Zero Waste Textile Project

Redesigning communities: An exploration of mending and reuse of textile waste through creative and collaborative community activities

From January through April 27, 2019, an intergenerational gathering of Bailey’s Café community members co-created with Donna Maione, Sustainable Design Consultant and Professor of Sustainable Systems at Parsons School of Design, The New School and her team of interns to deepen our understanding of textile waste and ways to upcycle and recycle clothing and textiles. Professor Maione was awarded a small grant from the Tish Environment and Design Center to engage community to co-create a zero waste textile project. Donna worked in the fashion industry for 25 years and has an extensive knowledge in construction and textile knowledge. She is interested in guiding the exploration of waste as a resource through a lens of social and environmental justice.

We met twice per month, learning about the issue of textile waste which makes up 85% of our landfill; volunteered with FabScrap, a nonprofit in Brooklyn that recycles textiles collected from New York’s Fashion Industry, where we sorted textile samples and shopped for fabric to use in our projects in their resale store; learned about Rachel Cohen’s Common Thread Project’s work with victims of trauma to heal as they tell their story through textile art; some of us used a sewing machine for the first time and learned about visible mending. Eileen Fisher donated recycled clothing from their Lab Store, which we used to recycle and upcycle into pillows, quilts and new outfit!

Bailey’s now has four sewing machines and we would love to embark on another zero waste project with the community. If you are interested in participating and/or learning more contact Stefanie at [email protected]

Pillows Created from Recycled Fabric from Fab Scrap
Kadeem Making Pillows and Learning to Use the Sewing Machine
Jendayi Making a Skirt from Pants and Learning to Use the Sewing Machine