Thursday, 22 November 2018

Re-Think Your Next Online Purchase

I just watched and listened to a TedTalk that motivated this post: Where do your online returns go?

You may already know that I am not an online shopper. My history goes back, from the time I was born to about five, to being a child growing up in a small town and my parents the proprietors of a general store. I sat on the counter with my mom behind the till and was cute. I'm sure I was not part of my mom's marketing plan but I did spend a lot of time with her in the store and provided some entertainment for those who came in to buy their groceries or sundries. I have always had an allegiance to independent retailers and I am now much older than my mother was when she was running the store.

The idea, or at least my parents' idea, of returning items to a store was always based on the premise that the customer was always right. In the case of online shopping and returns, this has changed. In fact Aparna Mehta who gives the TedTalk, Where do our online returns go?, reveals that her online buying habits contributed to this problem. The customer in this case is most definitely wrong.

I don't know how many people think like me, but I cannot imagine doing what she admitted to. She would buy the same item in different sizes and different colours and then return all that she would not use because, after all, the companies offered "free shipping" and "free returns". There is no such thing as a "free lunch". The free return policies of online marketers has contributed to billions of kilograms of clothing filling our landfills. But my first thoughts consider how this wasteful process escalates the cost of things and continues to exploit people because of the need for low production costs.

Tomorrow is Black Friday. Make it your Don't Buy Anything Day or at the very least, Buy Only What I Really NEED Because it is a Good Deal Day.

Have a look of some of the posts I have written in the past about related subjects:
Buy Nothing Day Re-Commitment
Buy Nothing Day - November 28, 2014
Buy Nothing Day 2015 Resolution
Sale Induced Overbuying
It Just Doesn't Stop
Buy Nothing Saturdays During December

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Re-Constructing from Previously Worn Clothing

In keeping with my perpetual clothing resolution to "remake" I decided to start easy . . . or at least I thought it was going to be easy.

I have always been impressed with shawls and scarves that have been re-made. I have seen a few examples at artisan markets in France and so I decided to design a shawl using fabrics from no longer serviceable clothing items. Essentially this is a form of patchwork.

Skills: sewing a relatively straight line
Tools and Sundries: scissors, iron, thread, and sewing machine

Like with most things, I started by searching scarf re-construction online and found All Free Sewing.

1. Find items in the same colour tones or in contrasting tones that work together. I ended up with:
• a pale beige cashmere shawl whose fibres had caused splits in the length of the fabric
• a striped white and beige linen shirt that my husband has always hated and assures me he will never wear - now that I have it, he is right
• a beige linen shirt that was splitting at the seams and was impossible to fix
• an ancient white jacquard linen napkin whose fibres were also splitting
• a dark taupe pair of linen pants that my husband promises he will never get big enough to wear again - he hasn't yet
• a meter length of beige and white trim that I bought at a vides greniers (household sale) for a euro.

Photo Source: JoyD in France

2. Wash the items, iron and then cut out the largest salvageable pieces that you can.

3. Lay them on a work surface and stare at them. (Or put them in a large box that you can hide after you have stared at them and not come up with any ideas. Bring out the box when you feel inspired.)

In my jewellery design, I have never been a sketcher. I put my materials on a working surface and stare at it for long periods of time, walk away, return, stare at it some more, try an idea or two, take it apart and stare at it some more. Seems like a waste of time. I wish I could take a sketchbook and draw what I will make but it just doesn't happen that way for me. So . . .

4. Decide if you want finished edges or raw edges on your finished product.

5. Plan the approximate size of your square or triangle.

6. Start putting the pieces together in an agreeable pattern. Don't concern yourself with getting your size dimensions perfect right now. Just pin it together until you have a bit more than what the finished product will be.

7. Now you can start sewing the pieces together.

8. Trim the edges and hem your rectangular or square piece.

So far my shawl is hovering between stage 3 and 6 of the process, and presently in a box without inspiration. It will happen, I'm just not sure when.