Friday, March 17, 2017

Going Green in '17

On this Saint Patrick's Day when we're all thinking about getting our "green" on, I thought about the posts I've done over the years. One of my favorites is, "Going Green," from three years ago. Its message about recycling, continues to resonate throughout  much of what I do today. So I thought I'd take a short break from preparing the Milan Fashion week trend report, and repost it but with recent photos. Like many of you, making doll fashions is a hobby for me. A hobby, when left unchecked, can become pretty expensive. So cutting up old clothes or finding cheap sources for materials is a road I often take in this journey.Though Earth Day (April 22) is a month away, all of the "green" normally associated with St. Patrick's Day had me thinking about recycling, re-purposing, or simply....going green in my own little way

As we are faced with the problem of pollution, consider this. Old clothing is one of the largest elements choking today's landfills! According to the United States EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans alone, throw away more than 6 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, representing 6.4% of municipal solid waste from major cities. It is estimated that 2.5 billion pounds of clothes end up in landfills annually! This is due, largely, to a glut of cheap clothing produced by mass market distributers catering to our "Kleenex" society. Though donating clothes to charities is one answer, we'd like to offer another tiny solution as well.

Trash to Dolly Treasure

The body of Christie's dress is made from the sheer nylon of my mom's old nightgown!
Consider recycling old clothes to make doll clothes before tossing them out. OR...consider thrift shops, garage or yard sales, Salvation Army (Emais in France) or a similar charity organism when searching for interesting (and inexpensive) materials. Though I do use some new fabrics, I also mix in materials cut from old clothes either to save on costs or...simply because they are in the color or print that works best for the look I'm trying to achieve.

Fabric taken from the same nightgown!
Old petticoats, camisoles, bodysuits and even panties are great sources of lace and tiny elastic trim you can later use. Moreover. for the 12-inch doll, there is more than enough to make a spectacular outfit.

If the fabric is polyester or rayon and not very pretty, you can use the material to do a test run (or toile) of the final garment. You can also recuperate the lace then use the rest of the fabric for draping or trying out a new patterns. Sometimes I cut medallions or tiny rosettes out of the lace of a nightgown to applique onto another fabric. Old lingerie will also provide you with enough elastic lace for dolly delicates. And to be honest, instead of being obliged to buy 50cm of fabric in Paris, I sometimes buy a cheap pair of panties or a scarf.

The Diane von Furstenburg dress was made from an inexpensive pair of panties!
Sock It To Me...
Socks are a great source for stretch fashion. Wool or chunky winter socks make for great sweaters like the outfit (made from men's tube socks) I made for Conner, one of  Jano's ( Little Darling dolls . Her dress is made from a red and white tube sock and her cocoon coat from an old wool cap! 

Tube sock dress & a wool cap cocoon coat!
I turned a tube sock which I dyed first, inside out to create the 1/6 scale Yeezy sweater for Loic.
Pssstt...Men's silky evening socks make great slinky cocktail dresses for Barbie and her friends!

Use the wrong side of a worn tube sock to replicate texture.

Old Garments, New Life

The dolly Max Mara mini jumpsuit was cut from a moth hole ridden sweater!
Skirts, shirts, pants or tops...there's plenty of fabric to keep you going for awhile. It's better if they are cut from natural fabrics because you can cut off what you need and dye it the color of your dreams. Polyesters and synthetics are harder to work with because they don't absorb the color. So you must decide if it's worth keeping and cutting up for doll clothes or donating in tact to be worn by a human. Worn out jeans will provide lots of denim goodies for dolly. By the time the jeans are ready for the trash, they have been washed so many times, they should be soft enough to cut into a 1/6 scale garment. Old chambray shirts will still give you the look of denim without the bulk. Pictured here, Stella in a dip-dyed denim dress & biker jacket, (thanks to my dad's old pair of jeans!).

Save old T-shirts and other men's underwear. The cotton knit in them can be used to drape patterns for stretchy garments. And oh yes...they also make great T-shirts for the doll.
An old Tshirt is cut down, dyed and reworked into a streetwear for Loic.

Cloth Belts
The wide sash (self fabric) type belts are the best. There's usually enough fabric for a top, a skirt and sometimes even a pair of pants.
Remember this dress. It was made from a gold lame cloth belt!
Zak's "leather outfit was made out of material taken from a vinyl belt.

Wool Caps
Next to socks, wool caps are the next great source for knits because there's more of it in a single item. What I like best is how you can work it so the ribbing falls at the hem of the garment! But even without the ribbing, it still makes a great dress or sweater. (Pssst....don't have any knit caps? Head to the Dollar store! One cap is good for several items.)

Katoucha's luxurious cocoon coat refashioned from an inexpensive rabbit fur hat!

Thanks for the Memories...
My own clothing repurposed into doll fashions allows me to play and experiment with a lot more styles than if I had to purchase new fabric each time. And, there's an added bonus. When the garment is finished and on the doll, I can look at her and be reminded of the good times that me and my late mother had while wearing that same piece of fabric!
By the way.....
Happy Saint Patrick's Day to All!!!
A scrap from a student textile project scavenged from the garbage, the fabric was manipulated & refashioned into a dress.
We'll be right back with our regularly scheduled Milan Fall Winter Trend Report!

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  1. Another great piece! 👍 -DnF

  2. Masz rację! Z niepotrzebnych ubrań można wygospodarować fragmenty, z których powstają rewelacyjne ubranka dla małych modelek!
    Wszystkie pomysły są świetne i zaowocowały fantastycznymi strojami!
    Pozdrawiam serdecznie i życzę mieszkańcom naszej planety mniej śmieci, więcej recyklingu!

    1. Olla wrote: You're right! With unnecessary clothes you can find fragments from which create sensational clothes for small models!
      All the ideas are great and have resulted in fantastic costumes!
      I cordially greet and wish the inhabitants of our planet less rubbish, more recycling!
      Thank you Olla. Yes you are so right! Sometimes the older clothing are made of quality fabric and unusual prints. So recycling is a win-win situation for all of us (and our dolls) on the planet! Big hugs. April

  3. Have you heard of french designer Olivier Rousteing? Not sure if you have mentioned him in any of your blogs. He's such a flawless handsome young man!

    1. Yes, I do know of Olivier Rousteing who is the artistic director at Balmain. Not only is he handsome, but he has an enormous talent! From time to time I have put something of his in my Paris trend report. I love a lot of what he does. I can't include much of what he does here because his work is too complex and intricate to come up with a simplified version. But I always take a look at what he does.

    2. Agreed! He's very talented! I just noticed he was in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The episode where they went to Paris for fashion week.

  4. Neat. I like the idea of re-using old fabric or using inexpensive lingerie to create elegant fashions for dolls.

    Viva la green!

    1. The interesting thing is, D7ana, is that sometimes I hate the look of the fabric, but once it's cut into the garment, I am surprised at what pretty doll clothes it makes! Yes. Viva la green!!

  5. Hi April, all of the outfits are beautiful but this green one is amazing <3

  6. Woo Hoo! I save some of my clothing to recycle. That's my biggest attitude problem. I will buy clothes off a sales rack to use the fabric. Especially if it's one that inspires me. Thank you for the reminder, to reuse!

  7. This is such a great post. I never knew those facts about clothing in the landfills. I guess I am prone to think of all the other stuff that clogs the landfills. Sometimes I recycle old clothes into doll clothes. I have done less of it the past few years because we have such great fabric warehouses and the prices are unbeatable. Plus, since I sell multiples of my garments, it's a little difficult to have enough of the same fabric for a few outfits. However, when sewing for my own dolls, I will do a better job at recycling. It's the right thing to do.

  8. Vanessa, someone sent me a video on FB which sadly, I can't find. It showed women in India (I think) in an ocean of clothes that come from the US. Their job was to sort by color and fabric. The clip attempted to illustrate how certain companies were trying to recycle, but the image of these poor women in a sea of clothes as far as the eye could see-was startling. When clothes were more expensive and quality was the rule of the day--we bought less. But now with "fast fashion" everyone in first world countries are consuming clothes like Kleenex. I know that for those of you who sell doll clothes there are other things to take into consideration. And of course, there are certain basics that are easier to find at a store. But I also wanted to pass on this message to both newcomers and serial fabric hoarders that there is another alternative. In the meantime, I'm sorting, donating, recycling.


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