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Arts & crafts

Using up scraps

(18 Posts)
JackyB Tue 11-Aug-20 18:04:32

The thread on where to store handbags, mentioning dust bags for the good handbags, has given me another idea for my decluttering project.

I have loads of old sheets, towels, shirts, tee shirts, etc, which I have been collecting to make into cleaning rags.

I am really not very good at crafts but got a lot of satisfaction from making a whole bunch of cleaning cloths by running round squares with the overlock machine. I now have neat piles of uniform sized cloths in a variety of colours.

Some of the old things are too nice for just cleaning, though, and I have had ideas for simple items to make from these:

Aprons, bibs, face flannels from towels which have frayed edges, shoe bags, dolls' clothes, other accessories for dolls, bean bags (the kind you throw) and a smock for DGS for painting, as he starts school after the summer.

By the time I've done more of that, maybe my sewing skills will have improved and I can start on some "proper" needlework.

I have 4 huge washing baskets full of old sheets, etc, What else can I use them for?

Luckygirl Tue 11-Aug-20 18:17:36

Are they usable? I have just put lots of bed linen onto freecycle. Seems a shame to cut them up if they can be used.

I finished up with all the bed linen from my parents and from my OH's parents when they died and they have just been sitting in the airing cupboard for years - I am moving soon, so out they have gone! I hate to tell you, but some of my scrap material has also gone!!

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 11-Aug-20 19:21:36

You could turn some of the sheets into pillow cases, even for under cases.

I used a lot of mine as linings for tote bags, laundry bags, shoe bags etc.

Elegran Tue 11-Aug-20 19:45:23

You could use some of it as backing for Foundation Piecing patchwork like this This is not quite the same as Foundation Paper Piecing - what a minefield of names all these techniques are.

JackyB Wed 12-Aug-20 08:47:22

The sheets are partly from my Mil where she had already sewn them together at the edges, the middles having worn through. They are 100% cotton.

Pillow cases? When tidying away some bedlinen yesterday I realised that I have literally dozens of them! They will be joining the collection.

Linings is a good idea, though, and lining patchwork is also an obvious solution I hadn't seriously thought of.

I have done patchwork using paper as a backing material and will have a look at Elegran's suggestion.

FindingNemo15 Wed 12-Aug-20 09:04:14

Animal rescue homes are always looking for sheets, towels, etc., but not duvets or pillows!!

MerylStreep Wed 12-Aug-20 09:15:12

You hint that your sewing skills aren't very good. But you have an overlocker. Apologies if I've got that wrong.

Bathsheba Wed 12-Aug-20 09:35:06

How about making lots of drawstring bags in different sizes, to use as gift bags instead of buying wrapping paper - we should all be finding ways to avoid all this single-use stuff. You could add embroidery or appliqué to the bags, or decorate them with fabric pens.

Opal Wed 12-Aug-20 10:27:13

Little Dresses for Africa is a UK charity that asks for dresses to be made from pillowcases, and then sends them to Africa for little girls from poor families. The pattern is so simple, just a hem and a couple of straps, and the charity provides a template on their website. They also ask for Sanipads. Please check out their website for more details.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 20-Aug-20 10:20:53

You could make a rag rug from small scraps if you've the patience - just knotting required, although it needs a canvas base and these can be a bit tricky to get hold of.

JackyB Sun 25-Oct-20 18:25:01

Reviving the old thread here as I've had a brilliant idea. My youngest DGD (2) apparently loves playing shops and with the play kitchen. I thought I could make some mini tea towels, oven gloves, apron and shopping bags. Decluttering has also unearthed some cloth dyes so I could dye them all the same bright green or yellow and I thought I'd stencil her name on to everything.

And to answer Meryl's question as to why I have an overlock machine: I know the theory and plenty of sewing techniques but am just so cack-handed. Actually the overlock machine is a godsend as it makes sewing a lot easier. I made the smock for DGS' art lessons at school. It turned out rather well. Stupidly didn't take a picture.

Ilovecheese Sun 25-Oct-20 18:32:55

You could make facemasks from the bedding.

Greyduster Sun 25-Oct-20 18:45:25

lovebeigecardigans rug hessian is widely available on the internet. A site called ‘ragged life’ is good. And eBay too.

fevertree Sun 25-Oct-20 19:09:00

You could make device beanbags - they are very easy to make and popular too. I've made some out of old sheets, just edge them with contrast binding. There are loads of patterns online, basically it is two rectangles, sewn on three sides, then you fold it and sew it across the top leaving a gap (to fill it). After filling, finish it by hand. I leave a loop to pick it up with when I finish it with the binding. Here are patterns (but there are many online). The 25cm x 20cm fits a Kindle.

fevertree Sun 25-Oct-20 19:14:52

Make fabric trays... (you need stiffening). They're fun.

I've just bought some Christmas fabric to make some for December for sweets etc.

SpringyChicken Sun 25-Oct-20 22:59:15

I've been recycling old tshirts into cleaning rags for years. Our plumber used to go off with a bundle whenever he was doing a job for us. He found them invaluable.

vegansrock Mon 26-Oct-20 07:12:58

Dye cotton sheets, then they are useful in a number of ways, lining tote bags, backing for patchwork quilts, drawstring gym bags or scrubs bags for NHS, advertise on freecycle if you have too many as someone will snap them up.

Nannarose Mon 26-Oct-20 10:07:46

Great ideas.
I always use rags for cleaning, and yes, they are good if you can overlock them.
I also use them for draining wet / fried food where I might otherwise use kitchen paper. I have a bucket and sling them in for regular boil washes.
I also make, depending on the fabric, handkerchiefs or make-up / cleaning pads.
I have also used at the lining / interlining for face coverings.

You say that you are not good at sewing, but should you want to try making clothes again, you can use old sheets for making toiles.