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  • Writer's pictureEmily Keller

Fabscrap for recycled textiles

Ah, I remember those days, when taking the subway was normal. Fun fact: I have not been on the subway for about 3 months because of coronavirus.

I went to the Fabscrap warehouse in Brooklyn pre-coronavirus. You can also tell it was a few months ago, because of how short my hair was. Now it’s long and lovely.

FabScrap has quickly become one of my favorite places to go for yarn.

FabScrap is a textile recycling and reuse organization that works with many fashion brands, designers in the city.

In NYC, if 10% of a business’s waste in any given month is textiles, then they must be separated from the waste and recycled. That is the law here.

They work with brands and other textile companies to pick up their textile waste. They then sort through it.

Check out their website for more info.

This is the pre-sorted pile. This is everything that brands have recycled, but hasn’t been sorted for recycling yet.

Proprietary material and small scraps are shredded for insulation, or carpet padding.

Non-proprietary material in good condition is sold back to students, artists, and designers (like me) at deeply discounted prices.

The discounted prices run about $5 per pound, or $3 per pound for students.

Specialty items like leather and fur is priced separately.

They also have a volunteer program. You sign up for a sorting session where you sort incoming fabric and textiles for 3 hours. After your session, you get 5 pounds of fabric for free for volunteering, and then any extra fabric in addition to the first 5 pounds is $3 per pound.

The volunteering is suspended right now because of coronavirus. But check their website or follow them on Instagram for when volunteering opportunities open back up.

They also have flash sales on their Instagram Stories, so follow them for flash sales, shop opening updates, and virtual workshops on all things textiles!

Most of their inventory consists of fabric. They also have some trims, leather, and fur. They do have a decent selection of yarn as well, and that’s what I come here for. The yarn.

This is me in my element. I get focused and look through all the yarn for the gems. You know what I’m talking about cashmere, merino, silk, the luxury fibers. I take my time to examine the yarns and check the labels for the fiber content. The labels aren’t always right, so I’m getting better at feeling the difference between, for example, merino and cashmere.

Here are a few yarns I got from Fabscrap. They include natural fibers like merino wool, cashmere, and organic cotton, and synthetic fibers like polyamide stretch yarns.

The navy blue in this sweater panel is also from Fabscrap. Check out my YouTube video on it here:

Behind me are the volunteers. They’re sorting through the fabrics.

It’s quite hit-or-miss because it’s just whatever brands are throwing out at the time. You can definitely find some gems in there.

If you don’t have the good fortune of being in New York City, you can check out FabScrap’s online store here:

Things are priced differently on the online shop, but still good prices. Check it out.

Now, because of coronavirus, they’re doing online sales exclusively. Their Manhattan shop and Brooklyn warehouse locations are not open right now. Again, check their website for when their shops will open back up.

Their Brooklyn warehouse is inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Which is a really cool building.

Their Manhattan shop is on 26th St just east of FIT. My former neighborhood. I wish this shop was here when I was in school.

I hope you enjoy this new resource as much as I have. And I hope it inspires you to create with recycled materials.

Write any questions in the comments that you have about working with recycled fabrics or yarns.

Also, if you try out Fabscrap's products, let me know how that goes!

Check out my video on Fabscrap, and Subscribe to my channel for updates on when I post new fashion videos.

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