Dumped Denim

Dumped Denim 29 May 2015

I feel most comfortable in an old pair of jeans, Converse, and a man’s jersey. My best friend cuts my hair with kitchen scissors.

Jane Birkin

RUDE Girl is relating to the above quote by the gorgeous Jane Birkin.  I rescue and wear old jeans from landfill.  I love my Converse sneakers also from landfill.  I cut off most of my bob with the kitchen scissors a few weeks ago.  Then RUDE boy finished the trim with a No 4 Furiosa inspired by the current Mad Max movie.

2015-05-11 17.15.07
Photo above: My Furiosa No 4 hair cut.

When you spend a fast amount of time on the Wastelands [landfill] like Furiosa, you do not need to be primping and preening oneself.  Shaving my hair off frees up time to go scavenging and scrounging whilst looking the part.

I am currently sourcing denim garments from landfill.  I seek out the denim made with cotton as a preference.  I have been inspired to collect it because I have been getting into sashiko mending in a big way.  And the other reason is that I have been reminded of its beauty and functionality after borrowing the book Denim Dudes by Amy Leverton.

Denim-Dudes-Book-01-960x640Photo above:  Sourced from http://www.selectivism.com

RUDE boy is wondering why he has not been featured in this book about guys and their denim duds.  Actually I am too, because there is no serious attention given to sashiko mending and denim jeans.  RUDE boy is obviously setting the Sashiko Scavenger Style trend here in Australia.  The rest of the world is a bit slow to catch on!!

Check out another RUDE sashiko mending project on the video below.


Beat the Man and rescue dumped denim to sashiko mend and then wear!

Vintage Sewing Machine Heaven


My mother had a sewing machine. I was never allowed to use it, but I was so fascinated by this little needle going up and down joining fabric together that I’d use it when my mother went out to feed the chickens.

Philip Treacy

RUDE Girl can relate to the above quote.  I was not allowed to use my mother’s Singer industrial sewing machine EVER.  She did not want it stuffed up.  And as we had no chickens to feed, there was no opportunity for me to be defiant.  In later years a friend gave her a household machine, so that she could do zig zag.  She hated that machine as it was too small with not much grunt.  The machine was given to me to use.  But more times than not, I would stuff it up, have to ask her for help realising sadly that she was not much interested in teaching me how to sew.

In the 1980’s I taught myself to sew and bought myself a brand new sewing machine and overlocker.  The machine was a basic Janome that recently was stripped for parts by RUDE boy.  The overlocker is still in use.  I now have nine (x9) sewing machines and three (x3) overlockers.  Seven (7) of the sewing machines are vintage and two (2) of these are semi industrial quality.

On 20 May, 2015, I posted a video about my sewing machines in use, over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record.   I would recommend anyone interested in basic sewing to purchase a vintage sewing machine. Get a good one and it will outlast the plastic models you buy cheaply today.

Photo below:  This fulled wool cloche capat [cap/hat] was made on my vintage Brother semi-industrial straight stitch sewing machine.  See more photos over on our Facebook blog at Rude Record [link above]  The head mannequin with buttons was rescued from landfill years ago.


Some might say RUDE are collectors of sewing machines, as we have more than a couple of them.  We do not consider ourselves to be collectors.  Maybe rescuers and repairers of sewing machines for our own private use, is more our thing.  There have been machines we have rescued, repaired and then replaced with better machines we have found at landfill.  We have gifted a couple of our sewing machines after they were replaced.

Our small sewing machine ‘collection’ fades into insignificance when you meet our friends Wayne and Judi McKail from Sew What in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia  This couple has over 500 sewing machines!!  They live and breathe sewing machines as a lifestyle.  And were recently featured on The Project TV program on Channel 10 across Australia.

RUDE managed to video the segment and upload it to YouTube, to ensure it could be seen internationally.  It runs for just over three minutes and is a lovely good news story.


Ask the question, Sew What? to Beat the Man!


Elbow Grease


In the heart of the ‘lucky country’ some Australian families and individuals are living on the fringes, facing the daily hardships of unemployment, drug addiction and illness; struggling just to get by. New three-part, fly on the wall observational documentary series Struggle Street gives a voice to those doing it tough right on the doorstep of Australia’s most affluent cities. Filmed in the public housing estates of Sydney’s western suburbs, residents invited cameras in for exclusive, uncensored access to their lives over a six month period. The result is an eye-opening glimpse at real life in under-resourced Australian communities – raw, honest and unfiltered.

Struggle Street (Commissioned by SBS) (Documentary) MA(D,L) CC

RUDE Girl has just finished watching this three-part series and the quote above is very relevant about how elbow grease will not fix generations of dysfunction.  It was incredibly sad but in my working life I have seen worse.  My mother also grew up in the 30s and 40s in a struggle suburb in a dysfunctional family.  I may not live on Struggle Street but my experiences combined with some of the stories from my mother, I knew what to expect when I viewed this documentary.  On Struggle Street it takes more than elbow grease to fix chronic unemployment and disadvantage.

What stood out for me most of all, was the houses were unkept [not clean and tidy] and a bit run down looking.  With stuff strewn all over the place.  I wonder why and think this quote by Mellon may partly explain it.  When you are not involved in hard work you can degenerate.  And the consequences of that in my opinion, show not only in body and mind but in your surroundings as well. Maybe mustering up elbow grease is the last thing you think of to acquire some control.

The normal condition of man is hard work, self-denial, acquisition and accumulation and as soon as his descendants are freed from the necessity of such exertion, they begin to degenerate sooner or later in both body and mind.” — Thomas Mellon

When RUDE rescues from landfill, the bric a brac, the furniture and the textiles are not in pristine condition. The stuff can be very dirty and very smelly.   It takes elbow grease [hard work] to lug it home and then clean it up.  It may need to be repaired or mended.  If we just let the stuff pile up, and did not employ some elbow grease we soon would look like struggling hoarders.

RUDE knows that amid chaos and/or disadvantage we would be able to keep living in a clean and tidy manner.  We are unable to say too much about this experience, but we lived rough for a couple of weeks.  We wanted to know what it was like to squat in a derelict house with few amenities and a reduced electricity supply and no gas.  There was no nice furniture or fittings, and no hot showers.  The days were warm but the nights were cold.  Basically we were camping and it was rough.

However, in this situation we managed to live a happy, frugal and productive time.  We also managed to keep our surrounds liveable and clean.  It was an anxious time in some ways but we survived by keeping busy and keeping up our house proud standards.


Which brings this post to George Miller’s new movie Fury Road.  And taken from The Celluloid Warrior in Good Weekend Magazine April 25, 2015 pg 10 is this passage as follows:

With computer systems wiped out, the wasteland is filled with whatever can be cobbled together from a more robust technological era. “Everything is found objects,’ says Miller.  Everything on-screen, including the wardrobe, weapons, vehicles, dialogue and the way the actors behave, was created from these found objects.  Two other rules governed what takes place in the movie.  “Just because it’s after the apocalypse, it doesn’t mean people can’t make beautiful things.  We see that in early man.  The palaeolithics did all that wonderful rock art.  In refugee camps in the most impoverished parts of the world, they can make beautiful things.”

The first movie I ever remember about making do and upcycling was Swiss Family Robinson.  The Robinsons turn oyster shells into soup bowls.  They lasso a giant sea turtle to power their raft.  I also devoured the book and related to their need to survive as best they could under the circumstances.  Thanks to the Swiss Family Robinson, I know that if RUDE is stranded together on a deserted island we will be fine.

Photo below:  In the book The Art of Being a Woman by Patrica Volk 2013, pg 29 – Classics Illustrated is No. 42, Swiss Family Robinson is mentionedIn this book, Patricia writes how her grandmother would make do and showed her about how to do it.

gilberton-publications-classics-illustrated-42-swiss-family-robinson-issue-hrn-62Beat The Man with some good old elbow grease!  No matter what your situation it will give you some sense of control and pride.

Making Good – My Handmade Slippies

RUDE is on Green Issues by Agy’s Making Good Blog Train and is combining this blog train post with our regular weekly Friday blog post.  Agatha Lee is hosting the journey and has invited RUDE to jump on board today.

Fellow blogger Christine boarded the train yesterday and has shared her intricate weaving and embroidery repair at  http://rhinestic81.blogspot.sg/2015/05/making-good-weaving-embroidery-mending.html

As the Blog Train’s host, Agatha is asking passengers taking the ride with her the following:

What is repair, and why do we even bother to repair the things we have? Some see repair as a way of reconnecting with our possessions as we extend their lives. Others see it as a form of creative potential and an avenue to express their craft. The rewards for mending varies from feeling immense satisfaction to prolonging the life of the product.

Thank you Agatha for inviting RUDE aboard and today it is just RUDE Girl travelling.  RUDE Boy is off driving his own train for VLine.

For RUDE, repair is mostly about respect for the things that we have in our possession.  That respect very much extends to all the people who were involved in the making of our stuff.   We bother to repair almost everything in our household [and in some other people’s households] because that’s the way we were bought up by our parents.  To mend and make do.  Our parents did it to make their hard earning money go further.  We do it for that reason too but also to be environmentally responsible.

And best of all is that we enjoy the process of repair.  It is like a craft activity to make something old and/or worn out, new again.  And of course there is that immense satisfaction for RUDE of beating The Man.   We know that by prolonging the life of a product, we will not be shopping and playing into the hands and minds of powerful multinational companies.

I’m usually in jammies and slippers by 8 P.M.

Kate Dickie

RUDE Girl relates to Kate Dickie’s quote above, especially in winter when I hibernate at home. I prefer not to wear shoes inside the house therefore my slippies can be on most of the day.

I was blessed by my Bowerbirds Journal Facebook group’s member Jaimee with two pairs of her beautiful soft and comfortable, handmade with love, ballet style slippies.

Snapshot 1 (3-05-2015 5-08 PM)Snapshot 2 (3-05-2015 5-11 PM)

Photo above:  My first pair of handmade slippers by Jaimee of Piggy Whiskers

Of course wearing both pairs of slippies, non-stop over the past couple of years, had resulted in them becoming very worn.  Before the slippers deteriorated further, this Blog Train with its Making Good theme, inspired me to think about paying respect to Jaimee, the maker of my slippers.  It became my mission, no matter what, to pay tribute to her, and revamp the two pairs of slippers I had received from her.

But how to do this without a pattern was the question.  I have since received the pattern for the slippers from Jaimee but when I repaired my slippers I had to improvise.

I will present in a little detail, the first pair being repaired in the body of the post.  And at the end of the post I will only post photos of the second pair before and after repair.

Photo below:  Slippers have been deconstructed and these are the worn soles.  The green wool fabric is the inner sole and the pattern fabric was the cotton outer sole.

SAMSUNGSnapshot 1 (3-05-2015 4-45 PM)Photo Above:  The top of the deconstructed slippers was removed from the soles and a new piece of fulled wool cut to shape for the new sides.

I cut templates from the old soles and sides of the slippers.  This time I used a fused double layer of English woollen fabric for the soles [inner and outer].  This fabric came from the sleeves of a duffle coat made in England that I now wear as a long line gillet aka vest [photo below]. 

Duffle Coat Top of
This has proved to be a good decision because the wool repels the dust and dirt.  It is also wearing well as the fabric is stronger than the cotton.  To enable easy replacement of the soles down the track, I have handsewn the soles to the uppers.

Snapshot 4 (3-05-2015 4-56 PM) Snapshot 2 (3-05-2015 4-50 PM)  Snapshot 3 (3-05-2015 4-53 PM)
x3 Photos above:  My ballet style slippies have been made good again!

Photo below:  Inner [wool] and outer [denim] soles of second pair of slippers.


x6 Photos below:  My second pair of ballet style slippies have been made good again.


In the photos above of my second pair of revamped slippers, I have kept the seam from the original outer denim soul.  I like the textured ‘rude’ look.  I have also repaired a hole in the inner back of the left slipper area with some green cotton fabric and sashiko stitch.

Beat The Man and make good again!

Tomorrow I am pleased to announce that the Blog train will be boarded by the very crafty Kareena of


Follow the “Making Good” blog train this month and see what other blog travellers on board have repaired and reconnected with. Have you mended anything today?

Rebel Retail the Pop Up Way


Maybe I was born to be a merchant, maybe it was fate. I don’t know about that. But I know this for sure: I loved retail from the very beginning.

Sam Walton

In the traditional modernist planning that created the suburbs, you put residential buildings in suburban neighborhoods, office spaces into brain parks and retail in shopping malls. But you fail to exploit the possibility of symbiosis or synthesis that way.

Bjarke Ingels

RUDE Girl was a retailer in a previous life.  It was a seven days per week and long hours news agency business.  There was the usual shop, lease, customers and home delivery service.

Those were the heady days of the mid 1980s when business interest rates were at 17 per cent.  You had to work very hard, and be committed and dedicated to your customers.

I was like Sam Walton in the quote above.  I loved retail, still do but I am no longer working in the sector.  The customer interaction was what always gave me joy.  I suppose I was born to serve with a smile.

I know the retail business can be very demanding, especially if it’s 7 days per week with long hours on your feet. 

The concept of pop up shops  must be attractive for many budding retailers.

If I was younger [not retired and busier than ever] I would consider opening up my own little pop up shops in my local area. These days I would sell recycled, upcycled and repaired stuff.  I would probably seriously consider upcycled clothing like Polly-Esther’s Vintage.

It was great to discover a young person giving it a go.  Brony shared with RUDE Girl what it’s like upcycling clothes, and selling them in pop up shops.  You can find out more on her wonderful blog The Gypsy and The Officer here

And this is a snippet of what Brony shared with RUDE Girl and yes she can sew!

Polly-Esther’s Vintage was launched in April 2010 in Yeppoon QLD.  My friend and I had collected original vintage and retro clothing over the years.  We thought it a great idea to open our own little shop, filling it to the brim with our treasures.   As time went on, and to be honest it was very slow and quiet tucked away in our Loft shop!  That’s how our upcycling and recycling of preloved clothes came to fruition!   We evolved from loving and selling original vintage, to hand making our own unique individual pieces using vintage fabrics and fabrics that were quirky and different!  It was amazing to see people embracing what we were doing and enjoying the ‘One Off’ pieces!

Photos below:  Polly-Esther’s Vintage unique re-creations



Beat The Man, be a surprise and pop up someplace unexpected.