Sustainability and up-cycling

Have you ever considered the environmental issues when you quilt? Not to dampen our love for the craft, we can't be blind to the impact of the industry to the environment. Did you know that:
  • Growing cotton uses a lot of water and pesticides – 25% of  pesticides used in the U.S. (EPA.GOV).
  • Fabric manufacturing and dyeing is a major polluter of land and rivers - second most-polluting industry after oil and gas production.
  • Exploitative practices using sweatshop labor and lowered safety regulations.

Now for the fun part, how can we use what we already have in our stash, in thrift shop!

What to do with you kid's uniform? Patch all the scraps and make a notebook cover or a laptop cover. Thanks René for the tips.

We all use cotton wipes and/or paper towels. Why not making good use of our scrap and make our own. Double win as we are using our scraps once more and we are not adding more cotton waste in the landfill. René made her facial fluffs with beloved scraps of Carolyn Frielander fabric and some cotton knit. For her kitchen towels, Alissa used fabric leftover and old bath towel, her tips is to sew a big X in the middle of the rag, so the 2 layers of fabrics are stabilised. Diane had shown us her version of 'unpaper towels' a while ago, you can find her tutorial on her blog.

The perfect idea for coffee lovers and chocolate addicts! Jeanne drinks a lot of coffee and has a sweet-tooth too, rather that disposing of all the bags she get her 'substances' in, she turns them in little zippered bags, added bonus, they smell so good. She uses a pattern from SewMamaSew. Also, don't buy a new zipper for this project, try to up-cycle one from an old garment.

How do you feel about a T-Shirts quilt? I know it is not everybody's cup of tea, but honestly Zonetta's one make me rethink this. She has made this very interesting quilt from T-Shirt she won from the running races she participated over the years. Let's cheer her once more for the quilt and the races!

Michelle, in addition to using all her scraps, uses her phone book too. I would encourage you to make a stripes quilt soon because how much longer those phone books are going to be published?

Thrifting as a second nature, we loved Leslie's ideas, from her husband's jacket turned into a cross-body bag, an old (stained) table-cloth cut and transformed into Easter place mats, stuffed animals made from boiled old wool jackets, glamorous outfit for her grand-daughter's doll cut from a second-hand twin-set... When in a thrift store, Leslie recommends to look for alternative materials such as vintage sheets, leather jackets for bags, belts for bag straps, wool clothing, reclaim metal zippers. And don't be afraid to make mistakes.


  1. These are all great ideas. Thanks for posting details and links.


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