Waste not, want not

We recently helped to clear some sheds that contained the treasures or junk (depending on your point of view) accumulated over decades of collecting and hiding away. Returning home, it made me look at my own space in a slightly different light, particularly the fabric I have squirrelled away in a chest of drawers. There’s fabric left over from sewing projects when the pattern stated 2 metres but I bought an extra half metre in case I made a mistake, old clothes that I loved so much that one day I will use the fabric for something else and some fabric still in its bag that I haven’t got around to using just yet. All neatly folded and colour coded. If only.

In truth, I could barely shut the drawers, which is the point at which I sort the fabric and send to recycling or the charity shop that which I know in my heart I shall never use (for I am old and wise enough to know that using another drawer is not the answer).

Having sorted and stored away the good and discarded the bad, I had left over some very small odd shaped pieces of fabric I liked and several squares of cotton that were the result of some recent fabric printing, natural dyeing and bundle dyeing, which weren’t good enough to make into something lasting.

Fortuitously, while trying to find out more about dyeing with walnuts, I landed at Something From Seaview and having read about Katherine’s walnut dyeing I flicked to the following post and discovered #GiveWrap. Give Wrap replaces wrapping paper with hand-made re-usable fabric wrappers, which is a notion that instantly appealed to me. Years ago we had a Japanese visitor who handed us a gift beautifully wrapped Furoshiki style in two layers of fabric and I was so taken with it that I made fabric bags that I use each year to wrap Christmas presents for the immediate family. Also, I hate the fact that perfectly good wrapping paper gets ripped from presents and wasted (I am that person who carefully peels back the sticky tape, unwraps the paper and neatly folds it up ready to be used again).

Katherine and her cousin Polly make beautiful wraps that tell stories and make use of old family linen, hand printed fabric and worn out clothes. I suspect that many are so special that they aren’t re-used as wraps but kept by the recipient to use in some other way. Take a look at Katherine’s post to see some of them and find out how Give Wrap started with Rebecca’s original idea on needle & spindle.

jelly print book in fabric gift wrap

Duly inspired, I dragged out my sewing machine to make a few Give Wraps of my own, each with a label sewn onto the back explaining what they are.

As ever, I started off fired up with enthusiasm and in my rush to get going did little in the way of planning but just cut and sewed. Now that first phase has been worked through I shall plan a little and perhaps dye and print some fabric specifically for this. The fabric in the central section of this pink wrapper is Ruth’s experiment with thermofax printing (the insects) and some jelly printing (the blue,red and yellow).

I’m not pretending that mine will be works of art, for my sewing is far too slapdash, but it’s a good way to use fabric remnants and must be better than single use wrapping paper. My sister Jo wraps everything with love and care to make them look beautiful but I’m a hopeless wrapper and can make a square box look like a ball so I hope this will make my gifts look a little more appealing.

Do you rip paper from presents or are you a careful unwrapper?
Recycling wrapping paper – environmentally thoughtful or plain miserly?