How to upcycle fabric scraps into a quilted tote

With sustainability at the forefront of our minds it’s really important to think of ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Using our fabric offcuts is a small way we can reduce waste and landfill and make something beautiful that we can use for years to come.

As sewists we all have a few (bags of) fabric scraps! 

I’ve been using lots of Ruby Star Society fabrics this year for various projects and collected every little scrap to be used at some point. 

I was going to make a scrappy quilt or cushion cover with all the off cuts, but then I changed my mind and actually a decent sized tote bag would be more…handy!

I cut up all my bits of fabric and just randomly sewed them up just enjoying the process and not really planning how it would look. That’s the thing with scraps they tend to be haphazard!

I used some left over batting from another quilt project and some larger pieces of fabric from my stash for a lining. My pieces ended up measuring approx 14″ x 13″. I used my machine to stitch some quilting lines throughout the bag pieces. I then stitched the sides and bottom on the bag together.

I made box corners on the inside at 2.5″ up from the corner, trimmed them and turned the bag right sides through. At this point you can bind your unfinished edges if your machine can cope with the layers. I finished the top edge of the bag with bias binding which I turned to the inside of the bag and top stitched.

I had some faux leather bag handles in my stash which were just the perfect match and stitched them on with some strong thread.

I love how this bag looks, it will be perfect for popping to the shops or for a sewing project bag and the fabrics are so fun! I can’t imagine throwing away such gorgeous fabrics, my scrap bag is still growing and I may tackle a quilted jacket at some point!

How do you use your scraps?

Festive fun wrapping

Beautiful modern gift wrap inspo!

It’s that time of the year again, whether you are an organised wrapper or leave it until the night before, we have found some fun inspo to make your feastive wrap more unique and eco-friendly!

There is a trend for Christmas wrap that isn’t traditionally xmassy (reds, golds, greens etc) so you can get away with using paper you may have already and jazzing it up with stickers, pom poms and other trims and ribbons…really your habby stash is fair game!!

I love the look of brown paper with neon and also beautiful marble paper…maybe you made some this summer when it was all the rage and never knew what to do with it…I certainly have! It’s perfect for gift wrapping, cards and tags…the possibilities are endless!

I’ve been trying to think about more sustainable ways of wrapping my gifts this year. So much paper gets wasted and it was normal in our household for Mum to sit with a black bag open ready for all the discarded wrapping paper when we opened our gifts on Christmas day…it makes me cringe to think about how wasteful it was!

Pinterest is always a go to for fun creative ideas…I don’t need to tell you that! So I’ve been having a browse to get some inspo for this years gift wrap…for me it’s all about using what I already have in the house, recycling papers/ fabrics where I can and using up some of my endless craft supplies to create beautiful gifts! 

I love the idea of fabric wrapping and also using brown paper and stitching it…I have lots of brown paper laying around for crafting with so I may as well use it rather than going out and buying specific ‘Christmas’ paper! 

What are your wrapping plans this year?

Whatever you do this Christmas, have fun with it and if you can use what you have and re-purpose and re-cycle where possible then fantastic! But,  if you do need any new trimmings…we’ve got lots available in the shop and they are not just for Xmas 😉

Sustainable kitchen roll!


Plastic free July ideas!

 
 
 
After starting plastic free July I realised my house has a serious disinfectant wipe habit! We use them for loads of things around the house and having dog’s means there is always a mess somewhere to clear up! I started to think of a way around this and came up with reusable kitchen roll!

I used a meter and a half of cotton and a meter of towelling from Samantha Claridge Studio. The towelling is the softest thing ever, I’m sure it’s softer than my bath towels! It would be perfect for baby bibs and such things as it would be lovely and soft near their skin. Below is how I made it, its super easy and hopefully something you’d like to do too.

1.     First thing I did was a little maths. I measured my current kitchen roll and each piece was 8” square. This seemed like a good size for me and the fabric was 55” wide which meant I got just under 7 sets. I just made the last one ¼ of an inch smaller but you wouldn’t notice on the roll.

2.     I then cut the cotton and the towelling into 8” squares.

3.     Once cut I paired them up with one of each and stitched a diagonal across the middle of each square keeping the two pieces together.

4.     Then I overlocked around the edge of each piece.

This could be your finishing point but I wanted mine to go on the roll like kitchen roll does.

 

  1. I then attached the prim poppers to each side so I could attach them on the roll. You need to attach them as you go along to make sure you alternate the way the poppers are attached or you won’t get the cotton all facing the same way. I have a feeling once I have washed this my husband won’t sit and re-popper them so will end up using the basket for clean ones too! Watch this space…

I also made a little box for the dirty ones to go in once they are used so that I can wash them all together. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube on how to make a fabric basket, I switched mine from wadding to stiff interfacing which made the side of the basket more box like which I thought would be perfect for throwing all my cloths into.

Hopefully this will reduce our need for more plastic around the kitchen but definitely perfect for spills and mopping up as the towels are super absorbent!

Plastic free July!

Design team member Rudy is taking part in Plastic free July!

Are you like me trying to do plastic free July? It’s super hard! You can’t buy anything convenient! It has made me so much more organised, especially with packing my own lunch to take to the office…

To assist with this I decided to make some beeswax wraps. I picked out some awesome printed fabric from Sew Crafty, rainbow for me (obviously!) and the black for my husband because he is boring and wouldn’t take my rainbow ones to his office ha ha! I got half a meter of each which has left me with plenty spare. Wraps are said to last about 6 months, where you can re wax them or start again. These fabrics are perfect for it as they are pure cottons which don’t react when heated up in the oven, I would be wary of using polycottons as I’m not sure how they would react in the heat.

 

I set about my research for the best recipe for the wraps, which apparently was much more complicated than I had intended. Some recipes call for pine resin, coconut oil, jojoba oil and bees wax, others call for a variation of the above so I decided to look a little deeper.

Pine resin is a) expensive! And b) not very good for humans to ingest. I was wondering why this seems to be a key ingredient in most the wraps recipe but came to the conclusion you aren’t actually eating the food wrap, but as my food was going to be very close I decided not to risk it.

Coconut oil is readily available and I already had some in the cupboard, though when you use it on your wraps it makes everything a bit slimy! I did variations to see the best recipe and I think I will omit coconut oil now. Whilst it helps with the bendiness of the wraps I feel like the oil is coming off on my hands every time I touch it.

 

Jojoba oil is expensive too but something I’d probably use more often as a carrier for other essential oils etc. I bought the one from Holland and Barret but I’m sure any health food shop would have something similar. The jojoba oil has disinfecting properties which helps keep them clean and fresh for the next batch of food.

Bees wax is easily bought from lots of places. I bought mine from Ebay. I made sure it was food grade pellets which are easier to melt when you put them under heat. As this is the key ingredient you can’t really do without this one but if you wanted you could just use beeswax as I think this works really well also.

So there’s some background into my research I’d love to know if you have anything else to add to help with the wraps?

My method is as below:

1.     Cut the fabric to you desired size, and overlock the edges or pinking shear them whatever you have available to make sure the fabric doesn’t fray. If you are making them into pouches sew the sides together at this point as the wax will soak into multiple layers.

2.     Use an old baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper. If you get wax on your baking try you probably don’t want to use it for food again so bare that in mind when selecting the tools.

3.     Heat the oven up, I did mine at about 180’c

4.     Lay your items out on the tray, if your wraps are too big for the tray don’t worry the wax will seep through layers so fold them over.

5.     Sprinkle the beeswax over the fabric. I probably use too much as there is wax deposits on the outside of my fabrics so use it sparingly.

6.     Put in the oven for about 2-3 minutes, or until all the wax has melted.

7.     When you take them out the over sprinkle a few drops of jojoba oil over the fabric while it cools.

8.     Leave it on the tray until it is cool. If you are making pouches or layered items it’s worth separating the layers whilst it is still warm so it doesn’t stick together too much.

I hope this is helpful and you have many more picnics to follows!  I even made some to replace the cling film i use in the fridge, for when i have leftover in a bowl or need to cover over some fruit so it doesn’t go dry. The wax lets it mold around things.

See you next time!