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What do you recycle?

jatman | Posted in General Discussion on

In keeping with all the talk about ‘green’ sewing – I was wondering what other people recycle? 

Hope this isn’t too graphic (!) but this is a question I have because it seems that recently a lot of my bras have had the underwire poke through (or one has come out in the wash) and I’m debating whether I’ll ever use the wires or the adjustable clips on them for anything else if I don’t sew lingerie. 

So, what do you recycle?



  1. katina | | #1

    Interesting question. I wonder if the wires can be used in doll/toy making - for poseable limbs?


    1. damascusannie | | #2

      The underwires I've seen are all too stiff to be very useful for anything that doesn't require a semi-circle. They can't really be bent into any other shape. I just throw the underwires away when they poke through and wear the bras without them. They don't have quite the same support as before, but are fine for wearing around the house, haul in wood or work in the garden.I recycle my husband's old socks into shoe covers. I have lots of shoes and I like to keep them protected when I'm not wearing them.

      1. katina | | #3

        Thanks for the info, Annie. So glad I'm not the only shoe lover in the world!


        1. damascusannie | | #4

          Don't most women love shoes? I know that they are an addiction for the women in my family. You should have seen my face the first time I walked into a DSW!

          1. katina | | #5

            I think we should write an ode to the shoe. If we've sewn our outfit, we're fully justified in buying the perfect shoes to complement it; nothing brightens up an outfit like a snappy shoe; and the best - all mine still fit me, no matter what other bits of me have gone south, spread from west to east or disappeared.


          2. damascusannie | | #6

            I agree--the right shoe can bring a nice outfit right up to a "Wow!" outfit. When my daughter got married last year, I splurged on a pair of micro-suede pumps that look like black velvet. I felt like a movie star in those shoes.

          3. MaryinColorado | | #41

            They sound decadently delicious!!! 

          4. gailete | | #21

            Actually I'm one of the few women that hate shoes. I love going barefoot or with my slippers on if it is chilly. I think it is because I've always been really hard to fit with big feet and so was a miserable experience from about 6th grade on. I wear size 11W and due to 2 artificial knees that make me feel like I'm tipping over when I wear anything with heels, I don't have much options for shoes.

            I also can't comprehend why women wear bras with wires in. I had one once. Once my hubby got it off me on our wedding night I never wore it again. It was the most uncomfortbale thing. I have never thought of saving bit and pieces off older bras though as they are usually pretty worn out when I'm done with them.

            What I love is having people know you sew so they give you their stuff when they quit sewing or crafting. I have never done beading before, but when making a Christmas gift for my DIL I used some beads that had been given to me and had great fun. Something I never would have done if I hadn't had them given to me.

            I recycle fabric scraps into quilts. I's saving thread clippings towards a future machine embroidery project.

          5. jjgg | | #24

            I'm with you on the shoe part. I've had surgery for a mortons neuroma on one foot, so I find buying shoes a horrible chore. It's so difficult to find shoes that are comfortable. Also, as a nurse, I've been on my feet for 12 hr shifts for 30 yrs, and they are just plain 'wore out'. I do a lot of hiking now, so my 'shoe of choice' is a hiking boot. I had to go to a wedding recently and needed some nice shoes for that - they kept bringing out really high heels! I just knew I would kill myself on them. I finally found some with a 1/2 inch heel that worked!

          6. damascusannie | | #25

            I love shoes, especially sexy heels, but have a hard-to-fit foot, very wide with a high instep. I LOVE the flats that are being worn right now. I got a cute pair of ballet flats that I bring along when I wear my heels somewhere. When my feet start to hurt, I switch over to the flats. I have friend that started wearing Birkenstocks when she had to have toe surgery. As a nurse, comfortable shoes were a must for her and now she wears B-stocks EVERYWHERE. She once told me that it is important to cultivate a reputation for eccentricity when you are young, so that no one will think anything of it when you get old. GREAT advice!

          7. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #27

            I have always loved pretty shoes. I think it was a result of having only serviceable shoes as a child of the War. Then after having ruined my feet in high heels with pointy toes when I was young, I now wear Wolky shoes. Most comfortable shoe I've ever had on my feet. They were developed as walking shoes and a tad on the clunky side, but I wore Dr. Martens prior to that, and THAT is clunky. The older I get the more eccentric I become. Love to wear socks with my sandals in the winter. I truly am of the "when I am old, I shall wear purple" genre.....

          8. starzoe | | #29

            I too love shoes, it's a family joke. I had to walk five miles to school for twelve years and of necessity had to wear Buster Brn type lace-up shoes and hated each pair more than the last, no trendy babydolls for me.I spent my first paycheque on shoes, later I spent five years in the military and I hated those shoes too. For dress, we were allowed 1 1/2" pumps though. For five decades I indulged myself in the shoe category, and to some extent still do but now I look for comfy but not clunky flats or low wedges. Luckily I live on the west coast where in winter socks with sandals are almost obligatory!

          9. MaryinColorado | | #42

            Birkenstocks are excellent nursing shoes, I wore them for years.  You can buy new inserts as the shoes themselves take forever to wear out.  Now I like Merrill and Born shoes the best, but am due for a new pair of sexy heels.  Oprah calls them her "sitting down shoes" as she can't walk in many of the ones she wears on tv.  I also take "back up shoes" along when wearing high heels. 

          10. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #26

            My dear DIL is a teacher (currently -- working on her Master's so she can be a principal, and ultimately PhD so she can teach at the college level), and naturally is on her feet a lot. As well, she runs 5 miles a day to keep in shape. Anyway, she has a Morton's Neuroma and is looking at surgery. She has found the Earth shoes to be very comfortable, and that is just about all she wears to school. Speaking of DIL and on this most appropriate thread, she needed a Christmas or holiday themed shirt to wear a few times to school, so she drug out an old red tee shirt of hers, I used some green 3/8" braid I had salvaged off a thrift store dress, stabilized the tee shirt with some wash away, and made a stylized green tree -- you know, just swirled it back and forth to form the tree shape -- put a Swarovski crystal button from my stash as a tree topper and called it done. She was thrilled as it was understated AND she was in a hurry....

          11. Josefly | | #51

            What a great idea for the Christmas tree. Simple, yet elegant.

          12. gailete | | #30

            Ex-nurse here too! Wore out my knees being on my feet so much and then got hit with RA along with the osetoarthritis and at this point I don't care what people think of my shoes. If they don't like it, they can walk a mile with my knees and feet and then go back to their heels.

            I'm making my husband a present of throw pillows for some chairs he recovered last year. Part of his upholstery project involved using some bits of gold lace off a dress I picked up at a thrift store specifically for the lace. One of the pillows will be using the last very large motif. Since it was a 1/2 price thrift store dress, I got the lace for much cheaper that way than if I had bought it outright. The big lace motif Ill be using would probably sell for $10-20 on its own (I think the dress ran me $4) some of the other dresses that I bought at the time have become bits of fancy fabrics for projects and for me a lifetime supply of tulle.

          13. ROSESKES | | #77

            The whole point of each underwire is that it creates some tension under the breast to help hold it up.  This reduces the stress on the shoulders.  When you're a 40DD like I am, your shoulders would be in terrible pain if they had to hold up all that mammary tissue by itself!  I never wear non-underwires for this reason. 

            I'm not talking about push-up bras (no DD-cup needs them); just ordinary bras that have to work very hard to do their job. 

            BTW, I also ameliorate the shoulder strap situation by sewing a piece of quilted fabric under each one whenever I buy a new bra. 

          14. gailete | | #80

            I'm a size 42DD and it is actually more comfortable for me to not wear a bra at all! I usually do, but never one with an underwire. The only discomfort I have is during PMS (when will that ever go away?) when I have breast soreness and then my bra (a Just MY Size) keeps them from 'bouncing'. I must take after my grandma who never wore a bra in her life and had had 15 kids so just imagine how her breasts sagged!

            Sounds like it is very much like fitting clothes. We all have areas that need extra attention, but we don't all have the same areas. I persaonally can not wear turtle necks or anything close to my neck ever since I had thyroid surgery. Even trying something like that on for less than a minute has me clawing at the neck to get it off of me.


          15. MaryinColorado | | #40

            oh yes, my favorite place to shop!  Did you sign up for their online service?  We get coupons based on what we spend in addition to birthday coupons!  DSW rocks!!!

          16. damascusannie | | #46

            The nearest DSW is well over 50 miles away, so I don't get to go often enough to bother with the on-line coupons. My latest shoe purchase was at....whisper....walmart...a pair of really cute clogs that I can wear my wooly winter socks in around the house. Oh, and a new pair of trainers at Shopko.Love Oprah's description of her sexy heels as "sitting down shoes"--that's exactly what mine are, too! Annie in Wisconsin, USA
            ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
            ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
            See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

            Edited 12/4/2008 10:35 pm by damascusannie

          17. MaryinColorado | | #47

            Before I became an RN, I wore at least 4 1/2 inch heels all the time so I would look "average height".  Now they are my "sitting down shoes" too!  (and more likely under 4")

          18. damascusannie | | #48

            It's about all I can do to manage a 2 1/2" heel these days! Anything higher than that and my low back really complains!

          19. MaryinColorado | | #49

            I don't wear them often, usually I'm in high top tennies, clog type Merrils or Born, or my Born boots with 2" heels.  Thank goodness the companies that make the comfortable shoes have branched out the last few years and are making more styles and even some with heels.  I saw a pair of Born clogs with about a 4" heel that I want but they didn't have my size. 

          20. jatman | | #50

            Thank you to everyone who responded!  This week I cannibalized my old bras and now have a stack of underwires and strap adjusters.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with them...yet!



      2. MaryinColorado | | #39

        Excellent tip!  I will do that now as I love my shoes!  Mary

  2. sewfar | | #7

    Speaking of bras, I save the plastic rings and gizmos that come on the bra straps for repairs when they break. The replacement parts sold at the fabric store are never quite right and expensive. Since I usually wear the same brand bra, it also saves me having to make replacements on both straps to keep them matching. I have also used an old strap to make a bra halter or what ever that gadget is that you put on the back straps that is supposed to help keep straps from falling. I like to move the straps over towards the middle but sometimes if it isn't done fast and easy it isn't done at all.

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #8

      I do the same thing.  The rings and slides that you buy are not the same as those on the bras, so I recycle the ones on worn out bras to keep my good ones ship shape.  I sometimes bend the underwires in my bras by accident, so I keep a few good old extras on hand to replace bent or broken ones, but otherwise throw the bad ones out.  I also recycle buttons and the buckles on knapsacks, and the string keepers from jackets.  They are all better than the ones you can buy, and come in more colours.  Belt buckles get saved.  They are often prettier than the ones I get in the store, and are nice for vest backs, even if they do not quite match. 

      I roll all my laces and trims on toilet paper or paper towel tubes.  They unroll nicely from a standing roll holder, and stack nicely in small see through storage containers.  Cathy

      1. Ralphetta | | #9

        Since it's the back part of my bras that wear out, on more than one occasion I've cut the side/back and straps off the bra and inserted the cup unit into a low back sundress, etc. It fits and feels much better than those "new" cups you buy in the notions section.

      2. haqtalab | | #31

        I've thought of recycling old bra underwires, but the problem that typically causes the bras to  need pitching in the first place is that the wires start to poke through and no amount of stitching (that I've found, maybe you can help direct me?) will prevent the wire from coming through when it's already it once!

        1. KharminJ | | #33

          Greetings and Welcome!Have fun ~ lots of good information, and great conversations to be found here!

          Perhaps adding a small piece of "something" sturdy (a double layer of quilting cotton, or a light denim) over the end of the wire but inside the tubing, before you stitch, will keep it in check? Like others have posted, I've usually totaled my bras before they're replaced, so not much recyclable is left - maybe the clasps and strap adjusters.Bright Blessings ~ Kharmin

        2. Gloriasews | | #34

          I've reinforced the hole by sewing a piece of firmer fabric over the hole (on 3 sides, as you can't sew over the wire), after I've restitched the broken threads, if any, on the original covering.  That keeps the wires in for longer than the light-weight fabric they are encased in.  You'll get a lot more wear from the bras with this little mending.


        3. ROSESKES | | #78

          Make a piece of quilted fabric, or maybe fold seam binding about 6 or 8 layers thick, and fold it front-to-back over the bra seam where the wire was poking.  After first, of course, shoving the wire back down and sewing the hole shut!

          1. jatman | | #79

            Hi Everyone,

            I did discover something interesting when I was taking apart my bras.  I had some bras that were quite old and some that were fairly new.  I kept getting rather annoyed because the bras that had the wires pop out most frequently were the newer ones.  In taking them apart I discovered that the old underwires were more wire and material solidly glued together (I could not separate the two) and the new ones had a tube where the wire was inserted and therefore it was able to pop out due to how it was made - almost like planned obsolescence.  All of these bras were from Victoria's Secret and all were the same style just bought over a time period of a few years.  I may have to think twice before buying underwear there again.


  3. Josefly | | #10

    I wear the underwire bras, too, and had saved a wire for who knows what? for ages. Now one wire has broken in an otherwise still-wearable bra, and I've been looking all over for the one I saved, to no avail. So much for recycling that!

    Another thing I think could be recycled somehow are the plastic fasteners that are used on front-fastening bras - the two-part things that slide together vertically, then snap into place. But I can't think what else to use them on.

    I hang onto decorative zipper pulls, buttons of course, the ribbon loops that are sewn into clothes for the purpose of keeping them onto hangers, etc. I've also cut the elastic off of half-slips before discarding them, using the elastic as a giant rubber band around my folding cardboard cutting mat, or holding stacks of patterns together.

    I have a problem throwing things away. My kids will be cussin' me when I'm gone, shaking their heads and wondering why in the world I thought I would ever use THAT again.

    1. starzoe | | #11

      What do I recycle? Everything, if the question refers to the sewing room. And Most Things if for anywhere in the house. I do have a couple of drawers of these found items but for the most part they are organized. I expect I will have the same problem when I am gone!

      1. maggiecoops | | #12

        Starzoe you sound like me, my friends and family ring me first before popping into town to buy things, as Mags is bound to have some/it/them. My daughter knows my habits and every year she sources wonderful cords, ribbons, trinkets to use on the family Christmas presents, so mum can use them after. Besides have you ever noticed how if you discard something, the day after the refuse man has been, you need it.

        1. starzoe | | #14

          This habit of collecting also has another good side - friends offer me items they would otherwise discard, I've had all sorts of interesting and unique things passed on to me.

          1. maggiecoops | | #17

            I've been given some lovely items over the years as they've been deemed to be old fashioned or simply dust collectors. Most I pass on the to the St Vincent de Pauls or local charity shops, but those things given to me as little gifts I keep. I have some really nice hand crochet vanity unit sets. Some cushion lace examples and I did have a fabulous collection of hat pins given to me by an old lady who knew I loved quirky things. They were in a packing case that went missing on one of our moves. My children have let me know they don't want any of my "things" so to please draw up a list of what I want to go where for when I pop my clogs, so I have done just that. It's in the envelope with my will, and I know they will honour it. I'm just sad that they don't "see" all the alternative uses every thing we have has got. Oh well my much admired fruit bowl,(The glas door of an old washing machine) and plate rack (old brass stair rods) will probably go the tip.  It's true what they say, one mans junk is another mans treasure.

        2. Gloriasews | | #15

          How true, Maggie.  I also recycle buttons, fasteners, zippers, decorative appliques, cords, appliques, etc. & have, for years, recycled gift bags & bows.  Some of those gift bags have been going back & forth in the family for 10 years & are still not ratty-looking.

          I sometimes cut out the better, not-so-worn pieces of fabric out of clothes that just must be thrown out, as they are not nice enough for Goodwill, after I've cut off the buttons & removed the zippers.  These pieces are then used in patchwork or trims - or for mending, if the colour matches.  I also cut off the legs of jeans for mending patches or making other items.  I have, years ago, turned the collars & cuffs of shirts for extra wear, but that's more work than I want to do anymore.  I have also used old nylons & pantihose for stuffing in animals & puff-style quilts, & for straining jams/jellies (clean, of course, & not the foot part). 


          1. maggiecoops | | #16

            Maybe it's a generation thing, I was a WW2 baby, and the rationing here meant everyone  had to make do and mend. Folks turned whole garments, ripped back woollens that had worn in areas, the good wool would knit socks and gloves if not a childs jumper. So my early years were spent watching my grandmother and mother being thrifty, the seamstress would conjure up clothing out of curtains, pre war fabric stashes,,and any fabric that was available used up clothing coupons. It wasnt until the 60s that things really started appearing in quantity. Even then though you still exercised thrift,  I married in 63, and used to have to turn my husbands collars on his service shirts. He refused to wear the removable ones with the collar studs. I made a real hash of them as I couldn't sew for toffee, I could lay bricks, wallpaper, fix a leaking washer in a tap and strip paint with a blowtorch. But sew! ME, no ways, my stepfather had neglected that side of my upbringing, he made my brothers learn to knit sew cook and clean.  Things cost so much more then relative to what folks earned. A cheap pair of shoes cost 19s 11d one penny short of a pound, a shop girl earnt £3,7s 6d so a £1 was almost a third of her pay. My DH had a take home pay of £5, our rent was £3.17s. 6d a week leaving us £1, 2s 6d to pay for food, travel expenses, electricity, gas, maybe a night out to the cinema but at 2s each we didnt do it often,and something for the savings. Could I do it now, well with the way things are going looks like I'll have to. But at least I have lots of experience of make do and mend.

          2. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #18

            Maggie, my personal experience leads me to believe you are correct in your assessment. I, too, was a WWII baby. Our parents and grandparents, having just come through the Great Depression, and going directly into a world war that quite possibly was the instrument of ending the Depression, were a hardy and thrifty bunch of necessity. The skills and traits taught us children of the war, are not easily forgotten. My feet grew much more than the two pairs a year rationed to me. Hand-me-downs were a Godsend. I recycle buttons, zippers, trim, fabric, buckles, ad infinitum... I use lightweight cotton tee shirts for pantie fabric. I use leather and suede garments for trim.... bias, button plackets, collars, cuffs, etc. My name is one given me by my DH. My son says he's backing an 18-wheeler up to my shop and everything he can get on it will go to my best friend who is as bad as I. The overflow, which he is sure there'll be, he'll call Salvation Army to come pick up! The love to tease me, but I think they secretly find it charming and eccentric.

          3. Ralphetta | | #19

            I believe there is one more reason that a lot of older people grew up recycling. (By the way, no one I knew ever called it recycling.) I think a contributing factor in my family was that there were no stores open after 5:30 or at all on Sunday. Since no one in my family ever started a project until the very last minute they had to be creative and "recycle" what they could scrounge up around the house because they couldn't run to Walmart at 9pm.

          4. Gloriasews | | #22

            You're so right, Maggie!  We did it then & we can do it again, eh?  And - we may well have to, too!  So, tell us - when & how did you learn to sew?  It's strange that your step-father taught the boys & not you.  Did you not learn from your mother or grandmother?  Of course, we were too young then to learn or to care, I think, as I was a war baby, too.  I paid no attention to cooking, cleaning or sewing until the 1950s.


          5. maggiecoops | | #37

            Gloria, in answer to your question about who taught me to sew, the answer would have to be my DH. He didnt show me but placed me in a position of learn or go naked. We were living in Cyprus, and for my birthday he bought me the Singer TOL machine, the gift was not well received as I had asked for a complete new wardrobe. It never occured to me my new husband couldn't afford a wife who was used to bespoke clothing and hand made shoes. I wasn't a fashion follower so my clothes would last many years making the initial cost inexpensive compared to folks who bought each season from high street stores. So when he placed the machine on the table and told me it was my new wardrobe, I just remembered my needle work teacher's comment, Maggie will never make a needlewoman. Ok I had taken 4 years to make a cookery cap and apron, which resembled a rag by the time I had finished. I wont bore you with the whole story, but lets just say my choice of pattern and fabric was not appropriate for a brand new sewist. Or my attempt to insert a 22" zip resulted in the front and back of the dress being stitched together, or not knowing that women came in different sizes so a UK size 22 was massively oversized for my UK size 12 body. I don't think it touched my body once on it's journey over my head, shoulders hips and then ankles, as I tried to impress my DH with my fabulous dress. It didnt help either when he laughed and I tried to flounce out of the room only to be tripped up  by the huge off the shoulder white collar and navy and white polka dot silk.

             I should say here, during my pregnancy of our first child, I had grown from 116 lbs to 190 lbs and after he was born added an additional 6lbs. I had a complete wardrobe made then suddenly dropped all the weight and returned to 116 lbs, but my clothes were for a 196 lb barrel. I bought one linen dress, and wore that daily for 6 months, washing it each night and drip drying it ready for the next day. With the assistane of my Greek Cypriot neighbour, many hand signals and gales of laughter I eventually learnt to sew.

          6. Gloriasews | | #45

            What a wonderful story, Maggie!  What a time you had in those early years!  It's good for a laugh now, but I'll bet you shed more than a few tears in those days, eh?  I can well imagine your shock & dismay at receiving the sewing machine, especially with your early sewing experiences.  You poor dear!  On the plus side, though, you've come a long way, baby!  What a trip!  Triumph at last!  Thanks so much for sharing your story.


          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            I still turn my sheets.  And make topsheets into bottom sheets when the bottoms wear out.  Cathy

          8. Gloriasews | | #23

            I do that, too, as the top sheets are still in great shape when the bottoms are worn out.  The top sheets don't even seem to fade!  They make nice nightgowns, too, or robes, or shirts, depending upon the colours.


          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #32

            Silly me!  Never thought to use topsheets for my nightgowns!  Esp.  the white ones!  Thanks for the tip.  Cathy

          10. Gloriasews | | #35

            You're welcome.  If you have the heavier old-fashioned flannelette flat sheets with the coloured striped borders at the ends, you can also make a nice kimono robe out of the sheet - just run the stripes down the front of the robe.  If it's not a huge robe, you might have enough fabric for the sleeves with the stripes around the loose cuffs, as well - or sew ribbon or fancy automatic stitches around, if you run out of striped fabric.  You'd need a queen-sized sheet for this.


          11. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #36

            Wonderful Idea!  I usually just turn them into bottom sheets, but I have some pretty edged top sheets that I now cannot wait for the bottoms to wear out, tee hee!  Cathy

          12. Gloriasews | | #44

            Glad you like the idea.  The pretty edges on the sheets you're waiting for could be used either in your nightgowns or robe or a cosy shirt, probably.  Usually, people feel bad when their bottom sheets are toast & they have a good top sheet - not us, eh? :)


          13. Ceeayche | | #62

            Great idea for the sheets!

          14. Gloriasews | | #69

            Thanks!  Now you'll be planning what to make with all your top sheets while you're waiting for the bottoms to wear out, eh?  :)  You can also make ponchos, capes, vests, slippers or jackets out of old blankets - or make new patchwork blankets by using the best parts of the old blankets.


          15. SammyDog | | #73

            Hey, don't be too quick to throw out the worn-out bottom sheets! Keep one (or one per bedroom, color coordinated) and the next time you're spring cleaning, when you turn your mattress use the old bottom sheet to cover your box spring (or do they call them foundations now?)  I use a comforter rather than a bedspread, and that silly shiny blue floral box spring stuck out like a sore thumb if it peeked out, but now it's a lovely burgundy.

            Oooh, I just had a brilliant idea... I have a cheap set of sheets so the top is too short to stay tucked in... I should take a chunk of an old bottom sheet and as they say in gardenland, graft on new rootstock... and end up with a fancy fitted-at-the-foot top sheet. They charge extra for that, y'know.

            They also charge extra for elastic fitted vinyl tablecloths - but I make my own. I was motivated to do this thanks to a dog who would get into the laundry and chew on the 'interesting' regions of socks and underwear. So when he got into some brand new undies, I picked off the elastic and have used it for many projects besides tablecloths. The socks he munched were less useful, altho some of the prettier tops ended up as t-shirts for stuffed animals. Amazing what children learn by associating with us packrats.  Aren't they lucky, though.

          16. Ceeayche | | #74

            Speaking of fitted sheets.  I use the bottom sheets as a base for dust ruffles.  I put them on the box spring.  pin the dust ruffle on upside down about 3 inches in from the edge, stitch, flip the ruffle down and voila! 


            1.  Recycles.

            2.  Less fashion fabric needed (just the ruffle).

            3.  Keeps the dust ruffle stable on the box springs.

          17. Josefly | | #75

            I've done this too, ceeaych, and it works beautifully. The dust ruffles I've bought just seem to slide around under the mattress too much. Even those can be anchored to the fitted sheet, and used as you suggest.

  4. Gloriasews | | #13

    When my wires poke out, I poke them back in & cover them with a piece of bias tape or sometimes heavier same-colour fabric, sewn on the 3 sides - & they'are good to go for another while.  If the bra is completely unsalvageable, use the underwires to make your own bras.


  5. Susan -homedecsewing | | #28

    I recycle the cardboard tubes my fabric comes on. I return most to the fabric store, and they are happy to reuse them . I also have sawed them in half , run a rope thru, tied it to make drapery hangers, or quilt hangers. I also have made stands for my window treatments that I sell, to store the finished project until installation, I liquid nail the tube to a piece of scrap plywood, for the base, say 14" x 20" liquid nail a 1"x4" to the top of tube. when dry I can then clamp my finished board mounted treatment to the stands. These stands would cost upwards of $200.00 each. I have 6 that were free and can be placed in different configurations to help keep all pristine until we get them hung in clients home.  Susan

    1. Josefly | | #52

      What a great idea for the cardboard tubes. They're quite sturdy, and I can never let myself throw them away... Now I'm going to put my thinking cap on...

  6. MaryinColorado | | #38

    That irritates the heck out of me, buy an expensive bra and have that underwire poking out!  I'm going to try covering the underwire with a tightly woven cover and reinserting it under the inadequate knit fabric that cannot contain the underwire.  You'd think they could at least dip them in rubber or something and interface the fabric that covers the underwire.  They spend enough on engineering the "perfect bra".  They could do so much better.


  7. Ocrafty1 | | #43

    I recycle everything!  I was the eldest in a family of 7 kids...the youngest is only 2 yrs older than my eldest daughter. We didn't have much, so we recycled a lot!  I still take lace off of old dresses, button, hooks & eyes, buckles and closures from DH's bibbed overalls...EVERYTHING!  I used 2 of my old velvet formals to make long Christmas dresses for my daughters when they were little.  I purchased plaid taffeta to match the red and royal blue velvet, and made pinafores to go over them.  'The girls' are only 15 mos. 4 days apart and they liked to dress similarly..when they were really little. 

    DH does the same, but he has a whole antique barn (3 stories) to store stuff in.  We've spent many hours pulling nails from boards he's pulled out of the dumpster at jobsites. (He's a journeyman union carpenter.)  All of this recycling saves $$.  I'm sure our kids will find this out as this "recession" gets worse.

    I have boxes of pieces of lace, ribbons, etc. that I look through every time I do a special project.  Last yr. I used lace that I'd had from our family's formals and christening gowns, etc. to add to an heirloom Christening gown that will be handed down in our family.  My neice was the first to wear it...and her new brother will wear it in a few months.

    I know my kids will hate me, but I don't care.  DH's aunt passed several yrs. ago and we had to go through that estate.  It took us over 2 months!  His aunt had inherited her brother's estate, which included his late wife's stuff, as well as the stuff from DH's late uncle.  The first one of the 4 passed in 1966 and nothing had ever been gone through.  These folks had grown up during the depression and kept everything.  My sister-in-law and I laughed for days when we found 2 CASES of the old "sanitary pads"...the kind you wore with a belt.  These ladies were both well past their 60's when they passed.  We couldn't for the life of us figured what they were saving those for!  We found lots of pieces of cardbord cut from cereal boxes, half pieces of paper towels and kleenex, etc.  It was most definitely an adventure and we had a lot of laughs!  That was taking recycling beyond the extreme!

    I took 6 big boxes of greeting cards from that estate. I think its neat to send vintage cards from the 30's and 40's.  They were so cute!  So different from today. And think of the trees I'm saving!

    I'm still gonna keep "recycling".  At least I have things in clear plastic boxes that are labeled and I can find most of what I look for.


    1. Josefly | | #53

      I loved reading your post about going through your husband's aunt's estate. Many chuckles, as I went through the same kind of thing with my mom's stuff, and my kids will hate me, too, for hanging onto so much stuff. My grandson's only 7 and he's already joking about my hoarding.Surely there's some use for those old sanitary napkins? :>)

      Edited 12/6/2008 2:42 pm ET by Josefly

      1. User avater
        JunkQueen | | #54

        Here ya go, Josefly. The ultimate recycling project. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

        1. Josefly | | #55

          Hysterical! I was thinking of stuffing pillows with them or something boring like that. You are QUICK!

          1. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #57

            Josefly, I wish I could take credit for this, but, alas, I cannot. One of my friends had just sent me this along with these instructions:

            How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:

            You need four maxi pads to make a pair.

            Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.

            The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.

            Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.

            Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most

            aesthetically appealing), etc.

            These slippers are:

            * Soft and Hygienic

            * Non-slip grip strips on the soles

            * Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh

            * No more bending over to mop up spills

            * Disposable and biodegradable

            * Environmentally safe

            * Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the

            Sand Bags.

          2. MaryinColorado | | #58

            You know, those would make a "fun" baby shower gift!  Something "special" just for mommy! 

          3. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #59

            Absolutely!!! Fantastic idea. Can hardly wait for the opportunity to do it....

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #61

            This is hilarious!  I love people with this sort of warped sense of humor!  Cathy

          5. Ceeayche | | #63

            The sanitary napkin shows are hilarious! 

            I remember when we were in college going to a pledge activity, they had us slip maxi-pads in stockings and then used them to blind fold us.  It was more confortable and very effective.

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #64

            Ahhhaaahhhahhah!  Never would have thought of that!  That is another good one for Baby Showers!  Cathy

          7. cafms | | #65

            They also made great torches for ceremonies at night at Girl Scout camp.  Wraped around a stick and soaked with some Coleman fuel they would stay lit till you got to the campfire and then light it.  We just didn't tell the little girls what it was so we didn't have to explain other things too.

          8. Josefly | | #66

            Those slippers are still making me laugh. Thank you for passing that on.

          9. Ocrafty1 | | #72

            OMG!  I laughed til I cried...couldn't wait to send it to my sister-in-law!  That was absolutely TOOOO funny!

            Thanks for the belly laugh!!!!!


        2. starzoe | | #56

          I have another use. When I was in the military, these things were supplied and came in by the gross. We used to use them to polish floors. Work pretty well on polishing shoes too!

        3. gailete | | #71

          Thank you SO much for the laugh!



      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #60

        I keep a supply of those in my emergency kits.  They are wonderful for wadding and for big bleeds.  They also sop up messes in a hurry, like when a toilet overflows!  tee hee, (that one was by accident, but hey....)   and you can also use them to pack delicate glassware!   Cathy

        1. Josefly | | #67

          Good ideas. I almost wish I still had some - no, not really.

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #70

            Tee hee, I hear ya honey!  Cathy

  8. Teaf5 | | #68

    I save old buttons, zippers, fasteners, and straps, not only from lingerie but also from backpacks, outerwear, and outdoor gear, like bike helmet straps with those nifty fasteners on them.  I also save embellishments, ribbon bows, shoelaces, and scraps of lace. 

    I keep like items in zipperlock plastic bags so that I can find them when I need them, which is surprisingly often.  A recycled bike helmet strap has about two yards of great 1" strap plus two sliding length adjusters and a snug snap buckle that will perfectly outfit a custom-made tote. 

    The shoe strings come in handy as drawstring ties, chair cushion ties, and sleeping bag bands, and I keep a couple extra in my backpack to secure extras to my pack or to hold the umbrella onto the stadium seat or tie up an athlete's long hair at halftime. I've even loaned extra shoe strings to colleagues whose belts were broken or whose shoelaces snapped at lunch time.

    As a child of Depression-era parents, I recognize the value of recycling, but as one who has had to clear out two households of parents' "collections," I'm also very careful about accumulating too much stuff!

  9. ROSESKES | | #76

    I save the underwires because sometimes one will break inside its casing in a bra.  Then I take out the broken one and put in a good one!

    By the way, if all an underwire has done is "poke thru," simply push it back down and sew the hole shut.  Then it's a good idea to sew something over the hole to help it stay shut when the underwire presses again.  WAY cheaper than buying a new bra!

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