Decluttering is not only about getting rid of things you don’t need. It can be good to take something old that you don’t currently use, and turn it into something useful.With that in mind, today I had a day off work and I’ve spent most of it turning an old dressing gown into a bed warmer, following the tutorial at http://makingoursustainablelife.com/diy-bed-warmer-and-cooler.
This was the starting point: a dressing gown my husband bought me before we got married. I liked the material, but never wore the dressing gown as a) the body was a bit long and wide; b) the arms were a bit short and c) I have two other dressing gowns which I prefer wearing in summer and winter. For the past few years it’s been in a bag under a bed in the spare room. I thought about giving it away, but didn’t want to get rid of one of my first gifts from my husband.
Last week I had a brainwave when I realised that the boxy shapes which made it not very suitable as a dressing gown, made it an ideal candidate for taking apart and reusing. When I found the DIY bed warmer post, I decided to turn the dressing gown into something I’d use all winter for years (I generally get into the bed first and it’s painfully cold).
I ripped the side and neck seams, so that I could put the front and sleeves to one side and use the back as my bed warmer. Following the instructions, I sewed up the two side seams and turned the bed warmer right side out. Rather than using tailor’s chalk or pins to make the different sections for sewing lines down, I decided on the lazy option of ironing creases into the fabric and then sewing straight down them. This turned out not to be the best plan as the iron burnt a hole into the fabric:( Cleaning burn marks from the iron soleplate is another job on the list for today!
I sewed straight lines down the iron marks, used part of the neck border to patch up the hole and sewed along the folded-over long hem to make it stronger. First I tried a decorative stitch, which made a very messy random curvy line, which I was too lazy to unpick. Next I tried something which looked like an edged zigzag, but turned out to be a castle turret effect.
For the filling I used half rice and half couscous, as that’s what I had available and wanted to use up. I also added four peppermint teabags. After that I folded over the remaining long hem and stitched it with a zigzag. I did have a few delays, for example with the bobbin coming undone, some stitches needing to be unpicked…but still I’m not sure how it managed to take four hours! I hope that if I make another one, it’ll be a bit quicker although the process did seem to be pretty simple.
I tried out the bedwarmer straight away, although not on the bed as it’s a bit early yet! I thought I’d give it a go as a lapwarmer, and so far it works pretty well. As predicted in the instructions, after its first heating it smelt a bit of its “ingredients”, particularly couscous, but with a slight smell of peppermint as well. A little moisture also came out, as predicted, but it didn’t affect the warming process and I’m very happy with it:)
So the upshot is, instead of having a gift which I never use but can’t quite throw out, I now have a new item to use and I can see the gift every day:) Success!