Humans of the Coast: Turning bedsheets into clothing
ADMIRERS of the floral dresses Karyn Kong makes for herself and her daughter are often surprised at where she finds the fabrics.
Old bedsheets, she tells them.
And old curtains and tablecloths. And tea towels. And doilies, And bedspreads. And blankets.
When someone asked Karyn where she had got a Ralph Lauren dress for her daughter, she broke the news she has simply remodelled one of her husband's shirts.
Dresses, shorts, toys, tops, skirts, pyjamas, coats, Christmas stockings, patchwork pillowcases - Karyn's niftiness with the needle and thread knows no bounds.
Her sewing almost always involves recycled or vintage fabric.
"With the amount of stuff I want to sew, if I had to buy new fabric, my husband would kill me," she said.
Karyn, 47, of Buderim, was introduced to sewing by her Nan when she was a little girl.
"She had an old Singer sewing machine with a treadle and I used to sit for hours sewing bits and pieces."
When the kids started prep, Karyn tried sewing and selling clothes online under the label Evie Mai and Me.
The return did not match the labour that went into the garments so she returned to work - she has a background in working for medical offices - and sews in her spare time or what there is of it.
"I used to sew until one or two in the morning. As soon as the kids were in bed, I'd say goodnight to my husband and disappear," she said
"Now I get up at 5am and go to the gym or go walking. The sewing I don't do quite as much. Now, if I sew, I sew on the weekend or if I've done all my housework, I might sew for a couple of hours while the kids are at school.
"I can't do the sewing and the exercise and the vegie plot and the work and the housework.
"If I'm not working on the vegie plot, I might be sewing. If I'm not sewing, I'm exercising - something misses out."
Karyn uses vintage patterns and new ones and finds inspiration, and instruction on the internet, but nuts a lot out herself.
"When you finish something and you try it on and it looks good and it fits, it's exciting," she said.
"Sometimes I'll try and just cut something out of old fabric and if it works, it's okay, and if it doesn't, I'll try and make something else out of it. At worst, I've wasted $3 on a sheet."