SO FRESH, SO OPINIONATED, SEW LOCAL

SO FRESH, SO OPINIONATED, SEW LOCAL

After being introduced to Sew Local this summer at Northern Lights Festival Boréal while browsing vendors we knew we had to get the word out about these folks! From their custom stamped buttons, suit jacket messenger bags, and even gender diverse rag rolls – this dynamic duo have easily become our favourite local find of the season! Its not every day you run into a vendor offering such an assortment of quality handmade products that are both adorable and socially conscious! Read on for all the details on Sew Local and where you can find them this fall.

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Tell us more about Sew Local and the products you offer 

Sew Local is the creation of Marja Reimer and April Allard. We are life-long makers, and partners in life as well as business. We are passionate about reusing, upcyling, feminism, social justice, slowing down and using our hands for creative expression. We consider what we do to be a form of craftivism and an alternative to fast fashion and Walmart/dollar store culture.

We make many different items and have so many plans for new ideas – we don’t have time to make them all! We make tote bags that we call ‘Totes Opinionated’; they are hand stamped with quotes like “If you believe in equality you are a feminist” and “There is no wrong way to have a body.” We make adorable rag dolls, bags with cats wearing glasses and unicorns on them, whimsical pennant banners, head wraps, beanies, pin cushions, pencil cases that used to be vintage ties, cloth pads, hand-stamped tea towels and comfort creatures. We have fantastic tea towels adorned with buttons and feminist quotes like “Pizza rolls not gender roles” and “Pro Choice Pro Feminism Pro Unicorns”. We have comfort creatures that we make out of old felted sweaters that are filled with rice ready to be warmed up and snuggled with. We try to repurpose fabric as much as possible; we use old tablecloths, leftover fabric scraps, and vintage or second hand clothes that are beyond repair. Most of our projects are fabric and sewing based, but April also makes hand painted cards and beautiful water colour earrings. We also offer a selection of curated vintage and preloved clothing alongside our original handmade items and upcycled clothing.

Sew Local feels very personal to both of us and it’s been fantastic to be able to share what we care about and meet other people that love and appreciate our handmade goodness. We also get to meet other artists, artisans and crafters and hear their stories, as well as other people that care about the same issues.

What exactly is upcycling and tell us more about some of the upcycled projects you do for clients? 

Upcycling is the process of making something useful and beautiful out of something old and unwanted. Usually some or a lot of the original structure is left. Upcycling is a new word but an old idea; people have been doing it forever. There is a great deal of waste in the fashion industry, from the cheap way clothes are made and also the very short lifespan of a trend. As we’ve educated ourselves about the textile and fashion industries, our desire to avoid contributing to the waste has become extremely important to us.
Also, we both absolutely love history and old things. There’s so much story and mystery. We can both spend hours in antique shops. Looking at an old photo or holding a vintage piece of clothing feels almost magical, like time-traveling. So taking an unusable piece and turning it into something relevant and beautiful is very meaningful. One of our favourite items we upcycle is our messenger bags made from vintage suit jackets. The tailoring in a suit jacket is amazing, so we love that most of that stays. We keep all the pockets and labels. The sleeves become the sides of the bag and the front flap is made from the front of the jacket. We use an awesome vintage tie for the adjustable strap. We were recently asked to make a bag for a customer using her Dad’s suit jacket. He had passed away some years ago and she was holding on to his favourite jacket, not sure what to do with it. It was a handwoven Scottish wool tweed. It was so lovely–we loved making the bag and felt really honoured to be part of such a special project.

Other upcycling projects are pencil cases made from vintage ties, skirts made from sweaters, wrap skirts upcycled from shirt sleeves, mug cozies and little creatures from wool sweaters. We try to repurpose fabric as much possible. You’ll notice on our pennant banners some have little pockets and buttons because the fabric was from a shirt. I love those little bits of history.

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Some of your pieces have themes of feminism and diversity; tell us about the choice to include these topics in your wares?

It’s missing from the market in Sudbury. We are the only place in Sudbury you can go buy a tote bag or tea towel with a quote about feminism on it! But the big reason is that these issues are a huge part of who we are and when we make stuff, that’s what comes out. It’s what feels good and important. We consider ourselves craftivists. Most of what we make has a message; sometimes it’s obvious like on our Totes Opinionated and on our buttons and magnets. Others are less obvious but they are there. We’ve had amazing response to our rag dolls–they are simple, colourful and come in five different skin tones, different gender expressions and personal styles. I love seeing a person meet a doll; it’s obvious they feel seen and understood. Our tiny hand-stitched wool dolls, change purses and sewing kits speak to our desire to slow down. It’s not always about perfectly uniform stitches and speed! We try to make clothing in many sizes, rather than just S-XL. When a person who doesn’t fit into that range walks into a store that doesn’t carry their size, they feel like they don’t matter. That’s not cool, and we want to be different.

Where can we find Sew Local items? 

Right now you can find us at the Greater Sudbury Market on Elgin St Saturdays 8-2pmand Sundays 10-2pm. The market runs until October 9 this year and we plan on returning in the spring. We have a cozy booth set up that is our own whimsical little store with all of our goodies for you to come check out.

We also plan attending a select few craft shows that we’re really excited about! You can find us at:

-Sat. Oct. 1- Sun. Oct. 2 from 11-4pm Freskiws Fall Fair in Garson

-Sat. Oct 29 from 10-4 Sudbury Fall Women’s Show’s Keepsake Christmas Showcase at the Radison Hotel

-Sat. Nov. 5 from 10-5pm Maker’s North Collective’s Handmade Holiday Market at the Ukrainian Hall on Frood Rd.

-Sun. Dec. 4 We’re hoping to be at the Maker’s Market Sudbury!

Where can we find more information on Sew Local? 

You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sewlocalsudbury/, send us an email at sewlocalsudbury@gmail.com or come visit us at the Greater Sudbury Market, we love to get into long deep discussions about we’re doing! We plan to launch our website sewlocal.ca early in the New Year when we take a little break from making!

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Jessica Lovelace is a Public Relations and Communications grad, musical theatre enthusiast, lover of live music and part-time unicorn tamer. Some have said that the Big Dripper from Sub City is a regional delicacy and the perfect end to a Sudbury Saturday Night – Jessica is definitely one of those people. No, the hair is not a perm.

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