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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®!


SINGER® is sewing made easy™. To learn more about SINGER sewing machines and SINGER retailers, click here!

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.


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    Jan 26, 2011, 04.37 AMby susieq3123

    I love to take old jeans that are worn in places, cut them into squares & sew them together to create a qult effect look for covers on throw pillows & larger pillows for the grandkids to sit on while watching TV. The material created is so tough, they last a long time!

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    Jan 26, 2011, 04.36 AMby fosteretalk

    My next upcycling will be to turn a large table cloth into a small table cloth, thus eliminating a stain. I will get four napkins and a table cloth for the kitchen instead of the dining room.

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    Jan 26, 2011, 03.45 AMby nadinewoods

    Lots of great ideas here! I make t-shirts into fun underwear. Old towels make great baby bibs and pads for my Clorox Ready Mop. The feet of old tights make great covers for serger thread.

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    Jan 26, 2011, 02.50 AMby tru

    I save old blankets, sheets, towels and stack 4 layers with a nice cover fabric and made doggie beds for the cages in my groomers work area. I made them allowing 4" around 2 sides open for droppings. They are very machine washable. Using 2 layers makes a good lap pad when traveling with a small pet on your lap. Tru

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    Jan 26, 2011, 12.57 AMby susansvelvetmonkey

    My up-cycling projects are scarves out fulled wool sweaters, sweater knits of various fabric content, and the knits like the t-shirts. I mix and match the fabrics with colorful cotton prints from dresses, shirts and skirts. I always get comments on the textures and colors.

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    Jan 26, 2011, 12.48 AMby ciaoterra

    I hate throwing out any usable fabric so I try to make quilted pictures from old clothing. Recently my upcycling has had more to do with planting, than with sewing, etc. I’ve been potting all my plants in empty, label-free aluminum cans. I saw rows of cacti planted like this on a recent trip to Texas and now I can’t get enough of the look. Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 11.41 PMby karebear23

    I love to upcycle old sweaters into diaper covers for babies. Also my husbands old dress shirts into dresses for my little girl…or a top for me!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 10.11 PMby ella-grace

    I like making breezy halter tops out of large dress shirts, especially silk ones from the thrift store. I cut off the arms, the upper back, and add some darts or gathers, and finish the seams.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 09.58 PMby Heather Stewart

    I love upcycling clothing into rag rugs, but this t-shirt bag might be a new favorite!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 09.36 PMby misschristiana

    I like making a fused plastic material out of old grocery bags and sewing them into fun creations.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 09.31 PMby wkc

    I have been wanting to make a skirt out of an old pair of pants. Not done it yet. My favorite, completed upcycle was adding tuxedo stripes to an old red silk evening gown. Instead of getting rid of it, I have a new, awesome outfit. Some old skirts and an old mens shirts are also in hte hopper for upcycling.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 09.03 PMby senstrings

    My favorite “upcycling” project is to take clean old cast off clothing, material, sheets and blankets and make “ugly quilt” sleeping bags to be given to the homeless.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 09.00 PMby whyleycat

    I’m going to make these in all sizes one for me and one for my Mini me, my daughter esme. They’re fab and I’m loving these videos!!!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.59 PMby Suellen Tomkins

    I like to take bits of old lace or other fabric embellishments and add them to a plain Tshirt for an interesting feature.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.52 PMby embelished

    I think my favorite so far has been making quilts out of my kids outgrown clothes. It reminds me of when they were younger and keeps me warm too!

    Hooray for giveaways!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.50 PMby funsree

    I cut squares of old shirts and make them into dishcloths or wipe rags around the home. I have stopped using paper towels. Sometimes use the squares and joing them to line my blankets.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.36 PMby honestnicewoman

    My most memorable upscale project was when I used the bottom legs of jeans to make western vest for my three children. I used fabric paint an iron on appliqués to embellish. The were worn for several years and everyone wanted to know where I purchased them!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.20 PMby tario

    could not be simpler!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.08 PMby dorothyhall

    I like making pants for my two little boys out of old sweaters. They sew up quick and easy, and they keep their legs warm through the winter…

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    Jan 25, 2011, 07.36 PMby pojeda

    I use old t-shirts to make quilts for the family. I also take their worn out jeans and make rag quilts with them.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 06.09 PMby rifka

    My favorite upcycled projects are made using old wool and cashmere sweaters. I’ve made all sorts of things with them including head kerchiefs with felted flowers, arm warmers, and hats.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 04.21 PMby Pat Bleeker

    This is so great that young woman are getting back to basics and learning to sew. My four grown sons know how to sew s well as my daughter. I have been teaching my daughter in law to sew as well. The other daughter in laws sews very well. Thanks for all the fun stuff you do. Pat

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    Jan 25, 2011, 03.47 PMby lionsforlove

    My favorite upcycling project is anything involving mens button down shirts – especially turning them into dresses.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 03.10 PMby stephaniematos

    I like to buy old fashion mens dress jackets and make them into winter jackets for myself.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 02.44 PMby paolam

    This project it’s just amazing!

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    Jan 25, 2011, 12.26 PMby anneeza

    I have made a bathroom rug from an old t-shirts. Its a tedious project but very satisfactory as its use lots of t-shirt fabrics (because I have a lot) and very good in absorbing the water.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.28 AMby littlefoxesdesigns

    Reusing tee shirts is so awesome! I love making cool tees for my little boy out of bigger tee shirts. I am also addicted to felting old wool sweaters:) Martha and Singer are both amazing.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.09 AMby littlefoxesdesigns

    Reusing tee shirts is so awesome! I love making cool tees for my little boy out of bigger tee shirts. I am also addicted to felting old wool sweaters:) Martha and Singer are both amazing.

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    Jan 25, 2011, 08.09 AMby littlefoxesdesigns

    Reusing tee shirts is so awesome! I love making cool tees for my little boy out of bigger tee shirts. I am also addicted to felting old wool sweaters:) Martha and Singer are both amazing.

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