Vintage @ Albert Denim reuse

Vintage @ Albert Denim reuse Case study

Lets learn a little more about: Martha Speed from Vintage@Albert

What do you reuse / repurpose / recycle? 
I use denim jeans which are no longer fit to wear and other vintage fabrics.

How would you describe what you do? 
I design and make homewares and accessories using vintage denim. My products range from aprons and pincushions to visors and yoga bags. Everything is carefully hand finished by me. I’m lucky enough to have a large home studio with good natural light (essential for threading up an overlocker) and I love my work! I enjoy finding new ways to use every part of a pair of jeans including belt loops. My largest laptop bags take four and a half pairs of jeans. My products are sold in Nottingham shops and maker markets and through Instagram. I am about to open an Etsy shop too called vintageatalbert.

How did you get into sewing? 

I have been a sewer and crafter for my whole life and have a hoard of vintage fabrics. I made my own clothes, then clothes for my children and always my own home furnishings. I graduated in Art and Design then taught at the start of my career.

I have always enjoyed making stuff as a leisure activity, mainly using recycled materials. I read an inspiring article about sustainable businesses thriving by using what is readily available nearby and it got me thinking. I love the democratic stylish cool of jeans and they are hard to recycle in the normal channels (especially those with metal rivets in them). Even very worn pairs have some usable parts, and the worn parts have their own appeal.

How long have you been running Vintage@Albert?  
Three years ago I was made redundant and the chance to change direction and the redundancy payment made it all possible. Lots of people had admired my makes and even commissioned me to make for them so I decided to go for it and Vintage@Albert was born. I bought two more sewing machines and did some extra training.

What tips do you have for other Nottinghamshire residents to help them reduce, reuse, repurpose or recycle? 
Learn to sew- if you can repair, alter or customise your clothes they last so much longer. I have some wonderful 1940s sewing books with skirts made from old coats, blouses made from old dresses etc -inspirational! And old t-shirts cut into squares make good cleaning cloths.

Martha's Instagram where you can find out more: