I never learned to sew. The whole concept is fascinating and mysterious to me. I don't know how to sew on a button or how to properly fix a hole or a hem. My
However, it has become very clear to me that if I want to reduce my impact on the environment and my budget, I need to learn how to make things from scratch. And that includes learning how to sew.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Last year, I bought an old sewing machine off of craigslist.
I'm reusing something that may have gone in a landfill by buying second-hand and as an added bonus the older Singer model sewing machines have barely any plastic in them; aka they are very sturdy and I'm reducing my plastic consumption.
Then it sat in my guest room for six months. I would think about it sitting silently upstairs but I kept procrastinating. Whenever I am going to learn how to do something new that I may not be good at, I put it off. I'm super late planting seeds in my garden because I couldn't seem to grow anything last year. The obvious answer to the problem is to stall by doing other projects and feel badly about it every night.
Luckily, the draw to procrastinate the garden was stronger than the procrastination of the sewing machine so I finally learned how to sew.
My mom actually used to sew my clothes when I was little. Here's an old picture of me in one of her masterpieces.
|Click here for other great stories about my mom!|
|Note the plastic slidey thing|
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Here's my first grand leap into sewing and it involves Reducing AND Reusing so I don't have to recycle at all. Both my husband and my mom think I've gone off the deep end because I'm reusing old stinky shirts but I'm used to that by now.
Homemade Produce Bags
Start with an old shirt that even Goodwill wont want. Cut off the arms, collar, and bottom seam.
You end up with two pieces of cloth. Hence you will get two bags.
Fold one piece of the cloth in half and pin two sides. The third side of the bag is formed from folding the fabric in half. Then press down that foot pedal and get to sewing! I used a double seam for the sides so they could hold up better to heavier items like potatoes.
Finally, sew a large seam around the top opening to allow for a cord to run through it and Viola!
It takes me about 15 minutes per bag now but I'm sure experts could go much faster. On a side note, I did buy the cord for the ties on these two bags. Then I rummaged around and found old bits of ribbon from a craft project to use for my next two. If you want to get REALLY eco-adventurous then you could use the leftover fabric from the t-shirt to make a cord by either sewing a small strip of cord together, cutting a strip, or just cutting out the original bottom seam of the t-shirt and using that. I'm going to try sewing a pretty seam next and I'll post an update if it works.
Anyone else have odd ways to reuse and reduce instead of recycle? Does anyone think you've gone off the deep end because of your commitment to reducing and reusing instead of throwing things away?
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This blog post is linked up to the Homestead Revival's Homestead Barn Hop and to Simple Lives Thursday over at Sustainable Eats. Head over for more great ideas.