Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White
I’m so excited that crafter Betz White is stopping by CRAFT today as a part of her blog tour for her new book, Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials published by STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books. I’ve been a long time fan of her creative work and her new book just makes you want to spend all Spring and Summer crafting! All the projects in the book are beautiful and emphasize sustainability from the aprons constructed from men’s dress shirts to the reusable sandwich wrap project. You’ll love crafting these beauties and will feel great that you are doing your part by crafting green.
And guess what dear readers? We’ve got a book giveaway for you! Two lucky CRAFT readers are going to win a copy of Sewing Green! Just leave a comment in this post letting us know why you want this book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, April 9th at 11am (PST). The winners will be announced here on CRAFT on Friday. Good luck!
We also have a special treat for you to get crafting right away with a project from Sewing Green! Download the PDF for the Nature Produce Bags. Stop using those plastic produce bags in the grocery store and sew up these eco-friendly reusable bags to shop for your fruits and veggies. What a great idea!
But wait, there’s more! Click for my Q&A with Betz White after the jump.
I got to meet Betz in person last year at CHA. She was promoting her first book, Warm Fuzzies at the time and was doing a few demos at her publisher’s booth. Since then, Betz has also graced the cover of CRAFT: 09, our green issue that came out last Winter. I got a chance to catch up with the busy gal and ask her a few questions on her new book and her crafty life and family.
Natalie: Tell us about your new book Sewing Green. What was the inspiration for writing this book?
Betz: When I was designing projects for my first book, Warm Fuzzies, I spent a lot of time scouring thrift stores for wool sweaters to felt. I couldn’t help but notice so many other “repurposing” opportunities. From sheets and pillow cases to jeans and jackets to table cloths and tea towels, the options for reuse are never-ending. I started to consider the environmental impact of so much stuff in the world, all seemingly destined for the landfill. I decided that I wanted to write another sewing book with an environmental angle. I hope my book helps raise awareness and nudges people to think about their choices, whether it’s reusing something that already exists, or by “voting” with their dollars when purchasing materials that are eco-friendly.
Natalie: Most of your projects are made from felted thrift store sweaters. How do you find such great pieces in a thrift store?
Betz: Actually, most of the projects in Sewing Green are NOT made from thrift store sweaters! While fans of my felted designs will be happy to see 6 of the projects utilizing second hand sweaters, the other 19 projects are made from Tyvek envelopes, vintage linens, organic cotton, second hand dress shirts, etc. As far as finding ideal items to repurpose, it takes practice! By making frequent visits to your local thrift store, you can get a feel for what days might have special markdowns, how often they get new stock, etc.
Natalie: You are great at refashioning clothes, especially for your boys. I loved your tutorial on lengthening their t-shirts. While refashioning, what do you look for in clothing that makes it good “refashioning” material?
Betz: For the most part, the fabric needs to be of good quality and intact, meaning no holes, pills, or worn spots. Collars and cuffs are often the worst! A favorite graphic can be cut out of a hole-y T-shirt and sewn to the front of a plain shirt. Better yet, applique it over a stain on another garment. One of my favorite things to reuse is all of the great pockets from outgrown cargo pants. The pockets can be cut off and sewn into bags for storing life’s little treasures. I’d love to write a third book on refashioning for kids! They go through clothing so fast, it’s a definite challenge.
Natalie: What’s a sewing or felting tip you’ve learned over the years that you like to share?
Betz: When felting a wool sweater in the washer, I suggest cutting the sleeves off first and opening up the underarm seam with scissors. This will help the sleeve felt more evenly and resist getting a permanent ridge down the center of the sleeve.
Natalie: As a crafty mom, how do you balance your crafty work and family life? What kinds of craft projects do you like to do with your kids?
Betz: I’m lucky enough to have my own studio space and I consider it an “open studio” in regards to the rest of the family. There is plenty of room and work surfaces for the kids to come in to draw and create while I’m working. Often times I get their opinions on new projects, and believe me, kids are honest. It can be a humbling experience! Projects that we enjoy doing together include making cards and soft toys as gifts. My kids also love making what they call Game Boys out of my empty plastic pin boxes. Best part? No batteries!
Thanks Betz for taking a visit to CRAFT today!
Join Betz tomorrow as she takes a visit with our friend Kayte at This is Love Forever and don’t forget to check out the rest of her stops of her Sewing Green blog tour.
Pick up a back issue of CRAFT: 09 in the Maker Shed where Betz shows you how to fuse plastic bags to make a hat and tote bag.