Fabric Salad

Green goodness for quilters and sewists

November 2012 archive

It’s a Wrap

According to Earth 911, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the U.S. Ummmm, what does this have to do with quilting and sewing, you ask? Well, green gal, just think how you could help the earth by using fabric (new or upcycled) for some of your gift wrapping this year.

Stash-busting, unexpected and stylish even, wrapping with fabric can be easy, too. Look for tips at Sustainable Baby Steps or, if you’re up for a bit of sewing, follow this easy fabric gift bag tutorial at The Happy Housewife. Can’t quite break the gift wrap or bag habit? You can at least substitute fabric scraps for the predictable curly ribbon. Charissa at The Gifted Blog shows you how. If you need longer ribbon, Charissa suggests, just tie two pieces together. Brilliant!

So ditch the snowman paper and reach for fabric instead. Wouldn’t you be stoked if someone handed you this gift bag? Fabric Scrap Ribbon

Wipe out scraps

So do you make gifts for the holidays or no? Sometimes it’s a tough call–you know how much work a project calls for and you wonder if the recipient will even like the finished product.  And with so many other obligations clamoring for your time right now, it often feels more efficient to just run to the store or order something online. This year, like most, I’ll make a few gifts and shop for others. As I shop, though, I’m giving priority to items that are handmade.

If you have a little one on your list this year, this brilliant use of fabric scraps would be a perfect gift. Quiet, green and fun for baby, this wipe container re-make by Kim Bond of A Spotted Pony is simply brilliant.

Wipe Container Toy

Upcycled luggage tag off the cuff

With a bit of inspiration from Pinterest, I made two luggage tags using cuffs from cast-off shirts. I purchased shirts in women’s and larger boys’ sizes. The cuffs from men’s shirts seemed a bit too large for the project.

I sewed along each side of the cuff to create a pocket for a card that lists the luggage owner’s contact information.

I replaced the buttons on one of the tags to give it a bit more personality. I cut the neckband from the shirt and used it (with its convenient buttonhole) as the strap to wrap around the suitcase handle.  I’ll demo this project at my local Make It, Take It evening at the end of this month!

upcycled luggage tag from dress shirt

Jean Mutation

If you’re a quilter or sewist, and your friends know it, sooner or later, you’re going to end up with “The Bag.” Sometimes The Bag is dumped at your front step in the dead of night. Sometimes, it’s handed to you out of the trunk of someone’s car. What’s in The Bag? You know…it’s fabric or old clothes or a mix of both. Things your friend just knows that you–with all your sewing skills–can put to good use.

“When did I become the home for wayward fabric?” you cry. I, too, used to dread The Bag.

But now I see these cast-offs through my “green” glasses. There just might be treasure in The Bag.

I still have a bag of jeans someone gifted to me. Looking for inspiration, I went straight to Pinterest (my board is Mutated Jeans) and found enough ideas to fill dozens of bags. One highlight is a pin from the Quilt Inspiration blog that offers a handful of denim patchwork ideas. Jeanius!

Jeans redeemed at International Quilt Festival

“My religion is quilts,” proclaims Estonian quilter Marja Matiisen. “Textiles sewn in quilts,” she says, “have made it to heaven.”

For countless pairs of cast off jeans, Marja’s a savior. Her quilt “Green Blue Planet Under Siege” hung at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week, proving that salvaged fabric can be just as beautiful as new.

Green Blue Planet Under Siege by Marja Matiisen

Special thanks to The Plaid Portico for the photos of Green Blue Planet Under Siege by Marja Matiisen.

detail Green Blue Planet Under SiegeWooden spools add dimension to another of Marja’s jeanious re-creations: Sanctuary for Old Jeans.

Sanctuary for Old Jeans by Marja Matiisen