Sewing Essentials: 10 Recycling Box Salvages
Your recycling box (or someone else's) is a handy place to get sewing supplies at zero cost. With findings, fabric and notions costing what they do, you'd do well to look more closely at what you are throwing out. You think it's garbage? Think again. Here are 10 things to keep before you decide to toss it to the curb.
It's not as worthless as all that. Torn, stained, hopelessly worn out fabric is scrap, yes, unless you need rags. But what about those buttons? The zipper? If the garment is that tattered, it could mean it fit well so tear the seams apart and make a pattern from it before you throw it out.
Icky and Ugly Old Sheets
These are perfect for doing mock-ups. You get tons of fabric for testing out a pattern without using up your good stuff. Sheets can also be used as a stabilizing backing for applique and quilt work. Nobody will ever see it and it serves the purpose well. Sheets tend to wear only in the middle part so the edges are often in good shape. We used the outside pieces of an old sheet as fabric for the Easy Painted Fabric craft project. Pieces of sheeting also make good paint rags.
Purses and Knapsacks
Before you throw them out, salvage the hardware! Zippers, buckles, rings, clips and even the strapping are all worth keeping for future projects.
Empty Thread Spools
There are a number of craft projects out there and some people do some pretty creative stuff with them. Check out this site for ideas on what to do with thread spools. Green Eco Services
Old Jeans, Work Pants, and Coats
There are usually bits of the fabric that are still good. After you tear off the hardware and notions, find the pieces of fabric that are still good. The jeans and work pants can be cut up for patches for other jeans and work pants and that coat fabric has inside knee patch potential. I once sewed large wool patches cut from a moth eaten coat to the inside of a pair of work pants. The point was to make kneeling less painful and insulate from the cold. It worked, or so I was told. The same could probably be done for gardening trousers.
The cardboard comes in very handy for storing and sorting. Wind loose ribbons and trims around a piece of cardboard. Cut the cardboard a little taller than your patterns and use them as dividers for your pattern boxes. 3 hole punch a piece that's a little larger than your copy paper and you have dividers for your project binders. Make your own stencils and tracing patterns. This could be a lengthy list of suggestions but you get the idea.
Chocolate, Shoe and Boot Boxes
A box with a lid in a sewing room. Like I need to explain this one. Get fancy and paint it or cover it with fabric or wrapping paper.
Rice and Flour Bags
Great fun can be had with the burlap and cotton fabrics for various crafts and kitchen sewing projects. I once saw curtains in a restaurant made from flour sacs stitched together. It looked a lot better than it sounds, I promise. One of my upcoming craft projects will be using burlap so keep that rice bag.
If you are drafting or altering patterns, the large sheet newsprint makes it go so much better. You can slash and spread and modify to fit with reckless abandonment before stuffing the now-abused newspaper in the bin.
Pill Bottles, Small Lidded Containers, Jars and Small Tins
Store buttons, beads, safety pins, needles, small sewing tools and the like in these containers. Unless the container is see-through, it helps if you mark them. Enter the sharpie pen.
Bent and Broken Machine Needles
Nothing to salvage here. They're useless.
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