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Textiles saved from landfill

London fabric destash swap

London Destash Fabric Swap

Is your fabric stash getting out of hand? Maybe there are fabrics you have fallen out of love with. Or someone might have given them to you and they were not your taste. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure and that is certainly true at the London Destash Fabric Swap.

We held the first event in January 2023 and I was blown away by everyone’s generosity. There were some fantastic fabrics, patterns and sewing supplies being swapped. Hosted in the gallery at Craft Central, it is a large open space. We filled it all with fabrics and haberdashery. Find out how we got on at this year’s fabric swap.

There was lots left over at the end at both fabric swaps but none of it went to waste. It was all donated to charities that host dressmaking, fashion and craft workshops. Last year Shane Waltener moved into a studio Craft Central to set up the Flax Exchange workshop. It is an incredible project where he is growing flax at Mudchute City Farm, a 15 minute walk away. Turning the fabric into fibres and fabric. If you are coming to the fabric swap on 20 January be sure to peek through the window to see the amazing textiles and fibres on display created by Shane and the project. I donated a bag of cotton shirting fabric to the project after last year’s fabric swap. Shane told me that he is using the fabric for a multi-sensory improvisation and deepening creative practice at the Tavistock Institute later this month.

‘The props and materials aim to facilitate rearranging, reframing and reimagining part of the Tavistock and Ambient Collective archives – objects, words, images, the living archive (Ambient Jam Collective members) – which will be hidden under, placed upon and throughout during the session.’ Shane talks about on his Instagram post, follow him for photos of the workshop.

Fabric donations 2024

We were prepared for there to be lots of fabric and haberdashery over this year too. Cotton shirting was donated to Shane for more of these style workshops. Please find the full list below of the other Charites and local community groups who will receive fabric they can use for their workshops and projects.

  • Melanie Keane: Refugee sewing and dressmaking workshops in Surrey
  • Stitches in Time: an arts and education charity based in the old Limehouse Town Hall (close to Craft Central) that run sewing workshops for all levels and also a clothes mending service.
  • Lots community sewing, knitting and craft groups run by local people
  • Sew Amazing sewing machine repair business used the plain cotton poplin and calico to test the machines
  • The Big C Craft Emporium, Norfolk that sells sewing and craft supplies to fund it’s Cancer charity – all the left over haberdashery and most of the fabric was taken to Norfolk.

The very small scraps and damaged fabrics were sent for textile recycling thanks to Craft Central and First Mile. The textile waste is repurposed into items such as stuffing for car seats amongst many other uses. We ended up with 5 large bags of textile waste to be sent for recycling. This was 3 more than we budgeted for and the bags are expensive. I’ve been asked if this can be done on an individual basis. First Mile only work with businesses but Yvette and I are looking into finding somewhere we can send our small fabric scraps on an ongoing basis.

London fabric swap

Thank you so much for coming along to the London Fabric Destash Swap. Over 200 of you turned up to swap your fabric and haberdashery and have a great sewing social. Thanks for making it such a fun event. If you missed out this year we will be hosting another swap in January 2025. Lots of people asked us to host another one sooner but we only get the space once a year and to be honest it takes a lot of time and energy to organise (although fun!). Why not host your own swap? It can be just amongst friends and doesn’t have to involve so many people. Yvette and I will be sharing our tips on how to organise your own swap soon.

London fabric swap at Craft Central Docklands

Yvette from Stash Hub is helped me run the event this year. Stash Hub is an excellent app that helps you organise your sewing and fabric stash. Helping you to turn it into completed projects.