Tag Archives: recycled craft

Recycled Sweater Bag, Revisited and Resweatered

Reconstructed Sweater Bag #2

Once upon a time, I made some bags out of sweaters (okay, it was probably around 2008!).

The first bag was made for my daughter. It was purple and stripey and had cute little flowers on the front. She loved it so much, and carried it for so long, that I made more and posted a tutorial to boot, including a version on cut out + keep.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle a Thrift Store Sweater!

Two years later, a lovely blogger named Kris asked to post about my recycled sweater bag over on Resweater. And, that is just what happened! There have been lots of visits to the recycled sweater bag post, which has helped me to remember what a fun project it was to create. Thanks, Kris!

It’s been a while since I’ve recycled a sweater, mostly because I live in Texas and wool sweaters are something of a rarity. I haven’t found one that really grabbed my attention in quite some time, but I’m sure if I did, I would be happy to make another of the spiffy bags!

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Upcycled Accordion Folder


This whole “business owner” thing has a lot of learning curves. Taxes…blech! Legal stuff..blech! Unforeseen storage issues…creative opportunity!

After a couple of months of getting the Sewhooked Shop off the ground, I had a whole tote bag full of receipts, paperwork and odds ‘n ends that I need to keep track of.  There isn’t a spare foot anywhere in my workspace for a filing cabinet and, as they say, have laptop will travel. I need to be portable.

After contemplating what to do with the mess of papers and such, I headed to our family storage location for paper, folders and general office/school supplies. A giant figurative light bulb danced gleefully over my head at what I’d found.

An accordion folder. Really? How did I not know we had that? The answer is, I did, but I forgot. It was tucked away with the kids’ school supplies. It’s something I used when both of them were very early in their school careers, before I realized that no mere accordion folder could ever cope with the massive amount of tree carnage that is elementary school.

I think this folder was probably around when I was at least in high school. In another lifetime, my dad was a school supply buyer. The bonus of that when I was a kid was all kinds of nifty and creative supplies! I’m pretty sure that this was a remnant from that time that my mom passed on to us when our own kids were little.

Supplies:

  • Accordion folder with with a cardboard shell
  • Fabric Remnant
  • Batting Remnant
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glue Gun
  • Ribbon
  • Mailing Labels
  • Pliers, if needed

Accordion Folder Upcycle Project

So, I find this. Cutesy and functional. I like the functional, but not so much the cutesy!

First thing’s first, tear away the cardboard exterior, doing as little damage as possible.



There’s an elastic band that is used to close the folder. Yank that out from behind and put it aside. We’re going to do something totally different for our closure!




On the opposite side is the button that the elastic goes around. We’ll bend it and wiggle it until we can pull it out of the hole with minimal destruction.

Now, that glue needs cleaning up. We’ll peel all that away.

Much better!

Now, the fabric. How about a remnant from another project? This fabric made the centers of the blocks on my Friendship Star quilt.

Oh no, it’s too short! Ideally, it needs to be a few inches bigger on each side. And, it definitely needs to be ironed!

Not to worry, just add a bit of another fabric to one end. That’ll create a lovely front!

For a touch of magic, spray basting. Because this is a permanent application, regular spray adhesive will work, too.

I think a little padding will be nice, and I just happen to have this bit of leftover lightweight batting from another project.

Now, we’ll spray baste the fabric to the batting. Spray the batting and not the fabric and, of course, we follow manufacturer’s instructions!


Add spray baste to the outside of the decorative cardboard. It doesn’t matter at this point which end of the folder is front or back, as long as we get it even!

Hmm, now about some pretty ribbon? This was saved from a gift The Big Guy gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.

There are lots of adhesive options at this point, but after seeing how the folder was originally constructed, I think we’ll break out the trusty old glue gun!

We’ll make it extra pretty by gluing each corner down first.

Glue and repeat!


Nice, all four are in place now!

Now, we’ll fold the four sides and glue those in places. This bit might be tricky because we want it taut, but not too tight.

Lots of glue is necessary to make sure all the layers stay in place.

With all the seams glued, it looks so pretty!

It’s all ready for ribbon now!

The ribbon cut in half and glued in the center of each side is just the ticket! Gluing it directly to the cardboard gives it some extra durability.

Both sides are in place, so now it’s time for the final steps!

Let’s put the accordion back in the folder! We’ll sit it right in the center.

Let’s get it all straight so that we don’t have a weird end sticking out or anything! Start at the bottom and swipe the glue back and forth just like it was originally. Be fast, the glue dries quick!*

*Do not, repeat, do not glue the bottom of the file to the outside cover! It needs to be able to expand and contract, or, ehem, accordion. 😉


For extra security, we’ll add more glue up the sides and around the top.


Squish the side hard!

Keep smoothing it until it feels like it’s set. We want the bonds to be nice and firm! With all the glue in place, we’re done! Wow, that was quick.

We’ll change the categories up with some leftover mailing peel and stick labels. A couple of the originals still apply!

Isn’t that nice?

This is a file folder I can travel with. I might even bring some crayons.

Happy Crafting!

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Quilting: Design Wall!

Design Wall

What, you might ask, does this vinyl Christmas tablecloth have to do with a design wall? Well, let me tell ya!

A little birdie told me that I could use a flannel-backed tablecloth for a design wall.   Okay, it was Marge (hi, Marge!), who has one in her sewing room, and it works great for her.

The idea has been at the back of my mind for months, but I didn’t have a spare wall. After debating with myself, and lots of cleaning and re-arranging in my sewing/craft room (including giving up a table…GASP!), I am the proud owner of an absolutely free design wall, courtesy of a upcycled tablecloth pulled out of my Christmas stuff!

Design Wall

I love that I’ve been able to put the otherwise unused tablecloth to good use!

The tablecloth was very wrinkled, so I put my iron on the lowest setting and gently ironed the flannel side, leaving the iron on the fabric as little as possible.  It smoothed the tablecloth out great, now it has no wrinkly bits!

I applied the tablecloth to the wall just like you’d cover a frame or a seat cushion.  One pin in the top and the bottom, then one in each side, smoothing and pinning around until it was taut.  It was literally about a 5 minute job.

Design Wall

New design wall, shown here with donated blocks for The Linus Connection.

Fun, huh?  This is not my idea, but it’s easy and inexpensive and every quilter needs a design wall, so I had to share!

If you make a Sew Awesome Craft or any pattern, craft or recipe from sewhooked,  I’d love to see a photo.  Email me or add it to the sewhooked flickr group.

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Photobucket Log Cabins for Linus / Go Get Granny

Recycled Craft: Leo’s Sock

My family and I spent last weekend in Alpine, Texas for the wedding of my husband’s youngest brother, Mark, to his lovely new bride, Allison. It was a genuinely wonderful weekend, with lots of food, family and happiness all around.

Leo's recycled sock

While visiting, I came across a recycled creation made by my father-in-law, Leo. He took an old wool sock that was in much need of darning, cut off the toe and hung it with a bit of wire hanger.  This previous-sock is now the home to plastic bags for even more recycling. The bags go in the top and come out the bottom.

I’ve, of course, seen similar commercial creations as well as make-from-scratch patterns, but I am very much drawn to repurposing and am now on the lookout for my own long sock that is in need of recycling so I can make one for myself!

Happy Crafting,