What is upcycling? Upcycling is also known as creative re-use of things. You can just re-use them as they are for another purpose or you can transform them into a new useful item. I like to upcycle because it saves money, is fun and has the added benefit of not adding to the landfill! So, this week, I’ll talk about upcycling items to use in the sewing room and also some items that can be used in the sewing room that weren’t necessarily designed for it. Let’s get to it!
The first item I “rescued” was this old coffee mug holder. Since all our mugs are in a cabinet, I decided to use this one for my sewing room. I use it to hang my scissors and rotary cutters. It’s parked at the corner of my cutting mat so I can reach these supplies quickly.
Next up … what did I do with this?
Instead of adding it to my recycling bin, I use it to store my fusible web!
I used to fold my Heat n’ Bond but then I had to deal with pesky fold marks which sometimes caused damage to the glue side of the fusible. Now, I roll it and slip it into the cardboard tube! No more fold marks and it’s easy to slip into a drawer for storage.
Empty prescription bottle? Use it to store bobbins!
I use it just to store a random assortment of bobbins. You can also use a bottle for each color of pre-wound bobbins that you use often for your projects. This keeps them sorted and also helps to keep them from unraveling.
Here’s another unique way to store bobbins… it’s actually pretty funny! If you have some of those old pedicure toe separators lying around, you can use them to store bobbins.
The bobbins fit in the toe spaces and it also serves the purpose of securing the thread so the bobbins don’t unravel. Also, the far right photo shows that these are easily stackable in a drawer by your sewing machine.
This next one is really unique! If you are a golfer, or live with one, you find a lot of golf tees floating around your house. I know I do! You can upcycle these by using them to pair a bobbin with a spool of thread. That way you can keep the spool of thread and the bobbin with the same color thread together.
Unusual Items to Put to Use
Now onto some items that you can purchase at the store to put to work in your sewing room. Obviously these items weren’t manufactured with the sewing room in mind, but I’ve found a spot for them!
Ergonomics is a big thing to consider when you are sewing, especially for long periods of time. Here’s a way to tilt your sewing machine to add to your comfort when sewing.
Yes, that’s a door stop! Grab a pair from your local hardware store to do this:
Since I have done this, it has relieved some back and neck strain since the machine is angled toward me. No more hunching over to see what I am stitching.
Another item that is not made for the sewing room but comes in handy is that roll of blue painter’s tape. I use it to mark the cutting line on my ruler so it’s easy to find my measurement, especially when I am cutting a large amount of strips the same width. And, it leaves no sticky residue on your ruler. You can re-position a piece of tape several times if needed.
Finally, if you are always hunting for those scissors when you are sewing, try making a scissors necklace! You can find the ball chains (left photo) in the craft store, thread them through your scissor handle and there you go. Instant scissor necklace.
So, that’s it for this week. Share with me in the comments below your favorite item that you have upcycled to use in your sewing room. You will be entered into a drawing for my new pattern, Strips & Stars:
The drawing will be on Monday, October 31st. Good luck! **We have a winner! Congrats, Jen W.!**
Toilet paper holder for binding
That’s a good one too. I’ve done that. I wind it around the tube and then secure it with a binder clip.
I do this also, fan folding the binding and slipping it in the cardboard holder.
Great ideas! I too use the door stops to lift the back of my sewing machine. Really helps in the ways you mention.
I use a small metal file folder rack I found at a thrift store to keep my small to medium size rulers in. It holds various shaped rulers well; triangles, rectangles, etc.
Love this new pattern! Beautiful!
I do use many of your recycle ideas, I love the pill bottles for my old sewing machine needles, great way to safely dispose of them.
I had all my Bernina feet and sewing machine supplies in 3 different places, I know this is not a recycle, but am thrilled with it…..found this on Amazon
Cq acrylic Makeup Organizer Skin Care Large Clear Cosmetic Display Cases Stackable Storage Box With 12 Drawers For Vanity,Set of 4
Today it has a 20% off coupon.
I put all my feet and attachments in the drawers. my BSR foot fits in one narrow wide drawer and my walking foot in the other in their factory holders inside their boxes with just a little adjusting of the holders…along with their booklets
The top holds all the handy little things I use with my Bernina and for sewing. I have limited space so this “makeup” organizer was the perfect thing for me
ANN ROBERSON says
I have a basket that has a plastic insert that has about 4 compartments and I store all my different large scissors, shears, and unused rotary cutters in the compartments cause they stand up and are easy to see and grab.
Susan Dangelser says
Hi. Loved all your recycled ideas. I’ve used the door stops under my machine for over 10 yrs now. But I loved the coffee cup holder idea. I’ll be on a lookout to find one. Thanks again.
Eugenia Read says
I love upcycling too! Here’s what you’ll find in my sewing area. I use a wooden coffee mug holder for my scissors. Our prescription bottles hold used sewing machine needles or badly bent pins. Used, dull rotary blades are in an old face cream jar (Avon I think). I bought the golf tees from a thrift store but haven’t been able to put them to use yet in our small apt. (winter is coming and that is when some reorganizing will get done.) My plan is to store threads with bobbins in a shoe box or perhaps in a drawer. I store buttons in an old glass canister jar in a drawer and have sorted them in small zip lock style bags. Not an upcycle, but I love Command hooks. Snippers are kept on the front of the sewing machine and are always handy. Large rulers are hung using Command hooks on the side edge of my sewing table while small 4″ ruler is hung on side of sewing machine.
Wow! All excellent ideas. You sound like a champion upcylcler!
Jen W says
I use a wood silverware caddy for all my tools like scissors, pliers, wire cutters, seam gauge, those sorts of things. I also do papercrafts and it’s funny how some of the tools can crossover! Except of course the fabric scissors!
Yes! Never touch those fabric scissors for anything else!!!
JoAnn Borges says
I have an antique thread cabinet with 2 drawers. It used to house silverware but now I store quilt tools and notions. It’s on the counter right across from my sewing table, very convenient. Much more fun than when it held flatware.