Upcycling on America Recycles Day
by Audra Hoy Chaimson November 15, 2020
Today is America Recycles Day, and I am sure I’m not the only one who has been reusing and upcycling throughout 2020. For us, crafters, sewists, and dreamers, these challenging days at home have allowed us to continue expanding our creativity. We’ve been learning new skills, signing up for more online courses, and looking a little deeper at what we have around the house to accomplish our creative goals and avoid taking trips out.
Back in spring, which now feels like a lifetime ago, I eyed a pair of my daughter’s favorite HogwartsTM sweatpants that had been tucked back deep in the closet and were now inches too short. Like most of her clothes, and being a passionate Harry PotterTM family, I couldn’t bear to part with them. While some may see bags full of garb like this destined for the resale shop, I saw an opportunity. Later that day, while browsing for new sewing designs, I happened to stumble on a beautiful free pattern from Sallie Tomato for an adorable wristlet. Holding the sweatpants up in front of me while overlaying a virtual pattern at eye level, I measured just enough fabric that I could now give her sweatpants new life in a different yet functional form. The project turned out just as I had envisioned (which doesn’t always happen), and she couldn’t have been happier to see what I had done. This is a great way to make the old new again, which I’ve now done multiple times with other upcycled clothing from around the house. You can knock this out in an afternoon and have a handbag to give as a gift or use out on a date night when that doesn’t seem like taking a massive risk. In my case, no one needed to know what adventures this fabric had previously been on, but for some, perhaps there’s a sentimental piece of clothing lying around that might be given a new life for someone else to enjoy.
For many, you may not see enough opportunity lining your scrap bin and need a source for upcycled material. Last month I came across the non-profit Fabscrap. They’re a one-stop textile reuse and recycling resource that takes in scraps from well-known clothing brands and fashion designers that usually end up in a landfill. I struck gold! As a quilter, I know just how far a scrap of fabric can go, so I was very interested in placing an order and making magic out of the leftovers from someone’s prized named brand jeans or expensive handbag. The fabrics were high quality and large enough (and small enough) to be paired perfectly with items and notions I already had on hand.
Fabscrap Order: Scrap pack leather, Yard pack neutral, Yard pack dark, Yard pack cool
After a few weeks, I’ve made a great layering tank top from the Adventure Tank pattern, a couple of clutches, and I still have quite a bit more to play with and even more ideas to bring them to life. Don’t be surprised if you see many more recycled fabrics featured alongside Nancy’s Notions fabrics, notions, and patterns in the future!
In honor of America Recycles Day, let’s look inside our homes or support non-profits that can help us do our part for Mother Earth while also nourishing our creative souls. Of course, nothing should prevent us from carrying this initiative forward all throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to repurpose and find ways to give new life to items that once meant something to you!
Adventure Tank Pattern: https://nancysnotions.com/products/ftcat
Sallie Tomato Wristlet: https://sallietomato.com/collections/patterns-1/products/wristlet-instant-download