Reading about waste reduction and sustainability inevitably leads one, at one point or another, to the myriad eco-friendly products ($$$) out there, everything from detergent to cutlery. Except… Buying new things to reduce waste seems a little counterintuitive. Nevertheless, we have to admit that we consume. If we consume, better to consume as responsibly as possible.
I have been using cotton bags for produce and general use for some time. Wonderfully soft, pretty, accessible, washable and affordable, bought off an online retailer. I had no complaints whatsoever. Now, rewind back a few months. My mother informed me that she bought herself a new, fancy pants sewing machine. It is not just any sewing machine though, it is the mamma of sewing machines – one of those that thread themselves and flawlessly deliver gazillion different stitches, a QUILTER. At some point after I spent my $$$, the bulb flickered on in my head – I could ask my mother to attempt making my awesomesauce cotton bags. Well, one thought lead to another and before I could say “bag” I had a plan!
Now, fast forward a few months to yesterday. Big mamma machine is out. Instruments are out. Fabric is ready. I am pumped. So down I sat to start pumping out these bags. After popping out the thread a few times and with much help from my mother, my first bag was ready. Complete with frayed edges, crooked stitches, and jaggedy corners. Alas, said machine still requires considerable skill to operate. Mum, yay. Me, nay.
I persevered. Used up excess cloth that we had at home and made little baggies. No straight edges and perfect trims like the ones I bought. But wonderfully soft with pretty prints and most importantly, up-cycled fabric! I feel superbly accomplished and domesticated. What a great way to use up old bed sheets and clothes! Once those fabrics are exhausted, I know a great little thrift store round the corner that has a plethora of options for cotton fabrics. I am determined to practice and get better at this. I am determined to produce straight stitches. Thinking about up-cycling fabrics and reducing waste is making my toes tickle. Not weird at all.
I hope the pretty prints spark some interest and conversation with fellow shoppers. The prints really are like no other! Since making them, I have thought of so many more uses for them – carry travel items like toiletries, underwear, slippers and shoes, produce, dry foods, store toys, crayons, and as gift bags. Some tote bags for shopping would be fantastic. And of course, I cannot wait to bag the unruly sets of Lego in them. Good luck to my mother’s fabrics because as soon as my child is old enough, he’s going to learn to sew.
Do you know of anyone who sews? Do you have old clothes and sheets you could refurbish into cloth bags? Can you think of any more uses for them?