 24 more sleeps!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simple embellishments go a long way! Sarah's easy tee restyle.

What I had:

    1     I had a simple, white fitted singlet that unfortunately ended up with a far-from-lovely stain on the front. It was only a small stain... but when it's located front and centre, the singlet is instantly unwearable in public.

    2     Thanks to an earlier project, I also had about 3m x 4cm offcut hem from a second hand sheet handy.

   3     Sewing machine.

    4     Lots and lots and lots of pins

What I did:

    1     Starting on one side of the neck of the singlet I folded and pinned the fabric across the front of the singlet. I folded and pinned the fabric until I reached the centre of the singlet, then changed my folding direction and continued folding and pinning until I reached the other side of the neck.

    2     I then ran two lines of stitching along the top of the pleated fabric to hold it in place.

    3     Given the location of the stain, a second row of folding and pinning was required. So, at this point, I repeated steps one and two.

    4     To finish, I pinned the leftover length of fabric around the neckline of the singlet and stitched it in place with a decorative stitch (think fancy zig-zag stitch).  

What I finished up with:
A super cute singlet which I proceeded to wear the very next day!

Reconstructing Vintage Wedding Shoes

Hi There, I'm Lauren, designer of OSIER and owner of the online vintage store Acorns Vintage. I'll be one of your workshop peeps at the SewORamaRama! Lovely to meet you, and I cant wait to meet you properly!

I LOVE reconstructing second hand, and when I go to op-shops one of the most common things I see are wedding shoes. Creamy or ivory, white or beige, most often they have been worn once and then given away. Todays post is about being able to reuse these often FANTASTIC quality shoes without walking down the aisle yourself.

1. Find a pair of shoes that are comfortable, fit you, and are a nice style. I picked Australian made "Shoe Trix", as they had a mid-sized heel and had really cool scalloped detailing. Unfortunately the toe-open line was rather strange, but that was fixed during the reconstruction!

2. Sand your shoes with a VERY fine grain paper, or if you are using high quality acrylic paints, don't sand at all.

3. Clean with a damp cloth.

4. Paint your shoes with a fine paintbrush and quality acrylic paints, this way they do not crack, fade, or show paint streaks. Alternatively, you could spray-paint them. I chose to paint mine Fire-Engine Red with black Heels.

5. Next I found a wide piece of black ribbon, and glued the ribbon in place along the front of the shoe to hide the strange toe-line. Use a fabric or gummy-type glue, and run your fingernail along where the shoe meets the sole to make the ribbon look attached underneath. Then get a scalpel and cut the end of the ribbon off at the join where you have just run your fingernail across. Do this for the other shoe too!

6. Make a bow out of more black ribbon, and sew it with a thread to the ribbon on the shoe, place it where ever you like, centre and slightly out of centre look the best.

7. Go walk around in your beautiful shoes!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Razzle Dazzle, Or How I Prevented 150g of Landfill

Earlier this year we enjoyed our daughter's 6th birthday party.  She received 5 Bratz dolls, 2 Barbies, some paints and a CD of Alice in Wonderland (with a book) (not abridged or toned down, thank goodness)  By the time we removed disposable matter, the total weight of toys (all plastic) was about 40% of the total weight of the gifts.  60% landfill.  I find this so shocking.  I don't even look at toys when I shop, and the kids only really browse in op shops, so I am out of touch, I guess.  I did mention that she is interested in Bratz, so I can't object to the choices her gifters have made (in fact, they were a lot more generous than I expected) but the overpackaging has left me gobsmacked.   I will re-use the flat clear plastic for sewing templates, and the printed card has some cute stuff for craft, so I was careful with it, but even so - Aaargh!!!!!!!

However, my favourite, in a open-mouthed, words fail me sense, was the Bratz Flower Girlz.  JUST the empty plastic box, with all cardboard decorative packing removed, weighed 150g.  The doll weighs 126g.  Her accessories are: a hairbrush, a cloth patch, a little plastic flower pot and saucer, matching watering can and a packet of seeds (10 myosotis seeds) because she is.......... environmental.   Yes, you can "Join the Bratz™ as they help the environment with style!"  I know that she is doing her bit, because the packaging has extra tags dangling that say "STOP Global Warming Plant a tree" and it says in big letters on the back "SAVE the PLANET! Planting flowers makes the environment healthier and more beautiful!"  Gosh, non-natives, presumably irradiated or something for quarantine, (or maybe not, it's Made in China)  grown in a 5cm tall plastic pot, are going to offset 250g of straight-to-landfill petroleum byproducts made by people who lack basic workers rights and brought here on a container ship, one of the worst polluters around.

I'm not a purist, and I doubt anyone will ever accuse me of "greenorexia" but I do my best and try to avoid the worst of it.  I mostly just object to this kind of lying, because it screws things up.  How can children learn the truth if they are told rubbish like this?  Snaps to Bratz for linking "environmental" and "cool", Boo hiss for absolutely everything else.  (Oh, and she smells like the formula for a herbaceous border interpreted by a pharmacist with malfunctioning olfactory apparatus, and there are holes in the front of the box so you can "smell the flowers!") 

And the little bits of plastic left after making the sewing templates?  I used my hole punch to make clear plastic sequins.  I make the centre hole with the needle as I sew them on.  They look so pretty and give a subtle sparkle to the fabric.  I tried for ages to photograph them, but the problem with subtle is that it's.... subtle.

If I manage to capture the sparkle in daylight, I'll edit this and add pictures.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Waaay too easy. Seriously cute.

3 long scarves, destined to be cut in half, sewn together and threaded with elastic into a sheer skirt to throw over bathers. 

Stiched together at random lengths, leaving splits in each seam.  Top turned over and 3 rows of stitching aded to make 2 channels for elastic and a fluttery top edge.

Voila!  I think I'll loosen the elastic and make it into a skirt for a bigger girl.  There's too much gathering at the moment - it looks like I could have used just 5 strips, but that would have thrown the brown-orange-yellow pattern.  Anyhow, why should my little mannequin have all the fun.  Maybe I'll try it on her big sister, who has a waist circumference of 110cm.  She doesn't get out much,  this could be her big chance.

Monday, October 26, 2009


  This is the dress I shortened to make ruffles for the samba dress.  The blue swoops are the former armhole facings of that dress.  I really like the way they curve across the front of the dress, kind of lifts it a bit.  They're just pinned at this stage, when I get a chance I'll stitch them on.  I might use some fusible webbing cut into strips (partly because I'm cheap, partly because I don't want  to make it even stiffer, what with the original vilene already in the facings)  to secure them before I sew, if I think the fabric can take the heat of the iron.  Most polyesters are far sturdier than you'd think, but this one is unusually delicate.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 minutes, some fringe and a huge tee shirt

This tee shirt was very large, but I loved the print on the front.  I cut away the sleeves to see what I was left with, and put it aside for later.

This is risky for me - later can extend for years.  However, I had a particular project that required a small scale cheerleader's pompom (don't ask) so I tried to make it a sample out of some ribbon left over from something else.  Didn't work.  But when I looked again, I realised it would look pretty cool as a fringe, and extended it as much as I could.  Then the light dawned, and I remembered the tee shirt, which was the same sort of yellow.  Fished around a bit, found it under a pair of winter trousers that needed hemming back in April (yep, cold legs again this year), and took it back to the machine with scissors and a pink zip.

 Without a plan, and with only 30 minutes until I had to pick up the kids, I dived in.  First I sewed the fringe around one side of the neck.  Nice, but lopsided.  No more fringe, and I didn't want it symmetrical anyway, so I cut the other shoulder seam open, twisted the front and restitched it.  The seam looked messy, so I stitched some leftover ribbon over it.  I looped the ribbon back underneath at the outer edge, with the thought that I could add a tassel or something later.

Then I thought it looked shapeless. Remembering Trinny and Susannah's advice that ruching can hide wobbly tummies, I pleated one side roughly..... and ran out of bobbin thread.  Darn.  So I fished around in my bobbin box, and found a salmon coloured thread already wound and loaded it.   I figured the contrast colour would add a nice, subtle touch, while relating to the touch of pink in the print. I had way too little time for neat topstitching, so I sewed back and forth over the pleating to hold it.  Anyhow, the freeform stitching relates to the hand drawn lines of the hair in the print.   I turned under the armhole edges and stitched roughly around several times, with the bobbin thread showing.  It's topstitching, but not as we know it.

It still looked a little unbalanced.  I grabbed a short chunky zip in pink, and slashed the side seam open for about twice as long as the zip.  Then I pleated and bunched it, and sewed the zip on roughly either side, making sure to tuck the ends of the tee under neatly.  If I'm playing with deconstructivism (oops, my inner philosophy nerd is showing), I like to keep some details neat, to show that it's deliberate, not that I don't know how to sew.  I don't want the unfinished look to be a justification for poor craftsmanship. 

Almost perfect, but a bit baggy through the back.  It made me look barrel shaped.  I figure the small of my back is one part that doesn't put on weight, I should emphasise it, so I grabbed a bunch of fabric right there, took the top off again and stitched exactly what I'd grabbed.  These are not neat pleats, at all, but they do the trick and make the back a bit more interesting.

Phew, 35 minutes, kids were waiting patiently outside the office.

Samba Sleeved Dress Remake

This image from a recent magazine (I think it was Madison) caught my eye.  I love the way the dress is such a simple floral knit it could almost be a chain store basic, but the sleeves looked like they had been stolen from the costume cupboard at an amateur theatre, mardi gras sleeves that had seen better days, but were hoarded away just in case.

  I used two lined polyester shift dresses from an op shop, and a damaged lacy dress from a place I used to work. 

One of the shift dresses, the darker blue one, was made domestically, with hand sewn facings and zip, and dressmaker's carbon paper lines where the darts were sewn.  It was probably around a size 12 or small 14.  The hand sewn facings were quite pretty, and I saved them to use as appliques on the second dress.  The dotted lines marking the dart were a little disappointing, as I wanted to undo the darts to give more of a tunic effect.  They do show, but I figure the sleeves will draw attention away from the marks, and the fabric is patterned enough. 

The other shift dress, light aqua with spots, was a smaller size, and as it turned out was a perfect fit on my size 8 dummy.   The armhole and neckline were bound with a knit or bias satin fabric. I wanted to use some of the fabric for the ruffly sleeves on the other dress, but I didn't want to completely destroy the dress, as that would be taking it out of usefulness and turning it into waste.  Kind of defeats the purpose. 

The cream coloured lacy dress was a retail reject, because the fabric had torn along the zipper seam.  This meant it couldn't be repaired for retail sale, but it left a lot of beautiful usable fabric.  I used the bodice section for the sleeves, and simply hemmed the top edge of the skirt and threaded elastic through, so I have a lacy petticoat or overskirt (or a sheer skirt for those who've splurged on really expensive knickers and want people to notice)

I used new thread, because I am fussy about my thread.  I only use good quality thread, because I want to make sure my sewing stays together as long as the garment does.  If the thread gives up, the garment becomes too hard to look after over time as random seams pop, usually in hard to repair areas, and becomes landfill quicker.  In this case, I used an industrial thread, because I was sewing with my industrial machine.  Domestic thread doesn't go so well when sewing at super high speed, because it heats up and snaps.  Not that I was going fast, but I keep my threads for each machine nearby, and in fact this one was already on the machine. 

True confession time, it's cream coloured, because I'm  lazy about rethreading.  Some of the basting showed a little at the end, so I pulled those stitches out.   I actually don't get too concerned about perfect colour matching, unless it is on the outside of the garment. It's surprising what you can get away with.  In fact, an African designer working in Paris in the early 90's made it his signature to sew everything together with red overlocking.  Apparently he got a good deal on a big box of leftover thread when he was starting out, and turned necessity into a statement. 

I cut the barest minimum off the bottom of both dresses and hemmed them again to turn them into minis.  I also cut the linings back and hemmed them.  I undid the darts on the first dress and took off the armhole facings, setting them aside to use as appliques on the other dress.  I may reshape the side seams to give a tapered shape from underarm to waist, instead of the hourglass shape it currently has, but that will make it into a smaller size, because I'll have to take some off the hips.  Part of me loves that idea, the other part is thinking that if I cut it really short I could have a fitted top for myself.  I'd have to cut it short, there's no fabric to let out to go over my hips, and I don't want to add a contrast because the sleeves are already showstoppers. 

I drafted a sleeve like this:

1, Measure around the armhole from underarm to shoulder, noting where the curve seems to change from horizontal-ish to vertical-ish.   I didn't measure from seamline to seamline, because I figured I would make a simple symmetrical flared sleeve, not a carefully fitted sleeve that followed the contours accurately.  The ruffly layers would make that sort of sleeve a bit bulky anyhow.

2. Draw a vertical line for the grainline, and draw another at right angles to it, the length of 1/2 the upper arm circumference, plus a bit of extra for ease.  Decide on the length of the sleeve, and draw a line parallel to the first that far above it. 

3. Here's the tricky bit.  Draw a line the length of the armhole plus a bit - 1cm or so - from the underarm point to meet the grainline.  Now, remember you made a note of how much length was vertical and how much was horizontal?  Make a mark at that point on the line.  Above it, you will make the sleeve curve swell outwards, maybe 1cm or so. Below it, you will scoop the sleeve a little,  about 0.5 to 0.75cm.  Measure the new stitching line and make sure it is longer than the armhole length.  You will ease it in.  Strictly speaking, you don't need ease with this kind of sleeve, but I find the layers of frills shrinks the seam line somewhat, so I add ease to give myself some leeway.

4. The next thing I did was to slash and spread the sleeve to add flare to the hem.  You really do slash the pattern and spread it apart - I stuck black paper into the slashes to show clearly where the changes were made.  Don't cut all the way through the armhole seamline, unless you want to make it puffy as well.  Don't add too much flare in the underarm area - it will be all bunchy and uncomfortable, and who wants bulky armpits?  Once I sorted that out, I added 1cm all around for seam allowance.  If you are used to commercial sewing patterns, add 1.5cm.  I prefer to sew curved seams with 1cm, it's so much easier to make the curves match.

5. Now plan your ruffles.  I did this by trial and error, and wished that I had planned a little more.  I cut the sleeve out of lining fabric, and sewed a narrow gathered frill made of the original dress's hem onto the bottom edge.  Then I added strips of gathered ruffles onto the base sleeve.  This was the bit I should have taken more care with.  In retrospect I would have measured each one and sewn them onto marked lines.  I didn't, so both sleeves completely failed to match, and the reason you get to see the right sleeve only is because the left looked stupid and is being redone. 

6. The undersleeve was made from the bodice section of a lacy dress that been ripped along the zipper stitching, making it unfixable from a retail sales point of view, but leaving plenty of gorgeous fabric available to be remade.  It had a shaped border, which I didn't want to lose, so I cut the sleeve with the pattern slightly tilted.  This gave it a little too much length under the arm, and some extra gathering on the top of the sleevehead, but I figured it would work out fine. 

I layered the two sleeves, frilly and lacy, and sewed them together so they wouldn't slip while I stitched them into the armhole.  I then overlocked (or zigzagged) the sleeve seam. 


This is a fun way to try drafting a sleeve pattern, because if it's not perfect any bits that don't sit so well will be covered by ruffles.  The most important part is to make sure that it will fit into your armhole easily, and be wide enough to fit around your arm. 

If you try it, or if you have a restyle you'd like to share, please contact me, I'm more than happy to post any restyles, especially if you share your techniques as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What, Why and Who?


Swap-O-Rama-Rama is
  • an opportunity to explore your own creativity with the help of experienced designers, sewers and printers.
  • a showcase for talented designers and artists who work with recycled clothing to make new fashion and accessories
  • an event that believes in the power of the community to make real changes.


Everybody is creative.  But for a long time, we've listened to the corporations whose own creativity is directed towards encouraging us to make their shareholders wealthy.  They've very nearly persuaded us that consuming is a creative activity in itself.  But for some of us, styling ourselves a look each day from the limited options at the shopping centre has become less satisfying.  We wanted more.  We wanted to feel that our clothes expressed our own personality, instead of labelling us with one of their's.  We learnt to sew, and discovered what happens when a consumer crosses the line to become a creator.  And it's good.

Why reuse old clothes?

Well, because there is so much around. Manufacturing has become so efficient that fashion changes faster and faster every year, and for many people, the lure of the new means they throw out the old before it has worn out. It's not at all uncommon to find brand new stuff, never worn, being sold as second hand. But where does it go if it doesn't get sold? Landfill. The stuff gets thrown away. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure where "away" is. Just because it's not at my house doesn't mean that it has been unmade, removed from existence. It's still somewhere, and it's taking up space that would surely be better used by wildlife, or agriculture, or low-cost housing, or sports grounds, swimming pools, concert halls, and community centres.

Believe me, I know what is underneath the beautiful park opposite Stirling Council offices. We used to drive past the Stirling tip quite often when I was a kid, and we'd hold our noses at one end of the street, and gasp for breath at the other. The smell was in 3D. You could just about grab smellballs and throw them at your siblings. Dig down 10 metres or so, and you could well find the first ever carrot peelings I produced as a child, or the plastic ice cream tub I melted in the microwave in 1982, or the teenage love letters I threw out when the object of my affection found someone new, scrunched into tight tearstained balls and carefully shrouded in plastic bags with the handles tied tightly to make sure nothing escaped. Ever.

How did SwapORamaRama come to be?

SwapORamaRamas began in America, developed by activist Wendy Tremayne.  Over the course of several years, they became more and more popular, each taking on the character of the community that held it.  

Here in Perth, the SwapORamaRama is being sponsored by Sewanista Fashion Workshops, a sewing and fashion school based in Malaga.  Director Sandra Bryans realised that the SwapORamaRama was an innovative way to bring together designers, artists, hobbyists, and fashion enthusiasts, while loudly and proudly declaring her belief that we have enough stuff already, let's work with what we've got.