THE RAG CUTTERS
by Linda C Butler
The hospital auxiliary in Langley operates a thrift shop and when Aunt Myrt lived in Ft Langley, at least twenty years ago, the group took the absorbent clothing that was not suitable for sale and cut it into rags.
Aunt Myrt belonged to the senior ladies group which met once a week to cut rags. They brought heavy scissors and removed buttons, zippers, heavy seams, bindings and sleeves from cotton fabric and then stuffed the rags into bags. The bags were sold for cleaning cloths to gas stations and other industries. Aunt Myrt took the buttons home and sewed them onto cards for sale in the store. There was a good market and the ladies kept worn garments out of the landfill. Aunt Myrt had lived through the Depression and knew about thrift.
Today I still see bundles of rags for sale in the local thrift stores and I think about the women who volunteer their time to promote recycling and to reuse worn and discarded clothing.
Pioneer women recycled their clothing by making crazy quilts, remaking clothing into smaller garments for young children, braiding rag rugs and by repairing or adding trim to an outdated garment.
Today thrift stores do a thriving business selling recycled garments. Unsalable garments go to industries which recycle textile fabrics.
This is a link for recycled fabrics: Trans-Continental Textile Recycling, Surrey BC: http://www.transtextile.com/the_business.html This company sorts the used clothing. Usable garments are mainly shipped to Africa where they are sold to clothing merchants who sell garments in marketplaces. The company sells wiping rags of soft absorbent material to industry and low grade materials are sold for thread fibres for remanufacture.
This is a link for crafts from recycled fabrics and paper: Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tautthreads/recycle-textiles/ There are great ideas including jewelry from metal zippers; colorful insects stitched from fabrics, wind chimes from keys, locks and crystals, tassels from thimbles, lace and bits of fabrics.
This is a friend’s link on facebook. Irish Moss: https://www.facebook.com/IrishM0ssHandmade?ref=hl She combines vintage lace with fabric, feathers, shells and dreamcatchers and crochets unusual articles making works of art from thrift store finds. Please give her a “like” if you visit her site.
Clothing accounts for a large percentage of our landfill and if we reuse worn garments by supporting thrift stores and recycled clothing depots, and crafts made from recycled objects, the less pressure we put on our fragile environment.