First off, Happy Birthday to my mother!! I hope you read this today! I can't be there to celebrate, but next year we will all be there with bells on.
More and more blogs are publishing patterns for reusable shopping bags (like the green bags in the style of Walmart bags at Feeling Simply Quilty, or the basic morsbags at With Heart and Hands). A few quilters have returned to the original 'waste not, want not' spirit of quilting and have been making quilts of cast offs. Libby at Quilty the Libster made a charming baby quilt out of a sheet, 3 blouses, and a pair of pajama pants! Michael 5000 is in the midst of a Quilt Storm to make twenty salvage quilts. You can scroll through his most recent posts at State of the Craft to see how that project is coming along. (He's on a summer break but truly quilted up a storm right before that.) The Fungly Challenge by Bonnie and Tonya also presents a wonderful opportunity to make use of fabrics we never thought would be any good, anywhere.
It's becoming clearer that we need to be better custodians of our resources, but for many of us, it isn't yet a real imperative. One day soon it probably will be. I think that realization made me far more appreciative of what it was like to be forced to do without when I took a tour of the Churchill War Rooms in London.
Walking through the actual bunkers where Churchill and his cabinet worked during the second world war really gives a sense of what it must have felt like during the Blitz -- cramped, sunless, and frightening. One of the rooms held a temporary exhibit about the fabric shortage during the war.
People were encouraged to use every scrap of fabric and to wear clothing with no fancy extras like pleats that would waste precious yardage. Clothing was rationed.
You can click on the photos above and below to enlarge them so they are legible. (These are photos of posters at the exhibit, and some were behind glass.) They tell some of the suggestions for making the most of the fabric already on hand -- turning old pillowcases into summer shorts, making worn adult clothing into children's wear, etc. Eventually fashion designers started coming up with designs that used the least fabric to the best advantage.
Thrift used to be a necessary virtue. In America, land of plenty, we've gotten away from that -- thrift itself has become expendable. Hopefully, things are starting to change. It would be wonderful if we could take the "waste not, want not" adage to heart before we absolutely have to.