Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fun with recycling, part 1

I started making reusable shopping bags last winter when I was raising some funds to go on a trip. I kept making them for sale at the farmers market. I’ve had some success with them despite the fact that they aren’t cheap. (I can’t compete with 99-cent bags from Target!) But they are fully lined, have pockets, they’re sturdy, and they’re unique (and you aren’t acting as a walking billboard for some store!).

After making these for several months I started making smaller kid-sized ones. Might as well get kids into using re-usable shopping bags at an early age. And they need those smaller bags. I’ve seen more than a few kids helping with the groceries and dragging bags along the ground because the bags are so big!

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about recycling. Most of these bags have been made with new material and I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this more recycled. I got some great curtain scraps from a friend last year and made a couple bags out of those. A month or so ago another friend gave me a huge pile of old drapes from her house. They are very sturdy, almost like canvas, and the only sign of wearing is that parts of them are faded by the sun. I thought these would make great bags. And then somehow (I don’t know where these flashes come from) I thought it would be fun to line these with shirts!

I had gotten a small collection of men’s and women’s shirts from a bulk thrift store a year or two ago. I reasoned they would be great for fabric since people wouldn’t use them for clothes (due to holes or other problems). I sewed the fronts together, removed the buttons, and sewed the shirt together into the shape I needed for the bags. Sleeves and collars became pockets on the inside and outside.

this was a smaller fitted one, so you can see the fitted part and where the arms would be going out. This is the inside of the bag...

And here's the outside, with a bit of sleeve for the pocket.

Yes, I would have given this shirt to the thrift store too!

This pocket is part collar and part sleeve

In the end I think they turned out very well. These won’t be turning up on my etsy page just yet. I’m going to an Earth Fair in Kansas City in April. There is a group down there putting together some tables of crafts and things made with recycled materials, etc. So the bags will be there, and if there are any left they’ll be up on etsy soon after.


Jane said...

I love the bags. You should advertise they are NOT from china and contain NO lead like the ones from the stores.

Aimee said...

The ones in the stores have lead?!? Geez. What will they think of next. =/

Karin McAdams said...