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Reusing Scraps for Sewing

For over a year now I have been going to a ‘make and mend’ sewing sessions, run by the ever-inspiring Carys of Wench (a clothing label). Looking back, I can see that in this relatively short period I have learnt a great number of sewing techniques and completed many of my pet projects – some of which had been sitting in a dormant  pile for years.

One of the most important things I have learnt is confidence. For my first project, I showed Carys a dress a good friend had given me (this dress held fond memories) in the hope I could do something with it. It was made from gorgeous fabric, but was quite a ‘sack’. We did some chatting about how to alter it, stuck some pins in and got sewing. Up to that point everything was reversible. When it came to getting the scissors out, I realised I was really very nervous about it, there was no going back from here.


This nervousness of ‘going for the chop’ stayed with me for a few more projects and it is only now, after watching new members of the group take their first tentative snips, I realise how far I have come as I reach for a pair of scissors with no hesitation.

This new found empowerment with the scissors and sewing machine is extremely liberating. It no longer matters whether charity shop finds, donated items, or catalogue bargains fit. I can make them fit!

But even better, all those items that have come to the end of their wearable life, those favourites I relied upon and became attached to, no longer end up in charity shops, fabric recycling bins, or worse, landfill. I am finding more and more uses for t-shirts that have lost their lycra abilities, jeans that won’t stay mended, even holey socks!



Not even the smallest of trimmings or off-cuts get wasted since making ‘snake’ draught excluders for which teeny scraps act as the filling/feed stock. The first of these I gave as a gift to a drafty house dwelling friend – it was as simple as an old trouser leg sewn together and filled. Indeed, the whole sewing class now have snakes that need ‘feeding’ – we are often caught jostling over whose snake food is whose!

So I still get to mod and wear all my old favourites, reduce spending on, and consumption of, new clothes, and get the satisfaction of making my own things…But there is one downside to all of this…

I haven’t yet figured a way to sew at a rate that keeps the stock pile of material to a manageable level; this stuff has been building up for years, and the more things I sew, the more fabric I attract…not that I’m complaining!

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