Category Archives: recycled t shirts
Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.
The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)
I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.
As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!
I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.
So here we are my Earth Day slippers. I did not end up using the tie, it was not the look I wanted but I do think that the bias binding idea from old ties is a very workable option. I will work on it at a later date.
For now though I am working on some small eco friendly change purses. I am using small scraps of handmade, hand dyed fabrics using the string quilting process. I think they have turned out really well, I love the more muted tones. I believe this is from using plants such as madder,indigo and marigold. No matter which fabrics I put together they all look lovely. Such is the way of nature….I really must pay more attention to her !
Still cool and blustery here but I have at last managed to get my laundry to dry outside on the washing line, how I love that smell when I bring it in to the house nothing beats it for me.
Here is the project I am working on for this Earth Day Challenge, so far so good but I am not sure about the tie! I read an article in the latest Threads Magazine about using old ties for bias binding. I found this lovely greenish one at the local thrift shop. ( See in the previous post pics) I noticed it is made of silk so I am not sure how I will incorporate it into my design ….I am thinking over the exposed seams. Hope you are able to make something too.
So here is the plan, take three items of clothing and use all of them or parts of them to re-create a new item. This is my challenge, would you like to join me ?
For example: take an old wool sweater ( no surprise there! ) one used cotton T- shirt and one no longer “cool” tie. Now get creative and see what you can come up with. Some ideas to get you started might include, hats, scarves, mittens, pillows, toys, games, bags, purses, slippers etc.
A few titles of books that may help spark your creativity:
Sewing Green and Warm Fuzzies both by Betz White
Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt By Megan Nicolay
The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-kind C… by Crispina ffrench
Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories By
If you would like to participate just send me a note and if we have enough people we can set up a flickr page for all to see!
See if you can get it done by April 22nd Earth Day.
Good Luck and have FUN 🙂
January 2011 More Knitting and Felting from Woolbrain
This year I would like to share a little more of how I make the things I
do so for my first item I have chosen my felted change purse. This, of
course, is not its only use as it can be used to carry an i Pod or cell
phone, cosmetics, knitting paraphernalia, guitar picks and strings or
woodwind instrument reeds. Perhaps the most popular item to place inside
is a gift card for a friend or colleague therefore giving two gifts in
one! Each purse can be personalized to suit the recipient.
How to make a knitted and felted purse with a zip closure.
The body of the purse is knitted either flat or in a round with a yarn
that is 100% wool that can be felted. The felting process is quite simple
and involves your washing machine and some laundry that needs a good hot
wash. I always place my felting items in an old pillow case and fasten the
end with an elastic band. Load the washing machine with the laundry and
filled pillowcase, don’t forget to add the soap and make sure it is on the hottest wash cycle then set the timer for ten minutes.
Using rubber gloves, remove the pillowcase and take out the purse to gauge
the felting. Some yarns take longer than others to felt so setting the
clock for ten minutes helps achieve a perfect piece. Experience will make
this task easier and quicker. The trick is to not make the purse too small
by leaving it in the hot water for too long!!
Once the felting is to your liking remove from the washing machine and let the washing cycle continue with the laundry. Rinse the purse in warm water and re-shape it as necessary.
Let it air dry on a flat surface, making sure it keeps its shape. Avoid a
rack or ridged surface as this can leave an imprint on the purse.
When the purse is dry, hand sew in a colour co-ordinated zip using two
strands of strong buttonhole thread. Now is the time to decorate the
outside, if you wish to do so. Choose a suitable cotton lining; I have
several fabric scraps from which to choose as only a small amount is
needed. Measure the purse and add about a quarter inch seam allowance plus
a little more for the top edge. This extra seam allowance allows the
fabric to stretch around the corners at each end of the zip. Cotton
fabric has a little give in it and so this works quite well however
t-shirt fabric works very well and because it has more stretch, does not
require the extra seam allowance at the top edge.
If you require an inside pocket, add this before sewing up the side seams.
A bottom seam can be avoided by folding the fabric along this edge thus
making a long rectangular shape. Adjust the lining to fit the purse and hand
stitch it in place, just above the zip stitching making sure that your
stitches do not show on the outside of your purse.
Ta Dah – your purse!
Although this picture shows the flowers on the table at this point they SHOULD be securely sewn to the outside of your purse.
I hope this helps those of you who would like to make your designer purses
for carrying small items from cell phones to jewellery. They are lots of
fun to make and give as gifts. Adding beads and trims will make each one a
Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world, our garden and the surrounding beauty of Western Canada. We are fortunate to live near the ocean which can be a place of great serenity and chaos. I love colour and texture.
Knitting for me is a kind of meditative therapy that enables me to quiet my mind and explore my creative abilities. No matter what happens creatively, I feel a little magic comes into each design. I make every effort to create earth-friendly items for my shop. I like to use re-purposed, gently loved t-shirts and re-cycled natural and sustainable materials wherever possible in my work.
My favourite yarn is wool of any weight depending on the project. One day I hope to learn to spin and weave.