Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Repurposed Rain Gear

I’ve recently lost a lot of weight and am in the process of purging clothes that no longer fit and replacing with stuff that does fit.  One of the many things that no longer fits is my North Face rain jacket.   I got a new rain jacket back in October and I’ve had the old one hanging out since then, not really sure what I was going to do with it.  Earlier this week I was preparing a Goodwill donation and I hesitatingly threw the jacket in.  But then I pulled it out – I just couldn’t part with it.  

See, I got this jacket when we were in Alaska in 2007.   It was my 1st ever RV trip where I had my own RV.  We’d gone down the Kenai Peninsula to Seward and it rained the day we drove from Homer to Seward,  it rained the day we went on a boat ride to see the fjords, and it rained the day Dad and I hiked to the Harding Ice Field.  Our 3rd day Seward featured no rain and that was the day we found the Outfitter and Dad and I decided that we needed more appropriate rain gear.  We both purchased North Face “100% Waterproof” rain jackets.  The jackets were identical except that his was blue and mine was green.  These jackets were not cheap and they likely had a huge markup because we were buying them in a tourist town in Alaska.  After the last few days however, we knew that these jackets would be entirely worth every penny. Within about an hour of our purchase the clouds began to lift.  A few hours after our big purchase the sun was out in full force.  We were joking that we’d each purchased a $100 “rain insurance policy”.   After Seward we drove up to Denali where we experienced the driest and clearest week of the summer! We saw Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) 6 out of 7 days.  That is simply unheard of.  Usually it is shrouded in clouds all the time.  That “rain insurance” paid off!

Since the day we hiked to the Harding Ice Field, I’ve carried my North Face rain jacket with me on nearly every hike and I haven’t had to hike in the rain on vacation since.  Seriously.  When I was in Maine in 2009 it did rain, but, only at night and on drive days, never on a hiking day.  And, it had rained every day for the 3 weeks prior to my visit. We spent 3 weeks in Washington State in 2010 and had 1 day with rain, and that day Dad and I went up in the mountains to hike and managed to get on the “dry” side of the mountain!  No rain!  A few snow showers, but no rain!  We spent 2 weeks in California with no rain, about a week in Maine with no rain, and a week in the Adirondacks where it did rain, but we were kayaking that day and didn’t care.  Soooo…I’m a bit superstitious about heading out without my “rain insurance”. 

I couldn’t just toss the jacket onto the Goodwill pile, but I also wasn’t sure what I’d do with it.  Then it occurred to me…make something out of it!  I googled and looked on Pinterest for ideas and found none.  That’s right, none.  Couldn’t believe it!   So I studied the coat and discovered that the back was a fairly large piece of material, and it’s durable, waterproof material too.  I decided that a little stuff sack would be easy and useful – I could store my new rain gear in it when I go hiking!

I’m not too good with the sewing machine (yet…my next project is a t-shirt quilt to so hopefully I’ll get better!), but a simple drawstring bag is something I can make!  I picked up some special “outdoors” thread – which was going to give me a chance to re-learn how to wind a bobbin and thread the bobbin and all that good stuff.  I also picked up a special heavy duty needle, but I couldn’t get the old needle loosened.

After I reviewed how to use the machine (thank you for posting the user manuals!) and got all my materials together, I was ready to begin…

Front of the jacket before I started:


Back of the jacket before I started:


The back, after I cut:


I just cut along the seams, however the arm holes were curved and I didn’t really like that, I was trying to get the “North Face” Logo on the bag though because it would add some design.   The whole back was also an odd shape and it was going to make a longer bag than I wanted, so I decided to cut the North Face logo off and sew it to the bag like a patch.

But, first I wanted to sew the sleeve for the drawstring.  I simply folded over the top edge and pinned it in place (the fabric is slippery and I didn’t want the pocket to get wider or narrower as I sewed!)

Here I am sewing the sleeve:


Here’s the finished sleeve:


After I did the sleeve, I picked a spot for the North Face Logo – it was random, I just cut it out and slapped it down.  I pinned the logo on and then sewed it.


The next step was to fold the fabric in half, right sides together, and trim the edges so they were the same size and then I sewed around the edge.  After I sewed it, I turned the bag right side out and it was almost done!


I attached the drawstring (a piece of nylon rope I got at Hancock Fabric) to a pipe cleaner to help me thread it through the sleeve and just worked it through.  When the string was in the sleeve I threaded my stopper on it (also purchased at Hancock) and trimmed the string.


And then the bag was done!


All ready for my rain gear! :-)

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