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Sewing hair scrunchies raises money for drought-affected communities

Jessica Hinchliffe, Thursday January 17, 2019 - 10:32 EDT
ABC licensed image
Alice Baxby learned how to sew scrunchies with help from her grandmother. - ABC licensed

Alice Baxby wasn't around to enjoy (endure) the scrunchie hair trend of the 1980s and '90s, but the Brisbane tween is selling hundreds of the hair ties to help families struggling with the drought.

It was after visiting a family member's cattle property in central Queensland that Alice decided she wanted to do something for farming communities.

So in her final few months of primary school last year, the 12-year-old started creating scrunchies by the dozen.

"We had to do a project where we could help or benefit someone in the community," she said.

"Some of my friends decided to visit neighbours or friends if they were old or hurt, and others decided to raise money for breast cancer or save the koalas.

"But I decided to help the families in drought."



Alice raised more than $1,500 from 300 scrunchies and had another $1,000 matched by a local business.

She said the trip to central Queensland made her realise how dry areas in the region were and how much they needed help.

"It was raining a lot in Brisbane, but as we drove north and got past this one little town it just stopped," she told .

"There was no rain there and everyone was saying they hadn't seen the dams so low."

Learning to sew with grandma

After a sewing lesson or two from her grandmother, Alice knew that scrunchies were the thing she wanted to create to raise money.

"They are easy to make and it only takes me about five minutes to sew one."

She also chose the charity on her own accord, picking the non-for-profit organisation Drought Angels.

"When the brief came home from her pastoral care subject at school, I did stall at first at the idea of craft and making scrunchies," Alice's mother, Eliza, said.



"But she was persistent in what she wanted to do.

"She knew she wanted to sell them and give all the profits to Drought Angels, which was warming to our family."

The charity helps families in Queensland who are affected by drought, fire or flood and provides financial and emotional support.

'Everyone wanted to buy some'

Ms Baxby said initially she and Alice had planned to only use fabric donated to them from a friend who was a seamstress.

"We thought that would be enough to get the job done, but 12 turned into 24 and the scraps were running dry so we had to buy extra fabric," she said.

"Through social media and our local community here in Brisbane ... we couldn't believe the support Alice received."



Alice said most of the sales had been done through her mother's Instagram account as well as a couple of transactions at school.

"I went to my brother's school and everyone wanted to buy some, so we had to go back," she said.

"When we got to my school, I put signs up and I brought them out at lunchtime and everyone had money to buy them ... I couldn't keep up."

The trend lives on

Ms Baxby said she remembered the popularity of scrunchies in the 1980s and was glad the hair accessory was once again in fashion.



"It was good timing and fortuitous for us that scrunchies were back in and they are cheaper than the Sportsgirl version," she said.

Although currently on school holidays, Alice is already thinking about the possibility of sewing more.

"I'm on a break at the moment, but I think I will start again when I get back to school."

While you're here… are you feeling curious?


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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