In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.
With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!
I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.
What you need:
A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire
20 mm wide knitted black elastic
Sewing machine and matching thread
What you do:
Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.
3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.
4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.
5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.
6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.
4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.
5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.
6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.
*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.
7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.
8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….
The Prototype is revealed.
Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…
Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…
Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!
I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!
There is nothing more likely to incite anger in the community, than petty theft. Especially when most of us work hard to purchase sought after or sentimental items and build a sanctuary where we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labours. When something is stolen, we feel violated and angry. New homes, like the one I moved to recently, are often targets for criminals and petty theft.
A thoughtful neighbour had pulled up outside in his car, to alert me that our garage door was open, and with no MotH in sight, they’d seen a stranger dressed in black, carting out two large carry bags from our Home by the Sea.
Glancing up the laneway, near the house, I indeed saw a figure dressed in black, carrying two large bags and talking on a mobile phone. Oh dear, I thought, has he taken some tools or something of value from the MotH’s garage?
Quickly shouting thanks to the neighbour, and with the MotH still nowhere in earshot, (despite me earnestly yelling his name), I approached the stranger cautiously, trying my best to look as if I was going for nothing more than a casual walk.
“Yeh, it is me. Come now. I’ve got some really good stuff,” I overheard this figure mutter into his mobile phone.
Oh goodness! What has this dude stolen? I thought.
My mind was racing, imagining all sorts of things. Where was the MotH when I needed him?
Should I go back and find him first?
Should I shut the garage door and ring the police?
Totally dumbstruck for the correct protocol to use when approaching a potential thief, I tentatively asked,
“Hi, can I help you? Are you looking for something, or someone?”
“Oh, Hi, yeh, umm, I’ve just been collecting bottles for recycling,”said this young man of about 30 odd years, pointing to the bags.
“Have a look,” he said, sweating heavily and clearly picking up on my suspicions.
I approached a little closer and peered into his carry bag to see an array of plastic bottles, the sort you take back to the containers for change refunding collections centres, for the paltry refund the government has introduced.
“And I’ve got electrical wiring, too” he said, opening up his second bag to show me.
” It is heavy, I reckon about 26 kgs,” he continued, offering for me to feel its weight. It was indeed heavy and he’d revealed he’d carried it for several kilometres through the new estate.
“All these new houses, the tradies just chuck away stuff that can be salvaged and reused,” he explained.
Smiling, and offering me his hand, he said, “My name’s Daniel,” revealing a single yellow tooth, “..and so now you know, I’m not pinching stuff. Just trying to make a few dollars. I can’t get work, you see, and I get so bored watching TV.”
Daniel proceeded to tell me he spends his days painstakingly removing all the plastic covering from the excess electrical wiring he salvages from the dump bins on building sites. Then sells the wire to the scrapyard in the neighbouring suburb.
My heart sank as he filled in yet more details of his life, seemingly eager for someone to listen to him. As a young lad not endowed with a great start in life, education wise, and few real opportunities, he had fallen into the wrong crowd some time back, and it didn’t end well.
“I have had so much crap in my life,” he said.
He told me he’d experienced periodic work but physical disability, homelessness and long term umemployment had dogged him for many years, until bad friends finally landed him foul of the law.
“I found out the hard way no friends are better than bad friends,” he said, his eyes downcast.
“Now I just try to do something good with my time.” he muttered philosophically. “You only have one life.”
“So I am not pinching stuff,” he reinforced again, suddenly serious and looking me in the eye, in case I doubted him. Instead of walking away, I stood there listening to him tell me his heartbreaking story and felt ashamed for initally thinking the worst of him.
Praising his efforts to help himself and and reduce the truckloads of Builder’s waste, I see around me every day, we shook hands and I promised to set aside plastic bottles and cans, for him to collect on his next run.
Here was a young man who had been through the wringer of life and was doing his best to become pro-active and do something to help himself and the planet.
Daniel was alright.
You can’t always judge a book by its cover.
Showing kindness to a stranger is infectiousand costs nothing.
All of us would like to be listened to.
In case you were wondering what happened to the Moth, he was apparently completely aware that Daniel and I were chatting. He told me later that he had indeed poked his head around the corner, seen the conversation and causally waved a power drill back and forth, in his hand. A moment passed between Daniel and the MotH, and the MotH seemed certain Daniel had noted the power tool armed and ready!
Climate change is an important issue that each of us can contribute to increasing awareness about, through our photography and posts. So today, on Sunday sayings, I explore several environmental quotes that resonate with me. We can make a difference in our daily practices wherever we how in the world, however we live.
Following are some simply ideas on how I reduce my plastic use.
This re-blogged post gives some concerning and encouraging news on the serious and cataclysmic effects of continual plastic use on our environment.
Some Easy way to reduce plastic use:
* Take a re-fillable water bottle whenever you leave the house – your kidneys and the environment will thank you.
* Take a reuseable naturally sourced bag with you for consumables
* Leave some re-useable bags in your car for groceries
* If you can sew, make up some carry and tote bags ( there is a guide here) from fabric scraps or that fabric stash you have in your cupboard that is rarely used. Find a tutorial here: https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/scrap-bags-a-girl-can-never-have-enough-bags/
* Refuse a bag for single purchases of bread, fruit, small items
* Boycott products such as commercial biscuits that have double layers of plastic packaging
* Reuse any unavoidable plastics as rubbish bags and dispose of thoughtfully. They can be reused in a variety of ways. Plastic bread bags can even be knitted into coat-hanger covers and Christmas decorations!! Who would have thought?
* Take home your rubbish when out, if rubbish receptacles near beaches are full
* Use a re-usable coffee cup if you like takeaway coffee
* Use glass jars or tins to store flour, biscuits (cookies), or baking ingredients in your pantry or fridge
* Wrap vegetables like celery in damp cloth tea-towels in the fridge
* Display fresh fruit in a bowl rather than in a thin, soft plastic bag in the fridge
* Grate and cut your own vegetables – who needs to buy grated carrot and cheese for goodness sake? It takes but five seconds to grate, literally!
* Buy whole fruit and cut at home, rather than purchase cut rock melon, pumpkin or pineapple, or carrots in polystyrene trays covered with glad wrap
* Write or tell your local supermarket and ask them to stop packaging items like carrots and apples in plastic bags or glad wrap
* Shop for vegetables at a local green grocer for fresh individual fruit and vege
* Save plastic use for toxic items that can’t be disposed of any other way
* Place recyclable plastic in correct Council bins for re-purposing
*Use rubber gloves instead of single use disposable plastic gloves where you can
Okay, so I know the month is halfway over, but even a plastic free day is a plus, eh? Have a look at this guest post by my sister, environmentalist, educator extraordinaire, yoga instructor, dog rescuer, and now, advocate for a plastic-free world. Read on and remember, taking even one less plastic bag is a start!
Plastic Free July!
As the forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the unalienable rights endowed to men (and women) of this country are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Fast forward 242 years and we are seriously messing with those rights as we clamor for a faster, more convenient lifestyle, adding up to a seemingly disposable endgame for all. From our food system to our thirst to develop everything (land and products) deemed profitable, we are creating a world where the pursuit of happiness will be so much harder to attain because…
In Denmark, a wall spoke to the world, and the world spoke on the wall!
2000 wooden boards were used to create an interesting visual barrier, around a construction zone, in the center of the city. The purpose was to create an interactive pixel screen that could be personalized, by each member of the public, in an artistic way.
The so called “Happy Wall” is made up of colored recycled card that would change colour by reversing the card. One could then leave one’s mark, on the wall, using statements or words, even a personal message. Or you could simply create a pattern using color.
The only limit was one’s imagination
How many scaffolds can claim to raise awareness of public issues, and boast they they are recycling materials, adding to public awareness and creating a public interactive art installation? Add the social media aspect of the Happy Wall, and art has meshed with technology!**
The wall was the concept of Thomas Dambo, who used materials from the 2013 Roskilde Music festival in a creative way. His artwork is amazing!!!!
Something really inspirational to ponder about.
**Postscript: The Wall will be there until around April 2015
I find profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and across cultures, and speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes like proverbs, can make us think more deeply about something.
Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you will too.
There is nothing noble about being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. Hindustani Proverb
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. David Brinkley
If you are anything like me, you tend to accumulate a lot of T-shirts. The ones made in China and Bangladesh, stretch out of shape oh so quickly. You can still wear them around the house, or as pyjamas, but there is still often too many. There is a way to use them up.
Cut up the pre-loved T- shirt into strips depending on how thick you want the belt. I used 4 strips each about 5-6 cm wide. The stretch fabric rolls back onto itself and narrows somewhat so four strands of this width make a four strand plaited belt approximately 4 cm wide. Use a t- shirt cut width-wise or sew several shorter strands together. You need at least 4 strips, each 130cm long to make a belt about 60 – 70 cm in length.
Oversew the ends neatly and attach to a ring/ doorknob or hook. Something that will hold the ends fast. A heavy tin, an old nappy pin or a door handle.
Begin twisting the four strands of knit fabric along these lines.
Try to maintain an even flat plait as one with lumps and bumps won’t look as nice.
Oversew the ends, sewing one end of the belt one over two ‘D’ rings, and ‘voila’… a trendy belt.
I saw this idea on Pinterest (of course!) and thought what an awesome idea! When pulling babies and kids out of the bath, you can just cuddle with them and dry them off at the same time! I took a good look at the pic, and figured out how to make it. It’s super simple, and a GREAT baby shower gift!
I used a towel I had from home. We have collected way too many towels in this house and no room for them, so I figured I’d give one a good use other than sitting in the closet. I loved this print with the light blue (which was actually a pillow case–same thing, we collect this stuff without realizing, I tell ya)! You can either purchase 1 or 2 yards of the cotton fabric for this project (I’ll explain in the second step).
At the Salvage Warehouse, we’re not only focused on reusing and reselling quality building and construction materials to our customers, but we’re also passionate about educating the wider community on the importance of reducing our waste. We believe every individual must do their own bit – and this begins at home.
Recycling at home is something that every individual and household can participate with, and there are a range of benefits we can achieve from recycling at home. Recycling at home:
Directs waste away from landfill, reducing the impact on valuable natural habitats
Saves our natural resources and forests from unsustainable exploitation
Less energy is used in the production and processing of recycled materials, reducing dangerous emissions from entering the atmosphere
Using recycled materials can save you money when compared to ‘buying new’ and can help reduce the costs associated with expensive waste collection fees
We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….
There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet. Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.
In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.
You will need:
1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.
A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.
You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the scraps do tend to fray.
Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.
Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.
Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.
Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.
Repeat with more and more fabric strips.
Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.
If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.
Then I just fill in all the gaps…..
Until, one day… hey presto>>>>
A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.
The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:
Once complete, the mat would be washed in very hot water to make the hessian skrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian. If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together.
How many scraps make a rug? Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.