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Did you know that each year over 500 billion plastic bags are thrown away by consumers worldwide? And that it can take up to 1,000 years for those plastic bags to biodegrade? Kristin St. Clair, one of the crafty minds at The Martha Stewart Show, came up with a great way to replace those troublesome plastic options and get a new life out of some old tee shirts hanging around your closet.

Check out how Kristin and Martha use a couple of heavy-weight cotton shirts and a SINGER® Confidence™ sewing machine to make cute (and reusable!) tote bags perfect for everything from carting groceries to shopping with friends. Check out our own version of the reusable tote with the Charlie Bag free pattern download!

Now that you’ve watched Martha work her magic, let us know what your favorite upcycling project is for a chance to win a SINGER® 7467S Confidence Stylist! You have until 9AM EST on Monday, January 31st to get those comments in and our winners will be announced on February 1st! Stay tuned for next week’s video and more awesome prizes from SINGER®!

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Tune-in to The Martha Stewart Show, airing weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT on Hallmark Channel.

SINGER, the Cameo “S” Design, MODEL NAME, SEWING MADE EASY and SINGER IS SEWING MADE EASY are exclusive trademarks of The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. ©2011 The Singer Company Limited S.à r.l. or its Affiliates. All rights reserved.

768 Comments

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    Jan 18, 2011, 06.49 PMby teamydear

    I like refashioning old t-shirt into just about everything! Bags, nicer tops, wipes, laptop sleeves… Old sweaters are so nice too, you can make the nicest blankets out of them :)

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    Jan 18, 2011, 06.22 PMby Sarah Holbach

    i love taking long vintage dresses, chopping and hemming them into short summer dresses, and using the remnants to make quick skirts. two for the price of one!!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 04.52 PMby amytester

    what is upcycling all about?Well, its joy found in simple things!Satisfaction that you’ve spent little money, satisfaction you’ve got something original, satisfaction that you may have a made a present for someone, satisfaction that you’ve put good use to valuable time, satisfaction that you’ve done even a tiny bit to help save our planet, and last of all the simple satisfaction that comes from enjoying your passion!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 03.53 PMby francesca penchant

    My favorite upcycling project that I’ve done was sewing together all my unfinished knitting projects to make a blanket. I collected all my half-knitted wool projects, washed them in hot water to felt them, cut them into flat pieces, and then sewed the pieces together by hand. I call it my Frankenstein blanket! It is so warm and cozy.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 03.17 PMby shivafire268

    old t-shirts into blankets and pillows!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 02.08 PMby Verity Dolan

    Triangle bikinis. You can never have too many.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 10.28 AMby koh

    I fear I’m rather plain in my upcycling endeavours – mainly just alterations to opshop finds and using old jeans material for wallets etc.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 09.34 AMby Natasha Venzke

    I love making bags for men from my dad’s old pants. My favourite thing is to use the pant pockets for easy detailing.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 06.16 AMby univacgrl

    I love to cut up plastic shopping bags to make plastic “yarn” and make shopping bags out of them.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 03.48 AMby grifalyssa

    ok! nifty upcyling addition for the t-shirt bag I use and LOVE is to take the sleeve that you just cut off and sew the raw seams together then attatch it to the inside of the bottom seam on the bag. This allows you to fold the WHOLE t-shirt bag into the little sleeve and store it more compactly! I will post a video and set up a project tomorrow and repost a comment bc I feel like the world needs to see this!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 03.37 AMby kraft4fun

    My favorite upcycling project is using old shrunken sweaters and making cell phone cozy or change purse.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 02.36 AMby michpitts

    I love reusing old and stained favorites to make new things. Old tee logos are great for bags, blankets, pillows, patches, or other shirts!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 01.40 AMby swoodsonsays

    I love old sweaters into scarves!

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    Jan 18, 2011, 12.49 AMby moon0014

    Everyone always gives me thier old handbags, there’s lots of life left in those snaps, zippers and hardware. I use them for all sorts of things, including homemade bags. Also I LOVE 50 cent clothing day at the thrift store…I make dog bandanas from them. My pooch is well dressed and so are all of her friends! Woof.

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    Jan 18, 2011, 12.40 AMby carriesellers

    This is so cute! I love how easy it is. Who doesn’t love a 5 minute project?!?!

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    Jan 17, 2011, 11.22 PMby visualcircus

    I took an old t-shirt which was handed out to me during college, and used the part with the design to line a shopping bag.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 10.58 PMby diane-s

    I recycle jeans into bags, pincushions, etc. I also use older fabric on my scrapbooking projects!

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    Jan 17, 2011, 10.41 PMby assamthee

    i use old curtains to make bags, skirts, cushion covers… but my favorite upcycling is finding a second hand dress, altering it to fit me, revamping it and wear it like the brand-new original that it is.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 10.07 PMby RA Ross

    my favorite upcycled project is to take an old boring t-shirt and use elastic thread around the neck, arm holes, and waist to make a cute peasant-style shirt.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 10.06 PMby bennabear

    I like to turn my old jeans that got holes and tears in the knees or thighs and make them into shorts for the summer time! It’s great because I usually can’t find good fitting shorts that are comfortable enough so this is a perfect way to get good fitting shorts :)

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    Jan 17, 2011, 09.46 PMby Natalia *

    I just love finding old clothes with funky prints or patterns at the thrift store and turning them into something wearable in this day and age. I’ve never been adventurous enough to try making bags from old clothes.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 09.16 PMby kitka

    I like takeing sweaters and making the arms into leg warmers. Especially the bigger ones because they make thicker leg warmers.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 09.12 PMby Ana Neves

    I make pen cases with old jeans, cute small tops out of big tshirts with some cute patterns, toys (like teddy bears) out of small bits of textil.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 08.31 PMby cooi

    I love reusing fabric or bodice pieces form old clothing to make something completely new!

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    Jan 17, 2011, 08.13 PMby crzymom

    My daughters and I hav been saving fabric and batting scraps to use as stuffing for stuffed animals for the younger children.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 07.44 PMby elisabetsy

    So far I’ve enjoyed making shorter skirts out of long ones that I out grew. Many upcycling project ahead for me as I’ve tended to keep things that don’t fit over the years if I like the fabric. Also, I like the idea of crocheting a rug out of strips of old/worn-out garments.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 07.03 PMby jsanga

    I use my scraps as stuffing haha Or taking old shirts and sewing them together and making a whole new shirt

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    Jan 17, 2011, 06.48 PMby ellohdesign

    My favorite has been getting huge old skirts and sheets with really wacky 90’s/80’s patterns from the thrift store two blocks away and creating cute skirts and tops with them. I recently bought a wonderful mustard-colored twin sheet to make a Marie skirt with.

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    Jan 17, 2011, 05.33 PMby darksapphire08

    This is brilliant; I have so many t shirts lying around that I will probably never wear again. However, my favourite upcycle was definitely using a pair of old pyjama bottoms as the stripy lining to a shoulder bag, because it looked fabulous and they already had a pocket sewn in!

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    Jan 17, 2011, 07.47 AMby rhonda

    There are some terrific fabrics available at op shops- to use for shopping bags, decorations on garments, kids clothes and cushion covers. Great ideas here on this blog thanks

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