Category Archives: reuse fabric items

Eco- gift Wrapping; Ribbon Made From Shirts


giftwrap using MYO shirt ribbon

I do a lot of projects with salvaged clothing. I like finding ways to reuse second-hand clothing (or my own cast-offs) especially if they are flawed in some way and therefore not even good enough to bring to thrift stores.
As a byproduct of another craft project, I had a strip of shirt and thought that it looked like ribbed ribbon. The next time I was wrapping up a gift, I gave it a try.
How to:
Find a suitable shirt.
Using a rotary cutter and a metal ruler cut across the grain in order to achieve a ribbed ribbon look.
Cut strips of fabric an inch or so wide, your preference, but try to keep it even.
I cut one inch strips from the bottom of an old shirt. Next time I’m going to cut a narrower ribbon of a complementary color and place it on top of my other ribbon for a different look.

Make Your Own No-Sew Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Tissues

MYO no sew t-shirt tissues

Tissues made from old t-shirts work really well and they are soft on the nose. Kids will like the fun colorful fabrics and you will like the part about saving money and resources.

Make Your Own T-Shirt Tissues

Make your own tissues from t-shirt

I set aside some children’s t-shirts that were too worn or too stained to pass on.

How to:
Gather some old t-shirts. Thin, uber soft t-shirts are best. Use a salad plate (whatever size you like) and a rotary cutter with a cutting matt. Cut around the plate. The beauty of this project is that the edges do not need to be hemmed.

Alternatively, you can cut square pieces.

t-shirt tissues and home-made bear

Keep these eco-friendly tissues on bedside tables for use on little noses.

recycled wool sweater bear and hankie hamper

Hankie Hamper: find something around the house or at the thrift store to be your hankie hamper.

Recycle Worn-Out Shirts Into Handkerchiefs
When choosing old shirts to be made into hankies; the softer the better. Pick an appealing fabric if that matters to you. You want it to also have a bit of absorbency. Obviously, stiff fabric is no good for this project.

How to:

Cut strips 7 inches wide (or your preference) with a pair of pinking shears. Next, cut the strips into squares and you’re done. Using pinking shears will help to prevent fraying.

make your own no-sew hankies

To take with you, fold in half then fold in thirds: it fits nicely in your purse or pocket.

recycled fabric hankies
Hankies in a variety of fabrics: My husband’s favorite shirt (blue plaid cotton) was eventually turned into little hankies. It was a soft fabric to begin with but repeated washing only made it better. The kitty fabric was made out of worn-out flannel pj’s.

eco-friendly tissues and hankie hamper
Be sure to provide a place to put the used tissues or your kids will leave them all around the house.

Save Money And Time: Make Your Own Vintage Inspired Apron From Second-hand Dress

green crafter hester jane in recycled dress apron

vintage inspired dress apron - back view

Altering a dress into an apron requires less work than making an apron from scratch. If you shop wisely, you can easily spend less for the dress than you would pay for new fabric. That isn’t even the best part. The best part is all the really unique styles you could work with. You can be really creative with these. Start looking at second-hand dresses in a new way. The result: a one-of-a-kind apron.
I love vintage clothing and aprons are no exception. I designed this apron to look like an apron from the 1930′s. After removing a stain, I transformed this simple dress into a vintage looking full bib over the head apron.
How to:
MYO dress apron step 1

Find a dress that inspires you. Search yard sales, thrift stores or even your own closet. You don’t even need to find your own size; it just needs to be big enough to do the job. Keep in mind that you will be wearing your apron on top of your regular clothing. Picking a dress with a print rather than a solid color fabric has the benefit of hiding stains better. The first thing you will probably want to do is wash the dress and iron it. Next, cut up the back of the dress. Remove the zipper (if there is one) and save for another project.

dressapronbo

Cut strips from the back center of the dress to use as the apron ties. I cut my strips 3 ½ inches wide which resulted in 1 ½ inch wide ties. (Sometimes it is better and/or necessary to cut a strip of fabric off the bottom of the dress to make the ties.)
Fold each strip with right sides facing and sew along two sides leaving one end open. Turn the resulting tube right side out.

MYO dress apron image C

Use scrap cardboard such as from a cereal box or brown paper bag to trace the shape of the top of the dress. Cut out this shape.

MYO dress apron image D

Now put the cardboard on top of the dress and sketch on it the desired shape you want the apron. This is your chance to be creative. When you have the shape drawn out the way you want it, cut out the shape. Trace the stencil you have just made. Flip the stencil over and trace on the other side of the dress. Remember to make it ¼ inch larger (for a seam allowance).

MYO dress apron image F

Turn inside out (if the dress you are using has a liner) and sew the back edges. If there is no liner you can turn over the raw edges and machine sew.

MYO dress apron image G

With the apron right side out, top stitch along the edges; stitch the apron ties on as you go.
Embellish with buttons from your salvaged button jar. If you don’t have one, start one today. Whenever you have a piece of clothing that is ready for the rag pile, remove the buttons. Store all these salvaged buttons in a jar or other designated spot.
On the top of the back of the apron, I attached the sides together by sewing on buttons. If you want, you can make button holes- so the buttons really work. Make sure that your head can get in and out of the apron before permanently attaching.
Sweet!
Now you are ready to go bake something.

My daughter came up with the idea to use a dress to make an apron first. If you would like to see her handy work click here.

Make Your Own Protective Sketchbook Pouch Out Of Jean Pant Leg

This protective sketchbook pouch made out of salvaged jeans is a great beginner sewer project.

1.
Find a pair of pants that are worn in the knees. Cut off one leg at the knee. Keep in mind that the width of the pant leg will determine the width of your pouch. Therefore use children’s pants if you want a small pouch.


2.
Think about what you want to put in your pouch: sketchbook, journal, phone/ address book, or diary. I put a sketch book on top of the leg to help gauge the size pouch needed. Make sure you leave room on the bottom for the seam. I cut off the bottom edge of the pants but you can leave it on if you like.
If the pants you are using are a straight leg, you may want to use the bottom edge of the pants at the top edge (This edge will end up on the front of your bag as the flap edge. The pants that I used had a little flare at the bottom and I liked the shape it gives to it.
Also determine the length you want the flap to be and cut.


3.
Lay your piece flat and face up, then cut out the front part of the pant leg where the flap is (see image). The back of the pant leg will flip forward and become the flap.


4.
Turn your pant leg inside out and sew the bottom seam or don’t turn it inside out and just sew across, leaving the seam on the outside (as seen in photo).
Also, decide on the shape you want your flap and cut. You can leave the edges raw so they will fray or you can turn the fabric under and sew. The jeans that I used had some stretch to them and I found out that they don’t fry as well as traditional 100% cotton jeans.


5.
Add button, snap or recycled jean button. I re-used a button from a pair of button fly jeans. When you cut it off the jeans, leave it attached to some of the jean fabric. I left it on a 1.5 inch square piece of jean fabric.
Mark where you want the jean button (if using) and make a small straight cut. Then, mark the position of the hole below by making a mark through the first hole. You should now have two holes lined up with each other and just big enough for the button. Do not make a hole in the back of your pouch: just a hole in the flap and in the front part of your pouch.
If using a regular button, you will still need to clip a small hole in the flap and mark the position below. Instead of cutting a second hole, sew on a button to the front of the pouch. Keep your eye out for fun vintage buttons for using in projects like this.


6.
From the inside of the pouch, put the jean button into the hole (see image). I didn’t think it was necessary but if your button is loose, you may want to add a few stitches to hold the button in place (sewing, fabric to fabric, a circle around the button).


7.
To close the flap, put the button through the flap hole.


8.
Here is a closer look at the button I used in this project. It was salvaged from a pair of button-fly jeans.


9.
Add a slot that will give you easy access to a pen or pencil. Cut a small hole just large enough for a pen or pencil to slip through (see arrow in photo). Only cut through the front of the pouch! Next sew a channel about ¾ of an inch from the edge of the pouch (see white line in image).
10.
That’s it, you’re done. Put in your notebook and your pencil and you are ready for a nature hike.
Also see other ideas for pant leg pouch, bag, or purse. Link

Versatile Pouch Made From Recycled Pant Leg

This clever little pink pouch was designed by an eleven year old (my daughter). She independently came up with the idea to recycle the bottom part of a pair of old pants to make a pouch/ bag.
This project is simple enough to do at a children’s party. Kids will love designing their own unique pouch.


This pouch could also be used to hold your Valentine card collection. Do you have a collection of special Valentine cards already started? They would fit nicely into a home-made pouch. My daughters each have a small collection of valentine cards that grows each year.


Add a strap if you would like to make this pouch into a purse.


I think a pant leg pouch/ bag would make a wonderful eco-friendly gift wrapper too: place gift inside.
I used the design of this pouch and took it a little further: See my post for instructions on how to make a jean sketch book pouch.