June 2013 – Clothes Swap

After the massive success of our clothes swap last year, we decided to bring it back for a second round!

We had another great turn out with lots of regular members and also a lot of first time visitors. We were also lucky enough to be visited by some very lovely and glamorous ladies from Hatch Grange WI who were interested to see what Sotonettes are all about.

After the formalities of a few announcements, Aly from Bobbin Sewing School in Winchester got the meeting off to a lovely start by taking us through some simple ways or altering clothing to improve the fit or even completely change the look of an item – she even showed us how you might change a sleeveless jumpsuit into a dress with sleeves (I was particularly impressed by that one) and how to completely make over a dress with just the addition of some ribbon to make a waistband and add detail to the neckline.

Bobbin Sewing School is based in the Winchester Discovery Centre in central Winchester. They run lots of sewing classes from the basics of using a sewing machine through to dress making, curtain making and working with different kinds of fabric. They even have some classes for children to get involved in sewing.

Our committee member Kate recently attended one of their classes and had a great time. Aly was a lovely, knowledgeable and entertaining speaker so I don’t doubt that her classes are great too.

I must say, I think I am guilty of breaking her golden rule though – Don’t Be A SABLE (Serial Accumulator Beyond Life Expectancy)!

Find out more about the classes, when they run and how to book on their website – http://bobbinsewingschool.co.uk

After Aly’s talk we got down to the serious business of Swapping! There was a huge selection of really nice items on offer and everyone seemed to have fun rummaging through and I’m pretty sure most people left with something new (to them). We would love to see any pictures of you wearing your swaps, especially if you put any of Aly’s advice into practice and make some alterations.


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Clothes Swapping, or Swishing, isn’t just fun and a nice way to clear out some old clothes and replace them with something different. The WI have campaigned on the issue of Fast Fashion – mass produced clothing that can be socially and environmentally harmful. The people producing our cheap clothing are often not paid well and don’t work in safe conditions – as we saw in the factory collapse in Bangladesh earlier this year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/bangladesh-factory-building-collapse-community). Also, low quality, cheap clothing has been seen as part of our disposable culture, where we are very quick to throw things away and buy new replacements instead of fixing, altering or swapping. Clothes that get thrown in the bin go straight to landfill and production of new clothes uses up valuable resources – so reusing, recycling and upcycling are much better options for the environment.

To find out more about Fast Fashion and the WI campaign see the WI website (http://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/recent-campaigns-and-initiatives/fast-fashion).

We would like to thank everyone who came along to the meeting and brought their items to swap. We hope you had as much fun as we did. Also, huge thanks must go to Aly for giving us her time and sharing her knowledge with us.

Next Month’s meeting is on the theme of Grow Your Own – more details of speakers and activities will be coming soon. Remember the date has changed due to conflict with the New Forest Show – we will be meeting on Tuesday 23rd of July, usual time and place.

On Tuesday 30th July we will be visiting the New Forest Show – I think we have enough people for a group booking discount now, but if you still want to join the group then drop us and email at sotonettes@gmail.com

Best Wishes

Liz, on behalf of the Sotonettes Committee