building a sustainable and resilient community

Do-It-Yourself projects are good for the environment

Posted on | September 17, 2009 | 2 Comments

Lately I’ve been on a big Discovery Channel kick (it’s hard NOT to watch when Bear Grylls is on the TV), and I wanted to briefly mention one of their partner companies, called Planet Green.  Hopefully many of you have the Planet Green channel on your cable because it is full of great environmentally friendly-programming, like a show with my favorite “green” celebrity Ed Begley, Jr (who is busy helping Penn State with their Solar Decathalon house).  Also I wanted to point out a page on the Planet Green Web site that could be a great resource for people:  it talks all about green DIY projects. Green do-it-yourself projects can range from home maintenance to creating something from recycled materials.  In fact, if you take a used material and make it into something better, you are “upcycling” – aka, you are increasing the value of the material from what it used to be.  Last Christmas, my best friend took about 30 plastic bags from the grocery store, cut them into strips, made a “yarn” out of the strips, and knitted a wine bottle carrier for me.  Talk about upcycling!  Those plastic bags have never looked so good!

Plastic bag-woven wine bottle carrier!

I’d like to think that the t-shirt quilt that I’m trying to make is upcycling, but as with many sewing projects for me, it’s turning out to be hairier than I initially thought.  You see, I already had this fleece blanket from IKEA, so I thought I would size the patches that I cut out from the t-shirts to fit the blanket, and everything would be great.  Except that the tag for the blanket said that it was  51″ x 67″ – which I trusted – and as it turns out, it’s closer to 51″ by about 56″.  And this is a problem because I sized the patches to fill the blanket along 60″ of length!  So I’m going to have to sew the patches about an inch short each.  Three cheers for improvisation!

T-shirts pre-cutting

T-shirts after I've cut out the good bits

Patches after they've been ironed onto stabilizer backing and laying them out onto the blanket

If you know me, you’ve probably seen one of these t-shirts before… or perhaps you’ve even given one of them to me!  The point of this exercise is, they’ve outgrown their usefulness in my wardrobe but they all mean something to me, and I wanted to hang on to them without having a large pile of unused t-shirts in my closet.  So I am putting them all in one place, and the scraps are being donated to either the rag or recycling piles.

Anyway, here’s to DIY projects and keeping something else out of the wastestream!  (And if anyone has any t-shirt quilt suggestions for me, by all means post them below, I could probably use the help…)



2 Responses to “Do-It-Yourself projects are good for the environment”

  1. Clair
    September 20th, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

    I might have to copy your idea when I get ‘home’. Not sure how to make a quilt/blanket, but I Love your t-shirt idea.

  2. caroline
    October 20th, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

    Wow, I forgot about the TKAM shirt! I wish I knew where mine was.

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