Reduce. Reuse. Recycle: using thrift shops to make recycled textile baskets

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Recycling fabrics for crafting is a real passion of mine - not just because it's better for the environment than buying new, but it gives me an excuse to go thrifting. Any excuse will do.

If you’re like me and you love a visit to your local thrift store (we call them op-shops in Australia), you’d agree that you get such a kick from a good scrummage. There’s something about discovering a unique item I can I use in my craft (or wear if I’m feeling stylish!) that really makes my day.

When it’s workshop time you’ll often find me at my local op shop, dashing from rack to rack, looking at colour palettes, and thinking of all the upcycled creations we are going to get to make in my recycled basket workshops. When I am on tour with my Craft School Oz van I pass loads of regional op shops along the way. I always make a quick detour just to make sure I don't miss out on something special.

A lot of people I meet in my workshops are keen op shoppers like me. And they LOVE that they now have another excuse to go thrifting – because recycled textile baskets can be made from pretty much any fabric you can think of! In each creative workshop, we talk about fabric colour, texture, and how to decide on a design before you get started.

Today’s amazing recycled fabrics were discovered by yours truly at Lilydale Vinnies in Victoria. I spotted so many amazing colours that it was hard for me not to leave without half the store. I even kept a yellow and black checkered shirt for myself that I couldn’t bring myself to cut up; although it is men's shirt I loved the loose fit (and the bold colours). It's my prize for such a great find.

After a good rummage I have a little process I go through to prepare for my recycled basket workshops - I’m going to share this process with you. It makes choosing colours really simple and it also saves you time later on. You can use this method for your own crafting purposes as it’s a good way to keep your fabrics before you start any basket or slow stitching project in my opinion.

Step 1:

I get a range of garments in a variety of colours from a thrift shop. Block colours work well, but if you see a bold pattern you like – give it a go!

Step 2:

I cut the garments into strips of about 2cm wide and 40 - 60cm in length, leaving the pockets and zips (see above) for use in my slow stitching workshops.

Step 3

I sort each colour into its own bag so that my recycled basket workshop attendees can easily access the colours they want to use.

Reducing textile waste. Reusing beautiful fabrics. Recycling clothes to make stunning recycled baskets.


#creativeworkshops #craftschooloz #ecocraft

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