Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Recycled preloved repurposed thrift shop find

I'm trying hard to recycle when I do sewing projects, as fabric remains fabric, and usually something can be made with part of, if not the whole item, even if the designs on it are outdated, even if there are marks or stains, holes or fading.  So, this project puts my new mantra to work!
Go to the charity shop of your choice.  Find 2 matching (or not matching if you're adventurous!) pre-loved fabric placemats (.25c each in this case).
Iron them, then get out your ribbon stash and choose a color palette to play with.  I chose blues, greens and browns for this one (for my DIL's sister) as she wears denim a lot.  Lay your chosen ribbons onto the placemats and rearrange them until you're happy with the color and pattern mix. 
Sew the ribbons onto the placemats (I used different ribbons on each side), trim the ends, put them right sides together, and sew around 3 sides (leaving top end open).  Fold the top (open) end over and iron flat.  Use a heavy cord or trim for the 2 straps/handles, and pin them in place with the ends tucked in under the edge like this:
Sew the whole way around the folded edge, making sure the strap ends are sewn securely.  Fold the straps up and out of the bag opening and sew right around the top edge, again making sure the straps are sewn down well.  Turn your bag inside out, and there you have it:
I added the co-ordinating ribbon flower pin (which can be removed and worn as a brooch).  There are lots of ribbon flower tutorials on the web, so if you decide to dress your bag up a little, do a Google search and find a pattern/tutorial that you like.  This one is a simple gathered ribbon sewn onto a round piece of blue felt, then onto a cut-out of green felt leaves, with a button in the middle and a brooch pin sewn onto the back.
I made my DIL a diaper bag the same way (using corduroy fabric), twice this size, and with a pocked for her phone and a ribbon keychain attached to one of the straps.   I also made a bible tote for my friend but forgot to take a pic of it before I gave it to her!  Oh yes, and I made myself this one awhile ago too.  (Flowers are felt cut out on my Cuttlebug.)

I hope I've inspired you to look at old placemats in a new light! 


  1. What a fun project!!! My friend and I are heading out tomorrow to look for some old fabric for her to repurpose. TFS

  2. Wonderful project. TFS

  3. My mom and I make these bags all the time, but we've never added ribbon like this. We surely will now! LOVE this idea. Thanks!!!

  4. Fabulous idea, love the idea of repurposing anything!!

  5. super cute idea!
    they turned out adorable!!

  6. What a genius way to use ribbon! Amazing and fun!

  7. I knew there was a reason I could not throw away my old placemats! Thanks for a great up-cycle idea!


We'd love to hear what you have to say