Ragfinery is on a mission to keep textiles out of landfills, by putting them into the hands of folks who will put them to good use. The retail store is located at 1421 Forest St. in Bellingham, and is filled to the rafters with fabrics, quilting materials, yarns, notions and supplies, all at great prices to inspire your creativity and reawaken your inner sewing or knitting maven.
Whether you seek a certain color of fabric or yarn, or any notion you could possibly need for your project, you’ll find it at Ragfinery. And all those creative upcyclers out there will rejoice at the bins full of finished, but unloved garments that beg to be transformed into something new and wearable. And if, like me, you like the idea of reusing and upcycling but have few talents in the sewing, quilting, knitting or crocheting arenas, you can still sport the latest in upcycled fashions by perusing the consignment section at Ragfinery, where finished goods are waiting for new homes. Handbags, totes, aprons, hats, clothing, rugs and so much more have been beautifully designed and expertly produced by artists far more talented than I.
A project of ReUse Works, Ragfinery is a non-profit organization that not only takes fabric out of the waste stream, but also provides a valuable community service by partnering with local schools and social services agencies (Opportunity Council, Work Source, Cascade Connections and Northwest Youth Services) for training that helps low-income folks learn job skills, gain experience and re-enter the workforce.
In addition to all that good work, Ragfinery also offers artists and crafters the opportunity to sell their goods on consignment.
What will you find at Ragfinery?
- Quilting supplies, including fabrics in various weights, colors and patterns.
- Tons of yarn, plus bins full of wool sweaters you can either wear yourself or pull apart to create something new.
- Textiles of all kinds, waiting to be transformed into a killer Halloween or party costume, a fairy princess ensemble or something that exists only in your imagination. Fabrics, garments and yarn are sold by the pound. Easy!
In the consignment section, you can choose from garments with a creative twist, including eco-dyed fashions designed and made by Diane Lunberg. Using garments found at Ragfinery, she transforms them with dyes made from natural materials, like leaves, onion skins and rusty nails. Truly one-of-a-kind pieces! (Note: These are individually priced, not sold by the pound!)
Another featured artist is Brigitte Parra, who not only creates amazing upcycled fashions (like the coat below right), but also teaches classes so you can learn how she does it.
You may recognize the totes in the top of this next photo, particularly if you’ve ever done a brewery tour. They’re made from reused malt bags from Aslan Brewing Company.
If you love vintage handkerchiefs, you’ll find dozens here—all gorgeous, with hand embroidery and lacy details. You might even come across the perfect hat to match your dainty hanky—recycled, re-steamed and reshaped, and embellished with a bit of lace.
Want to learn how to sew, weave, felt or applique? Ragfinery holds dozens of workshops to teach the basics. They also have free workspace time, craft nights and “Crafternoon” sessions, so you can have fun and get some support in a creative group environment. See their website for more details.
Ragfinery gets support from businesses like Labels Consignment and the Assistance League of Bellingham, who donate tons (literally) of used garments that are sorted and put on the retail floor. And what doesn’t sell is baled up and sold to clothing recyclers, to further Ragfinery’s goal of being self-sustaining.
Upcoming events include the second annual Runway Challenge, when designers will get the opportunity to create garments according to a theme (not yet determined) and show off their designs. Fashionistas and interested parties should plan to attend the event on May 20 at the Leopold Crystal Ballroom. This summer, look for summer skill-building camps, just for kids.
You can help Ragfinery in its mission to remove Bellingham’s used clothing from the waste stream. Support the cause by shopping, volunteering or dropping off your textiles in the bins located just outside the building.
Ragfinery, 1421 N. Forest St. Bellingham, WA 98225 360-738-6977
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.