Have you ever stretched the useful life of a bag knowing that it wasn’t in a good condition anymore?; Or would you buy it again but you could not find it?; Or maybe you just love the model and you would give anything to have it with some other fabric, pattern or design?

All (or many) of us have gone through one of these situations.

In some way, we experience it as a grieving process. It is inevitable to feel some “pain” at the beginning and we have to accept that this unique and particular object will never be part of our lifes as we knew it.

But the good news is that it can, in some other way. As the Uruguayan composer and singer Jorge Drexler would say:

“Nothing is lost, everything transforms”

Then it is about accepting but not resigning. Or at least not at all.
Because we have the possibility of reconstructing, at least in part, that garment or accessory we are so fond of. Or on a more rational level, which is so useful and comfortable.

So, we have two options: we can choose the easiest and “obvious” way (although not the best one): accept that the life cycle of that item is over and discard it. Or, look for an alternative that allows us to “repair” or “recover” what is supposedly lost, giving it a new use, and a new meaning. Transforming the waste into a new object that contains the history of the previous object. An object that contains “past lives”.

Today is the time to learn to recycle or better said, to upcycle that bag that gave you so much joy but now you’re ashamed to take to the street. The idea is to kill two birds with one stone. How? In two simple steps:

1.DECONSTRUCTING: We are going to separate those elements that are still in good condition and that we’ll use as supplies to create something new.
2.RECONSTRUCTING: We are going to get the pattern that will allow us to create the new design, together with the supplies that we “rescued” and other elements that we already have or get.

In this post, we will learn to make the first step, which is necessary and indispensable to reach the final result in the second stage. Once we have learned to DECONSTRUCT, we will be ready for the second part where we will RECONSTRUCT (very soon!).

Do you have a bag you were thinking of throwing away? Wait! Put into practice this step by step and give it a new chance!

1. Look at your bag and identify the parts that can be separated by undoing the seams: front, back, walls, base, handles, zipper, lining, etc. This will depend on each model.

2. Identify which of those parts are “reusable” and which are “not reusable” as supplies. In my case, the main rectangle (front and back) is not reusable, because as you see, the material is ripped and there is not much to do. But I will not discard it! It will serve as a pattern for the second stage. The zipper, the lining and the internal base that gives structure to the bag, however, are in perfect condition. These are going to be my supplies for a new creation!

3. With a thread cutter or seam ripper start to undo the seams to separate the different parts. Be very careful not to tear or ruin the pieces, I recommend you to do it when you have time and patience…

4. Remove with your fingers all the threads/strands left in the seams.

5. If you have fraying fabrics, burn the edges very carefully! A lighter is the easiest way, because the flame is small which allows you to have more control to avoid burning parts that we do not want to burn.

6. Separate the different pieces resulting from the Deconstruction in two groups: The “reusable as supplies” and the “non-reusable”, or rather, the “reusable as pattern”.

7. If you want, you can optionally transfer the pieces to a cardboard. In this way, you will have the pattern for future bags.

I hope you’ll find this step-by-step useful in the first stage of this challenge to recover that bag you love so much. Prepare everything and be ready to complete the process very soon with the new post!

Challenge accepted?




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Hi! I'm Daiana, author of Thread Stories: a Blog for the Fashion and textile inspired. A space to worship sewing and craftsmanship where you will find Tips, How to’s, Trends, DIY, Techniques, Tools & Resources to create for yourself in the most conscious, creative and inspiring way!

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