16 March, 2012


 I love repurposing things: giving tired old things a new lease on life, finding new ways of making things out of what, would otherwise, be thrown away.
 Firstly, this is a basket made from paper shopping bags.
I cut the bottom off the bags (and pulled off the handles that were on some) and then cut the bag into 3 pieces width ways.  I then had 3 tubes and with a snip across, I had 3 strips from each bag.
 I then used some spray starch (not sure if it was necessary, but it helped to get the wrinkles out of the bags) and ironed each of the strips into double folded bias strips [fold both edges into the middle and then fold in half].
I then zig zag stitched down both edges (and spent nearly a day trying to fix my sewing machine after it became very temperamental) so that I had lots of sewn strips. (16 in all I think)

I then made a base by basket weaving 5 strips one way and 5 strips the other way, then sewed the remaining 6 strips into loops which I lowered down over the other strips, continuing to basket weave to the top.  The left over bits at the top I just folded under and stapled.  Having never made a basket before, it was all a bit of trial and error and a lot of fun discovery.  It's not particularly sturdy, but would work as a place to put all my reusable shopping bags.

Secondly, I made another union jack pillow. I just love the look of them.  This one is made from the leg of an old pair of jeans, the leg of an old pair of karate pants and an old cushion cover that ripped.  The fabric on the back came from the thrift store, and the stuffing I still had from the many VT cushions that I've been recycling.  I just cut out the strips and zig zagged along the edges so they are all kind of bitsy and fraying, which is the look I was going for.
 My poor sewing machine.  It's a wonder that it keeps going.  I do ask for a lot out of it.  It's about 6 years old and only cost me $120 when I bought it.  When I took it in to be repaired a few years ago, the guy in the sewing machine shop was very disparaging and said it wasn't much more than a plastic toy machine.  And we have our disagreements, my machine and me: it is temperamental and sometimes just needs a rest.  But we get a LOT done. 

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