Posted by: cassymuronaka | December 16, 2013

Recycling for fashionistas

Sarong to scarf

Along with a lonely chafing dish that lives in my kitchen, I also have a sewing machine that slumbers most of the time in a dark recess of a linen closet.

The sewing  machine actually does get pulled out occasionally. because I sew a fairly capable straight line, but that’s about it.  And since my son hit six feet, I don’t have to shorten and hem pants for him any longer.

Right now I am all about lightweight California scarves, and they are one of those articles of clothing that should not be priced higher than $20 max unless they are made of pashmina, which is Nepalese goat cashmere. The average high altitude goat produces 3-6 oz. of fur during its annual shed, and this fur is six times finer than human hair, so I guess two fins isn’t going to get me a pashmina scarf any time soon.

But my scarf collection is limited and needs expanding.  Rooting around in a couple of dresser drawers whose contents I have been trying to shrink turned up three sarongs made of rayon.

These were gifts from my mother-in-law and her sister-in-law when they traveled to Bali and Indonesia.

I have had about as much use for sarongs as I have had for a chafing dish over the years.  But I took a long look at these things and realized that they were basically made of the same soft “viscose” material that Nordstrom was selling in scarf form, and which I had recently purchased (hypocritically, for $32).

The cards attached to these stiff sarongs said they were made of “rayon.” Well, Wikipedia said, viscose is the same damn thing as rayon.  The word ” rayon” is totally uncool today. And it’s known as being somewhat, uh, flammable. But if it’s made of viscose, well, that’s  all right.

So I threw the sarongs in the washing machine with a ton of fabric softener, then dried them with twice the amount of softener sheets one carelessly throws into the dryer. Voilà, soft viscose!

Cutting scarves out of them was not quite as easy as going wild and crazy with fabric softener, but three days, two pairs of scissors, one rotary pair of scissors, one metal yardstick, one long cut-healing cutting board, and one trip to Joann Fabric to get bobbins and matching thread later ……. I had made three very fashionable scarves.

I also had left scores of ribbon ribbon strips and cut thread ends all over my dining room floor.

I already knew I was keeping the turquoise one with shells and fishies on it. My son grabbed the black and white infinity scarf, and I still have one black, white and gray Hawaiian-ish themed cowl with an as-yet undefined Christmas recipient in mind.

All I need to remember now is to stay away from active fireplaces.


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