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Fabrics - When And When Not To Let Go

Dec 1, 2007
It seems to me that everywhere I look, I see fabrics of all colors and textures. Probably, it's because I work in the fabric industry, but still it's true - fabric is everywhere. If you need it, you can find it. An unlimited supply of fabrics in every color, print, or texture you can think of is available nowadays in your local stores and even online. Plus, you also have a choice of either natural or synthetic fibers.

With this abundance of fabric, it comes as no surprise that when we need it for any purpose, we choose to replace fabric rather than reuse it, or throw away usable swatches instead of saving it. Indeed, a lot of excellent fabrics can now be purchased at a fraction of the price you had to pay for them a few years ago, but it doesn't change the fact that we still need to look at imaginative and recyclable uses for our old fabrics before throwing them away into the garbage heap.

Yes, of course I know that we do have fabrics lying around the house that cannot be reused or recycled in any way, but there are still many of them that get thrown away along with the "bad" ones. And there are still those that would last longer if we only knew how to take care of them. Sometimes people get intimidated by projects like cutting with beaded fabrics, working with silk, dyeing, and even basic sewing and repairing. These situations often result in perfectly-usable fabrics being discarded in place of buying new ones.

How will you decide when to save a fabric, and when to throw it away? First of all, consider how much it cost you to buy it, and also think about the fiber content. The answers to these two questions can be valuable in your decision-making. Usually, trying to salvage an inexpensive item will cost more in time or money than what it would cost for you to buy a new one. In that case, the best decision would be to discard it.

If the fabric is made of a strong fiber with inherently good qualities, then you might reconsider, but if not, attempting to modify it will just end up in frustration. It would good also to think about the garment's sentimental value. If it belonged to a loved one, then that might be enough reason for you to try overhauling it. Last but not least, consider the extent of the damage to the fabric, and for how long it has been like that. If you have stains or discolorations on it, you can usually fix it up, as long as the damage is relatively new.

You can also try finding alternative uses. For example, an old wedding dress with sleeves can be remodeled and recut to look like a stylish and sexy sleeveless item. Bodices can be trimmed too, to reduce the amount of material on the remodeled dress. Sometimes dyeing fabrics made of natural fibers can give it new life, although don't expect any stains to disappear completely when you dye a garment. You'd also have to wash the garment or fabric in order to use it again, so keep in mind that shrinkage and loss of color may affect the fabric you're trying to salvage.
About the Author
Azlan Irda is a co-founder of http://www.aaafabric.com/fabric-3-c-2.html, where you can get all types of fabrics at the best prices. Visit us for all your fabric needs.
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