5 Easy Sewing Projects That Don't Involve Sewing Masks
By Sheila Anthony
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, you may have stepped up to the public-service plate, purchased a sewing machine or got your own out of storage, and cranked out dozens of masks. But with many masks now in circulation, not so many are needed anymore. So what do you do if you’ve still got a jones to sew but aren’t quite ready to leap into clothing?
It’s time to transition to fun sewing projects that are not only easy (even easier than masks!) but tap your creative juices and, bonus points, contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. You don’t even have to buy new fabric. Plenty of great fabrics can be found in thrift stores, at garage sales, and right in your own home. (Don’t throw away that wine-stained tablecloth–repurpose it!)
In 2017, Americans spent $5.7 billion on paper towels. And, let’s face it, many were used as napkins, which end up in already crowded landfills. A great way to cut down on household paper use and save money at the same time is to switch to cloth napkins. They look pretty on a table and in a lunch tote, do their job very well, and produce next to no waste. Oh, yes, and they’re very easy to sew. You can also have fun making a different one for each member of your family by picking out fabrics that showcase their favorite food, sport, hobby, animal—the sky’s the limit.
Now that you’re committed to making napkins, why not create placemats? They’re typically in a slightly heavier fabric so they hold up to the weight of plates and silverware. They’re also practical as they protect tables from glass rings and food spills. And just like napkins, you can get creative with fabric choices.
Reduce plastic use by sewing up some sturdy totes to carry your groceries in. Heavyweight denim, upholstery fabric scraps, and canvas are all great for making long-lasting totes. You can even piece one together using an old pair of jeans.
Lightweight produce bags are also a cinch to make. Sheer curtains or leftover netting can easily be repurposed, and both can be found in your own home, in thrift stores, and at garage sales.
Given how much more time we’re spending in the kitchen these days, who couldn’t use an apron? And there are so many great apron sewing patterns online. From old-time vintage to barbecue-style to barista, a fun, practical apron is only a few quick seams away. Just select a medium weight fabric (like cotton or linen) that can be tossed into a washing machine and dryer, and you’re good to go. Of course, if you want to make a party-style apron that’s more for show than use, fancy sheers with a little sparkle are a great option.
Reusable gift bags
Americans spend more than $7 billion annually on wrapping paper. And while wrapping paper is very pretty, only a small fraction of it makes its way into recycled paper. And most recyclers won’t take foil and plastic gift wrap at all.
So why not sew festive, reusable gift bags for all the napkins, placemats, grocery totes, and aprons you’ve just made? There are always birthdays, and the holiday season is just around the corner. And like all the other sewing projects, you can get creative with fabric choices.
Another great thing about making gift bags is that they can be endlessly reused. If you think about it, you’re giving two gifts instead of one. Also, they can be washed, ironed, and neatly put away for when you need them. They’re so much easier to store than wrapping paper and ribbons.
To optimize your new-found sewing mojo, create a cozy space for yourself, complete with easy-to-reach hydration. The Brio 520 No-Line Cooler offers pure, great-tasting water with its 2-stage filtration, plus the no-line design means it doesn’t need a water line. You can put the cooler anywhere, like in your new sewing space. It also dispenses water in your choice of three different temperatures—hot, cold, and room temperature—has a self-cleaning function that operates with the touch of a button, and lets you know when your bottle needs a refill. And the bottom-load design means you can just slide the bottle right in. No heavy lifting required.
Now that the sewing bug has hit, have fun creating all sorts of things that make your home cozier, prettier, and more sustainable.