Sarah Lundgren believes creativity is important for wellbeing and good health – and is stimulated by the work of the hands and mind.
She learned the basics of sewing from primary and secondary school, having textile as a subject. Sarah’s grateful now that when growing up, her parents empowered her to mend and hem her own clothes. Reusing and recycling clothes was part of her upbringing, yet in recent years she has become more interested in learning how to make outfits and therefore her sewing skills have improved over time.
“At the moment, I live with a textile artist (Kate Fletcher in Hobart, Tasmania) and explore my own creativity and while doing that, I am grateful to get more experience and skills in sewing. I have sewn dress-up costumes as well as simple everyday outfits like dresses and tops. In my present wardrobe, I probably don’t have anything bought new (except underwear), everything is second hand. From that, I often end up upcycling about 50 percent of the garments to suit my own style and liking better,” Sarah said.
“Slow clothing is important because it considers the environmental impact the textile industry has on our planet. I want to leave a smaller ecological footprint and by doing so I am a keen on the idea of slow clothing. In addition to this, the process of making something and wear it yourself is very rewarding!
“I have worked a lot with natural dyeing and therefore I wanted to use those techniques in this project. I started off with a white recycled woollen blanket which was cut out in the pattern of the dress that I found in a beautiful Japanese pattern book.
“The next step of the dyeing process involved having the blanket pieces wrapped with prunus leaves to get purple leaf prints on the fabric. By rolling the fabric into a bundle and tied it with string to keep it all tight. The dye from the plants was transferred to the woollen fibres where they are placed on the blanket pieces. The bundle was dyed in a pot with flax tops which resulted in a warm brown base colour. I allowed the bundle to boil in the dye pot for a few hours to extract as much colour as possible. After being rinsed, washed and dried, the pieces were put together using an overlocker and sewing machine. This garment will also be part of the 2016 Trashion, an annual fashion show run by Art from Trash which invites artists to create with recycled material which is exhibited in Hobart, Tasmania.
“The way we consume and buy clothes today is not sustainable and I wonder how the consumption of clothes will proceed in the future. The negative environmental impact the clothing industry has is the main reason why I choose slow clothing. Although, I am torn since it is difficult to address this issue too as a lot of the clothes are made in developing countries and therefore feeds a population in need of this industry.
“I am a slow cooker! Instead of buying prepared food to put in a microwave I prefer to cook from scratch, that way I am more aware of what ingredients I eat and where the food comes from. Also, by putting time and effort into the creation, it is much more fun to enjoy the final result, just like the slow clothing concept. “
So what is Sarah’s advice for people starting to sew and make more of their own clothing? Start simple, it can be as easy as changing some buttons or patching a pair of pants instead of throwing them out and buy new ones. Play with it and discover the pride of wearing your own creations.”
Thanks for being part of The Slow Clothing Project Sarah – you’re helping us reach out to a crowd of others dressing in kinder and more sustainable ways.