I am making tote bags made out of all my fabric scraps and I am very excited about it! A lot of work goes into making these but the final product is so worth it. The fabric I am creating from my scraps is based on the Japanese class of textiles called Boro. Boro refers to textiles that have been mended or patched together.
In order to create the fabric for the totes I am using a sped up version of stitching entirely by hand. This process will allow me to use the power of my serger and sewing machine with the care of hand stitching. This means I am able to finish the fabric faster so I can make the totes! I use this method not because I don't savour the process but because sometimes when I take on completely hand sewn projects I find the work load can be a lil disheartening at times... being 18 hours into a project and still not being able to fully see a glimmer of hope to what it shall transform into is just sometimes not what I need.
Okay here is how this baby was made:
Step 1: Dive into your pile of scrap fabric! Take apart old jeans that dont fit, thrift for clothing that you love the pattern of knowing you will cut it up for scraps! Next, cut/rip (depending on the fabric) squares and rectangles of all sorts of sizes. You can also make triangles when you need to out of the awkward fabric pieces! Right triangle + right triangle = square so you are set!
Step 2: Sew these bad boys together! My favourite part is deciding which scraps will be paired with which other scraps! Deciding the colour and or texture combination that make you spark joy (shoutout Marie Kondo) is what this is really all about.
Step 2 Part B: Once you have your first two pieces sewn or serged together (I am using my serger today but I often do this just with my sewing machine and it works just as well), cut them so all the sides match up that way you have a larger fabric rectangle.
Step 3: Keep sewing scraps together until you have all your individual pieces matched up! At this point, you just keep sewing and matching scraps together until you get the size of fabric you are looking for! Every time you sew your scraps together make sure to cut the edges straight and iron them!
Keeping all of this for an upcoming project :) makes great filling!
Just keep swimming: sewing, cutting, ironing, pinning, repeat.
Slowly you start to get bigger and bigger pieces muahahah!
Okay so I have definitely lost track of writing the steps as I was working on a few different projects today and did it all at once but here are some process pictures I took.
After sketching out a quick pattern for a lined tote bag with 3 pockets and a gusseted bottom, I began cutting the fabric. Being the first prototype of a bag in this type quilted fabric, I wanted it to be simple.
After sewing the straps (first ones were not wide enough so I remade them thicker) and sewing the pockets with a lining of fabric I shibori dyed.
I added a stabilizer in between the outside and the lining to give the bag a thicker feel. I hand stitched straight lines horizontally and vertically to add texture and to secure the lining. To do this used both a long doll-making needle and a short needle for the different stitch length outcomes.
Pinning and sewing the straps and then attaching them to the tote!
and volia! A tote bag made 100% from fabric that would have otherwise note been used :) woop woo!