When I was living with Grandma as a young girl, I consistently observed her re-use, recycle and up-cycle all sorts of things. But I was always most impressed by her skills at the sewing table. One thing she did that I found so very impressive was gratefully accepting bags of old clothing that others had donated and re-using the buttons, hooks & eyes, zippers, biased tape, etc. out of those old clothes. She also re-used all the fabric from those old clothes. Fabrics that were not torn or stained were used for sewing projects, often a certain little girl's clothing. The stained or tattered fabrics were cut into cleaning and mop rags.
The second impressive talent she displayed at the sewing table was making homemade sewing patterns. Although I observed Grandma make some pretty intricate, multi-pieced patterns, my tutorial of simple a baby's bib describes the 5 basic steps to making a homemade sewing pattern.
Step 1 - You'll need some sort of paper for your pattern. I personally prefer recycled packing paper, but paper grocery bags and newspaper also work well.
Step 2 - Use a hot dry iron to make the paper of your choice as smooth as possible. If using newspaper, the heat from a dry iron will "set" the newsprint so you won't have to worry about it rubbing off onto the fabric.
Step 3 - Draw the pattern, adding a 1/2 inch, onto the paper. I used a store bought bib that I had saved from when I used to babysit and traced around it. Very IMPORTANT, when tracing or drawing out your pattern, make sure you draw the cutting lines an extra 1/2 in. larger than the finished product for seem allowances.
Step 4 - Cut out the pattern pieces.
Step 5 - Label the pattern pieces making sure to note any special instructions.
Most of my homemade patterns are simple 1-4 piece patterns, not any more complicated than this baby's bib. But the process of making a multi-pieced pattern, is the same 5 steps for each pattern piece.
As a girl I watched my grandma make large multi-pieced patterns for intricate articles of clothing and many other items. With the high price of sewing patterns often costing more than a store bought item, I think taking the time to make homemade patterns is a very thrifty practice.