When Florence Mano learned that designers routinely discard end-run and sample fabrics, she was distraught. The owner of Mano’s Material Creations, a custom embroidery shop in Phoenixville, PA, hated the idea of all that beautiful material joining the millions of tons of textiles tossed into landfills each year. “So much of our resources are wasted, and the American public just doesn’t realize it,” she says.
Mano started purchasing the scraps and piecing them together into chic tailored jackets, sometimes using as many as seven different color-coordinated fabrics in each garment. Each jacket is one-of-a-kind, since Mano can’t guarantee she’ll find the same leftover fabric twice. She also turns the sample discards into embroidered reading pillows and insulated wine totes. Mano sells many of her wares at local farmers markets, which tout her green reuse of products.
Even the scraps of her scraps are not wasted. “I pass on what I have left,” she says. “I want it to become a useful product and not end up where it was going to be – in a landfill.” Mano donates her textile waste to other groups, one of which uses the leftovers to fill homemade beds for rescue dogs. Another nonprofit, which provides employment for developmentally disabled adults, uses the excess cloth to create bookmarks and embellish greeting cards.
These unique handmade jackets, created by Mano, are stitched together using as many as seven different pieces of discarded sample fabric.
Florence Mano creates these embroidered reading pillows using sample fabric rescued from ending up in a landfill.