Google-Serve 2017

Upcycled Jeans Cases – various assembly stages

Every year, I have the opportunity to spend the day helping some social cause. This year, I spent a morning helping at social fabric, an association that helps refugees with sewing classes. We spent the morning building make-up cases which will serve as reward for a crowd-funding campaign later this year. The cases are built from recycled jeans, so our tasks where to cut up old jeans and sew them into the basic part of the case’s hull.

I really liked this project, I usually select projects where I can do something with my hands and don’t involve coding and I had done any serious sewing in ages, I learnt how to use a sewing machine in primary school, but this is really a long time ago. This association was also well prepared to handle our group: up-cycling is a labor intensive task, which can be well handled by a group, and we were organised in groups that performed the various stages of the assembly. Using our work to boot-strap a crowd-funding campaign was a smart way of using the available staff.

Recycling jeans might sound like a trivial operation, but this is something than cannot be done at scale, you need to find good areas in the jeans to cut the pieces, you get more by removing the sewn elements, like pockets, but this is even more work, we had sewing machines, but no un-sewing machines. This is a shame because the elements of fabric behind the pockets yield the most interesting patterns, the stitched areas are darker as they were protected from the washing. This is similar to what happens with bags, the interesting ones are cut on some pattern of the truck’s tarp.

One of the organisers asked me if I was considering buying a sewing machine, I had to admit that they are cool, if I had the space and time to learn to use them properly, I certainly would. All in all this was an excellent Google Serve, I just felt it was a tad short, I could have done a full day, in particular as this one was really close to home. I look forward to next year.

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