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Bedding into bags: Upcycling old and new materials

The bedding into bags project is straightforward. I took two old duvet covers that were no longer needed and made these into eight new bags. Remaking redundant domestic textiles into new products (bags) is an example of upcycling but it is one that also reveals the limitations of upcycling as well as its potential.





The most obvious point to make about the bedding into bags project is that making the bags requires more than just the duvet fabric. New materials are required in this process. In total I used the following:


> Duvet cover x 2

> Black canvas fabric

> In-R-form interlining

> H250 vlieseline interfacing

> S80 vlieseline interfacing

> Zips: 3 red and 6 white

> Thread: white, black and red

> Fasteners x 3

> Webbing

> D Rings x 2

> Buckle x 2

> Piping

> Bias binding tape

> Black tape




Remaking old material into new forms will always require some input of new material. The ethos of upcycling is that the input of new material should be minimised, as exemplified in Sarah Turner’s artistic creations. The bedding into bags project can be criticised for failing to meet this criterion. But the intention of this project was not to provide an exemplar of a particular ethic of upcycling (not using new materials) but rather to explore how upcycling can change orientations to making.


For many years I have done dressmaking by purchasing material and patterns with the goal to make a particular item of clothing, such as a dress or coat. In shifting my orientation to upcycling old material I am reversing this practice. Instead of staring with the goal to make a particular item, I start with the intention to reuse stuff I already have. Combining old material with new material is necessary to optimise the potential of unused stuff.


One new material that I used a lot in making the bags is the interlining In-R-Form made by Bosal. This double-sided fusible foam material, made from lamenting polyurethane foam to a napped tricot fabric (a knitted fabric), is ideal for making fabric bags. Using In-R-Form means that any material, including polycotton bedding material, can be sewn to create a new bag. New materials such as in-r-form optimise the new uses for old fabrics.


The first bag I made, a basic bag, only required thread for its transformation. Using In-R-Form alongside other new materials such as zips, fastenings, piping and webbing, allows for more diversity in the design of the bags. I can make a padded laptop case, a holdall and a backpack, as well as padded tote-style bags for shopping.



Upcycling is a varied practice. Rather than applying a formula of what upcycling is, making the bags reveals its potential. I am excited by the possibility of the potential of using material I already have. This may be in the form of offcuts from previous projects, clothes that I no longer wear, or fabric purchased long ago for an item that was never made.


#threadingtime #beddingintobags #upcycling #sustainability #sustainablecraft #sustainablecrafting #recycling #craft #sewing

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