Items with Stories to Tell
Written by Tabby Bunyan
In our mission to slow down the fashion industry, it’s important we take the time to think about what we want to buy, but also to think about forming meaningful relationships with the items we do own. My favourite items in my wardrobe are ones with stories; the dungarees that used to be my mum’s, the first shirt dress I made that is so badly sewn but I wear it anyway, or the top I made out of a tablecloth that had been hand appliquéd by my great-grandmother. Even if there isn’t a story beforehand, wearing items more than a handful of times will mean we can create stories and relationships with those clothes. Repeating outfits is now in and I think it’s time to really embrace that.
One of the things I wanted to do with Re_considered, and what upcycling allows you to do, is produce items that have stories behind them. The difference between “recycling” and “upcycling” is that you can still recognise the original item in the upcycled piece, as opposed to the recycled object is now completely different. Stories are inherent to the craft of upcycling and the pieces I create. In this blog I want to tell the stories behind a few of the pieces on sale in Re_considered’s shop.
Hand-appliquéd tablecloth turned top - the detailing of the straps is what I love most about this, as well as the fact that it once covered a table my gran ate at when she was growing up.
The Catherine Tie-Back Top
I have always been a huge fan of the textile designer William Morris. I visited his house, which is now a beautiful gallery, with my friend last year; it’s in Walthamstow, somewhere I had never been, but which turned out to be really lovely. We found a cute antique shop there too where I bought a red metal tea pot. The gallery had an exhibition on called the Yellow Wallpaper, inspired by the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
There’s something so calming about his busy wallpapers, however contradictory that sounds! I think they make a room look friendlier, more inviting. When I found a pair of his curtains in a second-hand store, on a street named Catherine Street, I couldn’t contain my excitement. For a Christmas present, I made my parents some cushions and a tie for my dad out of the material. I then set out about making some pieces of clothing. I made a couple of these tie-back tops and Grace made a pair of shorts which will be released closer to the summer. There’s still a lot of the fabric left and so I’m looking forward to making some more out of it!
Shop the Catherine Tie-Back Top here
The Corduroy Skirt co-ord
Charity shopping is difficult at the best of times, but during a global pandemic it’s even harder. Last summer when shops in the UK had opened up again, my friend and I went charity shop shopping in Highbury. Because of Covid, the changing rooms weren’t open and so you really just have to trust that the items will fit you. We both picked up this navy corduroy skirt, admired it for a while, and then had to make the hard decision of buying it or not. I decided that if it didn’t fit right, I would just upcycle it, which is exactly what I ended up doing! It was way too long and wasn’t flattering at all. Now it is a wonderful co-ord ready for its new life!
Shop the Highbury Co-Ord here
The Reversible Inda Top
There are two sides to the story of the reversible Inda top. The green and white floral side is made from a duvet cover donated to me by my gran, whose name is Inda. It’s a lovely lightweight cotton material with a really sweet vintage floral print. The silver side is made from the offcuts of a silk dress I was given in a large pile of unwanted stock. I had walked past a shop several times on my way to work, admiring the clothes in the window. One day I noticed there was a sign saying it was closing and inside, Annabel, who owned the shop was packing everything up. I knocked on the door to ask why she was closing. She welcomed me inside and we had a long chat about sewing and upcycling. I told her about Re_considered and she gave me a whole load of bags of her offcuts, unfinished pieces, and other bits that she wouldn’t be needing anymore. I lived about 5 minutes away from the store and so lugged 5 of the bags back and went back with my house mate for the other 10! It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I literally couldn’t get into my room for a while until I had sorted through all of it.
Shop the Reversible Inda Top here
I’d love to know the stories behind your favourite items of clothing. Comment down below or send me a message on Instagram!