While cities such as San Francisco have already banned plastic shopping bags, most places still use them. No matter how careful we are to always use our cloth shopping bags, we still amass an impressive collection of plastic bags. There is a simple technique that will allow you to make clothes out of recycled plastic bags. Not only will you get a one-of-a-kind item, you will also be helping the environment.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Plastic shopping bags
- Ironing board
- Parchment paper
- Sewing machine and thread
- Clothing pattern
Cut off the bottom seam of the plastic bags and the handles. Turn the bags inside out so the ink doesn't stick to your iron.
Place a sheet of the parchment paper on your ironing board and layer at least 4 bags on top of one another. If you are going to need a large piece of fabric, make 2 stacks of bags and overlap 2 inches of the edges together, sandwiching them between layers. Lay another sheet of parchment paper on top of this.
Turn your iron on to medium heat. Iron the bags, making sure to keep the iron moving at all times. Pay special attention to the edges. Iron for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Keeping the bags between the parchment, flip them over. Iron for another 30 to 60 seconds. Continue flipping and ironing until the bags are fused.
Allow the plastic to cool. Lay your pattern piece over the plastic bags and cut around it. When you pin the pieces of plastic together, pin on the seam allowance to avoid holes in your finished clothing.
On your sewing machine, stitch the plastic fabric together with double seams following your pattern's instructions.
Tips and warnings
- Layer clear plastic bags over a bag that has a design you want to show on your finished clothing.
- Save the handles of the bags and make extra-strength fused pieces to use to make jewellery or headbands.
- Do not iron directly on the ink printed on the bags.
- Iron plastic in a well-ventilated area.
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