I'm a bit obsessed with mending, and I try not to discard clothes or fabric - (well, anything at all) that can be of some use. When it comes to childrens clothes, I feel the necessity for re-using the strongest. Children grow up so fast, and are in need of new clothes quite often. They wear out their clothes by crawling, climbing and playing (or I certainly hope they do). And some parents are quite occupied by childrens fashion and consequently replace their chidrens wardrobe regularly. The latter seems to be quite prevalent in these parts of the world. So much fabric - so little used. Let's use it all up, shall we?
Well, all that mending and other initiativs to re-use their clothes may just not be something children take notice of, unless they're actually involved in doing so. And I feel the importance of not only living sustainable (or trying my best to) - but also encourage my children to understand the concepts of sustainability. Not by telling them, but by simply doing it.
We went for a walk in an nearby area, formerly gravel pits and now an recreational area not being cultivated or interfered with in any way. Everything growing there has come up from seeds waiting in the soil for years.
We picked and gathered what we felt like, some windfallen leaves and twigs from the ground, and also gently picked some flowers and small twigs from bushes.
We had some not so good looking woolen underwear that needed refreshment. I soaked them in (cold) water added a little bit of Alum for a couple of days. Rinsed and squeezed them - and now they were ready to adorn with our findings. I didn't take pictures, but the children were free to do as they pleased, placing leaves, flowers and some berries on the fabric where they wanted to. As was I.
When we were satisfied with our work, we rolled up the under shirts tightly and secured the bundles with some string.
A couple of days before a kind neigbour allowed us to pick some twigs of their Berberis - (vulgaris, I think). Quite a pricking sort of schrub. Twigs and leaves had been soaking for a day and then simmered an hour or so before leaving it for another day to get all the potential dye stuff from the leaves. Then we put our bundles in this »soup«, put it over the heat and let it simmer for an hour. The most challenging part was to let the bundles stay in the pot to the following day - but we managed!
I think the result is lovely, the kids had fun and we're going to do this a lot more.