Sewing Machine

Economical and Eco-Friendly Clothing Art

The tagline of creative collective Sewing Rebellion is “Stop Shopping, Start Sewing!” Founded by Carol Lung-Bazile, AKA FrauFiber, in 2006, this eclectic group of men and women sew to save money and impact the way Americans think about clothing and garment production. The nearly lost arts of mending and reusing clothing are explored twice monthly in Brooklyn. New chapters of this organization are popping up all over the United States, encouraging thousands of men and women to become sewing-empowered. Many international chapters have opened, bridging differences in culture and economics to bring people together around the sewing machine.

The main aim of Sewing Rebellion is to provide individuals with the skills necessary to fix clothing and create exciting new garments out of articles that would otherwise go to waste. In fact, cutting down on consumer waste is one of the stated goals of the NYC Chapter of Sewing Rebellion. Every year, millions of used clothing items are thrown away or sit in closets and thrift shops, gathering dust. It doesn’t take a masters degree in sustainability to see that these items contribute to landfill overcrowding and encourage garment manufacturers to continue producing cheap, expendable clothing. The garment industry is notorious for exploitation and the widespread use of sweatshop labor.

Sewing Rebellion members hope that encouraging consumers to fix worn or broken items will help cut down on demand for poorly-constructed articles. In turn, they hope a decrease in demand for cheap, new clothing would force manufacturers to pay their employees living wages in return for constructing high-quality, durable garments.

Recent press about the Sewing Rebellion movement has highlighted how the group helps consumers save money and teaches fun, essential sewing skills. Ranging from instruction on darning socks and replacing buttons to repairing zippers and refitting dresses, group meetings offer something for sewers and aspirants of all levels. A recent article in the Washington Post highlights the economic and environmental advantages associated with learning how to repair clothing. Repairing pockets, replacing buttons, and sewing busted seams helps consumers extend the life of their clothing. Replacing fewer items means spending less money. This is a fun form of frugality that is well-suited to tough economic times.

Sewing Rebellion chapters also encourage members to seize upon and express their own unique sense of style. Millions of Americans buy the exact same shirts, jeans, skirts and outerwear from the same stores every year. It is difficult to look unique in a clothing market saturated with cheap items that are similar in quality and appearance. Reusing and repurposing old garments is a wonderful way for individuals to recycle waste and to express their own taste. Garment swaps sponsored by the group encourage individuals to take advantage of the old maxim that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Frau Fiber’s movement has caught fire as a fun and stylish way to save money and reduce waste. Economic struggles have encouraged many individuals to find creative ways to protect their pocketbooks and to get the best value out of the things that they own. Sewing Rebellion is a collective of women and men who embrace the ethos of frugality while promoting creativity and style awareness. The less you shop and the more you sew, the more you save. The logic underlying Sewing Rebellion is beautifully simple.

Halesworth in Transition: Uplifting upcycling! Stopping shoppers in their tracks

On Saturday May 22nd May Halesworth Thoroughfare saw an upcycling event, complete with hand-powered sewing machine converting cloth into shopping bags, companionable knitting of one garment by two knitters, and making logs from old newspapers.

The event stopped shoppers in their tracks. They were delighted to be given (no cost, no strings attached) a cloth bag to replace their plastic ones and many took patterns to make their own. The organisers now intend to continue their bag-making evenings at the Library, helped by the on-the-spot donation of a stunning Singer hand-powered machine by a generous passer-by. Brampton Primary School, who helped make bags for the event, will be continuing their sewing sessions.

Upcycling is a new word for taking old or unused things and making them into something better.

Organisers Halesworth in Transition (HinT) are part of a widespread and growing grassroots movement of people who are taking a positive attitude to preparing for the impacts of climate change and peak oil (when cheap and easy oil runs out).

For this event HinT had gathered material from generous Halesworth people including members of ‘Time Out’, Halesworth library’s social group for older people. HinT volunteers have been sewing up bags in evenings in the library. Brampton’s Primary School, who already have a reputation for their environmental awareness, also helped to make bags in the week before the event.

Every minute hundreds of thousands of plastic bags go into circulation globally. This wastes precious oil, creates mountains of waste and kills wildlife.

Many towns are already affiliated to the international Transition movement. Locally, this includes Bungay, Beccles, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Norwich, and Ipswich. HinT is not affiliated to any political party and is a non-profit-making organisation run entirely by volunteers.

For more information about this event and other activities phone 01986 875323 or email