Walk as if you are Kissing the Earth with your feet. -Thich Nhat Khan
Sewing in an eco friendly way is really easy once you get the hang of it. Simply by using what you have and upcycling fabrics, you can create so many eco friendly pieces on a budget.
1. Use vintage sheets as backing material for art quilts
2. Source corduroy from thrift stores to use in projects
3. Create your own felt with thrifted wool sweaters
4. Restyle clothes from your closet that don't fit or have stains. You can either embellish, add panels, or upcycle the fabrics and embellishments into new projects.
5. Old curtains and home decor can be upcycled as a source for fabric
6. Thrifted denim is great for making everything from pillows to quilts
7. Make a t shirt quilt
8. Save all your scraps and work them into projects
9. Buy organic muslin and then do your own surface designs to create patterned fabric
10. Use what you already have if possible instead of buying new materials for each project
The main way that I sew green these days is by using every last scrap of material. I work scraps of cotton fabric into pretty much all of my quilts. When I first began sewing in 1999 I bought up every last pair of corduroy pants and jackets at thrift stores and made everything with the colorful, textured fabric. Think outside the box and you can create a whole body of work with unique materials when you sew eco.
The traditional Hamsa Hand is an ancient protective symbol that can be found in many cultures throughout the world. These quilts are great for decorating your own home or to give as housewarming gifts for spiritual friends.
1. First create your hand pattern. There are two types of hamsa hands...one with the outer fingers pointing out for protection and one with the fingers all together for good fortune.
2. Trace your pattern onto a piece of fabric, and create a square a bit larger than the hand. Pin the hand shape onto the square and sew around with a zig zag or other decorative stitch.
3. Pin the square to a piece of batting and use a zig zag stitch to sew around the outside. Then trim away the batting.
4. Draw an eye design on the palm of the hand. Sew over the lines with a straight stitch or other decorative stitch. Add decorative stitching to your liking. Sew on a large button as the iris of the eye. Add a border fabric around the outside if you want to. Then place the work face down on a piece of muslin or backing fabric, pin and sew around the edges with a straight stitch, leaving an opening for turning right side out. Turn right side out and finger press the edges. Sew around the outside edges with a decorative stitch, closing the opening. Add a loop for displaying the work.
When I was in college I took a class that was really impressionable on my young mind. It was Environmental Ethics, my entrance into Philosophy of the Earth. The key points I remember about the class were teachings about overpopulation and the Earth's resources. I got so jazzed by the course that I changed my major to Philosophy.
Over the past few years I have read some books about going green and living well while also making smart choices for the environment. The quote that stays with me was found in "Green Chic". Very near the beginning of the book the author says that the number one principle of going green is just to buy less stuff! Then the rest of the book goes on to talk about shopping with the environment in mind.
A few nights ago I was listening to Coast to Coast AM, a talk radio show. Mentioned was a Stephen Hawking quote that has been haunting me since. Stephen Hawking predicts that mankind will have to move off the Earth to an entirely different planet in 100 years. Some of the main reasons are misuse of resources, overpopulation and the greenhouse effect. Stop and think about that for a moment? Do you really want your children or grandchildren moving to a different planet to survive?
The Earth is so beautiful, this living breathing ecosystem that is just perfect for mankind. It can be quite discouraging looking around at society, with much of society so lost in getting by day to day that they don't have the time to consider the impact their choices are making on the planet.
There is something we can do and we can each make a difference! Being self-sufficient and buying less stuff puts less trash in the landfill. It also puts less demand on the factories that are truly devastating the environment. Another bonus to buying less and making more goods yourself is that you have more money to put toward things that really matter the most to you.
So this is the beginning of a new day on the blog! I will still be sharing posts about art journaling, introspection and spiritual creativity. However I would love to begin sharing more posts about self-sufficiency and using what you already have to have an incredible life. I've been getting more into Eco Art and Sewing as a way to be self sustaining while raising awareness to the issues that are facing the Earth and our survival here.
Your choices do matter! Self sufficiency might sound like an austere lifestyle, however it is so much fun to make things. It is so fun to work with your hands and the satisfaction of knowing that you can turn a bag of scrap fabric and various odds and ends into useful functional items is so satisfying. With a little ingenuity and thoughtful crafting you can make a difference for the environment to help pave the way for a healthy planet.