Monthly Archives: June 2013

Upcycling: Puzzle Piece Kids’ Clothes

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I made these trousers for Master One the other day.  Well.  I kind of cheated.  You see, my little boy has become a turbo-charged tank, crawling around the place like he’s on a serious mission.  His delicate baby clothes are being tested for toughness every day.  And they’re not doing too well.  In the toughness department, that is.

When his first pair of trousers developed a pair of holes, I was tempted to convert them to rags.  The upcycler in me knew better.  I cut off the holey knee sections of the trousers , leaving the top waist/bottom part (the red, top in the photo above) and the two trouser-leg bottoms (red trouser bottoms in photo).  I replaced the removed pieces with sturdy but soft fabric from my old corduroy jeans.

To minimise my sewing I cut the old jeans fabric to include the original inner-leg seams.  Then it was just a matter of cutting the width to match the original baby trousers pieces, with allowance for the outer-leg seams.  I matched the pieces together with right sides facing, sewed up the seams and zig-zagged the seam edges to finish.  Very simple.

Unfortunately I didn’t snap any pics of the process.  But I’ve started on some other kids’ clothes puzzle-piece mix ‘n’ match projects and photographed the cutting up and piecing together steps.

Baby jumpsuit becomes a shirt/jacket (I’d already cut the feet off these a while back thinking they could become a footless jumpsuit then discovered some holes in the legs, around the buttons).  I just need to hem the bottom.  

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Pyjama (long) bottoms become pyjama shorts or undies (post-nappies).  Again a simple matter of hemming the bottom edges.  (Look at those holes in the legs!  Some heavy duty crawling has been going on here.)  There will be a use for the non-holey parts of the leg bottoms too.

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More of Master One’s handiwork – stains and holes again (see second photo).  Plus they were a bit short.  I’ll join them to the bottoms of the grey trousers to make a new pair with longer legs.

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(Woops I’d already discarded – cut up for stuffing – the removed crutch section of these grey trousers before taking photos. They belonged to Miss Four before she wore some holes in the rear!  I’d attempted a repair initially but it came apart after one wear!)

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This final one might be interesting.  But I’ll see how it turns out.  I actually cut the grey  women’s T-shirt up to make T-yarn (the centre piece was used to make this) so was left with some scrap fabric which I cut up for the skirt below.  The pink T-shirt fabric was also left over from making T-yarn.  I’ll try to piece them together with the top of the grey trousers from the pic above.  

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Hopefully the overlocker for which I’m excitedly waiting, will make the joining together of these stretchy fabrics much easier.  I’ll post some photos of the finished pieces when I’m done.  Just to show that they don’t look totally ridiculous.

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A Few of My Favourite Green Things

I just wanted to share some of the eco friendly products that I use and find fabulous.  In this age of the eco-conscious consumer (I like to think of it that way…perhaps I’m a little optimistic) I’m often amazed by the availability of green product versions.  Since I live in Australia, the products I use tend to be Australian, or from as close to home as possible.  If you live overseas, you probably have some different but similar eco products at your fingertips.  I’ve discovered that it always pays to search online for eco friendly versions if I’m after a new item.

1. Soapnuts: I love these!  Nature’s soap that grows on a tree.  Soapnuts are berries that contain saponins.  They grow wild in the foothills of the Himalayas.  Locals collect the fallen berries, remove the seeds and dry the shells (which contain the saponin) in the sun, then ship them off to the sellers in Australia (and other countries).  It’s a completely sustainable and fair trade practice.  Soapnuts do an awesome job of cleaning your laundry, body, hair, dishes and home.  Then onto the garden or compost they go.  Wonderful.

Soapnuts

Soapnuts (picture credit: wildsoapnuts.com.au)

2. The Environmental Toothbrush: A completely biodegradable (it’s compostable) toothbrush made of sustainable Moso bamboo and designed by an Aussie dentist.  They come in adult (medium and soft bristles) and child sizes and compare favourably in price to regular toothbrushes, that are made from petrochemicals and end up in landfill.  If you prefer plastic, then check out these toothbrushes made by Preserve in the United States, from recycled plastic.  The company also offers a recycling programme and sells a range of recycled plastic kitchenware and tableware.  I love these, but tend to favour the bamboo toothbrushes as they’re made closer to home and have a beautiful, natural look and feel.

The Environmental Toothbrush

The Environmental Toothbrush (photo credit environmentaltoothbrush.com.au)

3. Tread lightly on the planet with a pair of My Honeybees sandals, and help save precious bees at the same time.  Made of 100% recycled rubber these sandals come in an array of gorgeous colours and their sale helps support the work of Aussie CSIRO scientist Dr Dennis Anderson and his Bees Downunder Foundation.

My Honeybees Sandals

My Honeybees Sandals (photo credit: myhoneybees.com.au)

4. If you’re a straw-y kind of person then try a reusable glass one from Glass Dharma.

Glass Dharma Glass Straws

Glass Dharma Glass Straws (photo credit: glassdharma.com)

5. Makedo: a clever connecting system for making stuff out of trash.  They are completely recyclable too.  I love Makedo so much I have a page dedicated to it on my blog!

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Makedo system (photo credit mymakedo.com)

6. Ecotools: a large range of cosmetic brushes and bath tools made with environmentally friendly materials including bamboo and recycled aluminium.

Ecotools make-up brushes

Ecotools make-up brushes (photo credit: ecotools.com)

7. Ecocern: the most eco friendly recycled paper available in Australia.  It is non-bleached and made from 100% post-consumer scrap paper, in Australia.  The range includes cardboard and envelopes.

Ecocern recycled paper

Ecocern recycled paper (photo credit ecocern.com)

8. Full Circle: cleaning brushes and sponges made from eco friendly materials including recycled plastic, bamboo and cellulose.

Full Circle cleaning brush

Full Circle cleaning brush (photo credit: Full Circle)

9. Shampoo bars and facial cleansing bars from Beauty and the Bees in Tasmania.  My favourite thing about these is that they don’t come packaged in plastic bottles but in recycled cardboard.  They are also palm oil free, which is rare in soap products  (in fact, any products), and they are natural, luxurious and gentle.

Beauty and the Bees shampoo bars

Beauty and the Bees shampoo bars (photo credit:beebeauty.com)

10. Let’s not forget the dunny (that’s toilet, if you’re not familiar with this Aussie colloquialism).  Frankly I don’t think our bottoms are that precious that they need to be wiped with virgin timber paper.  I always choose recycled paper toilet paper.  My preferred one is Safe, as it’s made from 100% recycled paper, is unbleached, housed in recycled paper packaging and made in Australia by an Aussie company.

Safe Toilet Tissue

Safe Toilet Tissue (photo credit: planetark.org)

I’m quite happy to promote products with such impeccable eco-credentials.  My list could go on quite a bit further.  The point is we can choose to make responsible purchases, because there are eco friendly options for just about everything you might want.  What are some of your favourite green products?

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