One of the tenants of a homesteader is to reuse everything. Sheets with holes? No problem! Shirt too small, towel fraying, anything at all, I try to reuse until it simply disintigrates.
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One of the most self sufficient ways to live is trying to reduce dependence on the grocery store, which includes toilet paper, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc. For over a year now, we have sworn off paper towels. And really, it has not been hard.
In order to achieve this I converted as many scraps and towels as possible to unpaper towels. I knew they would sustain a lot of abuse so I have over 75 in my stash. They vary from kitchen towels to unpaper towels to rags. The benefit of a mix is options for whatever mess arises.
These are simple but you do need a sewing machine. Straight stitch is fine so you don’t need to worry about special techniques unless you decide to add a button hole. I tried this for a while on a hook but now they live in a pretty basket on the counter, no hanging or rewrapping required.
- Old towel (¼ yard)
- Old shirt or sheet (¼ yard)
- Sewing machine
- Sewing pins (optional)
Time: 30 minutes
- Cut the shirt and towel 8.5in by 11in. This is easy to do without a ruler, you just need a sheet of paper. You can pin the piece of paper to the shirt and towel if you want or outline with a pencil or piece of chalk.
- Lay the shirt piece underneath the towel piece. If you need, pin around the edges, being sure to leave a 2 to 4 inch hole.
- Using a ¼in seam, sew around the edges, leaving a 4 in gap (Tip: the feed dogs that help move the fabric along under the sewing foot seem to do better with the sheet/shirt side down rather than the towel side)
- Turn out from the inside, be sure to push on the corners to get the correct shape
- Fold in the edges of the 4 inch hole and pin
- Sew around the entire thing, including over the now closed hole
- Sew and “X” through the middle (from corner to opposite corner) to help keep the towel attached to the shirt or sheet backing
That’s it! They keep their shape with the reinforcer back (the sheet or shirt) which also helps absorb and keeps edges from fraying (which would happen if you just cut up an old towel or sheet and did not sew in the seams). In the photos I opted for scrap flannel which is absorbent and pretty. If you have it, go ahead and use whatever cotton scrap fabric you have on hand. While 1/4 yard of fabric is what you might need to make a few, in general, I just use whatever is around. This means I make anywhere between 1 or 10 in a sitting.
Let me know what you think and what has helped you become more self sufficient. I am by no means a seamstresss but have always enjoyed creating, especially on cold, rainy days. Thanks for stopping by.
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