Monday, April 26, 2010

Packrats Unite. Keep Your Stuff and Make It Useful.

Okay, let me start by saying that you will not find me riffling through your garbage at 3 o'clock in the morning. I'm not looking for some random piece of mail or credit card app. The trash that I like is simpler stuff. And most of it is my own (or at least, from someone in my family).
Jars, old ratty shirts, fabric scraps, old furniture, old buckets or bowls. There are so many uses for these things...there just aren't enough hours in the day to do them all (unless, of course, you forgo all meals and household duties on a 4 day craft binge, but hey, that's your problem).
If you are planning on a craft binge, you will have to get the rest of your ideas elsewhere. Today, I am only offering one, and you may have seen it before. Here it is: Using your old t-shirts to make re-usable grocery/market/shopping bags.
There are many sites with many good step by step instructions on how to do this. Here are the bare bones basics.
Pick the shirt you want to make into a bag. Wash and iron it per tag instructions (or however works for you, it's not my business how you iron your shorts).
Figure how tall you want you bag, and mark a line across the bottom of the shirt (a straight line, please). This is your cut line. Cut this line, and cut the sleeves off. You may also want to cut the neck down the front and back in a semi-circular way, so the opening for your bag is bigger.
Turn the shirt inside out. If you have pins, pin the bottom of the shirt, so it doesn't shift when you are sewing. If you are sewing the seems around the opening and arms, fold them over and pin them too (you may also want to bring the iron out again to help get a good crease, but again, to each his own).
While the shirt is inside out, sew your seams. Back stitch at the beginning and end of each stitch for extra strength. You can also you back across for extra strength. (TIP: remove the pins as you are sewing, right before they are to go under the needle. If you leave them in, you risk damaging your needle. You can do this without stopping the machine, just sew slowly. This will also help prevent crooked seams and tangled threads.)
Turn the shirt-now-bag right side out and enjoy your new creation, knowing you got to hold onto something you loved, and you kept something out of the dump.
Hope you like this idea. If you have any up-cyclying ideas of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments or on my facebook page.