Curtains, dresses, t-shirts, sheets and even bras!
I have got so much fabric stashed away in my little studio. Want to know the best thing about it? I hardly paid for any of it! It's amazing how much fabric you can find for free.
If you let people know that you can reuse fabrics then they'll inundate you with bag after bag of fabrics and clothes and old curtains. Particularly ask people when they're moving house if they have any fabrics they want to get rid of - I received two car loads of fabric that way once!
If you're a textiles artist then you'll always need little bits of fabric, not necessarily metres and metres of perfect cloth.
Old bed sheets can give you an excellent background to start with. Clothes with stains on them can be cut up and appliqued onto something else. You can even dye fabric and make them look completely different.
Here's a collection of textiles pieces I've made from recycling fabrics.
Sugar and Spice
Bra burning art!
Eurgh! Bras! You go to the ends of the earth to find one that fits only to then either gain or lose weight and need another one.
These are a couple of cheeky textiles pieces I made by melting some old bras and attaching them to a textiles background. The lace on them can look fantastic when it's distressed like this.
The base of many a Melted Fabrics textiles piece.
I had a lot of these huge pink curtains and I've used them in tonnes of projects. The back of them is my favourite side - with the delicate silvery pink. You can see above that this fabric works well in textiles projects - even melted ones.
But I Can't Recycle That!
Stains and holes.
When I first started making textiles using recycled fabrics someone asked me if that was a wise thing to do. I asked what they meant and they said they were worried that my textiles would fall apart!
Some of the fabrics I used are literally disintegrating but if you layer these up between other fabrics it's going to make everything much stronger. Seeing a layer of partially disintegrated fabric underneath a net or organza can give you a really interesting effect.
Stains are another thing that people worry about. Why? Just make sure it's covered up with another bit of fabric or embroidery, it's really not an issue.
You can make silk from a sow's ear!
What can I make it into?
Wowzers! This skirt is bright! I'm totally in love with it and looking forward to making it into something fabulous.
It's made out of manmade nastiness so it's going to melt like butter!
I'll let you know when I decide what to make from it!
Melted Red Skirt.
The melted red pieces on this textiles piece were taken from a red skirt, the black is from a top I used to have and the pale background was an old sheet. Sheets are great to use because they're so big and also you can dye them or paint them.
The greeny-blue patterned fabric used in this piece was made from some very old curtains and the interesting fabric with the holes in it was made from the remains of the dress pictured below.
Dress Full of Holes
Taking revenge on that too-small dress.
This is another fabric I have used in so many textiles pieces. It was particularly prevalent in the Foundling textiles pieces.
Any fabric with holes like this is fabulous when you're layering up lots of different fabrics because you can see right through the holes.
This dress came from a thrift store that specialized in vintage clothing, before vintage was fashionable!
Using old clothes to make new...
This piece was made using old clothes, old curtains, an old bed sheet, pieces of embroidered cushion covers, etc.
Quilt Blocks and Quilts from Your Favorite Fabrics - Recycling Fabrics as You Learn to Quilt.
This is an awesome thing to do- don't bother buying all those fancy cottons, make a quilt that's really personal to you!
Found a piece of old embroidery?
I used this piece of embroidery (originally made by my mother) in my textiles wrap. This is a great way of livening up old pieces of fabric and adding detail to your textiles work!
Sew Vintage - New Creations from Found Fabrics.
This looks like a yummy book for recycling vintage fabrics.
Embarassed About Using Your Bras?
Then try recycling your socks!
Have you got a lucky pair of socks that you can't throw away even though they're mostly made of hole? Why not try making a silly art piece? That way you have an excuse for keeping them around!
Creative Recycling in Embroidery - by Val Holmes.
I love Val Holmes's books. I'm looking forward to rifling through this one!