Francis Brennan’s Tips On Easy Home Upcycling

The basic concept of UPCYCLING, an old-fashioned concept – make do and mend – has found a NEW LEASE OF LIFE in the 21st century, FRANCIS BRENNAN shares three easy upcycling ideas …


Old pillowcases can make great garment bags – in fact, the fabric is ideally suited to storing your clothes, so why not give it a try? Take the closed end of your pillowcase and make a 4cm or so slit in the seam. You can do this by turning the pillowcase inside out and unpicking a few of the stitches in the middle. Get out your needle and thread and make a little stitch on either side of the slit to make sure that the seam doesn’t unravel further. Turn your pillowcase out, slide the hanger in and – you have a garment bag!

I found a sweet little fabric bookmark that would use up old fabric scraps – and it actually looked very handy into the bargain! All you need are your fabric scraps and a piece of narrow elastic – about 1cm wide. If you are making a bookmark for a standard paperback, this will be around 15cm long, so cut two 15 x 6 cm strips of fabric. At this point, the tidier among you might like to hem the strips by turning down a half centimetre edge top and bottom and hemming – or if you are feeling lazy, placing a piece of fabric webbing under each hem and ironing. Next, place the two strips together, right side down, then sew along the edges of the strips. Don’t sew along the short edge yet. Turn this tube of fabric right side out, then give it a little iron. Now you need to attach your elastic to the bottom edge of each end of the tube, and you have a bookmark!

Upcycling old T-shirts. All you need to do is to remove the sleeves below the seams, then cut an opening for your bag by placing a dinner plate upside down about 5cm below the neck opening. Mark a line and then cut it to form a larger opening for your bag. Now, all you need to do is to turn your T-shirt inside out and sew the bottom closed. You will need a sewing machine for this.

Francis Brennan

Excerpted from Francis Brennan’s Book of Household Management, €16.99, published by Gill Books, out now.

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