Monday, March 16, 2009

I've been away for awhile...

But I've been busy working on the Sewing-Green Web site! I was making myself crazy working my day job, commuting 2 hours a day, then coming home and blogging, creating the website AND sewing stuff for my Etsy shop. I finally figured out by trying to do everything, I wasn't accomplishing much.

So I decided to take a break from this blog and my Etsy shop and really focus on building the Web site. is really a labor of love for me. I want it to be the Web site I was looking for when I first learned about refashioning used clothing into new creations. I've already added some information on research I did on the reasons to be concerned about textiles ending up in landfills, and also the severe impact that textile production has on the environment. This is not something that you hear about enough in the news. I would like to think that I could help raise awareness about this problem, and offer a solution: think reuse instead of buy new, when it comes to clothing or textiles. Instead of buying new (non-organic) fabric for your next sewing project, consider whether you could repurpose used clothing to use as your fabric.

Let's use existing resources before buying new fabric. And if you have to buy new fabric (and you will, face it) consider fabric from sustainable, organic sources, especially cotton.

I'll keep updating you on my progress, in the meantime, check it out at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I have a great new tool!

I am having a great time with my new "toy". I am not a scrapbooker, so I wasn't familiar with the die cutting machines out on the market, but I discovered that this one, by Sizzix, called the "Big Kick" will cut more than just paper. It does a great job cutting fabric, even thick felted wool sweaters!

I bought two dies with the machine, but ordered more when I saw what it could do. Can't wait till I get them. There are so many possibilities! Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hand Warmers

It has been a bitterly cold winter here in Michigan so far, so I got really excited when I read a post on CraftSanity's blog about how to make flannel hand warmers. Such a simple idea, and simple to make, but ingenious! My hands get so cold even in my warmest gloves. These will be wonderful to slip in my gloves in the morning on my way out the door.
These are the ones Jennifer from CraftSanity made. She filled them with rice, and puts them in the microwave to get them toasty warm. Here is the link to the whole post with tutorial.

I opted to use felted sweater scraps for mine, since that is what I have in abundance at the moment. This is what mine look like :

I filled each one with rice and a gingerbread cinnamon teabag. They will be so warm and cozy. I can't wait to try them out in the morning.

UPDATE 1/26: I used them this morning (it was -3 degrees F) when I left the house and they kept my palms pretty warm until the car warmed up!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

I just love these shopping bags made from old sheets from the CraftStylish blog. This is such a great idea. Old sheets give you lots of yardage for the money and can be found at Thift Stores and Garage sales or in your own linen closet.

Check out the entire post with tutorial by Erica Kern, contributor to CraftStylish.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recycled felted wool pillow for Heidi

I decided to make a new pillow yesterday for our Min-Pin Heidi. She is crated when we're not home, so I like to make sure she's comfy. I used scraps from 2 recycled felted sweaters for the pillow. Here's how I made it:

First, I selected the felted sweater fabric. This is most of a sweater and scraps from another project. If you've never felted (or fulled, if you want to use the technically accurate term) a sweater, I plan to cover that in a future post.

Then I decided how big to make the pillow. The little pillow form I had was 15" x 12", if you don't have a pillow form, you're free to make your pillow any size you like, and stuff it with polyfil or whatever you wish.

I cut my sweater fabric about an inch smaller than my pillow form, just to make sure it was poofy enough (interior design technical term) when it was done.

I also decided to use one of the sweater's side seams as one of the seams for my pillow. Less sewing is good...

Time to embellish and make it fun. I decided on a heart motif, cause I love my pup. :) So I drew one on paper and cut it out to make a pattern. I placed it on my pillow fabric for size, and

then pinned it and cut it out of the contrasting sweater fabric. Then I did the same for the bone shape, only I cut it out of the striped fabric.

Using my zig zag stitch on my sewing machine, I sewed the bone piece to the heart piece. I have an applique stitch on my machine, but for this, the zig zag worked fine. I just shortened the stitch length.

Since the orange fabric is more tightly felted than the striped fabric, I didn't need to zig zag the heart to the pillow fabric. So I just did a straight stitch, leaving the edges raw.

Now you can sew up your seams for the pillow. Putting the two right sides of your pillow together, sew the seams on 3 of the sides. I used a 1/2" seam allowance. (Actually, I used the sweater seam as one of my seams, so I only had to sew 2). Anyway, leave one short end open to put the pillow form or polyfil in.

Now, clip the two sewn corners of your pillow, so that your corners will be nice and pointy when you turn your pillow right side out.
So now, turn the pillow right side out and it should look like this:

Insert your pillow form or fill with polyfil. Turn in the edges of the opening 1/2" inch and pin all the way across the open end like this:
Now you have a choice. You can hand sew the seam closed, (a much nicer, neater finished edge)
or you can do what I did, which is to machine stitch the seam closed. I thought that this would be sturdier than hand sewing because its for Heidi who might decide to fling the pillow around like a toy. And I don't think she minds that its not quite as neat a finish...

And Heidi's finished pillow...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January's New Start

Things are always so fresh and new to me in January, it inspires new beginnings. So I choose this time to begin my new blog about two things I am very passionate about. Being creative, and also being mindful of the resources of our earth. One of my preferred methods of being creative these days comes in the form of sewing, and what I love to do is to repurpose, or refashion used clothing into new, fab creations. I like to think that maybe I've kept something from being tossed into a landfill, and that it has a new, useful purpose as fabric for me.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE going to Joann's. It's my "happy place". When I need to shut the world out, I just go and wander the aisles, soaking up all the possibilities. All the craft projects try to lure me to them, whispering, "you know you want to make me... MAKE ME!!" Um...maybe that's just me though. I wander to the yarn aisles, and just fondle the fluffy skeins. Sometimes I let out a little sigh... You know what I mean, you've done it too. So much craftiness, so little time. Anyway, I digress...

While I love to sew regardless of whether the fabric is new off the bolt, or in the form of a denim jumper size 10 (not MY size, unfortunately) hanging in a thrift store, there is a bit more of a thrill for me to realize that the denim in the too small jumper could end up as the flap and handle of a purse, or as a doggie coat or perhaps a pillow. And many times, the thrift store find costs less than the fabric would if bought new. And I adore thriftiness.

So I start this blog, to enjoy a conversation about refashioning used clothing, to bring to your attention other crafty souls that are doing the sewing green thing too, and to share my passions for being creative and recycling. I am building a website about all this as well,, and I will be posting tutorials, techniques and free patterns and ideas so we can spread the word and get more of us sewing green!