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Betz White Q & A and “Sewing Green” Book Giveaway

Today Betz White, author of “Sewing Green 25 Projects Made With Repurposed & Organic Materials” wraps up her blog tour with a stop at CraftSanity. Keep reading to find out how you can enter the random drawing to win the book which is loaded with projects that will inspire you to shop your closets and recycling bins for fabric and supplies before buying new. Betz also gives great tips for working with organic and other Earth-friendly fabrics.

Okay, so lets get to that Q&A…

Jen: Hi Betz! So much has happened since you were a guest on CraftSanity Podcast episode 24, and even more since your return visit on episode 68. What a whirlwind! Congratulations!

Your first book, “Warm Fuzzies,” covered projects made from recycled sweaters, and you just published your second book “Sewing Green 25 Projects Made With Repurposed & Organic Materials.” Why do you think you’re so committed to green crafting?

Betz: I think there are a number of reasons. The main one is the realization that there is so much waste in the world, especially in the way we consume fashion. When I was working on my first book, I had the opportunity to tour the Goodwill Industries Headquarters in Minneapolis. It blew my mind to see the sheer quantity of cast-off clothing  that passed through that one facility on one day. Having spent about 20 years in apparel design and product development, it was a real eye opener for me to get a look at the waste that the apparel industry generates. Viewing used items, whether they are in your closet or at the thrift store, as raw materials for sewing and crafting just seems like a no-brainer to me.

Jen: You focused on felted wool in your first book, now in “Sewing Green” you’re showing readers what they can make with vintage tableclothes, old towels and even the plastic rings that come off milk containers. What was your inspiration for the projects? Did you look at what you had around, or cook up design ideas then go out in search of materials?

Betz: I work both ways. Sometimes I look at something that I have in excess and try to figure out a new use for it (for example, the Auto Sunshade made from mylar juice pouches). Other times I have a desire to make a specific thing, say a skirt,  so I look around at things on hand to see what can be used, like the table cloth made into the Reversible Wrap Skirt.

Jen: The very first project in the book is the Striped Cafe Apron and I love it. I actually took a break from making mine to send you this email. So I’m in the process of turning a man’s dress shirt ($3.69 at a local thrift shop) into a fun apron to wear over jeans. What was your inspiration for this project? Are you an apron girl, too?

Betz: Men’s dress shirts are quite plentiful in thrift stores. I love them for repurposing because they have so many high-needle details that I would never have the patience to execute in a project sewn from scratch. Reusing the precisely sewn pockets and the highly constructed collar and cuffs in a new project, such as the apron or the wallets saves so much work, they are halfway done.

As far as aprons go, I wouldn’t say I am as enamored with them to the extent that you are!  I do like the tongue-in-cheek aspect of taking a symbol of the “businessman/breadwinner” and turning it into an apron that is “bread-making attire” for the home.

Jen: Given your talent for recycling materials into fantastic “new” projects, are you able to keep your craft supply budget pretty low? Or do you have a guilty craft pleasure? Any advice for the crafter on the budget?

Betz: Like anything in life, it’s all about balance. I do use a lot of repurposed finds, but even those can cause craft-budget-creep. It’s easy to get carried away bidding on those vintage textiles on eBay! I try to stick to a list when I thrift or eBay hunt for materials.

One splurge that I believe is well worth the money is organic fabrics. Not only are they better for the user directly, they are better for the world overall because no toxic chemicals are used to cultivate organic cotton. Everyday there are more sustainable fabrics on the market. It’s up to us to buy and use them to keep the demand high and the momentum going!

Jen: You’re a mom with a busy career, how do you find the energy to keep creating?

Betz: That’s a good question! I just create because I love to. Fortunately my family is similarly wired.There’s never any lack of understanding about it, it’s just the way it is. My studio has enough space for the kids to come in and work on projects right along side of me. Often we work on things together. Pretty much every surface of the house has some kind of work-in-progress on it. I’m not the best housekeeper and sometimes I worry that I am not setting a good example for my kids as far as tidiness goes. But I know that being a “maker” and raising them creatively is a quality that I value. I prefer to focus on that!

Jen: How has your craft world success changed your life? What did you do when you saw yourself on the cover of “Craft” magazine?

Betz: I guess the main difference is that people I don’t know know me. It’s a funny thing when you share yourself and your creations with the world. It’s my greatest hope that my work resonates with others and inspires them to be creative. I love when someone takes the time to write to let me know how my work has affected them. I feel so honored when one of my books motivates someone to discover or rediscover sewing.

Being on the cover of Craft was a trip! It’s not something that I ever aspired to, but it sure was nice of them to highlight my work.

Jen: What is a typical day like for Betz White?

Betz: A typical work day starts with getting my two boys up and out of the house for school. When I come back from taking them to the bus stop, it’s time for me to start my work day, around 9am. I have usually prepared a To Do list the night before which I consult first. I check my email to see if anything has come up over night that needs attention then I add it to the day’s list. I take a peek at my Etsy shop and my blog and then get started on my list. If I have any photography that I need to do for my blog or Etsy shop, I make sure to handle that early in the day when the natural light is best in my studio. The bulk of the day is spent developing new work for my shop, tutorials for my blog, sometimes writing magazine articles, and hopefully some sewing. If I have any orders to ship or errands, I push them to early afternoon and run those quickly before the kids get home from school.

From about 4-8pm, I’m wearing my “mom” hat, helping with homework, making dinner and putting kids to bed. After that I go back into my studio and work a few more hours on things that don’t need natural light or full brain power, such as editing my photos or uploading listings to my Etsy shop. At 10-11 pm I head downstairs for a little TV time with my husband, usually to watch the Daily Show. Then I go to bed by midnight and do it all again tomorrow!

Jen: What can we expect from you next? Any projects that you can tell us about?

Betz: I mentioned my interest in organically produced cotton. I’ve had a long time goal of designing my own print fabric line and I’d love to have it produced on organic cotton. I’ve spent the last year or so trying to track down some of the larger manufacturers with whom to license my line with the requirement that it be organic. I’ve made the realization that it’s going to have to happen from the ground up, so to speak. I’m currently collaborating with a few other designers and we hope to be able to produce our own line of organic prints very soon. Stay tuned!

Jen: Awesome. I can’t wait to check out the fabric line. Thanks for stopping by CraftSanity!

* Note: All the photos in this post are courtesy of Melanie Falick Books.

**********************************************

Enter to Win a Copy of “Sewing Green.” Okay, CraftSanity readers, what do you think about the green crafting movement? Tell us what you’re making! Leave a comment below by May 4 to enter the random drawing.

Comments

Comment from Patricia
Time: April 30, 2009, 3:00 am

In our family we always crafted green. My mother called it making something out of nothing. This nothing were her old clothes from which she sewed my new wintercoat or she recycled old bed sheets into tea towels.
I love the way designers like Betz White show us new and fun ways to sew green and help us save our planet. May the green crafting movement grow.

Comment from Sarah Crawford
Time: April 30, 2009, 3:30 am

I just received a crocheted tote that I will use for groceries, and so now I am very intrigued with making reusable versions of many items we often dispose of. I plan to create some reusable sandwich bags for the lunch I take to work, and will be looking for more projects like this around my house!
sarahbcrawford(at)gmail(dot)com

Comment from Lori
Time: April 30, 2009, 4:03 am

I’m working on a cute little owl made from thrift store sweaters, vintage buttons and a little felt and embroidery cotton. Cute! I’ve been very inspired by Betz here in Maine and looking forward to yard sale season in the northeast! :)

Comment from Kathy
Time: April 30, 2009, 4:25 am

I love to look at something I’ve made and remember it’s past life! The quilt made from old, ripped t-shirts, the pants with cool patches – it always bothered me to make a quilt from brand new materials cut up into pieces and put back together!

Comment from Kristin
Time: April 30, 2009, 5:24 am

The green crafting movement is nothing but good! In our house, it means using everything – including decades old craft bins inherited from a great-aunt. Waste not, want not is definitly a motto lived by my family.

Comment from cory
Time: April 30, 2009, 5:25 am

oh! the idea of turning a dress shirt into an apron…genius! I have tablecloths that were just waiting years ago to be made into little girl christmas dresses…now i want to make mommy-and-me matching skirts, after seeing that wrap skirt photo. Congrats Betz on such a successful, upcycling book!

Comment from Jaimie
Time: April 30, 2009, 5:34 am

After I read the issue of Craft of which Betz was on the cover, I started using plastic bags in whole new ways – I’m currently making a tote by knitting plastic bags! I also try to get all the use out of materials that I can. Yes, even that last 10 feet of yarn is good for something!

Comment from Deb
Time: April 30, 2009, 5:35 am

I love the green crafting movement — I’ve made three bags, two from two different recycled dresses, and my latest from two recycled men’s shirts (one of them my husband’s). On deck, I have a collection of vintage embroidered linens that I want to play with. Oh, and I my flannel jammie pants are made from a thrifted flannel sheet. I would so love a copy of Betz’ book!!!

Comment from linda
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:02 am

Lovely Q&A and in general I love the idea of green crafting. It’s so true that there’s too much waste in the world and we could reduce if we just think about the way we consume and create. I happen to live right by a design company that discards an enormous amount of cardboard, paper tubes and various paper products. Granted they can be recycled, but I am trying to salvage items to use in crafting, rather than buying new materials.

Comment from ~Heather
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:10 am

Considering how much pesticide, third world labor and traveling new fabric goes through, I just don’t feel right purchasing fabric for every project I make. I feel better about using what already exists whenever I can (my basement full of bedsheets, old curtains and felted wool sweaters can attest to it)! ~Heather

Comment from laura f
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:14 am

What a great interview and book..thank you!
It’s getting hot in Florida so my plans this week are to sew skirts for my daughters out of thrifted sheets.
I love Betz’ skirt pattern for adults…crossing my fingers. :)

Comment from Heather H
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:16 am

With a young boy that is really into “creating”, we do a great deal of recycled crafting. It is really amaing to look through a kid’s eyes to see what he sees and what he can create. Our most recent project is a jelly fish for a school science project made out of left over yarn, beads, and a perfect plastic “bell” from a toy machine. I love keeping a box of interesting doo-dads for him to create with.

Comment from Pat Sloan
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:18 am

I really love that making is BACK!

No matter the reason… it’s wonderful that more people want to use what they have in new and create ways.

Comment from Katherine
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:23 am

I’m teaching my fashion savvy daughter to rework her old clothes or thrift shop finds into ‘new’ items by hemming, removing/altering sleeves, altering necklines etc. It’s nice to spend the time with her, teach her some basic sewing skills and satisfying to see her embrace this approach instead of always wanting to spend (a lot) on money on something new.

Comment from LMJ
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:29 am

Great Interview. A while back I considered altering some clothes I *ahem* outgrew but I never did. This is totally inspiring me to dig into the bin and make that change.
Thanks!

Comment from Beti
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:47 am

Well, who doesn’t love sewing green, especially now when everything is so expensive? In our home always lived an idea that old things don’t existe, there are only things that are with us some time and need some refreshments :)) so I usually have little dresses that were made out of mum’s clothes or I had a t-shirt with ABBA(that just be my sister’s) and some new flowers that I draw on their hair( I didn’t know who they are:)). So I have been creative from my early childhood and my family supported me. I love to sew green, speacily with filc(I don’t know how is in english). we usually had sweaters from filc. I made some flowers and teddybears from it, or sleepers… so kind of ”everything from nothing”.
And now I saw this beautiful scarf with leaves and fall in love! I have to sew this for my next crazy winter…
Thank you for a great interview and for a chance to win this great book!I love it already!
Have fun, girls!
Beti, Slovenia

Comment from Turtle
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:48 am

Right now i have an organic cotton ribbed tank in the works, as well as revamping a small wooden basket for hubby to easily take spices, etc to the grill, revamping an old comforter into a new cat bed and redoing the guest room into a new craft room/office. I scour the goodwills but think i still need a bit more of a nudge on the revamping. I need some inspiration to think outside the box more!

Comment from edina
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:52 am

I love the green crafting movement and have a stack of worn and torn jeans waiting to be recycled into new projects.

Comment from Katie B
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:53 am

Thanks for the great interview! I recently unraveled an old sweater and used the yarn to make scarves. I felt very thrifty!

Comment from Holly B
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:58 am

I have recently been inspired to renew old clothes by making something new out of them. My older daughter has a beautiful dress that the zipper broke on. I thought, why wait several years for her sisters to be able to wear it. I made it smaller and replaced the zipper with a button closure. Love it! Now I am on the lookout at thrift stores for all sorts of goodies.

Comment from Ashley Ann
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:15 am

I am using bits of worn out clothes (the stuff that can’t even go to the thrift store it’s so bad) to sew new things like pouches and card wallets. I’m also using the ittiest bittiest scraps for patchwork. It’s like putting a puzzle together, and I love that I’m only throwing away pieces to small for seam allowances!

Comment from Nova
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:40 am

I’m still collecting for my recycled denim quilt. :)

Comment from Michele
Time: April 30, 2009, 8:50 am

Right now I have quite the stash building up of old clothes that are waiting to be turned into long cabin blocks for a picnic quilt. I had made three lap sized quilts like this out of old baby clothes for my two sisters and I two Christmas’ ago.

Comment from chppie
Time: April 30, 2009, 8:58 am

Love the idea of crafting green. There’s always something around the house to use and it forces my creativity into high gear to use things that may not be was was in the original design.

Thanks for the interview and keep up the good work on the podcast. I appreciate your enthusiasm. You expose me to areas or craft and artists that i never would have discovered on my own.

Comment from Ellie
Time: April 30, 2009, 9:02 am

I was really convicted this last year when I walked into my closet and realized all the clothing I have – it’s absolutely ridiculous! I decided I wanted to attempt to simplify. I took a lot of stuff to thrift stores (because there really are people that need clothes), but I put aside some choice items that I want to repurpose. Life’s been busy lately, but I have high hopes of turning some of my cute graphic tees (that don’t quite fit anymore) into underwear and I’ve also saved several sweaters that I loved and plan to do something creative with them in the future!

Comment from sherri s.
Time: April 30, 2009, 9:45 am

I’m using up scraps and hankies to make flower pins and lavender-filled sachets for my garden club’s craft booth next weekend…much as I hate to use my vintage/thrifted/estate saled “stash,” hoarding is a bad thing!

Comment from Beth
Time: April 30, 2009, 10:51 am

I consider the green crafting movement a resurgence of how our grandparents lived. Everything was reused, whether for its original purpose or for something else. So I find this movement, if you can call it that, an homage to the persons that have come before us.

Comment from Kelly
Time: April 30, 2009, 11:08 am

I like to go to Goodwill and find old sweaters that I can felt, or pieces of fabric that are cheap. Or use old pillowcases. I like the feeling you get from used things, you can tell there is a story behind them.

Comment from Misty.Creek
Time: April 30, 2009, 11:13 am

Working on general mending, painting the frame of a thrifted print for my girlie and maybe then something for me!

Comment from Bunny
Time: April 30, 2009, 11:18 am

I always try my best to craft as green as possible, using scraps of old material and clothing that may be too small or stained in an area that makes it unsuitable for public wear. I try to use what I have in my crafting, before going out to buy materials.

Comment from Twilight
Time: April 30, 2009, 11:36 am

Hope I win! I’m currently frogging thrifted sweaters to use in my frame loom. I’m just learning how to weave.

Comment from Wendy
Time: April 30, 2009, 11:41 am

I made my first round of fabric napkins from secondhand fabric a year or so ago. Those are starting to look a little grungy, so it’s time for a second batch!

Comment from Rebecca
Time: April 30, 2009, 12:18 pm

i stummbled on this book this past weekend…i love it…i can’t wait to get started on all of the amazing projects!

Comment from Frances Peets
Time: April 30, 2009, 12:23 pm

I think crafters/artists have been using found and resuable items in creating since forever. I think the green movement is what is necessary and I think it causes people to be more innovative. As for myself I am always using and reusing packaging materials in art because I can’t bare to throw it back into the environment. By collecting and reusing at least I am taking a look at what I am responsible for purchasing. Right now I am using old clothing materials to create stuffed creations.

Comment from Andra
Time: April 30, 2009, 1:13 pm

i so love this site. Thank you…really inspiring to hear others stories!
sm iles, andra

Comment from Heidi
Time: April 30, 2009, 1:14 pm

I use a lot of felted sweaters in my sewing. I also use old men’s ties and buttons from shirts or sweaters at the thrift. Right now I’m making a stuffed owl out of felt.

Comment from Lorrie
Time: April 30, 2009, 1:20 pm

I’ve crafted all my life but have only recently been using thrifted materials. I find it a great creative challenge, a money-saver, and a way to feel like I’m recycling/reusing. I hope to do more of this kind of craft – and I’m also determined to use up the enormous stash of crafting supplies I already own rather than always going out and purchasing more.

Betz’ vision is so great and I love her projects.

Lorrie

Comment from Anne
Time: April 30, 2009, 1:30 pm

Great book – I love to repurpose items into sewing projects especially cast off shirts, skirts and mostly sweaters. It is amazing what one can do with theses items. I have a reputation for being a button saver – am forever clipping off buttons!!

Comment from Diane
Time: April 30, 2009, 1:42 pm

I really like the idea of repurposing. Before finding Betz’s blog I never thought about buying from thrift shops to make new things and I’ve been shopping in thrift shops my whole adult life. Thanks for giving a new vision for sewing and crafting.

Comment from Judy Grubbs
Time: April 30, 2009, 2:03 pm

I have not been very good about crafting green until lately. I mainly make books so I am repurposing a lot of found papers instead of buying new

Comment from Beth Walker
Time: April 30, 2009, 2:07 pm

I love Betz and I love this book. I am also really digging this green crafting movement. The idea of taking things that would otherwise be trash and turning them into jewels is rad. I am a little frustrated at how large companies are starting to lure folks in with things that look homemade but are the same ole factory junk. I am also a little concerned with the way some craft supplies are made, but there are many more eco friendly options nowadays. Either way, its great to have more people informed on the process it takes to create something so that they understand its true value.

Comment from E. Lindsey Hornkohl
Time: April 30, 2009, 2:12 pm

I’ve been a big Betz fan for years, and only recently as I’ve been following her blog tour and been asked several times how I “craft green” have I been more concientious about it. But I recently bought the book “Magic Books and Paper Toys” by Esther K. Smith and have all kinds of new ideas about how to reuse and repurpose paper items into fun books and toys. Cereal boxes, here I come!

Comment from Thien-Kim
Time: April 30, 2009, 3:29 pm

I’ve had the chance to meet Betz and she’s wonderful! Congrats on your book! I think that repurposing is a great way to give unwanted clothes, sheets, etc new life. It’s also a lot of fun. Sometimes I think it takes a bit more thinking outside the box to see something new from an old men’s shirt.

Comment from Christine C.
Time: April 30, 2009, 3:40 pm

With the arrival of spring, I have taken my crafting outdoors. I am re-purposing burlap bags by using them as covers for my little veggie seedlings. I am using discarded wooden pallets to craft a composting bin. I am also painting my new chicken coop with leftover paint from various household projects. I am trying for an entirely recycled garden!!

Comment from Cindy Is Crafty
Time: April 30, 2009, 4:08 pm

I have enjoyed crafting green. It amazes me the new stuff that is turned over to the thrift shops for resale. I use skirts, pants, drapes, sweaters (since Betz inspired me), and all kinds of other items like buttons, game pieces, old necklaces. It is my goal to try to make with stuff that is discarded whenever possible.

Comment from Jessica
Time: April 30, 2009, 4:19 pm

The beautiful pictures and handmade items and creativity first turned me back on to crafting in 2006, but what’s really kept me here are all the eco-friendly implications of the craft that I can incorporate into the gifts and items that I make. I really love repurposing and don’t do it enough! [I blame this on lack of storage space for all those thrift store finds, but having used up some recently I think I'm in for another trip to the thrift shop soon!] Thanks for the interview :-).

Comment from Stacey S.
Time: April 30, 2009, 4:23 pm

I just refurbished an my old desk clock, rather than running out and buying a new one. I used the bag my soap nuts came in for my daughters Brownie uniform trinkets (to hang from the hanger her uniform is on), rather than making one out of new fabric or buying something. I have a desire and need to consume less. This has gotten my creative juices flowing, because the obvious answer, usually is not the most cost effective or ecological.

Comment from Sherri I
Time: April 30, 2009, 5:10 pm

I have been making denim rag quilts from jeans. This book would provide me with some wonderful new ideas to try!

Comment from Flo – mycraftyways
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:06 pm

I think the green craft movement comes from a shift in consciousness and a real necessity : too much waste that could actually be made in something else or reuse, and a close attention to the money going out. It’s probably all about balance : finding ways to make daily life more comfortable without investing thousands in it, using resourcefulness, common sense and a bit of humor !
At the moment I’m making a few things for Mother’s Day – a beaded bracelet, a little greeting card, some cushion covers for her living room. I’m very excited about the little package I’m going to send my sweet mum ! I’m also making a couple more shopping bags with flat bottoms, so that grocery can “sit” nicely inside the bags.

Good day everyone !

Comment from stacy
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:27 pm

I’m making grocery bags… not just for myself, but my mom too. When I shop, I usually use 10 or more bags, so I know that this will be a lot of sewing, but think of all the plastic I’m saving!

Comment from Caryn P.
Time: April 30, 2009, 6:33 pm

I am currently making reuseable grocery bags out of tshirts among other things. My craft room has been taken over by piles of clothing from the thrift store just waiting to be recycled into something funky and useable! Next up on my to-do list are two baby quilts made from thrifted, felted wool sweaters. I am so looking forward to hopefully winning (if not will just have to buy it!) this new book! Need some new inspiration! Thank you!

Comment from Andrea
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:08 pm

It is so important to take pride in the materials that we use. Sewing is often a “greener” choice than buying foreign made garments anyway, but how much of a difference (environmental or humanitarian) does it make if you use mass-produced magic fiber bolts? I try to either reuse or support artisan work and hopefully this book will give all sorts of great ways to use the awesome materials I am collecting!

Comment from Tora Consolo
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:24 pm

“Green” crafting is something I’ve always done and I love finding new ideas on how to make something into something else!

Comment from MelodyJ
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:47 pm

I think green crafting is a good thing. I like the idea of restyling and recycling. There some things that may have to be bought new. Just do as much as you can do. If we all do some there will be less waste.

Comment from Ramona
Time: April 30, 2009, 7:49 pm

My grandmother always said “waste not, want not”. recycling is really nothing new. I love to go thrifting to find materials to turn into something else. Right now, I’m turning pillow cases into shirts and dresses.

Comment from Renee G
Time: April 30, 2009, 8:11 pm

Green crafting is great. However, I’ve always hoarded my craft supplies and saved any leftovers for whatever my next project might be.

rsgrandinetti(at)yahoo(dot)com

Comment from Elisa
Time: April 30, 2009, 8:40 pm

I think it’s great. I recently knitted a bathmat from old sheets and muslin that I had lying around. It turned out great. I’m making a blouse from some vintage silk… it was a full skirt, with plenty of material for a little top. :)

Comment from Molly
Time: April 30, 2009, 9:56 pm

I’m taking a break from a little project, making a baby quilt from old sheets, and found this. :) A delightful diversion and inspiration!

Comment from Carlee
Time: April 30, 2009, 10:12 pm

I looooove the green crafting movement! I am so happy to see things being reused rather than just thrown away…and our children’s children will appreciate it too! I am working scrappy quilts made with left over cottons from making pillowcases for kids with cancer. I have been collecting pieces for a while now and they are beginning to take up alot of room! Thanks for the chance…and your great site!

Comment from Renee
Time: May 1, 2009, 4:42 am

The current re-use project in my home is taking our jeans and making them into shorts and capris. I hate that children’s clothing costs so much for them to wear them one season. So we are making the most of our money and creating cute spring/summer clothing out of our winter wardrobe. Thanks for the great interview!

Comment from Kelley Simmons
Time: May 1, 2009, 5:18 am

I am gathering old shirts with pockets to create a wall-hanging that can be used for storage (each block is a pocket from an old button-down shirt)

Comment from Karin
Time: May 1, 2009, 5:55 am

With summer coming, and 2 preschool boys, my focus has been their clothes. As other family members clean out their closets, I am gathering anything that might give me enough to make a little shirt or shorts. I am gathering a wardrobe for them that is both unique and virtually free! I have also picked up a few sweaters to unravel for yarn. Being “green” can take more time, but the difference it makes is worth it.

Comment from Aimee
Time: May 1, 2009, 6:47 am

I just made a baby cardigan and thanks to Jen, I am also making felted pin cushions from bottle tops (any size from water bottles to the cap on the bleach container). Believe it or not, many of the caps I’ve collected are from trash people have tossed, so I am doing my part by picking up litter.

Comment from Cheri Diedrich
Time: May 1, 2009, 7:20 am

I was luckey having a creative and crafty mom. We did not have much money so I could not afford the fashionable clothes that I saw in the magazines. So I learned to sew and my first dress at age 13 was a pattern from vogue! ( I had a lot of confidence in myself) It looked homemade but I was so proud of that dress because my mom was a great teacher. She once took apart a wallpaper sample book and wallpapered our hallway. It is incredable what people throw away. I paint my own artwork and I macrame my own plant hangers. I still have my old craft books from the 60′s. To this day if I see something that I want, if I can make it I will not buy it. My latest project was making pillowcase dolls. I have an art room that cannot hold any more stuff so I need to start making a dent in that stash.

Comment from Beth
Time: May 1, 2009, 7:25 am

I’ve long been teased for keeping things around for reuse. Now, friends are looking to me for materials! I’ve kept many, many old jeans that my family has worn out with no idea what they would become. Once I was feeling that I couldn’t store them, I realized I had enough for a large quilt! It’s heavy and warm and helped us to turn the thermostat down a little this winter!
A friend of mine recently lost his job and gave me his fine Italian business shirts to remake into something new. What a sign of the times!

Comment from Jennifer
Time: May 1, 2009, 7:27 am

I love the idea of reusing items that would otherwise be in a landfill. My family thinks I’m crazy for saving things that “I may need someday”, well now I actually have a plan for many of these items. With the economy these days, anything I can save in the craft budget is a good thing! Thanks for the GREAT ideas!
:)

Comment from kelli
Time: May 1, 2009, 8:33 am

I love crafting green! So many of the crafts I love can reuse/recycle materials: rag rugs, sewing (quilting using scraps, modifying clothing, using old shirts to make throws or throw pillows), knitting/crochet using old frogged sweater yarn, felting/fulling wool sweaters, improving stained shirts using appliques or freezer stencils (with three kids, this happens all the time)! These projects really work within my budget!

I love being able to craft using materials that other people don’t need — the Freecycle network is great. And I feel like I’m keeping things out of the landfill.

Comment from Janice Williams
Time: May 1, 2009, 8:43 am

I have loved shopping at thrift stores and yard sales for ‘stuff’. I will walk through thrift stores looking at clothing, and only seeing it as fabric. But mostly I make dolls, primative dolls which need unique older looking fabric. Linen is another item I sew with….but you can’t buy 100% linen in my town! Only linen look alikes, but the thrift store has it!

Comment from roni
Time: May 1, 2009, 9:53 am

old wide leg denims into pillows and cute little bag for my daughter…

Comment from water works
Time: May 1, 2009, 9:56 am

I’ve used thrifted materials over the years without really thinking about it as helping the world. Now that its become so prominent, we do as much as we reasonably can. My husband’s an avid organic gardener and I try to reuse the clothing for other items. I love pillow case tote/ shopping bags because they are easy to make and carry. I love the clerks’ faces when I hand them a vintage print shopping bag to use and turn down their “designer” store named bags!

Comment from elizabeth
Time: May 1, 2009, 10:19 am

I think the green movement is in a way, the essence of craft, and using and re-using is part and parcel a lot of the time with me. I like to challenge myself to make something out of something I dont really think or want to make and find something great to make from it, like using a bunch of single sock orphans, instead of just tossing them when they b/c a massive heap, I cut them up and made stuff from the scraps.

Comment from Nicole
Time: May 1, 2009, 10:56 am

I’ve always loved thrifting and repurposing, and it’s great that now it’s “mainstream” to creatively help the environment while making fun, fabulous, useful things. Right now I’m repurposing some vintage sheets to make a baby set: booties, pants, bibs, etc. So cute, so fun!

Comment from Maria Yarane
Time: May 1, 2009, 12:09 pm

I am a mother of two: Hannah 12 and Ali 7. we started recycling last year and we are progressing each time . My both kids are very interested in making thinks from other left over. after I found Betz’s blog I started paying attention more to my recycling . I actualy transformed my daugther long fancy shirt to a nice skirt and a short duster , she actualy loves it and she is proud that she helped me do it . Now my daughter try to do thing with her nonloved clothing so she can wear them more , i bought her a small sewing machine for her projects.

Comment from Jennie C.
Time: May 1, 2009, 1:21 pm

I’ve always held on to scraps and linens and old clothes … thinking, “I can do something with this.” Finally it all came together in a little fundraiser I’ve been running for around a year. I make bags from all those scraps. I also gather other people’s scraps. And I buy stuff at thrift stores. All proceeds go towards a family member’s adoption expenses. The bags are one-of-a-kind.

Comment from Karen L.
Time: May 1, 2009, 1:52 pm

I love the idea of green crafting! Kudos to Betz for leading the parade on that. Certainly carrying one’s own bags to the grocery store to fill is an easy step but has a huge impact on the environment. That is my project …. to make enough bags out of recycled fabric or fused plastic to never have to take one from the store again. Also, my wish is that people would pick up trash on the roadsides or walkways whenever they see it instead of just walking by. Think of the impact of that on your neighborhood and this big blue globe!!!

Comment from Linda E.
Time: May 1, 2009, 5:54 pm

It’s been a great winter for crafting. I find recycling used jeans, wool garments etc. very therapeutic and satisfying. They are going into quilts and used in benefits for military and Blue Star Mothers. I enjoy hearing all the ideas and commitment others have.

Comment from Joyce
Time: May 1, 2009, 6:15 pm

I think I have been green crafting for years, it just wasn’t called that; when I was young we used to bring thread spools & all kinds of things to school to make into gifts for our mothers at Christmas, Mother’s Day & other times. I used take jeans my brothers out-grew to make purses & other things. I like finding ways to reuse things no longer needed or that would usually go in the trash.

Comment from Becca
Time: May 1, 2009, 6:50 pm

I have been making a ton of market bags. I’ve used thrifted sheets and fabric. I just made a huge one which has been great for hauling groceries home on the bus. I used some clear packaging I had from something else for the base. The book looks like fun!

Comment from Crystal
Time: May 1, 2009, 8:07 pm

I love the ‘green’ movement. The more I speak to women of previous generations, the more I realize that we are getting back to our roots, so to speak. It was not that long ago that everything was ‘upcycled’ and nothing was wasted. I like that we are getting back to that. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

Comment from Katiebelle
Time: May 2, 2009, 7:00 am

I am making aprons and headbands. TONS of them. I’m selling them locally at a few places and they’re flying out the door! My husband has a few old dress shirts so I would love this book so I can upcycle them into aprons like she has in the book!

Comment from dena miller
Time: May 2, 2009, 8:51 am

I have taken jeans that my daughter has outgrown and made adorable little purses. I just cut off the legs to a lenght that I like, stitch the open end and then use the remaining fabric for hadles. the finished end becomes the top of the purse. You can then personalize and embelish the purse any way you wish!

Comment from Joan
Time: May 2, 2009, 9:02 am

My family would always tease me about my recycling. One day I would be wearing an item the next day it was a pillow. I am glad that recycling is now becoming hip.

Comment from Laure
Time: May 2, 2009, 9:19 am

As a classroom teacher, I am always talking about recycling, etc., but when I can show them the result of upcycling an item – taking the unwanted and making something new and terrific – that’s when I think that they can really connect to the fact that “waste” can be reused.

Comment from Autumn
Time: May 2, 2009, 9:48 am

I’m so excited that crafting is back and in full force and incorporating green mindsets. To some extent, I believe our culture needs to go back to some of its organic roots. And MAKING things certainly speaks to that. And it adds a wonderful sensibility to our mindsets and for our children.

I’m a quilter and my friends think I’m a freak to keep all the little scraps I do — but that’s the essence of quilting — and CRAFTING!

Comment from Karen
Time: May 2, 2009, 11:24 am

as a child of the 70s and a large family, repurposing was always a way of life. we fixed, mended, reused, borrowed, made our own… that’s how it was. in my family now I keep that going – sewing clothes for my two year old twins, hand-me-down toys, reusing and making everything we can. it’s not all about economics, but if that gets more people motivated – glad to see the word being spread.

I also enjoy the creative challenge of using found materials. it can push you in directions that new materials may not. lately I’ve been sewing clothes for my boys & headbands for myself. clothes for me when I have more time!

Comment from Laurpud
Time: May 2, 2009, 12:09 pm

I think it’s great that the rest of the crafting world has finally caught up with me. One of my projects this year will be to cut up my husband’s old t-shirts & turn them into crocheted rugs! I also have some thin nylon rope I’m going to knit into a dog leash…fun, huh?

Comment from London
Time: May 2, 2009, 1:25 pm

I like to buy 100% wool sweaters from thrift stores. Then I wash them and make bags or pillows out of them.

Comment from bloomingheather
Time: May 2, 2009, 5:05 pm

I’ve love green crafting (and I love that it has a name now, not just “being thrifty”). In the past few months, I’ve made pillows and bags out of thrift store sweaters, a small change purse out of the buttony part of a thrifted sweater, and several pairs of pajama pants for my girls out of vintage pillow cases. Wonderful book! Thanks for the giveaway.

Comment from kristen
Time: May 2, 2009, 6:37 pm

yay green craft! like so many other commenters, i come from a family where all of our crafting was green before it had a name. i don’t remember ever buying fabric or craft supplies, old things were just made into new things: old clothes into new clothes or quilts, really old clothes into braided rugs… and now i have a business making new fabric housewares out of secondhand sheets and blankets.

Comment from Lisa C
Time: May 2, 2009, 7:54 pm

I’ve been re-using, re-purposing, and recycling for years and I’m so glad the world is finally emphasing the importance of do this and going green. This is a movement, not a fad, and I believe we all should do it…even if we’re not crafters…I’d love to win a copy of this book. Thanks! Lisa

Comment from JayeL
Time: May 2, 2009, 8:25 pm

I think crafting green is part of the quiltmaking tradtion. While most (ok, all of us!) of us buy new fabric, scrap quilts are also very popular and have been continuously. I have a new thing I do with my scraps, which is I sew like colors together to make new fabrics. I currently have a piece of red that is about the size of a fat quarter. While you may think “big whoop” the pieces I used were about 1/2-3/4″ each. I try to use up larger pieces for projects and these are generally the pieces that won’t be used and will be thrown out. I haven’t used the fabric yet, but am looking forward to it.

BTW, I am on a roadtrip and am listening to back issues of CraftSanity podcast. I don’t think that I will be interested in some of the crafts I don’t do, but I always learn something new and/or interesting.

Comment from Tami
Time: May 2, 2009, 8:25 pm

I think the green movement is great! Items are not just good for the environment but so unique! I think we need to teach our children the best way to be green and being crafty is great too! I would love this book! Thanks for everything you do here on craftsanity!!!

Comment from Sherry
Time: May 2, 2009, 9:04 pm

I”ve been green all these years and didn’t know it! I thought I was just cheap! actually i have always reusing and making things out of other things. I grew up with grandparents who were frugal and living off the land in Kansas. I love Betz’s designs and would love to win this book!

Comment from Kari
Time: May 2, 2009, 10:53 pm

Green crafting rocks. It should be easy to do, but in this era of super cute craft supplies everywhere it can be challenging. It always feels better to make something with the supplies I already have than to buy a bunch of new super cool stuff. I have some old clothes I’m hoping to delve into some easy alterations to make them last a little longer.

Comment from Alessandra
Time: May 3, 2009, 2:15 am

it’s nice to see that we can go green and it will still be fun to craft that way.
great idea to turn shirts into aprons, I love it!!
:o)

Comment from Greedy Nan
Time: May 3, 2009, 5:47 am

I believe that I’m eco-friendly and that I always have been – originally due to the fact that as a youngster our family wasn’t that well-off so had to ‘make go and mend’. I went on to be a young wife and still had to ‘cut my coat according to my cloth’. I then found myself as a single parent of 3 and so it carried on. Now of course quite fashionable to do exactly what I’ve done all my life – even if I was rich, rich, rich, I don’t think I would change my ethics as regards re-cycling, etc.

Comment from mrspilkington
Time: May 3, 2009, 7:09 pm

Crafting with recycled materials has been a part of my life for a long time, and I’m glad to be able to share my love of making and the importance of good stewardship with my daughter. The book looks lovely; thanks for the great interview!

Comment from Aileen
Time: May 3, 2009, 7:58 pm

There has been so much buzz about this book, I would love to win a copy! Another great interview, Thanks.

Comment from kathy
Time: May 3, 2009, 8:34 pm

i had the girls in our churches Girls Club make pillows out of mens shirts. They turned out real cute. Use the button front for the opening.

Comment from christy
Time: May 4, 2009, 7:24 am

I love repurposing old cotton fabric scraps into quilts and other quilted projects. I’ve seen some beautiful quilts done with recycled sheets for the backs, but they’re hard to find. I haven’t given up at the Goodwill yet though!

Comment from Leslie Riker
Time: May 4, 2009, 8:44 am

I’d like to see this book turned into a sewing seminar that travels around the country — or at least to Pittsburgh, PA.
Thanks for the interview and chance to win a copy of the book.

Comment from gina
Time: May 4, 2009, 11:02 am

thanks for the interview & a chance to win :) love repurposing items for crafty things!

Comment from Alice
Time: May 4, 2009, 11:50 am

I love Betz White’s new book! I’m a huge fan and enjoy reading and following her blog. I love the idea of re-using what you already have! I’m making plans to go to the local Goodwill to pick up some t-shirts and men’s shirt…I want to make those aprons from Betz new book! What a great idea!
She amazes me with her creative ideas!

Comment from ela
Time: May 4, 2009, 2:10 pm

Green sewing begins with organic farming. The time is here!
We need more organic farmers. Really looking forward to your
organic cottons.

Comment from Kitty
Time: May 4, 2009, 10:16 pm

We were always making things from other things. A bathroom mat with fused bottle caps, remade tops from promotional T-shirts (http://slovoni.blogspot.com/2009/04/recikliranje-za-dan-zemlje.html), pouches from old jeans (http://slovoni.blogspot.com/2009/03/pospravljanje.html), planters for seedlings out of newspaper … there are so many possibilities – if you know how to look for them.

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Time: May 5, 2009, 9:51 pm

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Comment from Janet
Time: April 24, 2010, 12:06 am

The Green Crafting Movement is Great. I make purses from old jeans, and love the bag holder from mens shirt sleeves. Thats next on my list, as we do reuse all our plastic grocery bags.

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