reinvention by maya donenfeld

May 8th, 2012



reinvention by maya donenfeld

Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials is a beautiful new book by Maya Donenfeld . You are probably familiar with Maya’s blog, MayaMade, where she writes about parenting and making with the seasons. Years ago, Maya sent the craft blog world into a sewing frenzy when she came out with the burlap bucket pattern and for good reason: it is simple, beautiful, useful, and recycled.  So too is every project in her new book.

color block zippered pouch

Each chapter in the book is dedicated to a specific material: linen, burlap, jersey, wool, denim, tyvek, and vintage. The projects are, yes, made from recycled materials, but they don’t scream, “I’m recycled!” like say, a pop top vest would. They all subscribe to the same natural aesthetic, even the most seemingly unnatural of materials, tyvek.  When my copy of the book came I was immediately draw to this chapter, because I’ve always loved tyvek, oddly enough, and I was excited to see someone else out there did too!

painted tyvek

I chose to make the color block zippered pouch, but after painting a bit of tyvek I was less than thrilled.  I used a silver metallic acrylic paint that ended up looking a sad gray and the blue was nice, but it brought out the texture of the tyvek more than I wanted. It is actually a nice effect, sort of like a faux leather, but it wasn’t what I was after.

tyvek and leather zip pouch

Maya suggests painting the tyvek or simply drawing on it with a permanent marker, which of course makes sense as tyvek is as much like paper as it is like fabric. I picked up my ultra fine point Sharpie and went to town. The leather-like effect I got with the painted tyvek made me want to use some actual leather. A few snips from a vintage, buttery leather jacket and I had the makings for a fine recycled zip pouch.

tyvek zip pouch zipper

I didn’t use the exact dimensions she specifies for the pouch, but the patterns in this book are meant more as guidelines. Maya even says, “…ultimately the size, shape, and color of each rescued piece informs the final outcome. If you listen carefully, the fabric will tell you what it wants to be.”  This tyvek envelope told me to draw a geometric pattern on it, then sew it to some leather and attach an aqua zipper. Sewing the tyvek was easy, just like sewing paper, so use an old needle in your machine. It was my first time sewing with leather and that was simple too. My machine didn’t know what was going on when I tried to sew the tyvek to the leather, and I had to help it along quite a bit.

tyvek and leather pouch detail

Maya also suggests leaving a bit of the original printing exposed, “ that its reinvention efforts are not forgotten.” I think this quote sums up the book nicely. You get to make all these wonderful pouches and hampers and poofs from old materials, but hidden in these newly sewn things are little reminders of what they once were.

full zip pouch

The lovely people at Wiley Craft have offered a copy of Reinvention to one of my readers. Please leave a comment telling me about your favorite recycled material to be entered in the drawing. The giveaway will close Wednesday May 9th at noon central. I’m sorry but this giveaway is only open to US residents. Please follow along with the rest of the tour to see more of this lovely book!

reinvention: sewing with rescued materials blog tour
week one
5/2- Craft
week two
5/7 Whip Up
5/10 Annekata
week three
5/15 Etsy (tuesday tutorial)
5/17 Made


Posted in library.

114 Responses to reinvention by maya donenfeld

  1. heather barrera says:

    I’m very new to sewing and crafting, so I don’t have a favorite yet, this book would be so much inspiration! :-)

  2. olivia says:

    I hoard glass jars. but for sewing I can’t make up my mind- used denim, sheets, old bits of lace and doily. the fabric-for-repurposing probably takes up more space than the clothes in my closet!

  3. chris m says:

    Hard to pick my favorite recycled material, it really depends on what I see it being. I too love her quote in the book about that. Mostly I guess it would be wool and suede.

  4. Clare says:

    I also loooove thrifted wool. Especially in sweater form for making little toys, dolls, and hats. Thank you for the great giveaway. This is on my Mother’s Day wish list now! :)

  5. alli says:

    I’m enjoying recycling men’s suiting. Turned some of one into a wallet for my eldest son. So fun.

  6. Joni says:

    When rehemming jeans for those of us with short legs, I use the cutoff portion as the base for bags. The seams and hems add some interest.

  7. Marlo says:

    Vintage sheets….ever so soft on my wee babe’s skin.

  8. ethanollie says:

    look at that little wool blanket pouf! i love it.

  9. my favorite recycled material is simple thin cardboard–perfect for painting canvas, for castles, for shrine making, for moleskin knock-offs! thanks for sharing!

  10. Maya.s book looks rad and your tyvek zipper pouch are very unique. I recently started learning how to sew with knits and my little boys outgrown screen printed t-shirts are getting a lot of attention around here. I’ve collected my faces and hope to re-use them in some of his sisters clothes :)

  11. Heather says:

    This book looks so great! I’d love to win it!

  12. Raheli says:

    Tyvek and leather? What a combo! Sometimes you just need to listen to your materials and they will show you the way :-)

  13. […] Maya has sections on reinventing denim, burlap (check out the cool burlap bins below), and even ideas for using old postal envelopes.   Check out what Elsie Marley did with the mailer idea here. […]

  14. Ruth says:

    What great ideas! This book looks just awesome!