Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Digest a T-Shirt

Regard the cooking pot as your own head, the water your own life-blood.

In Zen monasteries, the cook (tenzo in Japanese) holds an honored position, not only for feeding the community but for managing the kitchen in a way that exemplifies the practical aspect of Zen practice. Every item has a purpose, every detail is important, and waste is to be minimized.

We honor life by metabolizing everything we can. When the bread goes stale, a tenzo makes croutons. Cooking water, cooled, feeds vegetables in the garden. And so on -- every detail is useful.

That can be a personal practice; it could also be a societal practice, if we wanted.

From time to time, I like to use this blog to promote individual ways to metabolize the stuff of our world.

Today, tote bags made from t-shirts.

This is nothing new, but we don't claim to be cutting edge here at the Burning House.

From the newsletter of the Silver City Food Co-op (we are proud members) come these instructions for converting t-shirts into tote bags:

Materials needed: Clean t-shirt, rotary cutter, cutting mat, thread, sewing machine, sewing needle, and possibly a stapler.

Wash and dry t-shirt.

Lay t-shirt out on cutting mat.

Roller cut sleeves and neckband off.

Turn t-shirt inside out and machine sew a seam along the bottom. (Note: depending upon size of t-shirt, it may need to be trimmed off along the bottom so the tote isn't too large as they do stretch.)

Flatten out bottom seam and sew a triangle across each end. (Note: this takes some maneuvering of the fabric to get it arranged and flattened to sew the triangle.) This triangle area makes a flat bottom shape in the tote and gives more strength to the fabric.

After sewing the triangle, fold it in toward the seam and hand sew, machine sew, or staple it to the bottom seam and secure it.

Fold t-shirt right side out.

Get your shopping list, collect your bag (s), and go!

(Click here for PDF of the newsletter that includes these instructions.)

1 comment:

Kelly said...

What a clever idea!! In fact, it would be a good craft item to sell at our church bazaar.

Most of our t-shirts either go to the thrift store (if they're in very good condition) or into the rag bin to be cut up and used for a variety of purposes.

I've gotten quite good about using cloth and canvas bags for most of my shopping in recent years.

Thanks for sharing this!