Category Archives: eco friendly

Sweater to Skirts Refashion

Yet another sweater of mine that ended up in the dryer, and needed a refashion.  I love the aqua color, so I couldn’t let it go to the donation pile.

Refashion one, body of the sweater becomes a skirt.

Sweater Refashion Sewing Ideas-001

Even though Jen, at Diary of a MadMama warned me off about pinning on the right side of the skirt… I forgot and had to move the pins anyway.

Sweater becomes a skirt

My smaller helper insisted on being in the picture, and wearing the collar of the sweater, which has not yet been assigned to a refashion.

Refashion two, sleeves become skirts for an American Girl doll.  (Only one shown.)

American Girl Doll with Sweater Sleeves

The shirt Jess (American Girl Doll) is wearing, is from a Scientific Seamstress pattern.

American Girl Doll in Sweater Skirt

My helper wanted to pose with the doll. This one is actually my doll. I bought it for me, even though I am all grown up, because I have never before seen a doll who resembles me in the slightest. So I just had to have it!

child with American Girl Doll wearing sweater skirt


Reusable Grocery Bag

Simplicity Pattern 2806, view B, is my very favorite reusable grocery bag pattern. I have made it with a self lining, with leftover decorator fabric, and with tapestry. I have given them away as gifts.  I use them for storage.  And now it’s time for a new print.

Reusable Grocery Bag Completed

This is a Michael Miller print, which I incorrectly thought had seals swimming right side up and up side down.  So… on one side, they’re upside down because I failed to use a with nap layout.  But that hasn’t stopped me from liking the end result.  And I don’t think that the children have noticed.

Reusable Grocery Bag Sewing Pattern

The pattern is written to use one yard of fabric.  But I often use one half yard of print fabric, and one half yard of plain light colored fabric as a lining. That way I get two print bags, and can easily see things that are inside the bags.

Reusable Grocery Bag Pressing

Unlike the t-shirt bag, this grocery bag really does look nicer if you press it.  I also top stitch along the opening, to keep the fabric from twisting.

I interlined the bag (sewed the lining and outer layer together), because it’s faster.  And I don’t intend to carry the bag with the plain side out. So I don’t care if the serged edges show inside the bag.  I’ll only see them when I turn the bag inside out into the washing machine.

Reusable Grocery Bag Serged Lining

As with the t-shirt bag, turn the bottom seam to the side seam to make a point.  Then sew across to form a gusset.

Reusable Grocery Bag Gusset

I have tried several methods for attaching the two straps together.  On this version of the bag, view B, the pattern instructions specify to press in the edges, then hand sew.  But I haven’t found that to be a very strong way to fasten the pieces together. So, after trial and error, I like this way best:  Serge the edges.  (Yes, they are going to show.) Overlap the two handle pieces.  Sew across three times.  Then sew near to the top stitching on each side.  Repeat. This will not come apart while you cross the grocery store parking lot with a bag full of heavy items.

Reusable Grocery Bag Handles

Voila, a cute, eco-friendly grocery bag.

Reusable Grocery Bag Michael Miller Seals

I think I’m finished with bags for the moment.  I need to make one more fleece jacket.  Then it’s time to begin sewing for Spring.

That’s the plan anyway.

Upcycle T-Shirt to Grocery Bag

I was inspired by an Instructable to recycle a previous season t-shirt. I think it ‘s a cute t-shirt.  But my child has two of them and only wears the pink one. Still, I was surprised when I asked if she minded if I turned it into something else, and she said, sure go ahead.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag front side

Here’s my version, for a child size tote, using a child size t-shirt.

Materials Needed:

  • Child Size T-Shirt
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Water Soluble Pen
  • Curved object (for example a dressmakers curve, drafting curve, or plate)
  • Sewing machine or serger, threaded

Makeover Instructions:

Get a clean child size t-shirt and lay it flat.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag

Fold the t-shirt in half and draw lines (around your logo if you wish) in a bag shape.

drawing curves with a drafting tool and water soluble marker

Cut along the lines you just drew.

Turn the t-shirt inside out. Sew the bottom closed.

Fold the side seam and the bottom seam together to make a point. (If you don’t have a side seam, use the armscye to line up the point). Sew or serge a line perpendicular to the existing bottom seam, to form a gusset.  Bottom seam folded to point

Repeat on the other side.  The bottom of your bag will now be a rectangle shape.


Turn right side out.

upcycle tshirt to grocery bag Finished

Voila, you have a washable, reusable grocery bag!

And a shameless plug for your local organization.  If you don’t want to keep the writing, cut the bag shape without regard to the logo, and sew with right sides together.

You do not need to finish the edges, because knit fabric does not ravel.

Reuse It Plastic Bag

Are you wondering what to do with all those weird little plastic envelopes that enclose sheets and sometimes underwear?  You can reuse them as containers for non-food items. They are especially handy if they have snaps, like the one shown below.

Reuseable plastic bag as a crayon container

Yes, this one has a warning not to allow children to play with it.  And I have filled it with crayons.  Only my older child, who is old enough not to put her head in it is allowed to use more than one crayon at a time.  The rest of the time it is safely tucked into a drawer.  And I get out one crayon at a time, for she-who-would-eat-crayons.

The larger plastic envelopes, that contain sheets and usually have zippers are great for organizing luggage, keeping in the car as wet bags (not completely waterproof), and organizing socks or doll shoes.