Star Quilters – Yeovil, Somerset.

Question: What can you do with an old bra?
Answer: Make it into a bag of course!

I recently read an article about the amount of clothing that is sent to landfill sites each year – (the report stated that ‘on average UK consumers send 30 kg of clothing and textiles per capita to landfill each year. At least 50% of these textiles are recyclable’). My term of office as chairman was coming to an end so I decided to make an autocratic decision on what the 2007 Christmas Challenge would be – make a bag from an unwanted garment, but with the added twist that the original item of clothing still had to be identifiable on the finished bag. The challenge was met with hoots of laughter when someone suggested making an evening bag from a bra, so I immediately announced that there would be a special prize if anyone could do this!

The challenge had to be ready for our last meeting in 2007 (which is always our Christmas party). I was on tenterhooks on the day wondering if anyone would actually take up the challenge – well, I had worried needlessly as there were about 12 bags on display. The ladies had put a lot of thought and effort into the challenge; there were bags made from blankets which had been hand-dyed and embellished with threads and beads; the pockets from denim jeans and dresses had been put to good use on several bags; a bottle bag had been made from a shirt sleeve where the cuff acted as a handle; not 1 but 2 evening bags had been made from bras! (I hoped that the sequins had been added after the bras had been discarded – or do some of our members lead secret lives in pole-dancing clubs???). The overall winner was a bag that had been made from a pair of cut-down chinos that belonged to the maker’s neighbour – it was beautifully lined and trimmed with a tartan material but still sported the pockets, waistband and fly zipper (well I guess you’ve got to have somewhere to keep your mobile phone!).

This had been a really fun challenge but with a very serious side, recycling is very important and this showed that it is possible to make very acceptable items from our cast offs; although it could take several years to collect enough pairs of jeans to make a double-bed sized quilt!

The only question keeping me awake at night now is did the owner of the chinos give them up willing or did the maker sneak over the fence and pinch them off the washing line?

Alma Williams

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