Useful, but possibly Ugly

Sometimes, when people find out I sew, they gift me with the remnants of their abandoned fabric stash, or perhaps one they have inherited. This can be a fun way to get new-to-me fabric – for free!

Sometimes, I get some wonderful stuff this way, like the most of the fabric I used for the candy bags for Christmas last year.

Other times, I get fabric that, shall we say, doesn’t thrill me quite as much:

patchwork bag
I’ve carried these fabrics around for more than a decade. I’m pretty sure I’ve never liked them. Especially that yellow apple print. Shudder. But letting go of things is a skill I’ve only recently started working on (it’s a bit easier now that I know I don’t have to automatically throw away the fabrics I don’t like – there are thrift stores that will take them and, apparently, judging by the number of sewing blogs about things vintage, a small army of people who might buy them), so I kept the fabric that I didn’t like, figuring sooner or later, I’d settle on a project that would use it.

We have a foam pad that lives in the attic, all rolled up. Attics being generally dusty places and the idea being that this pad would be something people might sleep on, I thought it needed some sort of storage cover.

And just like that, I found a use for these fabrics I didn’t love. A bag that would live in the attic would get dusty and probably bleached by the sun (our attic has windows). If it were in fabric I didn’t love, I wouldn’t be heartbroken when time made it ugly. It would be ugly to start!

Right about the time I came to this grand conclusion, I discovered Scrap Attack over at Stitched in Color. Why make a storage bag thing out of large pieces of fabric I didn’t like when I could make it out of many more smaller pieces of fabric I didn’t like???

patchwork bag
I think it’s the ugliest useful thing I’ve ever made.

Caitlyn thinks it’s pretty.

I like some parts. I used the two pieces of muslin from Caitlyn’s and my adventures in leaf printing. And I used scraps from the scrap bin in addition to trying to use up things like that yellow apple print. So there’s a bit from a nightgown, a school dress, a Halloween costume, and a toddler dress in here, too.

patchwork bag
And since I was taking the Scrap Attack approach, sometimes the pieces got really tiny. Which might be something to keep in mind next time I luck into someone’s fabric castoffs: make the pieces small enough and almost any fabric can be palatable!

Although I don’t know that even that would have helped with those darn apples.

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