Category Archives: Sewing


From milk carton to book cover

Trying to reduce as much packaging as possible there is still some around. Milk cartons from soy or oat milk for example – when there was no time to make it myself. Instead of throwing them away they are cut at the bottom and rinsed out. Sometimes they get a second life as a storage container for soup that goes in the freezer. In spring they are turned into tubs to grow seedlings for the garden. They also work as a book cover for note books or calendars. The silver inside of the carton is a great contrast to the outside print. With an older tough sewing machine there was no trouble getting through two layers of carton. With one of the newer “plastic” ones I would not recommend this. Instead maybe try hot glue, a staple gun or a hole puncher plus a thick string. For decoration and further attachment options I wrapped a bicycle tyre around the front cover. Inside the book cover is a school calendar. An elastic around the back of the cover allows for the attachment of an additional note book. Here is the story in pictures:

Front with pen holder and tyre decoIMG_5317.JPGLast page. I did a bad sewing job at the top…getting used to the material.IMG_5322.JPGFirst page inside. The colorful note book on the right is attached via a blue elastic that you can see in the next picture.IMG_5318.JPG

IMG_5319.JPGLast page with the calender and a drawing booklet inside.IMG_5321.JPG


From milk carton…IMG_5324.JPG book cover.IMG_5323.JPG


upcycled tent

Outdoor umbrella cover from an old tent

A while ago in a rush to go to a festival I bought a second hand tent. Only to realize it was broken and had some mould on the inside. The festival was great so the tent did not get used much. I did not want to use it as a tent again and replaced it with a tent I found at another festival when I volunteered for the cleanup. I noticed that a few people leave their broken tents on the venue, too lazy to pack and carry home. The festival team has to clean it up and threw it away. What a waste when there is so much material and reusable items on one tent. You can use the hooks, clips, zippers, bands, nets and bags for sewing and repairing projects. The bottom layer can be used as a tarp. The waterproof top can be a cover, the inner tent material can be a wind or sun shade. My first project besides cutting out the tarp — this umbrella cover:


For sun shade we got a local secondhand umbrella through ebay. To save storage inside the house and leave the umbrella outside all season we needed a cover. I sewed this cover from the outer waterproof layer of a tent. I used a part that had a zipper for easy removal.


Now the next project is to sew a sunshade triangle from the inner thinner fabric of the tent.

From Jumper to leg warmer and skirt



This is a beautiful and simple way to upcycle a jumper. This one was leftover from a cloth swapping party – too short for anyone to wear. Nice wool and color though. With some simple cuts, 5 minutes of sewing, an elastic band and a safety pin this jumper was upcycled into a skirt and a pair of leg warmers. Multiple matching new clothes. And pretty unique.


Just cut the jumper appropriately as in the picture, sew a loop around the edge and pull through the elastic band with the help of a safety pin. Put in a knot at the desired strength of the elastic and sew together to close the hole.



From the collar that is left over one could even make a poncho by sewing on some additional fabric at the lower bid.

More creation, less consumption!


tyre bag

Upcycled tyre bags

Old bicycle tyres are great for upcycling. With a sewing machine they quickly are turned into a useful little bag – a perfect present for yourself and others. It can be a simple phone protection case or a bag for jewellery or a torch. Just be careful with your sewing machine. The lower thread needs to be widened much more than for clothes material. You can do that on the little screw of the case that your lower thread is usually living in.

The pictures below give some design inspiration where also the opening and closing mechanism is from recycled material. The blue band is looped through holes created with a paper punch. The white cord with the plug is from a broken headset cable and was a present for my best techie friend. The last picture shows a bum bag where the upper part is open for a belt to fit through.

The main thing that makes upcycled tyres look special is using colourful thread and unique closing mechanisms. Make use of what you have around.

upcycled tyre bag IMG_3620 IMG_3608 IMG_3609IMG_3228IMG_3361IMG_3365bum bag from upcycled tyre


Upcycling skirts – puffing it up

These two cord skirts were lying in my wardrobe for many years unworn. Somehow an odd length and not matching my body shape. Or maybe it was just my perception of fashion at the time. Instead of going out shopping for something new I though of ways to make them more interesting. Unique. Add something. Something simple but effective.

By folding the lower part and sewing a loop for an elastic to go through the cigar void created I created two new favourites. Puffy short skirts, adjustable depending on occasion – clubbing or uni – comfy and unique. 

skirt upcycled IMG_3077 IMG_3078