Posts tagged "clothes and fabric"

Fab recycled projects: bird feeders, storage bags, pot racks & more

It’s been a few weeks since I shared some links so here are some of my favourite sightings and emails from the last month:

  • First up, it has to be Scott’s coke can and chopsticks bird feeder – as always, a fab recycled item with very fun how-to instructions. Unfortunately (for us in the UK) the full instructions will be in Make magazine – but if you’re crafty, you can kinda get the idea from the pictures/preview ;)
  • And sticking with gorgeous things in the Make/Craft universe, I love these denim storage bags – easy to make from the legs of old jeans — a perfect companion project if you’re turning some jeans into cut-offs this summer :)
  • I also love these sweet packet purses/pouches. I wonder if clear plastic bags could be fused onto the packets rather than having to use iron on vinyl…
  • As a fan of both buttons and nature, I think these buttons from twigs are great too. As the how-to explains, it’s a little tedious to cut them all with a handsaw but if you just want a few and don’t have a table saw, then it’s still a viable project.
  • And speaking of the great outdoors, I’m planting out a lot of stuff at the moment. I’ve been using sliced up plastic bottles, drinks cans and other packaging for plant markers but these labels – made from skewers and wine corks – are very cute too.
  • Roo has turned an old nightstand/chest of drawers into a unique and fun doll house – just a little handy work is needed before the fun decorating starts!
  • Shopping lists save money & food waste but our lists and pens tend to wander from our kitchen noticeboard — they wouldn’t if we had one of these. The similar pretty wood backing/bulldog clip/elastic band idea would work well with reclaimed scrap paper as well as a new roll.
  • And finally, I had an email from Jackie: “I recycled this awning frame by making it a pot rack. A little bit of chain and I hooks and s hooks bring it all together” — looks great and super practical, great work.

Upcycling clothing: what can I reuse, recycle or upcycle to make underwear?

After yesterday’s post about reusing or recycling old leather coats or jackets, I’ve realised there are a few other clothing related things I’d like to ask about so…. impromptu upcycling clothing week! ;)

I’ve got some pretty printed slightly-stretchy cotton vest tops that have either lost their shape or don’t fit any more because they’ve done that thing where they mysteriously shrink by four inches in the wash. As I still like the patterns, I’d like to reuse them in some way and underwear seems a fun thing to try: the patterns would work well on pants and I think I could get at least one pair of boy-short knickers from each vest top.

Has anyone made their own underwear from old tops or t-shirts? And favourite how-to recommendations or hints/tips?

What about making underwear by upcycling other items of clothing? Does anything else lend to easy conversion?

What about upcycling things to make stuff other than knickers/shorts? Socks? Bras? Winter warming layers?

How can I reuse or recycle an old leather jacket/coat?

We’ve had an email from Linzi:

What can I do with an old leather jacket? It’s really dated now.

If it’s really dated, keep it – it’ll probably come back into fashion next week ;) More seriously, someone might want it for a vintage look – or for a fancy dress party – perhaps offer it to a charity shop, ideally one with a “vintage” section (or a charity shop chain that has vintage shops – like Oxfam or BHF).

Any suggestions for reuses if it’s not suitable for passing on? We’ve already covered scraps of leather and a leather/suede purse – some of the reuses/upcycling ideas for those may apply to the jacket too — make it into a purse, bag or belt, scraps can be added to glove palms or tool handles to improve grip and bigger jackets could be made into cushion covers or to cover basic storage boxes to make them more stylish. A couple of weeks ago, we also mentioned Mes Footwear – a footwear company in Newcastle, who turn old jackets into new shoes. My father-not-in-law has made numerous pairs of bellows in his time and uses scrap leather from sofas for that – would a back of a leather jacket would probably work in the same way.

Any other ideas that make particular use of it being jacket shaped now?

Recycled Christmas – upcycle trash into handmade presents

Perhaps it’s just the blogs I read but it seems like more people than ever are thinking of making gifts this Christmas.

There are lots of suggestions out there for making biscuits, cakes or jams, or knitting or crocheting something pretty — but if you’re after a truly frugal Christmas, all those ingredients & yarns add up: what about things which you can make by reusing/recycling/upcycling things from around the home?

Here are my favourite ideas for simple & frugal upcycled Christmas presents:

1. Hankies

Handkerchiefs are easy to make from any soft old cotton fabric – bedding or clothing for example. They’re simple but always useful – and help the recipient cut down on their disposable tissue usage too.

Don’t feel they have to be boring white – I made the ones in the picture out of an old pink gingham shirt – and consider monogramming/embroidering them to make them extra special.

(Use 100% cotton fabric where possible and 100% cotton yarn too so that they can handle being washed at a hot temperature if needs be.)
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How can I reuse or recycle curtain swatches?

We’ve had an email from Stephannie:

Just having our lounge curtains replaced and got a lot of fabric swatches to check out colours etc before hand. Not sure what to do with them now. They’re mostly about A4 size with fractions of big patterns on. Thought about little coin purses or pin cushions but patterns don’t really work for that.

A friend of mine at uni got a book of (admittedly plain) curtain fabric swatches and sewed them together to make a patchwork curtain for over their draughty door. That needs a 60+ swatches though, so probably more than you’ve got.

Earlier in the year, I was looking at basic fabric doorstops – basically cubes with a handle. If you’ve got six swatches that are good colour matches, that might work.

Or colour coordinating mini-quilt padded coasters – where the general colour is more important than the pattern. We’ve got some little padded coasters with cloves in them so they let off a pleasant aroma when “activated” by a hot drink.

Any other suggestions?