Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sewing With Recycled Materials

Three things you need to know about me and anything crafty:
1.  I love recycling
2.  I never throw anything away
3.  I never turn down free stuff

That being said, I do a lot of sewing using recycled materials, stuff people have given me, and little scraps from other projects.  I like to save things and wait for just the right project to use them on.  Lately I had the opportunity to create a yoga mat bag for a friend.  The yoga mat is very thick and heavy so the bag needed to be strong, and she wanted a pocket for cell phone, keys, etc.  This is the same person that gave me several bags stuffed full of upholstery samples that a local furniture store was going to get rid of.  So I sorted out a bunch of the upholstery samples that looked good together and went to town!  I also just happened to have a navy blue shirt pocket that fit perfectly with this project.  I lined the bag with cream colored canvas to make sure it was extra sturdy, and used an old pair of blue jeans to make the drawstring strap.  (The only things I bought to make this project were the grommets to attach the handle, and the canvas.)

Pulling out my upholstery samples inspired me to create some small zippered pouches using the leftovers.  I bought another bag of upholstery samples at a rummage sale a couple years ago.  Most of the fabric is heavier cotton with fun prints.  At this same rummage sale I picked up a big bag of assorted zippers (both the zippers and the fabric probably cost less than $2.)  For these pouches I used bits of coordinating upholstery samples, some of that canvas I bought for the yoga bag as the pouch lining, and whatever zipper I could find.  I also am using scraps of old button down shirts I had leftover from making purses.

This brings me to my shirt purses.  I started making these a few years ago from my own pattern.  Since then I have made at least 7 of them.  The bags are slouchy hobo-style purses made from old shirts and upholstery samples with necktie handles.  Not only are these bags recycled, they are reversible!  I try to pick fabrics and neckties that go well together, and sometimes the button down shirts I choose are really awesome fabric... but really ugly shirts.

Speaking of ugly shirt fabric... this ipod case used to be a ridiculous lime green plaid shirt.  The inside is a scrap of green fleece, and the gray portion is from the leftovers after hemming some dress pants.


Anonymous said...

Dude, I LOVE your pouches! Also, we need to do a fabric swap. I have PILES of old fabric and then some containers full that I haven't even touched. I bought an entire store's worth of upholstery books and have been making patchwork monsters from them. They're awesome. You would love this stuff, I think.

Lizzy said...

these are awesome! I love the big recycled purses, they are my favorite! I hope to follow in your footsteps and create some one of a kind bags similar to these! :)

Quilter Mom of 2 said...

LOVE this!!

Kristen said...

OMG! I love this blog! I have bins & bins of recycled fabric that I have saved & friends/family have given me. I would love to see your space where you create these lovelies!

Annette said...

I love your work! I'm an old country keeper/re-user and am delighted with the young people who are embracing this lifestyle!! good luck with your work

Vicki Huffman said...

I somehow stumbled across your blog while doing something totally unrelated so it was meant to be! I love your books, use of recycled materials and your style! Thanks for sharing it. Any chance of a more in-depth tutorial on some of the techniques for bookbinding? Maybe something easy but beyond the pamphlet stitch? You must have a ton of tips and tricks with all of your experience. Have you ever taught an online class? (I know this is an older post but it's timeless!)

minimeg said...

Thanks for your comment Vicki! I have a tutorial for an easy folded book that uses one sheet of paper. I also developed instructions for an envelope book that I created a while ago. I linked both blog posts, and the envelope book instructions are available on Etsy.