Frugal Fulling Fun

RUDE remembers as children that we wore wool until out teenage years when polyester garments were all the rage.

However we still wore school uniforms made out of wool. Danny wore his hand knitted jumpers and cardigans. I was told by my mother that my nanna was a great knitter but she knitted for her other grandchildren not me. Phew! Thank my lucky stars I did not have to wear daggy knitted wool garments that itched my skin.

Well, how times have changed as I scavenge around landfill for the last remnants of 100 per cent wool garments knitted by all those nannas from eons ago. To think I have been cold all these years because I was not aware of wool’s thermal properties.

This winter I am rugged up in REcycled fulled woollen tops, skirts and leg warmers promoting Scavenger Style to the masses.

I have been reading The Textile Artists’ Studio Handbook by O Ruck and V Popovic. For all these years I thought I had been felting wool. Seems this is not the case and I have actually been fulling.

“If you have ever accidentally washed a wool sweater in a washing machine, then you are familiar with fulling. Through the same process of applying moisture, pressure and heat as in wet felting, the fibres matt together, condensing and causing the material to shrink. The difference between fulling and felting is that the fulling process is applied to fabric or ready made garments rather than to loose fibres.”

Terrific Thrifty Tote

RUDE [Karen] has been collecting shirts to use the front panels as cushion backs.

By utilizing the fronts of the shirts it saves on buying zips and the labour involved in inserting them.

I was inspired to use the shirt collars when I was introduced to the book Cut Up Couture by Koko Yamase.

Imagine x14 secondhand shirts anywhere between $3.00 and $6.00 AUD then this project gets a bit costly to make.

Sourcing my shirts from Tip Shops cost next to nothing, except for my time and labour.

Shirt collars REfashioned into a Tote BagCut Up Couture front Cover

Thrifted Treasures

This video was recorded for our School of Thrift, Darlington, UK colleagues and followers.

The joy of a frugal life for RUDE includes the occasional charity shop trek. RUDE rarely goes charity shopping these days. They prefer to shop a the point of landfill aka Tip Shops because the larger charity stores have become more like retail outlets with prices to match.

However RUDE seeks out little country charity stores on their travels. These are oftentimes hidden gems which are discovered all too quickly. But until then RUDE gets in whilst the going is good and the bargains are aplenty.

The pink shirt in the video has already been used. I [Karen] made a patchwork piece for the front of a cushion and backed it with fabric from the pink shirt.

DSC04243 DSC04244

Rock n Roll REcital

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures”

~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

In 2007 RUDE had the wonderful experience of performing in a residents’ concert in a gated community. In true RUDE style all costumes were thrifted.

This function is an example of frugal fun and the experience took us back to a time when communities lived, worked and played local. What a joy and such fond memories.



On 24 April 2014 RUDE [Karen] participated in Fashion Revolution Day. Whilst I do not wear my clothes #insideout everyday, I do wear worn clothes REscued from landfill 24/7 365 days of the year for 5 years.

My political fashion statement is Scavenger Style. This is unique to me. I showcase to the world, the wearing and oftentimes REfashioning of fast fashion garments saved direct from the point of landfill. I have asked Sass Brown author of Refashioned if she knows of any designers sourcing garments and textiles direct from landfill. She has informed me that not to her knowledge. Redress is an organisation in Hong Kong that sources from a textiles’ warehouse but does not go down to point of landfill.

I am sure there are other people mostly in third world countries that out of dire necessity wear clothes from landfill. Where my situation differs is that I do not live in poverty, far from it. However, by wearing worn, I choose to be reminded daily of the people who make the fast fashion that I REuse.

When I go down to the point of landfill [the dump] it’s not a pleasant environment. It smells and it is dirty. I am there with other scavengers. These are mostly people who trade in clothes, junk and bric a brac at markets and on Ebay. This type of scavenger is ruthless and would knock you over to get anything of value. The smell of these people is worse than that of the pungent odours emanating from household rubbish.

I find that the clothes I am seeking to wear and REfashion are in abundance. Most days there are three baby cots full of fast fashion. Traders are not interested in anything that’s worn and torn so I get the best stuff. Woollen garments with holes, vintage clothes with stains, linen garments that are dated and clothes that are hideously embellished. I take the garments the scavengers are unable to sell.

Landfill Lovely

Landfill Lovely

REscuing garments from landfill is a labour of love in many ways. You have to love scrounging around in other people’s cast offs and ignore the odours and dirt. You have to love washing. And in the case of this Suzanne Grae wool/acrylic mix jumper you have to love hand washing. And you have to love the idea of possibility for all the scavenged fast fashion you haul home.

This jumper is very large but it has such possibility. I can make a skirt, leg warmers and maybe a beanie. It is definitely imagined as a skirt and when it’s refashioned I will share it with you in a video.

I have been inspired by Sew It Again Jane Milburn an upcycle colleague and her acyclic REcreations.

Suzanne Grae is acknowledged as the creator of the original garment. I would like to think the fast fashion brand, if it knew, loved I had saved it from landfill.