Scrap patchwork bags


The more sewing there is, the more scraps there are.  The more garments get cut up and converted into other things, the more bits and pieces of old clothing are lying around the place.  I notice there are waves of action around here.  Waves where things come apart–clothes get cut up ready to convert, dyeing creates new opportunities, fabrics come out of cupboards, sewing clothes creates leftover pieces of cloth… and then there are waves of coming together, sometimes driven by a sheer need to clean up and manage all those bits.


Having made one round of bags with printed patches on them, I began to piece onto the remaining patches and to sew scraps together for linings.  Perfectly good pockets coming from clothes that have passed the point of no return (as garments of one kind) were sewn into bag linings for future use.  Eventually, they all came together into four lined bag bodies in search of straps, and all the pieces of old clothing and exhausted tablecloth that had been through one indigo vat or another started to come together as well.

In the end, I decided more denim would really help and invested $4 on the bargain rack at a Red Cross op shop.  Anything that has made it to half price at an op shop is likely on its way to rags or landfill.  If you’re feeling tough minded, or you would like to know what happens to clothing that is donated to op shops in this country, here!  Read this.

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Two bags got linen straps. This one, I think I will send to a fellow climate change activist, someone I met in Newcastle at a protest last year.  I’ve become her friend on facebook and I can see how hard it is for her to be constantly trying to explain how serious the issue facing us all is–and how urgent, while she deals with her own feelings on the subject.  This is a bit of a long distance hug for her, ’cause she’s awesome.

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This one is going to another friend who lives in the country.  She and I go way back.  I can see it’s tough being so far away from so many people she knows and events she might want to attend–though of course there are great things going on at home too. She’s a musician and knitter and gardener and feminist. Also pretty awesome.

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This patch is so like something she wrote a few weeks back I decided as I read–that it should be hers. And in case you’re wondering… there are two still bags to finish!

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Filed under Activism, Sewing

6 responses to “Scrap patchwork bags

  1. Kat

    Great link, thank you: the work done at our local op shop is phenomenal, but they still they donate on and sell on and throw away massive amounts of clothing, just from one little country town. That multiplied by *Australia *the world, is just staggering. Tomorrow I’m warping up my loom to start making rugs made from t-shirts that the oppy gives me for $4 a chockful bag. Love those opshop ladies, the original Upcyclers. Thanks for your cheery and practical posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Kat. I too love the people who volunteer at my local oppies, and the paid workers who are likely not paid much. But those of us contributing to the mountains of textile waste in this country need to up our act! Thanks for making old t shirts into lovely rugs…


  2. That’s astonishing/appalling. Although I haven’t bought a “new” clothing item in years (except the “unmentionables,” haha), now I’m ashamed of even taking those items back to the thrifts when I’ve (ahem) outgrown them. Must learn more repurposing tricks and actually apply them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s pretty much the situation I am in. I’ve decided to buy little or nothing new (unmentionables excepted). I’ve bought one item of clothing in the last few years and been gifted several t shirts and a couple of lovely hand made and/or hand dyed items. I don’t know about shame–I take things that I think someone else would like to wear or would fit into, to the op shop. But the clothing I like wearing often gets worn well past the point where someone else would throw it away, and some of it came from the op shop to me! So some of those items went into other projects over summer, and that seems good to me at present. We’ll see how our thinking and actions develop!


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