Many of us already recycle textiles by purchasing clothing from op shops or participating in clothing swaps. Apart from clothing, many other textile goods can also be recycled. Since the environmental impact of textile production is significant, from the production of raw materials to manufacturing practices and transport, the thoughtful recycling of textiles is a worthwhile endeavour. Here is a simple, beginner sewing project for children or adults.
These six hand towels were created from a recycled, Australian made, vintage table cloth. The cloth is good quality, extra thick, 100% cotton, purchased from a local op shop for $1.50. Although the cotton is very sturdy, it is also extra soft thanks to years of use and laundering. These towels are cheap to make and will last for many years. They do not take much space in the washing machine, line dry quickly and can have a third life as cleaning rags. They can eventually be composted.
The tablecloth measured 192 cm X 123cm. It was cut into 6 pieces, each measuring 64cm X 41cm.
All raw edges were folded over twice and pinned.
The pinned edges were machine stitched with a matching thread and then ironed.
If you wish to be more creative, you can add an applique. These are also good for hiding any ‘hard to shift’ stains. The flower was cut out from left over curtain fabric and ironed on with a fusible backing before being blanket stitched with 2 threads of embroidery cotton. A cotton tablecloth this size could also be made into six serviettes… or a large laundry bag… or three tea towels. A little imagination and a few simple sewing skills can stretch our recycling efforts further and create many useful household items from second hand fabrics.
How do you recycle textiles in your household?
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