Textile Talk: 1year1outfit


Last night I went to the Victorian Handweavers & Spinners Guild to hear Nicki of This is Moonlight and Rachel of ReduceReuseRecycle talk about Fibreshed and 1year1outfit.

Your ‘fibreshed’ is the area within 500 km of your home, and all the products grown, processed and made within. Nikki describes the 1year1outfit on her blog as:

One Year One Outfit is a challenge to make a locally sourced outfit in a year. Anyone interested in garment making is welcome to join in. Most participants record their findings through social media and use the tag #1year1outfit to keep in touch with the group.

The outfit must be made from natural fibres sourced from your fibreshed, dyed with non-sythetic dyes, and be constructed to last.

After seeing the flyer, I investigated the various sites and Facebook pages related to the challenge. It became pretty clear that it would be very difficult for me to participate, because I can’t wear animal fibres against my skin and no silk or plant fibre is being spun in my fibreshed, and I don’t spin. It might be possible if I moved away from fabric. A quick search online brought up a leather tannery using ‘natural’ methods in Melbourne. I could even try basket-making techniques using locally-grown plants.

The talk was very interesting and I learned more that what I’d found out in my investigations. I think the most exciting is that there are now ‘mini mills’ where small batches of fibre can be spun. They didn’t say if those mills were spinning silk or plant fibre, but I imagine it requires different machinery.

Today my thoughts had shifted to a video I saw recently of Hmong women weaving hemp. I found it again and another that showed how they attach strips of hemp together before spinning it – a method that appeals to me because it does not involve drafting. I got lost in researching plant fibres, and how to make cord and baskets with Australian native plants.

It all reminded me how I’d like to make baskets out of materials I’ve grown. And that I need to get those lomandra seedlings in.

And how there’s still so much work to do in the garden.

Oh – and I nearly forgot: the talk will be repeated on Sunday August 28th, at 2pm. I highly recommend it.

3 thoughts on “Textile Talk: 1year1outfit

  1. Apart from the intellectual exercise, what is the point of local sourcing? New Scientist some time back did a report on the contribution of food miles to greenhouse emissions; this for the UK, which is a net food-importing country. Their conclusion was that it’s negligeable, and that the fuss about food miles makes people feel they are doing something useful (which they are not) and distracts them from actions/choices that really could make some difference. That said, in all cases – food, clothes, whatever – I believe strongly that it’s important to reduce waste (including unnecessary purchases and packaging), recycle where possible, and consider the environmental and social impacts of my choices.

  2. For the women doing the talk, the Fibreshed idea is inspired by a range of issues. Carbon miles was only one of many. They talked more about concerns around supply lines being ethical and non-polluting. They quoted a good source (can’t remember which) that said the fashion industry as a whole is the second worst polluter in the world, after oil, for example. (Leather processing is the third worst, according to the books I read, so I can believe that.) The 1outfit1year idea is also opposite in philosophy to fast fashion, highlighting how much work and resources go into making clothes.

    It also highlights how much manufacturing expertise this country has lost. Some may not have been sustainable at the time, but could be again in the future.

  3. I have just been talking about this with a friend, we’ve been trying to find seeds for the flax grown for fibre. We may be able to find it growing wild (or feral, rather) and we found some articles on Trove from the mid-1800s that suggested there was a native flax that may have the same properties. (It seems that after a huge call for it during WWII, no one grows it in Victoria any more)

    This led to reading as much as I could find about Australian fibre producing plants and a seed order of Native Flax, Tasman Flax Lily, Smooth Flax Lily, Spiny-headed Mat-rush, Irongrass, and Silvery-leaved Pimelea. I’ve also been eyeing off the papyrus-looking stuff that grows in the gutters in Brunswick and Coburg, wondering if I can grow it in my garden.

    I’m excited to see that the guild is running the talk again. I wasn’t able to make it to the first one. Thank you for the post!

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