I find great joy in making something I need with something that was unwanted. I am not a proficient seamstress, but have been yearning to become one.
For FREE fabric via discarded clothing, I recommend Mission thrift store. They throw out donations that are unsuitable for sale. They are more than happy to give those items away for FREE. They are one of the friendliest thrift stores in town. If you call ahead, they will set aside bags of clothing for you. This is a great way to recycle clothing. The following are random sewing projects that interest me. Check back. I will be continually updating this list.
TEA BAGS AND COFFEE FILTERS
Here is simple project I did with a white 100% cotton tee shirt. I simply cut the material into the same diameter as a paper coffee filter. I used tee shirt material because it does not require sewing. I got the idea from these:
- http://www.etsy.com/listing/90763366/coffee-filter-resuable-organic-cotton – Coffee Filter Size: approx. 8.25″ diameter, fits medium basket and most likely a bigger basket. 100 percent Organic unbleached cotton muslin, medium weight Care: Rinse and let dry.
- http://www.etsy.com/listing/87539573/organic-unbleached-muslin-bag-envelope – organic cotton Tea Bags
A sewing friend of mine suggested that I find dress material at the thrift store in the form of table clothes. Salvation Army sells them for $2 each. At 40% off, I got a cute floral pattern on sturdy 100% cotton. Another friend is going to help me make a pattern from a well-loved summer dress. Here are more dress patterns:
- http://www.running-w-scissors.com/2011/07/yellow-maxi-dress-from-vintage-sheet.html?m=1 – Yellow Maxi Dress from Vintage Sheet
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsCB3vBRr7k&feature=fvwrel – How To Make Cozy Shorts
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2T_vzK5WtY&playnext=1&list=PL403117F0EB0C9120&feature=results_video – shorts from tee shirts
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wcXzPAiK0Y – DIY: turn your t-shirts into shorts
DIAPERS AND TODDLER UNDERWEAR
- http://handmadebyrita.blogspot.com/2007/10/classic-rrp-ritas-rump-pocket-pattern.html – FREE cloth diaper pattern
- http://adventures-in-fluff.blogspot.com/2011/06/cloth-vs-disposables-real-life-cost.html -June 14, 2011 – Cloth vs Disposables: A Real Life Cost Study
- http://adventures-in-fluff.blogspot.com/2011/08/how-to-sew-your-own-recycled-t-shirt.html – How To Sew Your Own Diapers From Tee Shirts
- http://ecocrazymom.com/come-join-in-on-the-2012-flats-challenge-flatschallenge – May 3, 2012 – Come Join In On The 2012 Flats Challenge!
- http://www.sewastraightline.com/2011/03/lets-celebrate-with-underwear.html – boys Itty Bitty Boxer Briefs
- http://theperfectnose.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/a-tutorial-for-cloning-ready-to-wear-boy-shorts –
- http://www.sewastraightline.com/2009/03/project-boy.html –
- http://www.etsy.com/listing/90512399/childrens-undies-sewing-pattern-pdf – Easiest pattern for children’s undies. I like that she switched out elastic for Lycra fabric for additional comfort.
- http://adventures-in-fluff.blogspot.com/2011/07/ways-to-save-while-building-your-diaper.html – Cloth Diaper Testers
- http://this-busy-mommy.blogspot.com/2011/01/making-boxer-brief-for-man-tutorial.html – best pattern making tutorial for a unisex boxer briefs. This is the pattern I think I will use for making bike shorts to wear with sundresses. These will be more modest then briefs, and it will be fun to upcycle tee shirts this way.
- http://www.thezenofmaking.com/2010/06/t-shirt-to-underpants-upcycling.html – best pattern making tutorial for panties
- http://supernaturale.com/articles.html?id=70 – I like this clever woman’s use of fun tee shirt patterns. I also greatly appreciate that she shows how to make my own pattern.
- http://belleandburger.blogspot.com/2009/06/panty-tutorial-how-to-make-your-own.html –
- http://comeandseetheseitz.com/2010/03/09/panty-tutorial-how-to-sew-underwear -How to sew underwear
- http://www.specialtyoutdoors.com/tips/shorts.asp – bike shorts
- http://www.clevergirl.org/2009/09/172-wednesday-workshop-bikini-undies-to.html –
- http://www.burdastyle.com/projects/funky-t-shirt-boy-short-underwear – funky t-shirt boy short underwear – Looks great for wearing under dresses.
- http://thesittingtree.blogspot.com/2011/01/upcycledrecycled-tshirt-tutorial-2.html – upcycled/Recycled T~Shirt Tutorial #2: Underwear
- http://web.archive.org/web/20040407074359/http://www.getcrafty.com/read/craft/features/tshirtunderwear/pdf/undies_pattern1.pdf – T-shirt Underwear pattern
- http://karlamcurry.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/i-cant-believe-im-sewing-underwear –
- http://facts.randomhistory.com/underwear-facts.html –
- http://craftingagreenworld.com/2012/01/17/what-are-you-making-under-there-upcycled-underwear-tutorials-from-around-the-web –
- http://sewing.about.com/od/adultclothingprojects/tp/Free-Sewing-Patterns-For-Panies-Bras-Slips-And-Undergarments.htm –
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aH8GlQx-YY – How to Make a Panty (or Bikini Bottom) – The Pattern
- http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2012/how-tuesday-design-sew-your-own-leggings – Excellent in depth instructions
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duyJ4ILQfxE – Sewing tutorial: How To Make Leggings! (DIY)
- http://www.firefliesandjellybeans.com/2009/11/how-to-make-leg-warmers-from-old.html – Make your own leg warmers from and old sweater tutorial
- http://www.joann.com/legwarmers/prod720823 – Legwarmers
TANK TOPS AND SHRUGS
- http://1sewgreenmama.blogspot.com/2011/05/refashioned-t-shirt.html – Sew a Tee Shirt into a Tank Top
- http://reachingformore.typepad.com/upcycled_design_lab/2012/01/diy-easy-3-step-upcycled-t-shirt-shrug.html – No-Sew T-shirt Shrug
- http://www.beeswrap.com – I like to avoid plastic touching my food. So far that goal in almost impossible. This product looks promising. I intend to make my own.
- http://www.cuppow.com/collections/cuppow-jar-drinking-lids – I have been using canning jars as water bottles for years. I have been wanting a commuter cup lid for years. I purchased a Cuppow lid (December 2013) and am very happy with it. It pairs well with the following beverage cozy.
- http://roadkillrescue.net/2012/06/denim-jean-cozy – Beverage Cozy – Who doesn’t need an insulated beverage carrier in Hemet?
- http://ladywiththeredrocker.com/2012/07/02/tie-dye-captain-america-shirt – Captain America Tye-Dye Shirt
- http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/earth-day-craft-t-shirt-weaving – T-Shirt Weaving
- http://greenissuessingapore.blogspot.sg/2012/06/t-shirt-slippers.html – T-shirt slippers
- http://www.pioneerthinking.com/crafts/crafts-basics/naturaldyes.html – Making Natural Dyes From Plants
MISCELLANEOUS PROJECTS IDEAS
- http://www.orgtoday.com/recycle.aspx – Where to Donate, Recycle and Consign
- http://sewstorebought.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/best-basic-wardrobe-list-i-have-ever-seen-harpers-bazaar-great-style –
- http://www.sewastraightline.com/2007/08/index-of-sewing-lessons.html – FREE sewing lessons
- http://www.patternschool.com – Too advanced for me, but has useful links
- http://freesewingpatternsdaily.blogspot.com – very helpful
- http://www.youtube.com/threadbanger –
- http://jembellish.blogspot.com/p/clothes-upcycling-projects.html –
- http://ecocrazymom.com/earth-friendly-period-event-the-keeper-review-giveaway-ends-530 – May 5, 2012 – Earth Friendly Period Event: The Keeper Review & Giveaway
- http://www.organicliaison.com/program/products –
- http://sewingfantaticdiary.blogspot.com –
- http://suzyssitcom.com/2010/09/feature-friday-hand-dyeing-yarn-with-easter-egg-dye-tutorial.html – Hand-Dyeing Yarn with Easter Egg Dye
- http://www.bytesizescience.com/index.cfm/2013/3/28/The-Chemistry-of-Egg-Dyeing – The chemistry of dyeing.
- http://video.wpt2.org/video/2267864175 – Sewing with Nancy Kick It Up a Stitch
- Note to self – Find a site that teaches how make my own: slings, splints, masks, Rescue Breather Face Shield…and the risks involved in using my own homemade versions.
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Here is are articles that explains the textile waste problem:
Here are articles that detail a very doable solution:
- http://www.tranclo.com/municipal-programs.asp – This is for a municipal textile recycling program.
- http://www.tranclo.com/charities.asp – This is for charities interested in raising money.
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My original reason for holding on to fabric freebies was to make costumes. I don’t care if they are sewn or taped together. The following are random costumes designs that my family would enjoy making:
- http://misonani.com/2013/04/30/diy-thor-helmet – Thor’s Helmet and Iron Man
- Check back. I will continue to add to this. Then this section will be moved to it’s own separate post.
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* * * THIS SECTION IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT. THE FOLLOWING WAS MOVED FROM PREVIOUS ARTICLE. * * *
I haven’t knitted, crocheted or loomed since my teens. When my son wanted to learn, we scanned YouTube and Etsy for products we would like to make. Then we went hunting at our local thrift stores for supplies. We found knitting, crocheting, looms, looming tools, and skeins of yarn at a fraction of their retail cost.
While cruising YouTube I also learned how to render my own yarn from sweaters, tee shirts, and plastic bags. Sweater yarn is rendered by unraveling the sweater. Thrift stores frequently sell sweaters for $1.00 each and sometimes a $1.00 per bag. The best sweater sales are during the summer. Rendering yarn from sweaters is an inexpensive way to have cashmere and other pricey yarns for a fraction of it’s cost.
So far, I have made three yarns. Making plarn (plastic bag yarn) was the fastest. Making tarn (tee shirt yarn) took the longest. Plarn and tarn are made the same way, but it takes longer to cut through fabric than plastic with my old scissors. A rotary cutter would have cut much faster. Unraveling a sweater for yarn was easier and faster than I expected.
I have seen several ways to cut plarn and tarn. I do NOT recommend the loop method, because it has a lump where the loops meet. I do NOT recommend cutting in a spiral because it is ridiculously time consuming. The best plarn and tarn rendering method is similar to a magic trick I did as a kid. The trick began with, “I bet I can pass my body through this index card.” To prove it, I fold and cut the index card in a way that makes a giant loop that anyone can to step through. This simple trick has lots of useful applications. It seems like something I would see on a MacGyver episode!
I was going to post my photos on these projects, but the following bloggers do a great job, plus their blog features more fabulous trash-to-treasure projects than I ever plan on making.
- http://textiles4you.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-make-tarn-t-shirt-yarn.html – How to make tarn and plarn
- http://dawnprickett.blogspot.com/2008/01/recycling-sweaters-for-yarn.html – Choosing the right sweaters for rendering yarn
- http://www.sophiassundries.com/2012/06/sweaters-to-yarn-shopping-trip-1.html – Why rendering yarn from sweaters is worth my time – “So, let’s recap the savings, shall we? I paid a total of $23.85 (including tax) for these beauties. If I bought them as yarn,… $675…”
- http://blog.ladders-online.com/2012/07/24/guerrilla-knitters-and-loft-ladders/#comment-1134 – This is makes me smile.
- http://gizmodo.com/lightsaber-knitting-needles-an-elegant-tool-for-a-more-512407825 – Light Saber knitting needles!
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRLeIGGn9VY&feature=fvwp – Finger knitting
- http://www.sophiassundries.com/2012/06/crocheting-dishcloths.html – Crocheting Dishcloths – It is a tough economy, especially for an aspiring entrepreneur like my son. When I find a product that can be made with FREE resources, I am happy invest in the low-cost tools. Here is her blog: I am interested in making items for our family’s camping kit. The projects that caught my interest are leg warmers, insulated water bottle carriers, ponchos, pot cozies, aqua socks, beach toy bags…
- http://supernaturale.com/articles.html?id=53 – Crochet Bikini top (to make your own nursing bra)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKtRI6rEFug&feature=related – Hat and Neck Warmer in 1