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March/April 2010 – Reused Fabric

This page and its similarly titled Submissions sub-page will show the experiments, thoughts, and final submissions reusing fabric. Please submit projects by April 30, if at all possible.  We plan to post submissions within the first week of May.

Please note that as of this month we have changed the pace of this ongoing project.  One month is just too little time for all of us uber-busy people to wrap our minds around experimenting with new materials, so now each material will be “current” for two months.  The new category title will be Bimonthly materials.  Unfortunately, “bimonthly” officially means either once every two months OR twice a month (English is never totally straightforward).  In this case, we mean the former – every two months.

Reused Fabric

This material is recyclable in many jurisdictions – used to make the cotton content of paper, as well as remade into felts and woven fabrics.  Of course, historically, people have been reusing fabric ever since we started making it – old clothes passed on as hand-me-downs, worn clothing patched, extremely worn clothing turned into smaller objects, worn carpets turned into bags and saddle covers.  Old sheets can be turned into window coverings; drapery can be turned into clothing (a la Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music); patches of fabric turned into dolls, dolls’ clothing, patches for patchwork quilts, etc.

Now, let’s take it up a notch.  Wool (old sweaters and blankets, for instance) can be felted and converted into mittens, handbags, and hats. Just visit Etsy and search for felted mittens and you’ll see how popular this method of recycling has become.  One of my personal favorites is Paige Billin-Frye, whose Better Mousetrap Arts features some wonderful mittens, pins, and handbags from felted sweaters.    Jenae Michelle’s Range of Emotion site includes bags from vintage fabric.  Tamara Embrey of The Devil Made Me Do It repurposes fabric to make one-of-a-kind clothing.  Please write in with your favorite links to work reusing fabric!

A new link to may prove edifying to our readers.  In addition to interesting information about all things green and conservation-related, a video on how to transform a “dead” umbrella into a tote bag is particularly pertinent for this page.

Carol Geller Levin (featured in February using styrofoam packing peanuts), Maria Simonsson, and Lisa Schumaier reuse fabric in their sculptures.

Getting even more esoteric, and examining the process as well as the product are a series of projects by Lia Rousset, Amber Ginsberg, and Carla Duarte:

Re-Dress unraveled sweaters at one end of the room and reknit on the other.

Re-Pur-Pose reuses sweaters and incorporates them into a garden environment.


Here are some verbs that may be helpful to you as you start to play with the material and explore its possibilities (please feel free to add a comment below with more relevant verbs):

sew, disassemble, quilt, shred, rip, cut, stuff into, wrap around, weave, knit, crochet, knot, braid, twist, interlace, crumple, felt, stretch, melt, cinch, poke through, unravel, fold, burn/singe, mold, distress, stiffen, smock, wind…


You may add comments here about the material (frustrations, triumphs, specific resources, etc.) all month long as you experiment, or you may wait until the end of the month.  Text-only comments about working with newspaper can be added at the very bottom of THIS PAGE.  If you have commented on this blog before, your comment will be posted immediately.  If you are new to the blog, your comment will go through the Administrator for approval.
If you wish to submit a final project or summarizing comment (especially if you want to include images or links), we suggest that you do it in the form of a post on the sub-page, since those posts (unlike the more simply formatted comments on this page) can contain links and/or images.  If you wish to add a post, please contact the Administrator through the contact form immediately below and we will tell you what to do to get your post published.

Contact form for posting images and links about reused fabric:

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