Archive for the "repair this" category

What can I reuse or recycle to repair the mesh on bicycle panniers?

Good friend of Recycle This and The Really Good Life, Su, has got a question for us:

Bicycle panniers – mine have a really useful stretchy mesh pocket on the outside, unfortunately now more hole than mesh. Any ideas on repairing them? The actual pannier part is absolutely fine.

The summer before last, I bought some mens’ shorts for myself and since I don’t have things down there in need of containment, I removed the “netting” layer – that wouldn’t have been pretty but would have fit the bill perfectly – stretchy white mesh. (I ended up using it in the greenhouse to store bulbs.) Can anyone think of anything else in the same vein to reuse instead? Heavy (so they won’t run) nylon tights maybe?

Another idea which is less reusing/recycling but still repairing: could you crochet a flat mesh from a plastic twine using a variant on a string bag patten? I used to make a version of this bag from all sorts of different yarns when we were short of shopping bags – makes up very quickly because it’s so much hole :)

Any other ideas?

(Photo by arifm)

How can I repair/revamp a stained cotton rug?

I haven’t done a “repair this” for a while but this is something I’ve been wondering about for a few weeks now: how can I repair/revamp a stained rug?

It’s a circular cotton rug with off-white (even before the stains!) and pale blue strips, and even though it was pretty cheap, I love it. But it is stained and dirty now and it really needs a good clean and/or a revamp.

Since it’s cotton, it can probably handle some tough cleaning love – but it’s also about 2m/6-and-a-half feet in diameter and heavy and awkward to work with. It’s not going to fit in a sink or a washing machine – even cleaning it in a bath will be very awkward because it’s so big.

As for revamping it, since it’s cotton, I thought about the possibility of dyeing it – but again, that’ll be an awkward job, and also potentially a very, very messy one.

Any suggestions for how can I clean it? Or any advice for dyeing it or revamping it in another way?

How can I repair a silicone baking mat?

We’ve had another email from our good friend Petra:

I’ve got a question about a silicone baking mat.

I have two of them, but accidentally in both of them there is a cut from a knife or pizza slicer.

Does anyone know of a method to repair these cuts?

I can’t think of something myself and also google doesn’t give any glues. So who knows…

It’s a very good question – silicone cookware seems to be *the* thing in the shops at the moment – mats, trays, cake trays – but I would worry about accidentally slicing it or whatever too.

So does anyone know how you might go about fixing one?

How can I freshen up a tired winter coat?

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted an article someone was promoting on Twitter about “sprucing up your tired winter coat“. Ooh! I thought, I like sprucing! It’s a great way to upcycle & reduce after all — but when I clicked over to the article, I found the sprucing involved the addition of various belts, brooches and doohickeys, which is fine but not very me.

For me, it’s both a “repair this” and “reduce this” type question – how can I refresh that tired winter coat so I don’t need to buy a new one? I think it’s important that it not just so that it looks better but that I feel better about it too.

I basically have three coats for throughout the year – a light cotton hoodie (which I wear most of the year), an expensive-for-me big super-warm cotton parka type coat for freezing days, and a cheaper, shorter “wool” one which I wear when it’s not quite so cold and I need to look a bit neater than in the parka.

So how can I freshen those up?

For me, there are two main areas that get tired dirty – my cuffs and my pockets. The hoodie gets thrown into the wash regularly, hurrah for cotton. The parka & wool one aren’t as easily washable, especially mid-winter but spot-washing on the cuffs improves things a lot. As for the pockets, I treat my pockets like some women treat their handbags – a site for the accumulation of detritus. This is sometimes good (I found a fiver in my parka coat when I put it on the first time this year!) but mostly bad (crumbs of dog biscuts, bits of paper, sticky sweets). Emptying out the junk & cleaning out the crumbs and dirt from the pockets won’t make it look any better (although a lot of junk does ruin the line of the coat), but it’ll make it feel better for me and enjoy using it more.

Another thing: my wool one – it’s not 100% wool but wool-heavy and it’s that heavy woollen style – is bobbly. A bit of combing with a debobbler would make it look a lot tidier. I suspect there will also be some snags too which could be tidied up. I’m also going to debobble/de-snag my scarves, gloves & mittens for good measure.

Yet another thing: the zips on my hoodie and parka coat have been playing up recently – I could secure the bottom zip section in place with a couple of stitches and rub a little soap on the teeth to stop them snagging, and it would make zipping up a less frustrating experience.

Another, more involved thing: the lining on the wool-ish one has always bugged me – it’s icky polyester and now it’s torn a little too. I could use an old fun-patterned shirt to replace it – using the original lining as a pattern – an upcycling idea and revamp in one.

So that’s what I do/will be doing. Have you got any ideas for ways to freshen up an old coat?

(Photo by sh0dan)

How can I repair a broken bra?

After a couple of years of faithful service, one of my beloved bras has broken. It’s one of the two really quite expensive bras I own – they cost a lot of money but worth it — supportive, comfortable to wear and resulting in (what is I’ve been told is) a pleasant boob shape.

Because it was great quality to start with, it’s in pretty good condition – except that one of the underwires has snapped. My mum suggested removing both of the underwires and wearing it as a non-wired bra. I think I need more support than that for daytime wear but it’s definitely a last-resort option.

I think I’d prefer to replace the underwire if possible — I have a collection of underwires (and hooks & eyes, and straps) from old bras in my craft box but they were mostly from my smaller-boobed days so I’m not sure they’ll fit. It’s certainly worth checking though. Other than that, Google tells me it’s possible to buy replacement underwires at haberdasheries – although I can’t say I’ve seen them.

Anyone got any advice on replacing an underwire?

Also, anyone managed to successfully fix a bra when the underwire is popping out of its pocket and jabbing you in the cleavage or armpit? I’ve tried sewing up escape holes on a number of occasions (with different bras) but the wire has always found a way through the stitching again — is a mini-patch the answer?

Another problem that I sometimes have is when the “catch” (for want of a better word) on the strap starts to slip and the strap lengths & my boob sags further as the day goes on. Anyone got any suggestions for fixing that? Or replacing a strap/the little loop at the bottom of the straps?

Any other bra breaks/fixes?