Clothes Swap update

 

A couple of weeks ago we held a Clothes Swap Party to raise funds for a couple of local charities. Once again we were inundated with good quality women’s clothing, great names and in excellent condition. However as we held the party on the eve of the Bank Holiday weekend (and the start of the school’s half term holiday) we had a really small attendance.

Still we raised money for the charities and those who attended had an amazing choice of clothes to try on and take home – all for a £5 donation! As I’m still trying to stick to my Project 333 ‘diet’ I was very restrained and only took home two tops and a dress which I think I will wear in the winter.

clothes swap party 'haul'

 

clothes swap party 'haul'

I’m really pleased with the vest top and t-shirt as they will go to replace older items I had in my current Project 333 wardrobe. Now the weather has finally turned warmer (apart from two cold wet days at the beginning of the week) I am really enjoying this season’s wardrobe as everything seems to match. At the beginning of the half term holidays we went camping for three days and I packed hardly anything as everything I took could be matched and layered with each other. It also helped that the weather was good as I’m a bit of a fair weather camper when it comes to camping in May!

 

How to make a t-shirt bag

Having finally repaired my sewing machine I have set about upcycling some of the things I picked up at April’s clothes swap. For ages I have wanted to turn a t-shirt into a bag, having seen this tutorial on pinterest.

So I took an old t-shirt:

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Cut off the arms and cut out the neckline a little:

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Sewed the bottom edges together and voila – a bag!

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I also used some of the leftover fabric to make a couple of scrunchies for the girls (not pictured).

While in the ‘upcycling’ mood I also adapted a red scarf to take on holiday later this year. I had a beautiful rectangular red scarf but it was too long to wear.

So I turned it into a square (with some very bad cutting and sewing as I am quite a lazy sewer):

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And here is a shorter and more practical scarf to take away to brighten my outfits while on hols:

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All of this sewing brings to mind a fantastic term I came across at Jen’s blog, mymakedoandmendyear, entitled ‘wonk’. That is handmade work that is, shall we say, less than perfect. This has really inspired me to have a go – and even photograph- my sewing work which is always wonky. This is partly due to the fact that, as I said, I am a lazy sewer and can’t be bothered to follow instructions. I have many more sewing and upcyling projects in mind now that the sewing machine is working again. I am also determined to work my way through my pinterest board rather than just pinning mindlessly. So plenty more wonk coming your way…

Clothes Swap Party

Last Friday (19th) a few of us organised a women’s Clothes Swap Party in the back room of our local pub.

This is how my kitchen looked last week!

This is how my kitchen looked last week!

I have run a few informal Clothes Swap Parties before. I think it would be an exaggeration to call them a ‘Swish’ and I have deliberately strayed away from the idea that a) you have to pay to take part and b) provide a minimum number of high-quality/designer items to swap. As I think I wrote in the introduction to this blog I like to explore ways in which we can ‘consume’ by exchanging items or skills, rather than money. In the past the swaps have always worked well because of the informal nature of them. It seems to have been a social gathering as much as anything else and everyone has been far too polite to squabble over the same item of clothing (!).

This year a friend and I decided to ‘up the game’ a little by charging admission and advertising the swap to a far wider audience. The reason we did this was because for the first time we wanted it to be a fundraiser as well. There are two charities that are close to our hearts in this village: the local playgroup (which I was chair of last year), and Jemima’s Gift which is a recent charity set up in memory of the gorgeous Jemima Prees. We asked people for voluntary donations on the door and the pub supplied the room free of charge and gave us tea and coffee as well.

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The event was really well attended and, in total, we raised £243.28!

The quality of the clothing was also excellent. Personally, I picked up items from Jigsaw, Monsoon, M&S Autograph and Principles. I believe that people really made the effort to sort through their good quality items knowing that they would get something equally good in return. I also heard many comments from women who took it as an opportunity to donate items that they had been hanging onto but knew they weren’t really going to wear again. One friend very kindly donated two bags of clothes that she had been planning to sell on e-bay.

It was also lovely to welcome people from further afield, such as colleagues in Corsham, Emma from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Jen from the blog, ‘my make do and mend year’. As it was a women-only event there was a very lovely, supportive atmosphere.  And there was absolutely no squabbling over any clothing! In fact we had a quite a few items left which a friend will be selling to make some more money for our charities. I have also created a pinterest board with ideas on how to upcycle any of the finds from Friday night.

I think we could be tempted to run it again next year so watch this space…

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