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Scrap Adventures Continue: Scrappy Pouf Edition

I finally managed to work on another scrap-busting project. I have seen Closet Core Patterns DIY Pouf floating around on Instagram, but I hadn’t given myself the push to try it out. I was hopeful that I would find ways to use some of my smaller scraps, as I had many plans for them. But as it typically goes, I have more ideas than time. I was also beginning to feel the weight of all my scraps. We live in a small house and I just don’t have the space to store unlimited amounts of little bits of fabric that –might– be able to be used someday.

I used the CIoset Core Pattern Pouf as a starting point. I’m not 100% sure why I didn’t just follow the pattern, but for some reason, I really wanted to try and make a square pouf. After reading the tutorial, I decided to take the elements of Heather’s pouf that I liked and make it my own. I liked the zipper so you could add more scraps as needed and so the pouf cover could be washed. I also liked the drawstring bag to hold the scraps. It’s not 100% necessary, but keeping all those little bits a little more contained seemed like a good idea.

I’d like to say that I had a full plan mapped out before I started, but that’s just not how I operate. I did have a general idea of how I wanted to make the pouf though, so I started to go through my larger scraps to find as much heavy-weight fabric as possible. I had a grey denim remnant, few pairs of old jeans, and some random pant legs. By laying out all the pieces that would work for the cover, I was able to come up with some dimensions to start with.

I knew I wanted a zipper with a drawstring bag inside to hold the scraps, but I didn’t want my zipper on the bottom because we have hardwood floors and I only had a metal zipper. I decided to put the zipper on one of the corners of the pouf. My zipper was just a bit shorter than the height I wanted to make the pouf so I had to add little fabric extensions to the ends of the zipper to make it work. You can see this detail in the photo below. You can also see how much more space there is to add more scraps!

The drawstring bag that I added will be helpful if I need to take off the cover, but my zipper opening is too small for it all to come out at once so I will still need to take the scraps out little by little. Oh well! At least I can wash it once someone around here spills something on it.

For the general design of the cover, I decided to go with a random layout that was dictated by the shapes of my scraps. At first, I thought about making a more geometric layout, but in the end, I just decided to go random. I was getting impatient with myself and I couldn’t decide on a more structured layout so I just got started and this is what I came up with. I’m pleased with the final layout, but I was hoping for a more square pouf. I realized after the fact that there is no extra structure to the sides of the pouf so no way to stop them from bulging out. I’m hoping that once I put more scraps in it will be a bit more square, but it’s not a big deal.

I didn’t manage to get as many process photos as I had hoped. I always have grand ideas of taking lots of process shots, but then I get to sewing and I forget. Or I only work on something for 10 minutes and it sits for a couple of days making it hard to remember and make the time for photos. But you can see that a little someone likes to play on it!

Have you made a scrap pouf? How did the process go for you? If you have any questions about the process I used please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help!

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Scrap Happy

Over the past couple of years I have collected a vast amount of scrap fabric; both from my own personal sewing and from small, sustainable clothing brands. I have big dreams for many of these bits, but I haven’t been putting the attention I need into using them. They are taking up space in our little house and I want to start actively using them, not just dreaming about the possibilities. When I originally began collecting these fabric scraps and cutoffs, my goal was to make various products to sell in my shop and at craft markets. Due to many factors, I have not been participating in markets and decided to shift the focus of my work. So now I have a ton of scraps and a long list of personal projects I want to work on.

At first, I had hoped to come up with some new and interesting ideas to use the scraps, but through my research, I have found tutorial after tutorial on how to make scrunchies and zipper pouches; nothing too new or exciting. I decided that I would like to approach my scrap projects from a different angle; not a tutorial, but more inspiration to get your scraps out and make something useful. My goal is to work on a scrap project at least once a month and document it. I’m excited about putting some direct focus into using these scraps as there some items I’m really looking forward to making.

My first project is a water bottle carrier. While taking a walk one evening, my partner mentioned that he had seen a water bottle carrier at the co-op made from parachute fabric. I instantly thought that I should make one for our walks. I am notorious for forgetting water when we head out on a walk. Sometimes we take a wagon to carry extra stuff, but many times we head out on a quick walk to the lake and we don’t want to bring the wagon along. And more often than not, I end up carrying my 3-year-old home on my shoulders so having to carry a water bottle also is something I just never want to do.

I received some upcycled cotton canvas from Summer at Tiger Owl and I have been hoarding it waiting for the right project. This water bottle carrier seemed like the perfect place to use some of it because it’s sturdy and I love the little speckles of color throughout the neutral canvas. I decided to make a simple, lined box bottom bag to the dimensions of the water bottle we use most. I added a pocket on the exterior just in case I don’t have pockets in my clothes that day and an adjustable strap.

I’m very pleased with the end product. It is so easy to throw this carrier over my shoulder and head outside. While I haven’t used it a ton yet, it seems like it will be easier for me to remember to bring along and much easier to adventure when I have both hands at the ready.

I’m looking forward to working my way through my scrap project list. This water bottle carrier was a nice challenge and distraction from the pattern that I am currently working on. I hope that making some dedicated time for personal, fun projects will give me some time to clear my brain and a chance to be extra creative. Do you have any scrap projects you are working on or dreaming about? I would love to hear about them!

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Growing Color: My First Dye Garden

Freshly planted marigolds

With the gardening season coming to a close, I want to take some time to look back on my first attempt at growing my own natural dyes. We have limited space and my thumb is not very green, so when I began thinking about planting a dye garden I knew I needed to keep it simple. I selected a couple dye plants based on the colors that I was hoping to achieve and how hardy they were.  I decided to start with marigolds, dyer’s coreopsis, and hopi black dye sunflowers. I purchased my marigolds at the nursery already started and I bought the dyer’s coreopsis and hopi black dye sunflower seeds from bedheadfiber.com.

Throughout the summer, with the help of my husband and kids, I was able to keep these flowers alive. We also grew some vegetables and the kids love picking fresh carrots and watching the plants grow and develop over the course of the season.

Every other evening we would pop the dyer’s coreopsis flower heads off the plant and strip the petals into a bowl. By the next day there would be a whole new crop of bright, yellow flowers to pick. The petals were left to dry out overnight and now I have a large jar of color just waiting to be used all winter. I also collected seeds from some of the flowers with hopes that next summer they will develop.

I collected the marigolds as they died and let them dry out as well. Next year I would love to make a marigold garland. This seems like a beautiful way to collect and let the flowers dry out. I would also like to try another variety of marigolds, but I’m undecided about which one yet.

As for the hopi black dye sunflowers, they were a bit slow to start and I wasn’t sure if they were going to produce any flowers. Sure enough they grew and grew and flowers began to emerge. They did not get as tall as I have seen and the heads were only about the size of both of my fist, but they were beautiful. Once the heads died, I cut them off the stalk and let them dry out a bit. Then I harvested the seeds into a bowl to let them further dry out. I haven’t done any experimenting with them yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what colors can be achieved.

Once again, growing a garden has taught me to be more patient; to be mindful and intentional in the hopes of getting something that will serve me well in the future. I am very much looking forward to using all the color that we collected this summer throughout the winter. Next summer, I have hopes to add a couple more dye plants to our garden. I would love to try pin cushions, goldenrod, and indigo. I’m sure come April, when I’m ready to see green again, I will have a long list that I will need to edit back in order to fit it all in.

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Out and About

Happy Friday! It’s been a whirlwind of a week with little sleep. I have been doing a lots of knitting (see above walk with kiddos…having knitting will travel, right?) and planning for future dye projects, but don’t have much to share at the moment. Teething baby has left me with lots of nursing time and I have been reading and researching during much of that time. I’ve been coming across and collecting articles and links related to sustainability and the fashion industry. So I thought I would compile a list regularly for you to peruse at your leisure. I don’t want to limit this collection to sustainability and fashion, but also include natural dyeing, small business development, mindfulness, etc. If you find anything around the web that might be of interest please hit me up at emily@goldfinch.limited.

  • Fabric made from wood – This sounds very interesting; especially the potential of a closed loop system. I wonder how it would take natural dyes?
  • Fast fashion = modern-day slavery – It’s so easy to look over and not think about and I know there are many layers and facets, but it’s something that needs to start being talked about more.
  • A sustainable vision for fast-fashion? – This article really breaks down the emergence of fast fashion and it’s environmental and social impacts. It discusses ways some of the fast fashion companies are attempting to reduce and improve these impacts.
  • Way to go Columbia – ReThreads: Clothing Recycling Program
  • EF Renew – A take-back program that uses damaged and unwanted Eileen Fisher and turns them into new garments.
  • More ways to avocado pits – This makes me wonder if you could still use them to dye with after making broth and/or if you will have pink soup.

Enjoy and I hope everyone has a good weekend!