Fundraising from home: create clothes from textile waste

Stuck for ideas for fundraising from home? In our new blog post series, we’ve taken inspiration from our very own supporters and have got a few new ideas to help you get creative and support Emmanuel House.
Emmanuel House Support Centre, Nottingham. Virtual fundraising ideas: create clothes from textile waste.

Fundraiser profile

Name: Gill
Fundraising activity: designing and altering clothes to sell to friends and family
Likes: upcycling, vibrant colours, bold prints, striking patterns, wearing clothes with a beautiful aesthetic


Designing clothes with donated fabric

During the lockdown Gill has developed her basic skills of designing and creating garments from ‘textile waste’ and has had a go at fundraising from home. Having supported the development of the Emmanuel House Charity Shop, she has seen first-hand the huge amount of clothes that are donated each week, particularly over the winter period.

Emmanuel House Support Centre, Nottingham. Virtual fundraising ideas: create clothes from textile waste. Use fabric to make plant pot covers, head bands and tote bags.

“It made me think – how can we slow down our consumption of clothing and make what we have last longer? Buying clothing second-hand is a great way to use resources that have already been made and I love thinking of different ways to style and wear things.

Textiles can be recycled to create reusable items like headbands and bags, or even to decorate plant pots – whatever you like. I started by making garments that are fairly simple to construct and can be broken down into simple stages that can be picked up and put down.  I have now designed a variety of different items with fabric that was donated to our charity shop and have sold them to family and friends, as well as listing them on my Depop profile.”

Emmanuel House Support Centre, Nottingham. Virtual fundraising ideas: create clothes from textile waste. Use fabric to make plant pot covers, head bands and tote bags.
Emmanuel House Support Centre, Nottingham. Virtual fundraising ideas: create clothes from textile waste. Handmade skirt designs.

Practical clothes for parents

“For parents it is essential that clothes are functional and practical – think pockets and comfortable, elasticated waistbands! Looking after two very energetic children means that sometimes I have to spontaneously break into a sprint or climb a tree. The skirts I have designed are lightweight and easily pull over the top of whatever you might be wearing to give a more feminine silhouette. They’re perfect for parties, picnics or church on Sunday so that you can elevate your style with fabulous vibes.
 
I am very fortunate to live in a fairly diverse community. Some of my generous neighbours kindly donated some of the beautiful Asian garments that they no longer needed. So this micro collection, which I hope to sell on my Depop shop this summer, will also be a celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity of my neighbourhood.”

Bespoke alteration service

“Many of us only wear garments that fit perfectly and alterations can be really simple. I have also been practising small alterations on different types of garments to give a more tailored fit. In exchange for this service I asked people to make a small donation to Emmanuel House Support Centre.”

Remember to recycle your clothes

“I also want to emphasise the importance of ‘closing the loop’, so in all my garments I use this bespoke tag.  When we have used a piece of clothing, we should consider passing it on to a friend, a clothing bank or a charity shop. This mindfulness is key to slowing down the appetite we have developed for always buying new. Instead, let’s ask: who made it? Where did it come from? Where will it go when I have finished with it?
 
We are living in a time when we are all waking up to our choices about the clothes we wear each day. What story are we telling? Fashion is a visible reflection of a transformation that is happening. In order to slow down a broken system of mass production, exploitation and mass textile waste, we can also reconsider our clothing choices, sustainability, longevity, value, diversity, individuality and integrity.”

Useful resources for making your own clothes

If you are interested in learning more about mending, repairs and sewing there are many fantastic free tutorials on YouTube and subscription websites like Skillshare. If you are able to access a computer, IT support and learn the basics, you can access a wealth of information. We can all choose to spend less time consuming and use some of that time to empower ourselves and develop a new or existing skills. Be encouraged and start something new.

“I hope that this is something I can continue to invest time into post-lockdown. All the money made from the sales (after Depop fees) will be donated to our Coronavirus Appeal. During these times there are so many more people who are now in crisis and need support to meet their basic human needs.”

You can browse Gill’s beautiful handmade clothes on her Depop profile.

Don’t forget to let us know about your fundraising from home ideas, we’d love to hear about them. Tag us on social media on FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send us an email at lauren@emmanuelhouse.org.uk.