Sewing with Reclaimed Bike Intertubes–Sarah’s Upcycled Dress


I always tell my beginning sewing students to start with medium weight cotton .  It’s the easiest fabric to sew.   But Sarah had a vision,  and difficult as it was,  it was an intriguing one:  a strapless dress made from diagonally pieced, punctured  bike intertubes.

She did a lot of things right:  Made a paper pattern from a dress in her closet.  Reclaimed a sturdy material that was headed for the trash.

Sarah cut, washed, and pinned the punctured intertubes together.

And she went to the Scrap Exchange Design Center–a great place to find help with your sewing visions.


That’s  how I got into the picture.  Sarah’s thread kept knotting. Turns out the feed dogs on a regular sewing machine can’t handle two layers of rubber. The bottom layer moved–the top didn’t. The result was a frustrating mess.

We solved that problem with a “walking foot”.  You can buy one that fits almost any machine.   A few machines like this vintage Pfaff  of mine have a built in walking foot.


Sarah starting sewing smoothly and a few hours later–she was ready for a fitting.

sarah_dressNot bad for her first dress, don’t you think?  On a scale of 1-10, Sarah says it’s a 10.



Next stop–her school’s upcycled fashion show.

BTW, Sew Night Community Meet up happens the 2nd and 4th Thursday nights in the Scrap Exchange Design Center. It’s  open to all skill levels and the best sewing value in the triangle–FREE!

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