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Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials Spiral-bound – 26 Apr 2012

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Product Description


‘If the title isn’t alluring enough than the faded cover image of a vintage singer on an old wooden trolley should do the trick…Hello beautiful book.’   (, 27th June 2012)

From the Back Cover

28 projects seamlessly merge stitching, sustainability, and resourcefulness with simple, clean design Advancements in technology have increased the pace of our lives. As a response, a vibrant do–it–yourself movement has risen to reclaim age–old traditions that reconnect us to slower and simpler times. Award–winning blogger Maya Donenfeld offers a guide to working with her favorite recycled materials. You′ll find linen, burlap, wool, and more with details on their history, deconstruction techniques, sewing tips, and information about their environmental impact. Reinventing everyday materials into remarkable items of beauty and utility for the modern home and family will excite new and experienced sewers alike. In this one–of–a–kind book, Maya also shares easy methods for transforming gently used fabric with paint and ink. Inside you′ll find stenciling templates, clear patterns, and thorough instructions, as well as encouragement to invent your own designs. Stories, a favorite recipe, and a nature activity are tucked between and around the projects to offer you an invitation to slow down, be mindful of your surroundings, and create with intention.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 21 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars directions confusing 25 Jun. 2012
By SB - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I consider myself to be a very experienced sewer and I wholeheartedly agree with the previous 5 star reviews. This is a stunning and inspiring book. I really enjoyed the author's personal recollections. I too would have given it 5 stars until I made the sling bag. I found the directions for measurements and layout confusing. The author provides a template, however, only a partial one. I had to add pieces to the lengths I cut.... so frustrating! I still can't figure out where I went wrong because I had to piece together extra fabric to make my bag long enough to wear as a side sling! I do like the projects in this book and I will definitely be making more, however, I will read and re-read the directions before embarking on the next project. I've learned that the best reviews are by folks that have actually made projects from a book and not just looked at it!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been more comprehensive, with more fabrics 27 Aug. 2012
By On the Path - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
I liked this book, but I would have liked more of it. The fabrics she chooses to "rescue" are things I don't normally work with, such as burlap, linen, wool, and tyvek (the stuff that Priority Mail envelopes are made from). She provided only a few projects per fabric, and some of these projects you'd find in any beginner/intermediate sewing book. ( we really need instructions to make triangular kids banners? I've seen this one way too many times.)

I would have liked more ideas for really common fabrics that often get thrown out, like tablecloths, bedsheets and old clothing. Tyvek is an interesting material to cover, and I wouldn't mind seeing more cool projects with it, but it shouldn't replace really basic fabrics.

While some reviewers obviously liked her personal stories, I would have preferred fewer pages of her intimate musings and more actual sewing tips and techniques. This is a good idea for a book, and it'd be great to see her do more in a second book. But next time, I hope she provides better projects, more fabrics, and less personal chit-chat.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful! 15 May 2012
By Nan - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This is a stunning book! Well written and beautifully photographed, it's premise is simple: rescue every day textiles that are bound for the landfill and reinvent them as functional objects of style and simplicity for your home or personal use. Maya (of the award winning blog maya*made) has thoughtfully organized the book by seven designated materials and four corresponding projects for each material (a total of twenty eight!). Her instructions are well thought out and easy to follow with simple illustrations, inspiring a range of sewers from the beginner to the more experienced. Woven into the book are well researched and interesting facts about the history of each material and its environmental impact, sourcing, deconstruction and sewing tips as well as lovely, personal stories of spirit and serendipity that reveal the deep connection between the textile and what it wants to become. Sustainable sewers will feel like magicians as they transform old pairs of jeans into a hammock, a burlap coffee sack into a log carrier or a woolen blanket into a pouf!
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and stylish projects using re-claimed fabrics 30 April 2012
By Shala Kerrigan - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
Reinvention : Sewing with Recycled Materials by Maya Donenfeld is a collection of sewing projects that use thrifted and otherwise scavenged materials and turning them into something new.
If you love sewing, and recycled projects, this is a wonderful book. The author writes engagingly about her experiences and life, and gives tips for finding the materials for the projects. The techniques include patchwork, stamping and printing. The sewing is all fairly simple, no fancy or fussy seam techniques or anything like that.

The chapters are separated by fabric type. Each chapter explains the fabric, a bit about the history, how to take care of it, and where the best places are to find it. She also explains the environmental impact of re-using that particular fabric. The chapters have a few projects each and there is good variety between home decorating projects, clothing, and accessories.

Linen- my favorite projects in this chapter are the Story Scarf ,which is a fashion scarf made in patchwork, and the big handy, Reversible Summer Sling purse. My daughter is wild for the Story Scarf, and the Envelope Portfolio which can be customized easily using fabric paint and stencils.

Burlap- I get burlap bags every few months from one of the local coffee roasters. We use them for all sorts of things, and this chapter inspires more uses. The Onion and Garlic Sacks are my favorite. My daughter likes the Inspiration Board project.

Jersey (tee shirt cotton knit)- My daughter likes the Pillow Pals. My favorite project is a toss up between the simple hand sewn Blossom Band with it's two type of flowers, and the Little Forager Skirt. The reason I love the skirt so much is that even now, it's ideal for my daughter. She's always been a forager, with a sharp eye for anything from washers on a street to use in projects to pretty rocks when we are out on hikes in the summer.

Wool - blankets, suits and coats deconstructed to take advantage of the wonderful properties of wool. Great projects in this section. It's my favorite chapter in the book. The Poufs can be filled with scraps from other sewing projects, the insulated lunch bag is something you could use every day, and the Toadstool Cottage is a whimsical alternative to dollhouses.

Denim- My favorite project is the Double Duty Oven Mitt , simple seams, and it's a great housewarming gift. I also love the roomy Indi-Go Bag for shopping. My daughter's favorite is the hammock project.

Mailers, which uses Tyvek envelopes, is my daughter's favorite chapter. She's been a fan of re-using these for years, and is always really happy when I get mail in them. The insides are canvases ready to be colored, and they can be sewn, glued and taped. I like the Notebook project best as a way to make small memory books. Her favorite is the Banner project.

Vintage uses all sorts of vintage textiles, bed sheets, aprons, kitchen towels and table cloths are all used in this chapter. my favorite project is the Traveling Hamper, my daughter loves the Summer Bolster.

Spiral bound with a hard outer cover and gorgeously photographed, this is a lovely and inspirational collection of things to make using recycled fabrics.
[I received a complimentary copy of the book to review on my craft blog- Don't Eat the Paste. My reviews are always my honest opinion]
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but uninspired.... 2 July 2012
By Bubbles - Published on
Format: Spiral-bound
Beautiful book! I loved the idea of it and was really excited to get my hands on it. However, upon reading it...the patterns are not anything I had not seen before. I did like the instructions on how to deconstruct items to be reused. If new to the sewing scene or repurposing materials, this is a great book for you. Otherwise, you may have already seen it...worth a perusal.
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