How to Donate Materials
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by with the interest in donating to our business. Whether you just like thrifting for bonnet worthy textiles & seeing them upcycled into our beautiful bonnets or you're cleaning out your own closet/fabric stash WE LOVE to see what you guys send. I have always said that this business isn't just about my taste in bonnets - something you guys send in for bonnets may be something I would pass by entirely when I am out thrifting myself. Your donations make me stretch my creativity & reimagine these textiles as our bonnets - I have always joked that we are the "bonnet maker for the people" - we don't have a certain look, we just like to save textiles from waste!
So in order to keep this streamlined & make sure that you're sending/purchasing things we can use I have created a downloadable PDF that you can print & bring with you while you're thrifting or cleaning out your closet. All of the info is at the bottom of this page along with a link for you to download the info so when you send in your donations I have all the info I need to appreciate you!
Please do know that we DO NOT expect you to go out thrifting for our business. Over the years that we've been doing this we've have had some wonderful followers who've never really been in the market for bonnets but have wanted to contribute to our business in some way. Hunting down textiles for us & sending them to our studio has brought great joy to both parties involved, it's formed some wonderful lifelong friendships that I am so grateful for. But I can't stress enough that it is NOT expected. We're just thrilled you're here, that you're thinking about us before you donate your own clothing or if you have a fabric stash that you'd like to send & see put to good us.
One last thing that I will just put out there is that we do not always use everything that is sent in to us. Although I do like using all kinds of textiles I still do hold a bit of artistic license when creating for our business - I cannot make something that does not inspire me. We also cannot set aside a bonnet for you in exchange for the fabrics you send in, this method of sending us textiles is purely for donations. If you're interested in using your special garments for a custom bonnet you can shop for those in the “Custom Keepsake Bonnet” collection on our homepage
So now... Onward to the DONATING INFO!
Donating to SAA
Hey there! Thank you for showing interest in donating to our business. Our mission is something we are very proud of & it’s because of generous people like you that we’re able to “thrift shop” all over the country.
This page is a cheat sheet of sorts to keep in mind when you’re looking through your own closet or if you’re wanting to browse the thrift stores for bonnet-worthy textiles. We do not expect you to spend money on your donations to us but over the years we’ve had some avid thrifters who truly enjoy hunting down textiles for us to upcycle. Sending in garments or fabrics from your own closets is wonderful as well - no matter what you’re able to do we’re just really grateful that you thought of us.
When looking at garments these are the questions that I ask myself:
What’s the fabric content? Linen, cotton, & rayon are what we like to use. Polyester is something we avoid as well as silk, chiffon, tulle, anything that’s too slippery/scratchy & not breathable. Those materials, although beautiful for certain things, just do not make a very nice bonnet. What does make a nice bonnet are cottons garments hat have interest to them - so unique textures (seersucker, oxford shirts, slubby linen), a nice woven fabric, embroidery, & prints, of course.
How many seams/darts does this garment have? Look at the front of the garment, are there darts? Lots of pockets? Tabs on the sleeves for rolling it up? Panels to the fitted shirt or twirly skirt? We have to avoid seams to fit our patterns on the garment in a way that will make a nice bonnet (so not crooked) So lots of seams, tucks, embellishments, or buttons make it hard for us to get a reasonable number of bonnets for sale. Sometimes a garment is better left to live its life just as it is rather than use upcycling it.
The last question I ask myself is - will this actually make a nice bonnet & be worth cutting up? Sometimes the textiles can be BEAUTIFUL but like what I said about seams/darts it doesn’t always mean it will make nice bonnets. Is the pattern too spaced apart to get nice placement? Once we cut a small bonnet from the garment/textile will you even be able to tell what the print is? Would it be suitable for a baby to wear?
When sending your textiles they do not need to be laundered ahead of time, Marc washes everything in scent free Arm & Hammer detergent before we upcycle it.
So this is just a quick overview of what I ask myself when I am thrifting or looking for things in my closet to “donate to the cause”
As for fabric yardage - the same goes for fabric content as above. My team has sometimes questioned the yardage I hold onto only to be surprised when they see what I think to do with it! So, my point is, even if you're unsure if it will make nice bonnets & you’re wanting to donate it anyways - send it our way, it may just be something that inspires me.
All being that said, we reserve the right to NOT use what is sent to us. We appreciate the donations so much & use a great amount of them. But through my creative process I do need to be inspired by the textile - whether it’s my taste for bonnets or I know our customers will love it - I need to continue putting out a product that I am proud of. We’ve had people donate in the past feeling discouraged that I did not use what they sent in so I just like to be open & honest about the process. Anything we do not use I donate to our local survival center - we relied on that survival center when we needed assistance years ago for food & clothing so it’s wonderful for us to give back now through our business.
If you are sending things in I would love it if you could rip off the bottom section of this paper & fill it out to include it in your box so that I can get in touch with you! I have a PRETTY good memory (although it’s getting harder as this business grows) with remembering who sent what. If your donations become a bonnet I like to think of you when it does, mention you in my bonnet shares (with your permission & if I remember!) & share with our community how we’re all saving this world from textile waste #onebonnetatatime.
Thanks for being here, we’re so excited to see what gems you send to us!
Send materials to:
Sweet As April
PO Box 148
Turners Falls, MA 01376
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Please send this bottom portion off with your textiles!
Your name_____________________ If I remember it when I use your fabric/s can I mention you on Instagram?
YES, PLEASE DO NO, THANK YOU
If YES, what is your Instagram handle (ie mine is @sweet_as_april) ______________________
Can I have your email address to send you a thank you note?
If yes, please write it out here ______________________________________________
Lastly, if your fabrics have any meaning to them - like your grandmother's vintage embroidered linens, your mother's fabric stash, a shirt you wore to your first interview, a favorite dress you wore… all those things bring new meaning to is just being “another textile” for me when I am designing. Furthermore, if you have any ideas about what the textiles should become (eyelet, brim, ruffles… or a name the bonnet should have) let me know & I can do my best to make it happen - or maybe I will surprise you with a different design!
Fabric Details (if any, you don’t have to write anything!)