Vancouver’s Our Social Fabric Needs Your Help

Two bolts of fabric from OSF

by Leanne on August 10, 2014

in Books

Yesterday I finally got a chance to check out Our Social Fabric.  A non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Our Social Fabric takes donations of any fabric that can be repurposed through crafting and sewing. This fabric is then sold at bi-weekly sales at extremely reasonable prices. The 2-meter bundles pictures in this post (the blue one is silk!) cost me a grand total of $4! That’s right – enough fabric to make 2-3 garments for $4.

I learned to sew clothing around the age of eight, mostly out of necessity and the want to have things that I couldn’t access in my small town. These were pre-internet times – we did not have mail order entities such as ModCloth when I was a teenager.  For high school dances, I remember friends of mine ordering dresses through the Sears catalogue that would be dropped off at the postal outlet at our local mall. The only ‘young’ clothing store available in my town was a SAAN. If you wanted something you often had to make it – as the local clothing stores were limited. I vividly remember sewing a long sleeved, button up the front baby doll dress with covered buttons in a black and white daisy print for such an occasion. Oh, the nineteen-nineties. I would say it was quaint, except for the fact that I saw the EXACT same dress in the window of a boutique last week.

Now that I live in a major city (and work very close to the gem that is Dressew Supply), I have a wealth of both clothing stores and fabric stores at my disposable. So much so that during the past few weeks, I’m heavily aware that all the clothing stores are having sales – selling off the clothes that are only semi-appealing for a moment. Often these are cheaply made and a little ‘off’ – a little too designed. For this reason, I think home sewing is still really appealing – it affords us the opportunity to not only make clothes that we love but clothes that will last. Nothing bothers me more than picking up a piece of clothing in a store and seeing how poorly it is put together. And sewing a practise, the more that you do, the better that you get at it. The more you sew, the more likely it is that you will create things that you want to wear. Unfortunately when you haven’t made anything in a while (hello book writing!), your skills can be a bit shoddy, and it helps to sometimes start a project which might end up being best summarized as a ‘learning experience’. Unfortunately most new fabric can run between $10-$25 a yard, and for the novice sewer, this can result in some very expensive learning experiences.

While I love the small craft businesses that sell high quality fabrics and prints, I fully support recycling initiatives such as Our Social Fabric and salute the many volunteers, including my good friend Kat, who spend time diverting waste fabrics from the landfill, and putting them in the hands of those who can turn them into usable, wearable things – whether novice sewers or local fashion designers.

While Our Social Fabric has a growing community of enthusiasts in Vancouver – they are in dire need of support, financial and volunteer. They are losing their spot on East Hastings Street in two months, and without the funds to prove a full year’s rent, securing a lease is challenging. If you are local, here’s how you can help:

OSF needs a new home for November 1, 2014. 

The  landlord has been able to extend OSF’s current lease until October 31 (instead of August 31). This gives two months to find a new space that meets the following criteria:

  • 900-1500 Square Feet (but they will consider anything)
  • Ground level, street access
  • Within the city of Vancouver (not the Greater Vancouver area)
  • $1500/month MAX

We need you to:

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