From consignment clothing to the potential for fashion, Ragfinery in downtown Bellingham specializes in textile transformation.
The non-profit was founded on the idea of textile re-use – a rejection of “fast fashion.”
"Buy quality. Shop thrift. Learn to sew,” said Project Manager Shan Sparling. "A lot of people don't realize that the choices they make at the mall really affect things in a positive or negative way."
Ragfinery features sewing, knitting and quilting supplies at deeply discounted prices.
Yardage, yarn, trim, ribbon and bias tape are $5.50/pound. Scrap fabric is $1/bag.
There are also bins of used clothing, which can be worn as-is or re-purposed into new designs.
People like Terry Hayes give new meaning to the term “regular customer.”
"(I come) two times a week. No kidding,” she said. “I've been all over the United States and I've never found anything like it."
Ragfinery also offers sewing classes for aspiring artists, and partners with social services to provide job training for people in transition.
It all adds up to a focus on locally-made wardrobes, and less old clothing in landfills.
"I love being a part of something that can really make an environmental impact, that's really where my heart is,” Sparling said.
For those who don't know a stitch about sewing, there are plenty of other ways to shop. Ragfinery carries lightly-used Eileen Fisher pieces, clothing made with 90-percent re-used materials, and artistic creations like blankets and fingerless gloves - made by regular customer Hayes.
"So it's kind of a nice payback. What I buy here, I turn into something else,” she said.
Ragfinery is located at 1421 N. Forest St. and is open Tuesday through Saturday.