I have a real problem with throwing away scrap fabric. I’ve been saving up piles of it for years now, like a rodent building a nest. Every corner of the sewing room has a Bag for Life stuffed to bursting with scraps and old clothes. I needed a plan, something more concrete than ‘one day I’m going to make footstools for the living room’. Hence the double dose of ‘lifestyle’ items I came up with here.
First is the zafu, or meditation cushion. To be honest, the state of my hips is such that I prefer to meditate in a chair whenever possible, however I did want a zafu to put in front of the shrine. Something solid and well-stuffed. The pattern for this came from here and is a breeze to cut and sew. It’s basically two circles and a long rectangle. You pleat the rectangle and attach it to the circles, easy.
Second was the yoga bolster. Owing to the aforementioned hips, I do a fair bit of restorative or yin yoga. This generally involves a lot of holding asana (yoga poses) for extended periods, often with a variety of props to support the body and allow it to release. Central to this is a bolster. It can’t be some flimsy pillow, given to flattening out. It really needs to be a sturdy number, something that can take a full body weight without totally flattening out, ideally shaped to support the spine, hips or shoulders. You can do cylindrical ones – it’s on my to-do list – but I opted to start with a cuboid version. This pattern comes from here and is similarly easy, you’re just sewing rectangles together – and could add piping if you wanted a more upholstered look. This has handles at either end, which are completely necessary as this thing weighs a metric tonne.
So the sewing is easy, if only it ended there. Stuffing these took over whole weeks of not only my life, but the life of Mr Pixington too. Essentially, we would bring down one of those bags for life, each of us sit with a pair of shears and spend a whole evening cutting and stuffing. In most cases we snipped into pieces of fabric and ripped but nonetheless we had blisters after night one. The zafu took maybe 2.5 evenings (say 10 hours total) and the bolster took more like 20 hours to fill – 40 if you consider it was two of us. Guys, I am so up for recycling and reusing, but making your own fibre-fill is TIME CONSUMING! The lesson learned from this experience: Cut and store scrap fabric in batches rather than trying to shred it all at once!
Anyway, I’m delighted with the outcome. These are 100% recycled products (well the thread isn’t I guess, let’s say 98% recycled). The main fabric is upholstery fabric I picked up after a magazine was disposing of it (one of the benefits to the location of my office). They were both small pieces, hence the lack of pattern matching on the bolster. All the fill is scraps and old clothes. Both items work perfectly, they have a heft that gives them a feeling of being more like furniture than soft furnishings. The zafu is ideal for cross-legged mediation, although I think I would prefer to have two stacked to accommodate my sitting style. The star of the show is the bolster however. It has been my friend through so many bridges and child’s poses, propping me up and allowing me to pass from pain and discomfort into opening and relaxation.
I’ve still got kilos of scrap fabric knocking about so hopeful to make some more recycled bits.