Upcycling is a hot topic these days, and we’re seeing more in the stitchy world that ties in with this so-green trend. More patterns using recycled fabrics, more crafts that re-use or re-fashion existing materials, and more books, of course, on working with recycled goods.
So we were pretty tickled to learn that Crimson Tate :: Modern Quilter, a fun new fabric shop in Indianapolis, had sponsored a challenge for its customers on using–get this!–a painted canvas concert backdrop from parrot rocker Jimmy Buffet! And as we worked up the story on the Love Your Mother (Earth) Challenge using the concert backdrop, we were captivated by all the other stuff that Crimson Tate has going on. It’s a two-fer…two fun stories on cutting-edge stitchiness in Indianapolis!
Nearly all of the challenge pieces were auctioned off to benefit Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, a local non-profit organization devoted to environmental projects. You can read more about it and Crimson Tate in the new Fall 2012 issue of GenQ, as it becomes available in shops and newsstands. (Go here for a list of our partnering shops.)
Meanwhile, we’ll kind of inspired us to do more sewing with upcycled fabrics, so we went trolling for expert advice. We found several:
Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials by Maya Donenfeld (John E. Wiley & Sons, 2012)
So often when you have some great recyclable fabric in hand, the burning question becomes “what do I make?” Well, with 28 projects, this book certainly doesn’t fall short of providing inspiration. Award-winning blogger Maya Donenfeld draws from her years of green crafting and sewing to offer up techniques, tips and step-by-step instructions for inventive projects sewn from a variety of materials.
Each chapter focuses on a single material, such as linen, burlap, wool, even Tyvek mailing envelopes! The projects are equally diverse, ranging from scarves, pillows, skirts and totes to luggage tags, banners, blouses and storage bins. (We covet those bins, people…and have started sniffing around locally for discarded burlap coffee sacks!)
Maya’s instructions are clear, and she gives information on deconstructing found goods, as well as info on environmental impact of the various fibers. A dedicated fabric printer, she also provides stencils and instructions on how to embellish the projects with simple graphic prints. And that’s all good, but here’s our one wish: Being hardcore fiber hounds, we think some of her projects would totally sing with a little embroidery or stitching embellishment. We just can’t help ourselves.
And here’s more…
Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made With Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White (STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book, 2009)
The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-kind Creations from Recycled Sweaters by Crispina Ffrench. (Storey Publishing, 2009)
Sew Eco: Sewing Sustainable and Re-Used Materials by Ruth Singer
(A&C Black, 2011)
Tell us if you have a fave source for upcycling fun. We love to compare notes and share with other Q-bies!