Posts tagged "cotton"

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?

Upcycling clothing: how can I reuse or recycle a dress shirt?

Continuing on our impromptu upcycling clothing week here at Recycle This, I was wondering what could be done with long-sleeved/dress shirts — we’ve already talked about recycling or reusing the ties, so why not the shirt as well?

The fabric is usually lighter than for t-shirts and the like, so they can lend themselves for different purposes. Hankies (like the ones I made from an old blouse a few years ago) seem an obvious idea – but you know, who doesn’t need more hankies? Finer fabric is also good for lining handmade purses or bags etc.

With their full length sleeves, old shirts make good (albeit thin) clothes-guards while painting or crafting.

If you are reusing the fabric, don’t forget to save the buttons – for mending and making purposes.

Any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle small scraps of yarn?

We’ve had an email from Lauren:

I’m a knitter but I can’t throw away the ends of yarn, not matter how small! I’ve got a carrier bag full of ball ends, some a couple of yards long, most less than a foot. Any ideas?

The longer pieces could be used for the inner rings of granny squares if you crochet too or mini-crafts both knitted or crocheted – if you’re on Ravelry, on the advanced search you can specify projects by yardage — I just did a search for projects using 5yards or less, and got over 400 results (including, I kid you not, a penis shaped chapstick holder!). The shorter pieces could be used for the odd few stitches of decoration such as eyes & noses on soft toys or tapestry/embroidery work. If you had lots and lots of shorter pieces, they could be used as stuffing for small toys.

Away from sewing & crafts, I used pretty yarn instead of string for tying up parcels etc and for clothes repair/enhancement – a little colour-clash darning, sewing on chunky buttons or used for adding hanging loops onto scarves/light jackets that come without them.

Any other suggestions? If you knit/crochet, what do you do with your scraps?

How can I reuse or recycle yellowing napkins?

napkinWe’ve had an email from frequent commenter Caroline:

I love your site and am always on there looking up new ideas. You have me rescuing other people’s umbrella’s from bins and saving all sorts of stuff that I previously would have thrown away. And sometimes I add my ideas but this time I am stumped.

Someone (knowing I like to reuse things) gave me a bag of yellowed cloth napkins. Some have the odd spot on that looks like the napkin served it’s duty but most just seem to have turned yellow all over. How can I reuse them? I could use them for rags but I save lots of other scraps for that. They are a sort of damask satiny material so not sure if they would dye? Could I bleach them? Would love to hear any ideas you have for reusing them.

The bleaching/dyeing question depends on what type of fabric they are – it’s best for napkins to be cotton to allow for furious washing/boiling out stains but of course that doesn’t mean that they all are. How Stuff Works has a pretty comprehensive guide to removing yellow stains from fabric but again, it depends on what type of fabric it is. Apparently the best way to identify fabric is to see how they burn – while it might be worth burning one to allow you to work with the rest, does anyone have any less destructive suggestions for finding out what fabric they are?

Any suggestions for reusing them – as things other than rags – in their current condition? I imagine the yellow is not uniform enough to pretend they’re supposed to be that colour – but any suggestions where the colour doesn’t matter?

(Oh and off topic but what the hey, frequent commenter and friend of Recycle This, Three Beautiful Things‘s Clare got married on Saturday – congrats to Clare & Nick, and I hope you have a wonderful life together. :))

How can I reduce my addiction to cheap clothes?

clothes-shoppingConfession time: I’ve got an awful cognitive dissonance thing with buying cheap clothes – I know about the horrific conditions in sweatshops, I know how cotton production is incredibly damaging to the environment, I know how the clothes produced in sweatshops are (understandably) far from good quality and liable to fall apart quickly, I know how much energy is wasted transporting them around the world and I know that shop employees, especially in the cheapest pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap shops, are treated poorly and paid badly – and yet…

I think I got into “buy them cheap when you see them” habits as a teenager when I didn’t have a lot of money and there wasn’t quite as many cheap clothes around as there is now (those quaint days before Primark and £4 supermarket jeans) – I’d always wear black vest tops, for example, so I might as well snap them up when they’re in the sale whether I need them at that exact moment or not. That habit stuck even when I started working and had a bit more money because, well, it’s a bargain, isn’t it? who can refuse a bargain? plus, I’d still wear that black vest top at some point. Once I’d got through the other 30 in my bedroom drawer of course.
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