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The Clothing Repair Cafe - FREE Event

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by May Cross (subscribe)
I'm a writer, artist and keen photographer.
National Recycling Week
Reverse Garbage Queensland and Jane Milburn, of Textile Beat, bring you yet another brilliant upskilling and upcycling event during National Recycling Week. Join in to celebrate Australia's vibrant clothing revival and reuse culture - it's FREE. You know you want to.

Would you like to drop in to meet the growing community of repair enthusiasts and bring along your cherished items of clothing that are in need of some tender loving care? You'll receive hands-on advice from Jane that will help bring your garments back to life. You'll learn about mending techniques such as patching, stitching and creative disguise. Say NO! to 'fast fashion' and learn how to increase the lifespan of your lovingly curated wardrobe.

clothing repair cafe, national recycling week, reverse garbage, RGQ, slow clothing, recycling, second hand
image courtesy of organiser

And if that is not enough, the lovely folk at RGQ will also be serving tea and light refreshments. As always, no sewing machines will be used; it's all about slowing down and enjoying the craft of hand sewing.


Jane will introduce participants to the ideas behind the slow clothing movement and the true cost of cheap disposable fashion. Slow clothing is about making smart choices when purchasing clothing, learning skills to extend the lifespan of garments, and choosing natural fibres that do not shed microplastics into the ecosystem.

Jane Millburn, RGQ, reverse garbage, textile beat, textiles, clothing repair cafe. slow clothing
Talented with Textiles - Jane Milburn (image courtesy of RGQ)

Kade Hamalainen, RGQ Communications and Marketing Co-ordinator, said, "These Clothing Repair Cafes are a fantastic opportunity for people to learn new skills which help them to prolong the useful life of clothing. Jane also does a wonderful job of talking about fashion-related waste, evaluating different clothing fibres, and helping people to make more ecologically-sound decisions when it comes to what they wear. There are significant environmental benefits in reusing existing resources, rather than discarding materials and then buying new ones. Reusing resources is also a great way to save money."

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Previous Clothing Repair Cafe (image courtesy of RGQ)

Have you heard of Sashiko?
Sashiko means "little stabs". It is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching from Japan that started out of a practical need in the 1600s. Traditionally it was used to reinforce points of wear and tear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, making the darned piece ultimately stronger (and warmer). The running stitch technique is now often used for decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread (said to resemble rice grains) on the traditional indigo-dyed blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance. Sometimes decorative items use red thread.

Boro, Sashiko, sewing, mending, darning, indigo, heart, bamboo , blue,
Sashiko or Boro? (image by writer)

Have you heard of Boro?
Boro are Japanese textiles that have been mended or patched together. The term is derived from Japanese boroboro, meaning something tattered or repaired. Hemp was most widely used in Japan because cotton and silk were expensive. Boro came to signify clothing worn by the peasant farmers, who mended their garments with spare fabric scrapes due to economic necessity. In many cases, the usage of a boro garment would be handed down over generations, eventually resembling a patchwork after decades of mending. Boro typifies the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi, as the fabric reflects the beauty of natural wear and imperfections.

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Textiles upcycled in the RGQ Gift Shop (image by writer)

Reverse Garbage Queensland (RGQ)
RGQ is a not-for-profit worker run co-operative that promotes environmental sustainability and resource reuse. They collect high-quality industrial discards, diverting them away from landfill and sell them at a low cost to the general public.They run a variety of environment and waste-focused art workshops and educational talks and tours to suit every age and group. They also have a mail order service and host a gallery and gift shop promoting local artists, craft workers and designers who salvage, reuse and up-cycle materials.

To find out more about RGQ, this event and other workshops please click here. Although this is a FREE event, please reserve a space for yourself so that you don't miss out.

reverse garbage, RGQ, textiles
RGQ textile upcycling (image by writer)

Parking Facilities at the RGQ Warehouse
There are seven parking spaces in front of the Reverse Garbage Queensland warehouse and there is also two-hour street parking available around the corner on Elliott St. Please do not park in the car parks of businesses on Burke Street as you'll risk getting towed.
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Why? To make do and mend like our mothers did.
When: Saturday 18 November, 1pm to 3pm
Phone: 07 3891 9744
Where: RGQ, 20 Burke Street Woolloongabba
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
What a great idea! Great article too. I'd seen some Sashiko pieces before but didn't know what it was called.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1097) 709 days ago
reverse garbage do really good things
by lockb (score: 1|94) 717 days ago
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