Earlier this year I made some reusable paper towels to use at the new place.
I didn’t follow a pattern for these I just used up the scraps I had leftover from making my bat wraps. The scraps were a rectangle shape so I just stitched two pieces together and top stitched around the outside, super quick and simple. I didn’t care what my thread colour was either so I used up half bobbins.
I did have a batch of reusable cloths that I was using at the old place. They were old jumpers, tea towels and towel offcuts I had. Most of them were very shabby and were binned when we moved. These are a larger size. I use them to wipe up spills but also protect the bench when I’m cooking as I will put my stirring spoon/utensil on them. This saves getting out a dish for this. I just toss them in the wash with my tea towels and they take little time to dry.
I like to make practical items. Not only are these better for the environment than single use paper towels but more economical. I want to cut back on spending money on items we can do without or reduce our usage of. Yes we still do have paper towels in the house but if we can reduce how many we use then it will reduce the frequency we have to buy them.
For my charity bags this year I did make a few things to add into them.
Firstly were the sleeping eye masks. All the fabric and supplies came from my stash. The fabric used was leftover from another project, the elastic and binding were items I had on hand. A useful project made from stash items.
The second thing I made were infinity scarves from the leftover fabric of my Brickwork poncho. These are narrower than the infinity scarf I made for myself but I think are still a good size. They folded nicely to fit in the bags. The brickwork fabric has 3 colours in it – blue, gray and white. I realised I had the same shades of cotton yarn in my stash to match so I had to knit bangles to match the scarves! Knitted bangles are super easy to do. I love that I could make them match the scarves. I knitted myself a set of the bangles to match my poncho whilst I was making these.
I loved adding in handmade items into the bags this year. It is something I will do again for next years bags. I’m not sure what I will make yet, bangles for sure but as for other things I’m undecided at this time. I have 12 months to figure it out!
I’ve mentioned it a couple times but last month Beth from Sew DIY hosted a virtual “I Love My Fabric Party” on Instagram. Across the world people were invited to spend some time appreciating their fabrics. You could join in for as long or as little time as you wanted and what you did during the party was entirely up to you. You just posted photos on Instagram and shared along with others the experience of playing in your fabric stash and showing it some love.
For me it came at the perfect time. My dressmaking fabric had gotten a little out of control. I was running out of space for it. I knew I had fabrics I would never use so why was I keeping them? I have put myself on a self imposed fabric buying ban so it was a really good chance for me to sort my fabric in a way that I could easily find them and more importantly use them.
To keep track of what fabrics I had in my stash I decided to use a program called Trello. Trello is generally used in business as a management tool and I must admit when I looked it up to add the app on my mobile I thought ‘oh my god this is going to feel like work’ from my time doing project management but there are a few crafters out there using it to manage to their stashes and it is actually a great tool! If you want to read an example of how to use check of Helen’s blog post. At this point I haven’t gone into as much depth as Helen has but I have set it up so I have 2 boards Fabrics and Patterns. On my fabrics board I have several lists based on the fabric type. As I pulled out each fabric I measured it, snapped a photo on my mobile then uploaded it as a new card to my fabric board under whichever category with details such as length, perhaps where I brought it from, items I’ve made with it and potential pattern ideas. It sounds a lot of work for a lazy crafter like myself but it was quick and really simple to do. Best of all it didn’t feel like work!! I haven’t ventured into my patterns yet but I will.
Going through my stash I found it really easy to remove fabrics that I knew realistically I was never going to use. Perhaps my tastes have changed or the fabric had a feel that I just knew I’d never wear. I’ll take these to my next fabric swap with the Sydney Spoolettes. Full disclosure I may end up putting a couple of these fabrics back in my stash. Some fabrics I am rethinking that I could use them but that is only a couple.
I set up box for fabric scraps. The box contains mostly knit fabrics but it does have some wovens too. Smaller pieces that I can’t really make a skirt or top from but are perfect for project like undies (which I must really start making with the many patterns I have) As they were so small these pieces generally got pushed to the back as I tried to squeeze yet another fabric into my shelves. I wanted to access these fabrics easily plus it freed up space on my shelves. I have started using bits of my scraps. My infinity scarf came from finding a leftover piece of fabric and thinking how could I use this.
I sorted my shelves so all fabrics types were together. All my knits in one shelving unit, charity and gift making wovens on designated shelves, lightweight wovens on a shelf, heavy wovens another shelf. You should never compare your stash to another persons (size does not matter) but I felt like I had a lot. I actually have a little room on my shelves now which I didn’t have before.
I found the weekend very therapeutic going through my fabric. I had my music playing, a chair to sit on when I was uploading photos. If you love fabric you will understand how relaxing it is just touching it, looking at it, thinking about potential patterns I could make with it. Perhaps it sounds silly but reorganising my fabric made me feel like I actually had control over it. It was no longer falling from shelves when I opened the door or pulled back the covering I have. By seeing and knowing how much fabric I have I don’t feel like I am being deprived by my buying ban. I have all this wonderful fabric in my stash just waiting to be created into awesome me made clothing or in gifts.
At the February Frocktails in our goodie bag we were given a panel from Next State to make a simple zipper purse. I had it sitting around on my desk waiting to be made up. I decided ahead of Spring Frocktails I wanted to get it made so I felt like I had used things from my goodie bag from last time (I had used the vouchers and other things we had received) Thinking about things I needed, if I was going to make it up I wanted to use it. My crochet hooks were living in a zip lock bag so they needed a proper home.
The panel comes with simple printed instructions on how to make a purse. If you have never made a purse or a bag before it gave you excellent guidance on where to start to transform the flat panel into a 3 dimensional object. Crochet hooks obviously have a hook on one end which can snag on exposed zig zag stitching so I decided I would make a lined pouch. I raided my stash finding some leftover white calico scraps and a zipper that matched. They were only a few small items but a great way to use them up. For the thread I just looked through some half bobbins and spools of thread I had near my machine and used them, again using up stash items.
If you have never made a line purse or pouch before just google or YouTube as there a heap of free tutorials out there. I used a zipper that was shorter than the panel which meant I didn’t have to cut down my zipper and then cover it with zipper tabs. I don’t mind the small open gap at the end. My crochet hooks generally live on top a cart I have so they don’t get moved around a heck of a lot where they may fall out through the end. Eye love the finished pouch!
This was a pretty quick project to do. We received another purse panel in our Spring goodie bag. Instead of making another zipper pouch I’m going to make an easy drawstring pouch for my knitting. The size will be perfect to hold one ball of yarn, needles and a folded pattern. I have one already this size that I’m forever switching projects in and out of when I’m knitting on my travels so I need more this size.
I haven’t posted yet how I went with my “I love My Fabric Party” but during it I did find a piece of leftover fabric which was a white knit from when I made my Derwent pants. I really wanted to make an infinity scarf from fabric so I thought that was the perfect use for it. I followed the tutorial by The Craft Gemini. It was super easy to make.
The fabric was a stable knit and very plain. I decided to add interest to it by doing machine embroidery. I was originally going to do free motion stitching on it but it didn’t work when I first attempted it. Even though it was a stable knit the fabric was too lite and I hadn’t put stabiliser under it so it just wasn’t happening. Plan B using my open toe walking foot I did a couple of different decorative stitches down the length of the fabric. The flipping ♥ is my favourite stitch design to do on my machine.
I roughly divided my fabric into columns and just did the lines from stitching by eyeballing it from my chalk marks. I love how the stitches turned out. The fabric was very long and I got lazy so instead of using the foot control I used the Start/Stop button on my machine to power it. It is feature on my machine that I rarely use but made the task so much easier than having to hold my foot down for the length of it time.
This is so soft and cozy. A black and white scarf was a piece that was missing from my wardrobe so this was the perfect use for this scrap piece. I have worn it a lot since I made it. Now I want to keep making infinity scarves!
Both me and Mr StitchNSew have mobility issues. If we have wet spills in our house or need to soak up on the ground it is actually easier for us to do it with our feet instead of bending over. We use what we call “Mop Up Towels” which are towels we have in linen closet just for this purpose.
I have made them before but I forgot to show them on here. I take a towel, cut it in half and normally overlock (serge) the raw edge. Really simple to do but useful for us. Our fridge leaks at times so recently I needed to make more. Normally I buy bath towels for about $10 and get 2 mop up ones from that. I was planning on going to the shops when I remembered I had a couple of kids beach towels I brought to make into a gift but never did that I was going to send to the op shop, I think I got them on special for about $5 each last year. I pulled them of the bag and cut them up getting 4 mop up towels.
Instead of overlocking the raw edges I used bias binding. Just prior to making these I had done a big clean up of my fabric scraps and found a heap of leftover binding. The strips were just enough length to cover the towels. I stitched them on by machine and enclosed the 2 ends of each strip by hand sewing so nothing would fray in the wash.
These aren’t fancy but they are practical. I am proud of these as I have saved money by using something I had in my house plus I got to use up binding scraps decluttering them from my stash. Practicality, decluttering and saving money = winning all round
Sleep eye masks were something I had been wanting to make for many years. Very early on one of the first sewing books I brought had a pattern in them and from that point on I thought yep one day I will get around to it.
The book I brought was The Pattern Companion Sewing. It has a variety of patterns in it from toys to clothing to accessories around the house. To be honest a lot of the patterns in it I wouldn’t make but it did have an eye mask pattern in it. It is an interesting little book to flick through if you ever come across it.
I was looking at making one for myself but decided they would be great to add into some charity bags I put together each year for Share The Dignity which is a charity that supports homeless woman and woman who have come from abusive relationships. At the start of each year I start collecting items (toiletries, personal care items etc) so by the end of the year I have several bags full of items to donate. I thought eye masks might be something useful if someone is staying in a shelter or sleeping in a place where it may not be as dark as you want it.
This was a complete stash busting project. The front and back fabrics were offcuts from a gift last year. The elastic came from my stash and the binding was from some fabric I am using this year that just happened to be close as I was making these so I grabbed it. The batting used inside them was also an offcut I found in my stash. These were very simple to make, I hand stitched the binding in place after I stitched it to the front with machine but this didn’t take very long. Hand sewing is something I casually do in front of the tv.
I’m glad I finally got in and made these. I use mine often now and hopefully whoever gets the bags this year I put together gets use out of it too.