12/7/09

Sewing Green

Today is really cold and yet my thoughts are on global warming and recycling, or "going green" as most people term it today. I have been reading in so many places about recycling to help the planet...grocery stores and bookstores are selling reusable "green" bags so we don't put so much plastic in the landfills.

Back in the 70s (and yes, I know I am dating myself) I often wondered why people weren't worried about trashing up the planet and endangering the environment. I'd like to think that I was just 30 years ahead of the time in my thinking! After my oldest daughter was born, I recycled aluminum cans...but then, it wasn't really to be "green" it was so I could afford diapers and formula! I suppose diapers and formula are too expensive to be able to buy then now with "can money", and they don't give much for the cans any more...but at the time it was wonderful to get money and clean up the planet at the same time!

As usual, my thoughts lead me back to sewing and trying to sew "green"...no, not green fabric! There have been several articles in quilt magazines about reusing and recycling fabric and I thought I would share some things I have learned, or done myself.

  1. Use your scraps...even the smallest ones. Get creative about this and use them in applique or patchwork.
  2. Recycle old clothes from your closet, your kids' closet, and hubby's closet too. Cut up clothes and put the fabric in your stash. Hubby's ties are a great source of silk and his dress shirts can be used for all types of projects!
  3. Shop in thrift stores to gather crazy quilt fabric...little girls fancy dresses are a great source for velvet, satin and lace!
  4. Reuse buttons, snaps, hooks, and trims from old garments
  5. Chain piece to conserve thread (it's not cheap these days either!)
  6. Learn to applique to use smaller pieces of scraps
  7. Keep your sewing machine in good shape...don't let it end up in the landfill because you failed to maintain it properly.
  8. Recycle vintage tablecloths, napkins and handkerchiefs and use them in your quilts or garments
  9. Recycle worn towels and washcloths to make baby bibs or use as jacket lining.
  10. Reuse things around the house for quilt or garment embellishment..get creative...look in your kitchen junk drawer or bathroom for small things such as beads, pop tops, pieces of ribbon, etc.
  11. Use sustainable fabrics and batting such as cotton and bamboo
Can you think of more ways to recyle or reuse material in sewing or quilting? I would love to hear your ideas! There are books on the subject as well at www.amazon.com, so check them out! Try sewing "green" and see how you like it. Remember, the art of quilting in this country began with pioneer women reusing worn clothing to make bed quilts! Sew, let's get creative and "green" at the same time!

Happy Sewing and Quilting!!