More Purple

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The lavender flowers are not the only purple in my life.  Today I was ironing one of GMan’s shirts which happens to be purple.

This shirt is one of his favourites and the cuffs had worn out some time ago so I cut the sleeves off to turn it into a short sleeve shirt which continues to be worn, albeit, not as frequently as when it was a long-sleeved business shirt.

I was ironing it today and I caught the tip of the iron against the edge of the back yoke seam whereupon the stitching gave way across about 2/3 of the back.  After my initial shock, I examined it closely and realised that the cotton thread had simply worn out.

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The fabric is faded and I know it will not last forever but I have restitched it and there is quite a bit more wear in it yet.

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It makes good environmental and economic sense to repair items and retain them for as long as possible so I am very pleased to have been able to extend the life of this shirt.

Salvaged

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I make simple cotton boxer shorts to team with singlet tops for pyjamas and the elastic had given up in this pair.

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I intended to replace the elastic, however, they had been languishing on the ‘to do’ pile on my sewing table.  Rather than simply replacing the 2 rows of 6mm elastic, I decided to use this elastic which I had salvaged from some of GMan’s worn out underwear.

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The first step was to remove the remnant of the underwear fabric.

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The elastic attached to the upper edge  of the shorts.

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Then turned over and stitched again.

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The boxers are now ready to wear again with no extra cost and no wastage from the worn out underwear.  As a side note, the worn out cotton underwear makes fantastic cleaning cloths and dusters.

 

Almost Brand New

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I recently mended a cotton blanket which was wearing out.  It must be close to 20 years old and it would have been very easy to simply buy another one but I decided that was unnecessary.

This is what the top edge looked like.

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However, the bottom edge was pristine.

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So, I removed the satin binding from the top edge and unpicked the hem at the other end.  Then I bound the bottom edge using the salvaged satin binding.

Here is the result.  It looks as good as new.

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Sadly, the previous top edge was in a rather sad state.

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I contemplated cutting the damaged part off and then re-doing the hem.  This would mean the loss of some length so I was not keen on that solution.  Instead, I used some fabric from an old sheet to make a wide binding that covered the damaged part while still maintaining the original length of the blanket.

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The colour blends in nicely and it will mostly be tucked in at the foot of the bed.

I was very happy with the repair and hope that the blanket will last for many years to come.

Mending

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Today I mended something that was not the sort of thing that normally springs to mind when you mention mending.

I decided to thoroughly clean our bedroom and began by dismantling the bed.  We bought a new mattress earlier in the year – you can read about it here.  The new mattress is on the existing ensemble base and the whole lot sits on a metal frame.

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Once I removed the ensemble base I could see how much the covering on the underside had deteriorated.  It is a paper-like fabric and has become very fragile and ripped in places as you can see in the photo below.

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After removing the ripped covering, I vacuumed it carefully and then set about replacing the covering.  I used an old flat sheet and an upholstery staple gun.

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Here is the result.  Even though it will never be on show, I feel better for having done it.

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The skirt which fits around the ensemble base was washed and before I put it back on I replaced the elastic straps which had stretched so that it did not sit neatly on the base.  Hew elastic straps and ready to reassemble.

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I was really pleased to have got these jobs done and the bed is now all back together.

New to Me

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Sometimes things are just meant to be.  A couple of weeks ago my mother told me that had some casual clothes – mostly tshirts which were now surplus to her requirements.

In the spirit of my relatively streamlined wardrobe and a lack of need, I refused most of them.  However, this one caught my eye.

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I had no intention of rushing out to buy a pink and white striped rugby top but when I saw this in the pile I simply fell in love with it.  This top is very lightweight and perfect for our generally mild weather for about 6 months of the year.

After wearing  it for a couple of days when I first received the top, I washed and ironed it.  While ironing it, I noticed that there was only one button on the placket.  The button was white and I searched my collection of numerous white buttons but could not find any suitable ones but discovered that I had 2 pink buttons that were the right size.

When I was planning what to pack on our upcoming trip to the UK I decided to include this top.  Even though it is quite light, it is loose enough to wear a thermal top underneath it and with the addition of a warm jacket I would be quite snug when out and about.

Even though this was an unplanned addition to my wardrobe, I am confident that it will  be perfect for my needs and get plenty of wear.

The Big 4 – Part 2

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Following on from my previous post about coffee cups, the next item on the list is bags.

Bags really fall into 2 categories in my opinion.  The first is carry bags – from the supermarket, other grocery stores as well as department stores and specialist boutiques.  There are reusable ‘green’ bags which are only marginally better than the single-use plastic bags that they are supposed to replace.  They are still made from plastic and do not have a long life as they are prone to tear.  I have a selection of bags that I use which have come from a variety of sources.

Here are some the calico ones including the one which has had the handles replaced.  You can read that story here.

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This one was a gift that my sister brought back for me from Alaska.  They were made in the town she visited.  It is sturdy and folds up into its own pocket for easy storage.  Yes, it is plastic but I believe it will last forever.

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Finally, this one is my go-to bag every time I leave the house.  It is looking a bit the worse for wear after almost 5 years of constant use.  I bought it in Vermont when we visited the USA in 2012.  It was plastic-lined – fused onto the inside of the hessian but when the plastic began to break up, I removed it all and sewed in a new cotton lining.  The project is detailed here.

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The second type of single-use plastic bags are produce bags – the flimsy ones that you find at the greengrocer or the fruit and vegetable section of your local supermarket.  Apparently, reusable alternatives can be purchased from various Etsy sellers and also on Amazon but I simply chose to make my own from some leftover tulle that I had at home.  They are very easy to make with very basic sewing skills.  You could really use any fabric but I find the tulle is perfect because it allows for the cashier to identify the produce and because they weigh virtually nothing, I do not have to worry about tare weight.  The fabric does not fray so there is no need to worry about finishing the edges.  I also chose not to worry about drawstrings or ties as I find there is simply no need.  Remember, the plastic ones are just a bag with no added extras.

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I also carry a folded Ecosilk bag which I use on the rare occasions that I make clothing purchases.

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There are other opportunities for refusing plastic bags but if you are starting out, I would strongly suggest that you begin with reusable carry bags and produce bags.  This will make an immediate difference.

Do you use your own bags?

Fit to Wear

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There are many ways of approaching the goal of producing less waste but for me, one of the most obvious things is to consume less and make do with what you have.

Mending, repairing and refashioning will significantly extend the life of items, save them from landfill for longer and of course, reduce the need to purchase a replacement.

Here is a practical example that I did this morning in less than an hour.

This is GMan’s sweatshirt which he wears on the weekend when gardening, mowing and painting as you can see.  The cuffs and lower band are all frayed and badly stretched but the body of the garment is still relatively sound.

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When I said that I could replace the cuffs, he commented how much he liked the fit of it – although I don’t think ‘fit’ is actually the right word.  So, The first thing I did was to make a pattern for future reference.

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I use lightweight interfacing for this purpose and have a roll of it.  I find the patterns cut on interfacing are durable and unlikely to tear.

There are only 2 pieces required – one for the front and back (with different necklines marked) and one for the sleeves.

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Next, I had a dig in my stash of ribbing to find a suitable piece.  I found some bottle green which was exactly enough for the lower band and sleeve cuffs – no wastage at all.

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I then found a piece of black for the neckband and set to work.  I will not try to explain how the ribbing is attached as there are plenty of good instructions which can be found using Google.

The final result.

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GMan is happy and I am sure this will see plenty more wear in the garden.