Upcycling Rules! 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 4

Congratulations to, Lisa, our winner from Day 3! We asked you how you’ve inspired a kid (or kids) to sew. It was so much fun reading about how you’re all passing on the love of sewing. If you need ideas on how to help a young person to catch the sewing bug, be sure to read through the comments! Here’s Lisa’s great answer:

“My awesome local craft store offered kids’ sewing classes one summer and that’s all it took! My daughter made a head scarf, a pincushion and a top and immediately wanted her own sewing machine. We got her a machine for Christmas last year and she just spent a whole evening making drawstring bags for her friends for Christmas. We can’t wait for the holidays where we will have time to sew up some flannel pajama pants together! Her love for sewing has inspired my passion for sewing too. It’s really great that we can grow our skills and love of creating together.”

From reading your feedback and comments lately, it seems like many of you have recycling on the brain. I’ve been thinking about how sewists are some of the most innovative and creative upcyclers, so today we’re giving away the fabulous book Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts and More by Tina Sparkles (The Taunton Press).

green 267x300 Upcycling Rules! 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 4

To enter for your chance to win, answer today’s question in the comments section below: How do you sew green? Tell us about your coolest upcycling, reusing, recycling and repurposing sewing tips, tricks and projects. Tomorrow, we’ll announce today’s winner and the question and prize for Day 4.  Thanks for participating!

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34 Responses to Upcycling Rules! 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 4

  1. Barbara says:

    I use shirts my toddler has outgrown to make new things, like pullover hoodies, scarves, and even used an old sweater to make him some slippers! I love turning hubby’s old ties into gifts for coworkers like Coffee Sleeves too!

  2. Alyssa says:

    I make purses and totes out of men’s and women’s button up shirts and/or t-shirts.

  3. Heidi says:

    I save all of the kids’ old jeans, they make great aprons, patches, quilts, grocery bags, etc….

  4. lakaribane says:

    I think you could say I started sewing by recycling/upcycling since my first garments where made from…my mother’s UFOs, LOL! I also used curtains, sheets and other repurposed fabrics to make pjs, shorts, summer tops and dresses. I wish I had pictures because I remember those experiments fondly. To this day, I try to reuse fabric and notions from various sources.

  5. Robyn says:

    I like to re-purpose old T-shirts. I’ve made skirts, scarves, sewing needle books and all kinds of stuff. I love finding new ways to use this material and supporting green creativity.

  6. Linda says:

    I recycle wool sweaters that I get for very little from thrift shops and I wash the sweaters to felt them and make bags, children’s sweaters, and blankets. I needle felt designs on the sweaters and bags.

  7. Donna says:

    I am totally into sewing green! I have actually just added a new division to my business that will be my “green” side! I make purses out of leather coats coats that I purchase from the local consignment shop (along with Goodwill stores to support the community!) and make them into bags using accents from suede skirts, shirts, etc. The purse strap is from a belt! The only thing I have to purchase to make my eco bags is the thread to stitch them together! Everything else is from re-purposed items! If I need to use a “batting” on a bag, then I use clothes that I don’t think are pretty because they are going on the inside anyway and no one will see them! Viola, an eco bag is born!

  8. Mary Ann Coleman says:

    I sew green by making napkins to use instead of paper ones.

  9. Eliana Smith says:

    I use real fox fur in my collections. What most people don’t know though is that i refurbish well preserved, full length fur coats for trim. My collection has a height of luxury to it so real fur was needed. I quickly realized that there are so many well preserved coats out there you can buy from collectors. I like to recycle these coats so as to bring new life to them in my collections. Its a great way to achieve the look i want and still feel good about not having to use the new stuff. – Eliana

  10. Gail Banks says:

    I have taken cotton woven table cloths and cut into kitchen curtains for my Daughter in Laws kitchen. The tablecloth had frindged edges I was able to use as the hem of the curtains making them very cute.

  11. I may stuff for little kids out of adult items. Cut down Tshirts for shrugs for the girls and just make smaller Tshirts for the boys. Also use adult sweats cut down for kids sizes.

  12. Jeny says:

    I love making things from old felted wool sweaters. I use remnants for projects. I save scraps for projects. And when I recently made the girls some summer outfits, I had pinked the seams and let the edges fall into the trash can. My husband saw piles of pinked seam edges in the trash, and said “You’re not going to throw that away, are you?” I fished them out and tied a group of them onto a hair elastic for a cute hair ornament that the girls loved, and that matched their outfits.

  13. Peggy D says:

    I sew green in a lot of ways. I redesign/re-purpose clothing that was just handing in my closet for both myself and my granddaughters. We have reused old sweaters, coats and even redid my husband’s old plaid lumberjack shirt for the 15 year old this year when she learned they were back in style. My husband passed last year; she has a picture of her and him when she was 6 months old and he had the shirt on. This green project became very important to her to have and wear something of his. We have reuse jewelry and other finding as establishments on totes, bags, coats etc; and use old clear pill bottles to hold crystals, beads, and safety pins.
    I find my self looking at everything in different ways and if I can’t use it then I donate it.

  14. Sharon says:

    I use some of the grandchildrens outgrown shirts and blouses to make pillows for the family. They are cute and filled with memories.

  15. Linda says:

    I use old tablecloths to make dresses for my grandaughers and also to make pillows. I use the leftovers as napkins and accents on other sewing projects. I reuse wool sweaters for hats, mittens and scarves. I save fabric scraps to make into quilts, pillows and scarves. I save the smallest scraps to stuff into my dog beds. I save thread to put out for the birds to use in their nests. I use the cutoff salvages to make pin cushions. I reuse old jeans, shirts, everything. I hate to throw away anything.

  16. Kris says:

    With 5 active kids, we end up with a lot of cut-off jeans due to ripped out knees. They turn into shorts and I save the bottoms for a variety of items. Some are cut up into patches for other “holey” jeans. My girls have used the pieces for small over-the-shoulder bags. My best friend cut hers off at the knee and then opened the seams and added a contrasting fabric as a gusset and turned her pair of jeans into a skirt.

  17. Susan Brooks says:

    A toddler size 3 shirt is just the right size to make a clothespin bag. I like to use a suit hanger, the kind that slopes with it.
    I paper piece quilt blocks so even small pieces of fabric are useful to make a quilt block.
    I make oven mitts from old blue jeans lined with batting.
    All my dust cloths are old t-shirts or flannel shirts cut up.
    Susan

  18. Stephanie says:

    I have been named the recycling queen by friends who sew. I never buy new materials I always use their scraps and off cuts to work with. The possibilities are endless for me and my brain never switches off. Everything is tried and tested my my kids who are always the inspiration behind my creations. My favourite item I have ever made is my popular Gina purse named after another up cycler. Which reminds me I am having a giveaway on my blog to win one along with a whole heap of other gooodies!! YAY…

    xo Steph

  19. Diane says:

    When my daughter got married, I made her wedding gown. When she had her first baby, my first grandchild, I used the train of the gown to make a blanket for dedication service.

  20. jance meleo says:

    The best “green” idea I have seen was when my daughter accidently felted a prize wool sweater in the dryer, and she made me a Christmas stocking out of it, lining it with shimmering pink fabric.

  21. Jamie says:

    I use old T-shirts to make doll clothes for my daughters; there is no need to hem and most of the time no need for elastic. I also use old vintage scarves to make purses and old sweaters to make hats, mittens and scarves for the cold Minnesota winters.

  22. Ann says:

    Old T-shirts became a quilt that also holds memories.

  23. Maria Kievit says:

    Going green with recycling old jeans into quilts, bags, and more things that can be made out of them. People also are starting to give me a lot of old material, and sooner or later it will find it’s way into projects.

  24. Kathy VanBuren says:

    I use anything and everything possible for sewing green I take adult clothes that they dont want anymore and make kids clothes for my grandchildren out of them,, I use old blankets for the filling in quilts, and I always keep all usuable zippers and buttons from clothes that can not be reused

  25. I love thrift stores, buying clothes to re-purpose (adult pants to toddler pants, making toys etc). I loved an old polo shirt of my husband’s that I turned into a T-shirt for our toddler. I also love picking up fabric remnants from the thrift store too. I also use old towels and cloth nappies as batting for pot holders (a tip from my Mum!).

  26. MJ says:

    I am done making babies and have a few of my favorite maternity pieces that didn’t get passed along to friends that I have been remaking into new items or myself, son or daughter! About a month ago I turned a pair of twill pants into the Dortje pants pattern for my daughter, the adorable pockets on my pants look great on her too! She gets crazy compliments on them every time she wears them.

  27. Mary says:

    I have taken adult shirts for the thrift store to make little boys shirts. Old sheets fo quilt linigs, towels cut down to dish rags and dust clothes. Socks that have holes in heels make the perfet dust cloths, put over hand and spray with polish. I keep the buttons and zippers from clothing. Use old clothing as packing material for glassware. I also use old jeans for little girls shorts with putting ruffles and ribbons to decerate.

  28. Karen A says:

    I have been repurposing items for a long time. T-shirts into dresses when my girls were little, plastic grocery bags crocheted into rugs for the camper, old couch cushions recovered for cushions in the camper, old flannel sheets used for batting in my quilted purses, sweaters felted and made into bags, jeans made into skirts or cut into patches used for quilting, and my favorite project of making t-shirt quilts.

  29. Ana says:

    I love repurposing and recycling old curtains, jeans, pants, t-shirts, you name it. Nothing ever gets thrown out in my sewing room!

  30. jen says:

    i repurpose hubby’s shirts that he loves but falling apart into aprons and dresses for daughter.
    i also ask for people’s unwanted fabric on CL so that i don’t have to go to the store and consume from the shelves, which leads to demand of more new material

  31. Judy Breckenridge says:

    I recently went to a Thrift Store and bought a 2x imitation suede skirt. I cut it apart and had enough material to make a jacket, since I am a size 10. This has inspired me to go shopping again. Not at the Mall, but thrift stores that benefit a community projects. Double the benefits. Yeah!!

  32. Pingback: Day 5 Giveaway: Home-Dec Heaven | Sew News

  33. Raquel says:

    After seaching for a vest and not being able to find one and when i did it was nothing that I wanted and also being expensive I decided to make one. The difficult part was “how” and “from what?” One day my sister was getting rid of her work pants which consist of black slacks and a pair of dickies. So I drew me a pattern out of newspaper, laid it on my fabric “the pants” and started cutting and sowing.Which the slacks turn out to be part of my outer layer and the dickies my inner. And i ended with “my first, only fits me” vest that cost me a week of trying something new. Oh. Buttons came from extra buttons that came in my clothing that i had been collecting.

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