Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Landlocked Sailor (crafting, lifestyle)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Save the Textiles! Everyday Upcycling at The Landlocked Sailor, by Sarita Li Johnson


BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog is about sustainable crafting, simple living, and running an online business on

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog for people who are environmentally conscious and are looking for ways to do their bit. There are quite a few posts about crafting and "upcycling" rather than recycling, slightly less posts on running an online business.

They are all interesting, and if you're a crafter, you'll enjoy this blog.

Sample post:
Three Ways to Transform Salvaged Fabrics (Into Something You’ll Actually Want to Use!)

It’s his favorite T-shirt. You know, that one he got at his first concert or that he wore every day at summer camp. Yeah, that one. The one that doesn’t even fit anymore, and has a couple of ketchup stains. There is NO WAY he’s going to throw it away or turn it into a grease rag. But should it just be sitting in a drawer, all sad and unusable? No!

T-shirts are easy enough to turn into pillows or quilts, but what about pants, belts, jackets, or baby clothes?

Sometimes you have an item you’d really love to salvage and upcycle, but there just isn’t much fabric there, or it’s oddly shaped, etc. You could always make those “butt jeans” handbags (you know the ones I mean) or use a bunch of tiny pieces to make patchwork, but both of those things have been done, redone, and overdone. They don’t stand out. (Don’t get me wrong about patchwork. It is a time-honored tradition, it takes a lot of patience, hard work, and precision, and it is beautiful. But there is more to repurposing your favorite article of clothing than cutting it into a million pieces and making a quilt out of it.)

It’s time for something new.
What is more appealing to you: “Oh look I cut a bunch of things up and sewed them back together in random order” or “Oh look I cut the legs off a pair of jeans and sewed the bottom shut” or “Thanks! I love this too! No, you can’t buy one just like it. I actually made it out of two dresses I wore when I was a baby.”

Easy Envelope Clutch PDF Sewing Pattern by Keyka Lou on Etsy
Salvaging textiles and upcycling them makes a statement. It says: “I found materials that had outlived their usefulness and gave them a new lease on life.” It might even say: “I am very resourceful and not wasteful. I find beauty where other people overlook it.” But it should never say: “I just can’t bear to throw anything away, end of story.”

But where can you find patterns that lend themselves to small pieces of fabric?
Strategy #1: Look for small patterns. A coin purse or wallet only takes so much fabric, and these things are infinitely useful. Bonus: If you find a pattern you really like, make a dozen or so using a different fabric every time. They’ll make great gifts, and are an easy way to stock your Etsy shop if you have one. (More on Etsy in another post.)

Strategy #2: Use the salvaged fabric as a decorative element. If you’re making (or buying) a big tote bag, a skirt, a hat, or anything else, think about embellishing it a bit. You don’t have to think rhinestones and sequins, but how about applique? Reverse applique is also very cool. Check out this great tutorial at Bonus: You can use the same technique on several different pieces for a coordinated, but not identical look. Think of it as a twist on the “Best Friends” necklace.

Strategy #3: Sort your fabrics by color, and use small amounts of contrasting fabrics to make one larger, coordinated piece. Huh? Ok, think of it this way. Imagine you have a pattern for a handbag. It might have one pattern piece for the front, one for the back, one for the flap over the top, one for each side, one for each strap, etc. If you used a completely different fabric for each of these pieces, it might end up looking like a circus. If that’s what you want, go for it. But experiment with a few different fabrics. Try making the body out of one fabric, and the flap and lining from another. Do they look good together? Great! It might be easier for you to picture at first if the patterns are advertised in contrasting fabrics. Check out Keyka Lou’s Etsy shop for some great examples (like the one pictured on this page). Bonus: By mixing a common element into a series of bags or other accessories, you can create a “set” even when you don’t have enough fabric (or the desire) to make them identical.

--Upcycling and Refashioning Contest Extended Through August!
--Make Your Kids Some Awesome Clothes: Blogs Can Help!
--This Week on Etsy: Top 5 Sellers of Fabric for Upcycling
--Road Trip Ready Design
--Three Ways to Transform Salvaged Fabrics (Into Something You’ll Actually Want to Use!)

Ms. Cairo writes several blogs including:
Seaborn: Oceanography Blog
Star Trek Report: Space Sciences
Topical Murder and Dated Death

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