Fused Plastic Bag Skirt




Introduction: Fused Plastic Bag Skirt

About: I'm a designer, maker, writer, and artist based in upstate NY.

I love being fashionable, but I hate spending a lot of money on clothes. And even more so, I hate spending money on cheap clothes from unsustainable clothiers that fall apart after only a few wears.

One of the solutions to that problem is to make your own clothes. Even better, however, is to do so from recycled and upcycled material! I love recycled fashion -- especially when it looks more couture than trash.

In this I'ble, I'll show you how to make a fashionable skirt and save a few things from the landfill simultaneously.

Let's get to it!

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Step 1: Cut Your Plastic Bags

For this skirt, I wanted to use all the same bags so they would have the same color scheme. I chose to use Target bags because they are sturdier than your typical grocery bag.

First thing I did was lay my grocery bag flat on my desk. Then I cut off the bottom and the handles. (I can either recycle those leftover bits or use them for another project.) After those were gone, I smoothed out the bag into a flat rectangle on the desk. Cutting the sides is not necessary.

I repeat those steps until I had five grocery bag rectangles, or ten layers since they're doubled. Then I neatly laid them on top of each other, making sure I put the top and bottom grocery bag Target logo facing the inside -- this way the colors are more muted.

Step 2: Cut the Bags

Cut the layers into four equal pieces. Then lay two of them on top of the other two, that way you have two sets of 10 layers.

Step 3: Fuse the Layers Together

(Make sure you do this part in a well-ventilated area. You're not melting plastic bags, but you are heating them so you may be releasing some fumes.)

I plugged in my iron and set it to a medium setting -- my medium setting is silk/wool, but you use your best judgement when it comes to your own iron. Too hot and the bags will melt, but not warm enough and the bags will not properly fuse together.

I cut two large pieces of parchment paper bigger than the cut grocery bags (about 10" x 12"). Whenever you fuse them, the plastic bags should always be sandwiched between two layers of parchment paper. Also, you can reuse the parchment paper for the rest of the project!

On top of a heat-resistant surface (like an ironing board), I ironed on top of the parchment paper. When you do this, press firmly, but keep the iron moving. You don't want it to sit on there too long, or the bags will start to melt.

Step 4: Cut Your Fused Grocery Bags

I trimmed the corners of the rectangle so I had nice edges. Then I folded it in half, cut, folded each half in half again, and cut again. Doing this, I ended up with four equal rectangles. I repeated this step about twenty times or so.

Step 5: Round Each Rectangle

If you want, you can trim each rectangle so it has a rounded edge on one side. I did this and I really love the look of the end result.

Step 6: Start Sewing

I got an old skirt from the thrift shop for $2, and chopped off the bottom of it with my pinking shears so I didn't have to hem it. (I'll use the rest of that fabric for another project later.)

Then I set all of my rounded rectangle pieces on top to try and figure out a pattern I liked. I knew I wanted alternating rows of white and red, so I started with a white row on the bottom.

At first, I was pinning each rectangle down, but later on I realized it wasn't necessary. I sewed each piece down using a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine. I kept adding rounded rectangle pieces until I reached where I started. Then I went on to sew the next row -- this time a red row, then another white, then red, and so on...

Step 7: Keep Adding Rows

When I first started this skirt, I ran out of Target bags. So it took me about a month before I collected enough Target bags to finish. I just kept adding on when I could. In the end, after doing the math, I think I used about 95 Target bags in total.

When I got to the last row, I realized I wanted to leave the top hem of the skirt free so the red band showed.

Step 8: Finished!

I finished just in time for the holidays. I think it would be really cute to wear to a Christmas party. Here I am showing it off in front of my faux fireplace and yarn Christmas tree I made. Please let me know if you make something similar using this method -- I'd love to see all the different patterns and ideas you come up with.

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    7 Discussions

    Kink Jarfold
    Kink Jarfold

    6 weeks ago on Step 8

    So inventive. I use all my plastic garbage bags for disposing of used kitty litter. Good work. A job well done.


    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you!


    2 months ago

    Adorable! The first time I tried fused plastic anything, they were long dangly Target bag earrings! We could make a cute ensemble, haha! Well done here!


    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Hi nice meeting you here and I am new here but don’t understand how to make used of this


    Reply 2 months ago

    Omg jewelry! What a great idea!


    2 months ago

    why not use that concept for the Carnival?