Okay, let's say you "collect" fabric, and have a rather large stash. Possibly more than you can use in your lifetime. And then you decide to downsize to a smaller apartment, or, for that matter, you drop dead. And all that fabric! Does is go clutter up a landfill?
Well, if you live (or die) around St. Louis, a group of women called Sharity Charity will take all of that fabric, sort it out, and distribute it to charities that are making items for others. They get literally tons of fabric each year, and distribute it to Girl Scouts, youth groups, church groups, hospital auxiliary groups -- whoever needs fabric to help others. And those people make it into quilts, tote bags, sun dresses for little girls in Haiti or Africa, animal beds for shelters, weighted autism vests, stuffed bears for emergency vehicles that might pick up children, baby items for Newborns in Need, etc. (NB: they get little to no fleece.)
They used to meet twice a year to sort all of their fabric. These days I think they meet once a week. The day we were there browsing I saw about 20 - 25 trash bags full of random fabric that had just been dropped off to sort.
We, of course, were looking for fabric for costumes. Fabrics for Dogberry and his gang,
pants for Don Pedro, Benedick and Claudio, plus the other men,
white shirts for men and women,
stacks of old Pellon interfacing that can be used for tracing off multi-sized patterns.
We need more than we brought home that day, but we were reaching mental capacity to keep track of everything.
Check it out -- this is from Woolworths for 83 cents. Was the price for the full cut, or was it a per-yard price? How long was this tucked away in someone's closet? Boggles the mind. It has now been washed (it smelled pretty musty), rinsed (with vinegar to help kill the smell), and dried -- just like label directions (okay, actually if ANY of this stuff looks even vaguely washable I've been throwing it in the machine -- it's ALL musty, and sometimes smokey). It's next adventure will be as pants for Dogberry and the watch, or else overskirts for Ursula and Margaret.
Some of it is actually curtains that people pulled down and then were apparently loath to throw away since it was "usable fabric", ahem.
They also have large cones of thread, ribbons and trims.
If you're in the area, and have a group that could use some fabric for a charitable project, let me know and I'll give you the contact info. I'm not comfortable simply blasting it out over the internet.
And if you're not in the area ... I wonder if you have something like this around. I've read about another group in the South Bay area that collects and distributes quilting fabrics. And, doesn't setting something like this up sound like an awesome Gold Award project idea? Another cool project would be an online registry/wiki of organizations like this.