I am so ready for spring! I am itching to dust off my sewing room, which resides in an unheated outbuilding. I now own not one but two sewing machines…and don’t fully know how to operate either one of them. So I keep stitching things by hand. I’m becoming more and more interested in recycling old clothing and other textiles, not just because it’s inexpensive (or free), but because it can be fun, creative, and extremely satisfying.
Rummaged through our rag bin and pulled out a pair of jeans, a pair of khaki cotton pants, three men’s dress shirts (two of them all cotton), a pair of flannel pajama bottoms with a torn crotch, and a cotton rag.
Darned the tear in the crotch of the pj pants. It took a long time and I probably should’ve just patched it, but it was good darning practice. They’re a little tight on me, so either someone will wear them or maybe they’ll just go back into my scraps pile.
Took apart the pair of worn-out jeans. I told a friend that I was worried I’d get over excited and tear out a hem or a seam I’d later wish I’d left alone. She replied, “That’s just part of the journey.” And I immediately felt calmer, and even more eager to get ripping. I’ve learned that ripping seams is incredibly therapeutic. Accidentally removed the pull from the zipper – whoops! But quickly reminded myself, “That’s just part of the journey,” after my initial panic.
The waistband is perfect for a shoulder strap for a bag. And I really love the color changes from dark blue to faded denim where the seams were turned under. The frayed white threads provide so much interest and texture. I never would’ve seen a pair of old jeans like this if I hadn’t taken a pair apart. I can really see how it’s constructed, which will be instructional later, when I start constructing new things. You learn so much from taking things apart. I even got out my iron, laid out a bath towel on the floor, and ironed out the pieces.
Mended a worn area on the elbow of one of K’s wool jackets. Ripped out my first effort. Second effort was much more careful, but I just couldn’t see very well. I used black thread against a dark background, and did my best to make the mend as invisible as possible. I’m not entirely happy with the second mend, but it’ll do for now. Managed not to snag the lining, so good for me.
Brainstorming window treatments that provide light, privacy, visual interest, and insulation in winter, and are also easy to sew, easy to clean, and use as little material as possible (and are therefore inexpensive). To that end, I’ve decided to make reversible, flat panels for each window. They will hang on tension rods, and I’ll do some decorative stitching across them that will allow them to be hung at various lengths.
Stopped in at a local thrift shop. I found a few really nice pieces – some of which I’d potentially like to use for material. Mostly cottons and flannel, and a small woven wool blanket. I even found a set of sheets for C’s bed, and a twin flannel plaid duvet cover that needs a little love. I’m considering inserting another twin bedspread (or two if they’re worn thin and soft) – and boro stitching the whole thing in large stitches, and kind of turning it into a quilt. I couldn’t say the price of any of these items as none of them were marked. The total bill came to just over sixteen dollars.
- a little roll-up sewing case
- A satchel purse with a cross-body shoulder strap.
- Assorted smaller bags.
- A “faux-dori” wallet.
- find one of those indigo cotton jackets and embellish it with stitching
- a scarf
- cross-shoulder pinafore smock apron thing, in canvas, or linen. Maybe both.
- pincushions made from the Harris tweed coasters I brought back from Scotland but don’t use. I could put some stuffing between them, sew the edges together, and in an hour have myself a pin cushion that will forever remind me of my trip to Lewis.
I love making the most out of as little as possible. With cooking, foraging, sewing, mending, gardening – I just want to be clever and work smart and be creative and transform things from trash to treasure.
Any time I can avoid spending money, yet end up with something useful and beautiful, I feel a little bit freer. Like I won a tiny battle. Like I slipped out of a snare.