Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

14 Unexpected Benefits of Hand Sewing

Every now and again I'll go on a mending or refashioning spree, and I'll share it with you guys. What I don't share are the many times I thread a needle to stitch on a button or repair a small hole in a shirt I love ... or put small darts in a dress otherwise too wide for my daughter; by hand. I was raised by a tribe of woman who sewed - not in some precious, artistic way... it was simply a survival skill for them, like being able to boil an egg. I realize that this mindset has shifted, and our generation is more likely to replace than repair. So I recently gave the 7.5 year old Ms R her first lesson in sewing on a button. And as we worked together, I realized again how valuable it is for her to learn things like this. Why?

ReFab@Home: Sentimental about towels (!)

I'm turning the lense on two of my repurposes today.  In case you can't tell, I'm unabashedly sentimental about "stuff".  If it means something to me, I try hard to find a way to keep it around. But I don't hoard (much) - I've moved enough times in my life to be very very scared of my potential inner hoarder.  And, I really like my stuff to have a purpose - not hide in a drawer.  

Towel #1:  One of my oldest friends gave me a hand-painted tea towel / pot-holder gift set about 12 years ago. I love the colors and its Cape Town origins. Ultimately I didn't use it much in the kitchen because all that bright white wouldn't stand a chance. But I hung on to it. When I got a new sewing machine a couple of years ago, I wanted a simple cover and found the tea-towel idea via Martha.  My towel wasn't quite big enough, so I cut it in half and added a strip of bright cotton across the top.  I cut the painted cherries out of the pot holder and appliqued them to the plain side of the cover.  And voila.

Towel #2: When my gran moved from her little flat into a nursing home, my mom selected a few of her things to store for me.  Including a set of 2 thin, oddly sized towels from the 50s.  The fact that my grandmother still had these towels in the 90s tells me something about my genetic predisposition!  I loved the orange detail on them but could never figure out how to use them (odd size).  Then, on a whim some time last year, I chopped one up and turned it into a smock/apron.  Because when I cook, I seem to need to wash and dry my hands 15 times.  I added bright orange ribbon, some hand-sewn detail on the pockets... and now it hangs in the kitchen, actually getting its delicate 1950's hands dirty. 

Repurpose: Messenger bag from Cargo pants!

Two awesome tutorials to step you through upcycling those ratty old cargo pants.  The version above is from Noodlehead.  The version below is from Bludor

Upcycle: Plastic Bottle Cap Pincushion ...

Beyond cute, right?  Check out Michele's whole post for more plastic-cap re-use ideas.  

Upcycle: Repurposed neck ties & zippers

Blue Velvet Chair is my new blog crush!  Thanks to Mike (the host), I spent a long time gawking at the many, amazing repurposed ties (pictured above) being created by Alisa of Ties and Whimsy. Doesn't every girl want to wear a man's tie?  I think so.  Especially when they look like this!  I had a *very* hard time choosing a few to feature in this post ... amazing stuff.

Wanna try it yourself?   Rachel, of Maybe Matilda, has a ton of awesome tutorials on offer.  But this pleated neck-tie how-to will serve as a great springboard if you want to emulate Alisa.  Here's to creative refashioning, feminine repurposing and whimsy!

Lots of tutorials out there for making zipper flowers ... I really like this one from Maya Road Company:

Recycle: Old sweater ... new hat!

The picture says it all really .... awesome re-fashion (pattern included) from See Kate Sew

DIY: Cheap, cheap birdie fun ...

This beautiful quilted bird house and matching birdie rattles was a labor of love ... but worth it right?  It's a toy any infant will happily chew on and shake.  Later on, it'll be great for container play and peek-a-birdie! Full tutorial via Instructables

Talk about cheap, cheap, cheap and cheerful!  These would be great in a kid's room or craft room ... and SUCH a fun way to use up scrap fabric.  I would put the magnet *inside* the bird to child-proof it.  Then imagine the possibilities: counting, sorting, color-matching ... you could make them different sizes too!  Thanks to Two Girls Being Crafty

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Upcycle: Sweater Re-sew-lution ...

YEAH!  I love this idea.  I know exactly which sweater is about to get the chop.  Thanks to Me Sew Crazy for hosting the tutorial.  Check out Tea Rose Home for more upcycling ideas from Suchiko - like the old-cardigan-turns-scarf below:

Recycle: Downsize a sweater!

I have three old stretched-out sweaters sitting in a box waiting for exactly this kind of repurposing!  Thanks to Homemade Ginger for the great tutorial!  (Headband tutorial is separate)

DIY: For the love of leafiness ...

A simple, cheap, very leafy little headband.  Full tutorial via MeSewCrazy.

Or make a felted-flower belt for Ms Dress-up!  Care of Shwin&Shwin 

Grown up version?  Go to Lark Crafts

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DIY: Felt flower accessories ...

Nothing brightens a wool coat like a big, flowery brooch.  Follow this great tutorial from Poldapop Designs and make one for yourself! 

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DIY: When a penguin spots a polka-dot ...

A proud, prancing penguin,
A polka-dotted king!
A black-and-white companion
Who doesn't eat a thing...

Get the goods on how to make him from The Purl Bee.

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Upcycle: Refashion your closet!

My good friend Lisa (of Poldapop Designs) recently found herself facing a NY's eve date with her hubby, minus the "great new dress" she'd planned to conjure for herself.  Two little girls, the holidays, a small business to run .... and stomach flu (!) had all contributed to this fix.  So what did she do?  She refashioned a dress that had been collecting dust in her closet for years!  Here's the before and after:

Awesome right?  I've "reconstructed" a number of things in my closet over the years ... recently making a Target sweater a little more "Anthropologie" by removing an elasticized hem and adding a big button! You do NOT need to have mad sewing skills to pull this off.  You really don't.  So check out the great round up of projects (21 of them!) recently published at Crafting a Green World.

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DIY: A super-easy headscarf!

I have more bad-hair days than good.  And most accessories look silly on me ... but this.  Hmmmm... this might work and it looks really easy to make!  Get instructions for the classic Melody Miller headscarf here.

Upcycle: Leafy T-shirt Scarf

I LOVE this!  Two old t-shirts, a little bleach, a little embroidery thread (or "floss" in US english) and voila!  Very eco-chic ... get the how-to from Joy Beadworks.

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2012 resolutions: SEW more, WRITE more

According to the ever-entertaining Rob Breszny I should be creatively prolific in 2012.  Apparently I will have both the stamina and discipline necessary to pull it off.  Good news - I have a kid's book to complete and mountains of fabric to turn into actual, wearable/usable things.

If I'm going to start sewing again, some basic supplies are needed.  For example, I still don't own a pincushion. I like both of these very much ... perhaps I'll make both, since I'm going to have super-creative-energy to burn!

This beautiful "sprocket" template is available at Cluck Cluck Sew.

This beautiful "square deal" is care of Heather Bailey.

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DIY: Cover that e-Reader!

I recently caved and purchased an eReader for my book-loving, angry-birds-addicted partner.  And in the spirit of looking-like-I-made-an-effort, I threw together a case for the thing.  I had no pattern ... my measurements were it bit screwy ... it fit badly.  But it's the thought that counts right?  Ummmm... kinda.  Now, of course, three months later, there's this lovely pattern available ... free.  Sheesh.  Grab it from Lark Crafts!

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DIY: Vintage suitcase turned dollhouse...

Oh the places she'll go!

This whimsical, portable, transformable, retro-cottagy, wonderous idea taps into my inner little girl like little else I've seen recently.  Not to mention my inner-applique-lover.  Head over to Prudent Baby for the full tutorial and lots more images.

DIY: Sleepy-time doll (free pattern)

Lovely pattern for this bedtime buddy stuffed with a handful of lavender.  Thanks to WhipUp.

DIY: Headwrap / earwarmer ...

I sat at a craft fair last week and watched $20 mass-produced versions of these fly out the door ... they were polyester yarn and really chintzy.  But they also looked surprisingly good on everyone!  

I did not try one on, but wondered about dusting off the knitting needles and making one for myself.  Gotta say, I'd much rather sew one, especially if there's an upcycle opportunity in there too!  So thanks to Delia Creates for the super-simple tutorial via Prudent Baby.