Why sewing with upcycled fabric is better?


Why would anyone want to have or sew anything made of old sheets and clothes when there are so many cute and new prints in the fabric store? Well, there are plenty of reasons listed below to use upcycled fabrics in your next project.

New textiles create new problems.  According to the Council for Textile Recycling, the US generates an average of 25 million tons of textile waste a year, with only 15% of that being recycled or donated. That’s great, but there are still a lot of our old clothes, bed-sheets, and who knows what else sitting out there in the landfill.  Not only is this waste filling up our landfills, it is also releasing toxic fumes and chemicals as it decomposes. The numbers on the disposal side of things are not that pretty, but even uglier are what goes on with the production side of things. In order to make those beautiful patterns and colors on our fabrics, large amounts of water and chemicals are used and disposed of into our environment. By using what is available we are decreasing our environmental impact.

Social justice. Along with the environmental problems, knowing that you are sewing with used textiles assures you that they were not made by children or by others in unsafe working conditions, receiving unfair pay.

It is respectful. Any item that is still good to use deserves a second chance, giving respect to its past. Respecting the resources that created it, the artist that designed the pattern, and the person that made that fabric. When I think about all of the creativity, time, and effort that went into a product I created and to know that due to our “everything is consumable and disposable” society, my item may soon be tossed out next year in the spring cleaning…. it saddens me.

Memory lane. One of our favorite reasons for using old and discarded fabrics is that many of us have great memories with clothes or linens we have grown to love. Giving them a new life when their original purpose is gone, helps keep them around longer and those happy memories associated with them…like your favorite t-shirt or your grandmothers curtains.

Unique prints/limited edition. Since your items are being made from old linens, your chance of finding someone else with an item in that same print is rare. Unlike buying from a fabric store, whose prints are possibly being sold around the nation, it is most likely that you may have found a unique print only available in that thrift store or at the bottom of someone’s old fabric box in their basement.

Keeps your creative juices flowing. Instead of taking the easy route and purchasing something new, using your noggin and find an amazing way to reuse your old socks or figure out how to turn an old maid-of-honor's dress into something snazzy makes you dig deep into your creative tool chest and it is a lot of fun.

When we created HASOM Bags we wanted to think about the entire process of the bag. Not just the future and how many plastic bags it will save from entering our environment, but the impacts it has had from the beginning. Yes, a product can be “green” if its use helps reduce future use of non-green items. It can be even “greener” if it also takes into account the impact of that items production.

So before you throw out an old pair of clothes or a sheet think about upcycling it into something new or donating it so someone else can.