From the beginning.
​​​​​​​Dayton Sewing Collaborative is a micro-manufacturer that provided job retraining that offered a community sewing space. I went on a tour of the facility and discovered they also rescued textile waste from businesses and individuals donors that no longer had use for fabrics passed on by loved ones. The images below show a small sample of their donations. There was a mix of everything from notions to rolls of materials, even an extensive palette full of suede.

Setting goals
Their rescued fabrics ranged from solid colors to a variety of beautiful vintage prints. I wanted to find a way to curate them to sell as maker wardrobe boxes and use the heavier winter textiles to produce simple products. 
High schools in the US no longer offered sewing classes and a lack of youth participation at the Sewing Facility. The idea is to inspire the younger generation to create beautiful garments they can love. Packaging curated fabrics with trendy fashion inspirations can appeal to the younger market.

Figuring out how to organize
The donated fabrics contained a mix of random styles and colors, reminiscing of fabric stores and online marketplaces like Etsy (picture below). It is often overwhelming to see the large volume of fabrics, and to find a matching color or print is time-consuming.
 Individually, there were some beautiful prints, but as a whole, they look dated and dull. Being a curator, designer, I always look for inspiration; it’s like piecing together a puzzle. I believe the process of finding coordinating materials should be more inspiring. 
Resources can be limited when using rescued or upcycled materials, often an assortment of colors and styles from various decades. It is labor-intensive to find coordinating fabrics which are different from working with new materials. Textile mills often create a surplus of materials that coordinate with the season’s full range of colors and print styles. Designers can select from their swatch samples easily to start a variety of outfits.

Finding inspirations
Beautiful vintage print fabrics were select and organized by seasons into coordinated groupings. The image below shows a small sample of the vintage prints from electric to 70’s floral and geometric prints.

Fashion follows trends, whether its colors or prints. Companies create fashion forecasts that set color and print trends for every season, and this usually happens up to two years in advance. You can find a lot of online resources by searching for “fashion color or print trends.” 
Trends come and go but often repeat, especially vintage styles, as we tend to romanticize things in past decades over recent years' tacky trends.

Connecting the inspirations
Inspiration is all around us; sometimes, it is not visual but from a significant world or cultural events. Those are the things that can shape ideas and influence designs. Looking outward and consider elements outside your normal range can help you form new ideas. 
Pinterest is an excellent resource in finding street-style inspirations and is preferred over runway images. Those are the people who are more adventurous with their style and wear it with confidence. 
Below are some results of how the coordinated pieces using prints in bold ways following a common color palette: mixing geometrics, floral, and solid colors. Vintage prints can look modern when applied with an updated silhouette.

Learning Design and Color Theories
Using the color palette as a guide to coordinate is very helpful if you follow trends, and finding your inspirations can help bring things together. This process is the basis of a mood or storyboard. Keep in mind that there are color and design theories to consider before the finalized designs. 
Learning about color theory can help you quickly find complementary colors to help you make better design decisions. Once familiar with the rules, you can be more adventurous as you want and eventually creating your own rules.

Product ideas from Textile Waste

Inspiration for using winter wool fabrics to create products that only require simple patterns to make..

Inspiring a community
DSC participates in-market events and fundraisers. Some of the inspirational ideas came from the materials available. Time was a factor in determining what type of DIY activity would be suitable for a market. Finding events attracting a younger audience was vital as it helps with increasing membership.

DIY instructions and materials. Zero waste making! 

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