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Making Old Things New

March 9th, 2018

I’ve been dying indigo shibori flour sack towels for Seeds & Sundries, and while I had an indigo vat going, I decided to try to give new life to an old L.L. Bean Boat & Tote bag. It worked beautifully. These bags last forever, but being natural colored canvas, they stain and start looking a little rough around the edges. I simply dipped mine into the indigo vat twice, then rinsed and washed (by hand). The handles were originally black. I also have another one with pink handles (you can see it in the background) that I’m doing to dye and a few larger ones as well.

I used the same indigo kit that I used last summer with my nieces, this one from Jacquard is a great one for beginners. While you can (and I have) purchased the indigo supplies separately from Pro Chemical & Dye, this kit is a great way to get started. Overall, I’d call this project a success. I should have taken before photos so you can see just how dingy and dirty the original bag was. Perhaps I’ll remember when I do the next few.

What fun projects have you been doing lately? Have you been trying to find ways to make old things new again?

5 Comments to “Making Old Things New”
  1. Lorna on March 9, 2018 at 9:10 am

    What a great idea! I have numerous natural canvas bags I’ve picked up at our local swap-shack; most are dingy and well-past their “new” stage, but have plenty of life left in them. This sounds like the perfect way to make them take-out-in-public nice again :)

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  2. Joan Ray on March 9, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I love these! I have lots of old, shabby looking, bags and should give this a try!

    Reply to Joan Ray's comment

    • Susy on March 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

      Save them, I have supplies to make a really big indigo vat this summer (I want to try dying a rug) and you can bring them up and dip them in.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Foy on March 9, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Does the indigo bleed at all? Like if I took the bag to the beach and put some wet clothes or what not in the bag?

    Reply to Foy's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      If washed and rinsed well it doesn’t, or at least I haven’t had experience with it. I alway wash my indigo dyed projects a few times in hot water with some Dawn dishsoap. That works for me and I haven’t had any trouble with bleeding.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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