Saturday, May 12, 2012

Recycling with Needlework Crafts from Flea Markets, Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

Flea market and thrift store finds recycle into crafts
Skirt from Peru has applique and embroidery.
You've seen the cost of sewing thread, lace and all things wonderful for sewing and crafting at the fabric store. Whether you can afford these sewing notions isn't the question. They add to the cost of sewing and needleworking as a hobby, and take away some of the thrill of the bargain. You can find wonderful fabrics and embellishments for your crafts projects at the thrift store. Use your creativity to recycle them into something splendid. 

Go Thrifting

Many thrift shops are operated by non-profit organizations to help those who need. Some of the thrift stores in Texas help hospice-care patients and others are operated by church groups to provide food or financial assistance to families. Whatever the purpose, some of these are ideal crafter's hideaways. 

Small Fabrics

Scarf prints and fabrics are fashionable this summer, "Good Housekeeping" reports in the June 2012 issue. The thrift store usually has a bin of scarves or they may even have them hanging on a rack. You're interested in scarves you can use for crafts and sewing projects. Most scarves have a tiny tag near a corner that identifies the country of origin and the fabric. Skip the polyester and fine silk scarves unless you have a special project for them. Look for the heavier fabrics such as rayon or cotton. Rayon scarves may feel rough, almost like a fine wool and are often 36 inches square. Cotton scarves have a bandanna look and weight. These are scarves you can use for crafts, quilts or fancy pillows. Colorful hankies are another small fabric item you'll want to check at the thrift store.

Large Fabrics

Some thrift stores have donated fabric and crafts and sometimes thread, but you'll want to check out large fabrics. The bedding section has bedspreads and comforters. Don't look at them as bedspreads, but envision them as fabric for your crafts. You don't even have to rip the seams -- just cut within half an inch of the seam to get a large flat piece of fabric for crafting.

Check out the embellishments. Eyelet is expensive at the fabric store, but you may find a comforter or even a sheet with eyelet around the edge -- more eyelet than you'll need for most crafts projects.

Look at the clothing. You don't care about the size -- you're looking for lace, artistic designs and pieces you can use for crafts. Machine embroidery around the bottom of a skirt or dress makes a border print for crafting.

Check the artwork. Framed needlework crafts are usually in with the framed art and you may find something you can recycle. Old embroidery, cross-stitch and blackwork can be washed and made into a pillow or added to your next decorated shirt or skirt.

The picture at the top is applique from Peru and is part of a denim skirt found guessed it -- the thrift store.  

Using Your Finds 

Embroidered pieces with damage on the outer edges can be cut out as appliques. Just leave half an inch or so around the edge of the design area. Stitch around the edge with the sewing machine where you want to fold it back for the applique and fold to the wrong side of the fabric on the stitching line. You can applique the piece in place by machine or by hand with tiny stitches.

Scarves make beautiful pillows. If you find a scarf that is smaller than you want for a pillow, cut matching fabric the size you want and sew the scarf in the center. If the scarf is larger than you want, you can cut the center for a pillow or cut mitered corners to use the border. A mitered corner has a 45-degree angle, or half of a right angle. It should look like this when you're done:

Recycle scarves from flea markets or thrift stores into pillows.
Make a Pillow from a Scarf

You'll want to mark the scarf into triangles. If you want a 12-inch pillow, you'll need a 28-inch scarf or larger. Measure 14 inches from the corner along the edge each way and mark a dot.  Strike a line joining the two dots to form a triangle. Measure from another corner and mark the dots and strike the line. Cut the two triangles off the corners of the scarf and stitch them together with a narrow seam for your pillow top. Fold the opposite corners right-side to right-side and make a "faux" seam diagonally to create the "X" down the center. Measure your piece and trim to 13 inches. You'll have an inch extra for stitching the back to the front, so you'll need to use 1/2 inch seam allowances all around the edge.

Make a pillow from a flea market scarf crafts project.
Mark Your Fabric into Triangles

Here's what you can do with a single large scarf -- either use the center for a pillow or use the corners. You may get two pillows from one large scarf, or possibly even three -- one from the middle and two from the corners. Have a great time crafting with recycled lace, embroidery, scarves and fabrics.

See you again SOON!  I was babysitting a few days while my daughter planted the garden, but managed to make some rounds to the thrift stores while in Arkansas.


No comments: