When our roommate was living with us, he purchased a hammock for outdoors and these two awkward pieces of fabric came in the package. They were padded and seemed like they would do well out in the sun and weather conditions. I’ve been hoarding them. Is it weird that he knew to come to me before he threw anything away?
Fabric is such a delightful packing material though because it breaks down quicker than plastic… paper is also great (like the scrunched up cardboard paper they often use).. generally you can compost it, but both cardboard paper and fabric packaging materials can also be upcycled. In an ideal world, reuse is the best way to “dispose” of an item… composting being second… recycling being third… and garbage being last. I use the paper packaging to wrap presents and let my kids decorate the “wrapping paper.”
I knew I had the perfect project for this fabric, but they’ve been sitting in my sewing area for two years. When I was organizing my sewing area, I found all these potential projects so I’ve been whipping stuff up left and right. It’ll be nice to catch up on blog posts for the next year… ha.
The project I’ve been wanting to tackle most is a dog bed for my cocker spaniel, Tyson. My husband has gotten reallllllly fussy about our dog being on the couches or beds. And technically, I’m allergic to dogs so I should be too. Tyson is pretty good about staying on a dog bed if he has one so we’ve been trying to add dog beds around the house.
Outdoors is a problem though. Once he uses the bathroom, he likes to stay by the door and watch forlornly until we let him in. In the summer when there’s no snow on them, he hops into the chairs for our outdoor dining set. DRIVES ME NUTS. We get dog hair all over them and they’re really not that convenient to wash. I decided the perfect solution was an outdoor dog bed next to the door. If it’s closer to the door, he WILL use it.
To make this, I took the two pieces of fabric which were both long strips, and sewed them together length wise.
Then I folded it right sides together so it formed a square. I sewed up two of the sides, leaving one open.
I had an old pad that I upcycled from the rocking chair that I reupholstered. Because I replaced the padding, but kept the old stuff with this project in mind. You know… in 2013. Never mind that it’s now 2015 and I still had it chilling out on the floor. But just think- my sewing area floor is even cleaner now.
Because this is going outside, I decided to wrap the padding in a couple of plastic bags. In retrospect, using a fabric that would repel water but be okay to wash would be a better idea. I am going to have to remember not to wash on hot and just keep it on cold if I decide to wash it.
I stuffed the padding inside the cover, then hand sewed the last side closed. The fabric was too thick on some edges for me to machine stitch.
And it’s done! Very fast project, especially as I definitely wasn’t as particular about how it looked. If the dog will be using it outdoors, I didn’t feel the need to make everything perfect. And now we have a new dog bed that should be “outdoor friendly,” environmentally friendly (well the plastic bags aren’t), free, easy, and not too bad looking either.
This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to evaluate what we throw in the garbage for its potential before tossing it!
What have you upcycled that you would have normally thrown out?
Danielle Pientka is the sewing and DIY blogger behind DIYDanielle.com. She taught herself to sew in 2011 when she wanted to make cloth diapers for her first son. She’s been sewing everything from ecofriendly items to kids products to clothing since, as it has become a passion. She loves learning how to do new things and teaching others in the process. She hopes to inspire other moms to take time for themselves to find their own creative passion.
Danielle lives in Maryland with her three young sons and her husband, Brandon. In her spare time, she gardens, reads, horseback rides, and has a small homestead with goats and ducks. Visit her shop to buy patterns or her sewing eBooks. Subscribe to her newsletter to get blog updates, free patterns and other printables by clicking here.