Recycled denim quilt

Recycled Denim Quilt

I had decided to make a recycled denim quilt. At some point, after finishing the only project that I have worked on during rides in the car for twenty years, I decided I wanted to undertake another one; sewing this time! That pretty much put it into the hand quilting category. But why not? I had made several machine quilts already. I mean, yeah, they were simple four inch blocks, arranged in a pattern that suited me.

coruroy quilt

The quilt above was for a loved one who is cold easily. I chose corduroy remnants and reclaimables for it that my mom had been saving for years. In fact, the rust colored fabric is from a project I made when I was first learning to sew from a pattern. The middle is cotton batting, and the back is hunter green flannel. It is decidedly warm! Notice the crocheted blanket at the end? That is my Mom’s lovely work. 🙂

Calico quilt

The above quilt was made with calico remnants from my leftovers boxes. The person receiving it gets hot too easily, so it was made to be a lighter weight. The middle layer is a lightweight recycled blanket. The back is a lightweight cotton. The squares in the middle are indeed lighter than the rest, it’s not your eyes. 🙂 Notice the crocheted blanket at the end? That is my Mom’s lovely work. 🙂

So yes,…it was about time for me to learn to do quilt blocks. My mom had given me a magazine quite a few years ago, that taught quilting one block at a time. I told her then that I felt like I had too much when my children were little, but that I would do it later…in time. I pulled that magazine out. My new quilt work would be made for someone who likes to sleep with weight over top, so I chose denim. I will be on the lookout for just the right blanket to recycle for the middle. TBA on the backing. Here is the first ones. recycled denim quiltThe bone colored fabric is actually a light weight pinwale corduroy. I have one more block done since that photo was taken. Six blocks to go. I am looking forward to giving it to its new owner. 🙂

You make me weak in the knees bag

Weak in the Knees?

My “Weak in the Knees” bag, was what I came up with to find a use for ALL parts of denim jeans that need to be recycled. The holey knees were the only part I hadn’t found use for until this. Being that frayed denim is somewhat popular, I knew I *wanted* to create a use for them, but it just wasn’t happening.

My good friend Kelly likes to create… and is very creative. She designs fabric prints from home, using a website called Spoonflower, (link to her designs). She prints up samples to offer them for sale and shares some with me!!  After cutting up some jeans and having the square with the holey knee in it sitting around, I happened to notice that they bore some resemblance in size to the samples. That was the inspiration I needed as the impetus to work out what to do with the frayed denim.

Pi fabric wild aztec fabric fabric pine cone fabric broken tv fabric Van Gogh inspired fabric

I also tend to buy up sewing supplies at resale shops. It sometimes lends itself to more interesting outcomes. Such was the case for this item. I had a pretty hip zipper that was perfect for the bag.

hipster zipper

Around the same time, I was altering casual dress shirts for one of my sons. The guys in my house prefer the “slim fit” over the “muffin top” look.  It just so happened that one of the shirts to be altered was in a color similar to faded denim. Soooo, I used the cuffs to make pen pockets atop the existing pocket that I added into the center of the bag.

I really wanted to use some of the original hems from the bottoms of the jeans for the top edge of the bag. As depicted in the picture above, some, but not all of the top seams worked out that way. For the remaining raw edges I used bias tape.

It is large. I almost wanted to call it a portfolio, until its current name came to me. The resulting bag is pretty exciting to me!

Weak in the knees bag


Tea Wallets and Business Card Wallets

Tea Wallet

A tea wallet? Something only a tea LOVER could appreciate. A favorite score for at a re-sale shop was some upholstery samples. Unsure of where they came from, I was SO glad to have found them. The only regret that I had was that I didn’t take both bundles. When I later went back to get the other one, it was gone. Well, hooray for someone else! 🙂  I didn’t get to use these right away, but now am so excited at the project that I have been using many of them for; a cute little place to tuck tea bags for the road.

Tea wallet closed

Tea Wallet open

More recently, I have discovered where the upholstery shop is. Frenchy’s has been recycling their scrap fabric for decades, before “recycle” was what we called it! That is because it was owned by more than one generation; starting with the generation that I like to think of as the original recycler’s. This one came from their shop, who called me to pick up their recycling. THAT’s a dedication to re-use! By the way, our little corner of the world has only been getting online for the past ten years, so many businesses have websites that are a mere online billboard. To learn more, give them a call or stop in. They are amazing!

tea wallet closed tea wallet open

This has been  a fun, fast project. I gave the one below to my friend. If it weren’t for her “English ways”, I don’t think this project ever would have caught my attention! I originally saved this project to make this for her. Glad she finally got one!! 😀

Tea wallet closedTea wallet

A variation on the tea wallet is the business card wallet. It is changed up a bit to accommodate a different content. It also has sewn in mat board to stiffen up the sides and protect the cards from bending.

business card wallet

business card wallet

There will be more business card and tea wallets available on the products page as time permits.


Pillow Case Dress ReFashion

 Pillow Case Dress!

Pillow case dress


A pillow case being used as something other than it’s original purpose never occurred to me. Living in a world of boys, (no daughters) I was not familiar with the concept of using them for dresses, until my friend introduced me to it. I totally fell in love with the idea! I made a point of looking for cute pillow cases on my next thrift shop expedition.  I found two identical ones in a cute print, as shown in the photo. . When I returned home, I followed a tutorial online and I was so pleased with how simple they are and appreciated the outcome. I gifted one each, to two friends, who benefited from me having no girls to make fru fru goods for.  😉

Since that time, I have discovered that pillow cases make wonderful cross body bags, as well. The tutorials for this were available since before the recent wave of bags now known as “cross body”. They are wonderful for balancing the weight of the bags’ contents. Hmm… might have to try those in the future, too! 🙂

I am wondering if there are other uses for pillow cases that I am unaware of. Do you have favorite uses for them, no matter if you refashion them or not….?


Denim Recycling 1: Girls Jeans Remake to Skirt

denim recycle

Denim Recycling: Jeans to Skirt


After the knees blow on a pair of jeans, there is still lots of life left in them to use for denim recycling. Some of my favorite recycling projects involves the use of  denim pants. I have made so many things with it, and have collected even more ideas than I have used. A friend asked me to do a make over on her daughter’s pants. This girl still fit her pants in the hips when the length was far too short. Her mom liked the pants and so they found a fabric that they liked, and asked for a skirt to be made out of it. I usually have a link to the tutorial I used, but in this case, what to do was obvious to me and I didn’t need one. Here is what I did: I cut off the excess denim at the hip region, below the button up area by a couple of inches. Of the purchased fabric for the project, I cut it to a measurement that would be an appropriate length for the soon to be wearer. I then pressed and sewed in a half inch hem. Then I stitched along the top edge without using a back stitch. I  gathered the top to precisely fit on the bottom of the pant, and attached it.

What Can the Leftovers Become?

Denim Recycling

I also used some of the denim leftovers, and some of the leftover fabric from the new skirt to make a little purse. I also decided to try a little beading, adding sequins in the mix, as well. I have re-beaded garments that were already designed, such as wedding gowns, and bridesmaid gowns, but I didn’t really know how to go about inventing a design. It was made with an eight year old girl in mind, and the design isn’t sophisticated. Even so, I am not sure how I would bead something that were made of a silk or silk like fabric. If there are any out there who have done some beading, I would love for you to post your project photo’s in the comments and how you went through the decision making process. I can look it up, but  then, would I find your projects posted? I know I have spent years perusing the internet and hardly a peep was posted on it from myself! 😉




Recycle T-shirts into Usable Goods I

t-shirt quilt

The Beloved T-Shirt Recycle Quilt

recycle t-shirts


I’d been trying to find a way to recycle t-shirts . If you’ve ever tried to repair at-shirt…. it isn’t very worthwhile. It lasts just a few wearings, disappointingly.   Yet, as many t-shirt wearers know, it can be hard to let go of much loved shirts. Such was the case here. My husband had his favorites and I mistakenly got rid of some, to his disappointment.

My friend Karen had made a t-shirt quilt like this one. Her squares were all the exact same size. Mine… were not.  I improvised though, as the picture will show. I bought batting to go inside and the backing is new flannel. It is absoLUTEly the go to blanket in the house. It is incredibly warm and we all love it.

If I had it to do over, I would put strips in between, made of woven fabric, like my sister-in-law did with her t-shirt quilt that she made for a friend. It seems sturdier to add a non-stretchy fabric between.

I have since finished a crocheted warm blanket that took me….. twenty <wince> years of intermittent work. lol Crochet is not my art, but I started this project at my mom’s initiation. She helped me pick out one that I would like from an old crafter’s magazine called “Annie’s Attic”. We went out shopping and got the materials. I worked on it little by little. She found it amusing when I showed the complete project to her 20 year later! Well, I did have six sons in between there! At least I finished it eventually. 😉

Winter Window


Does anyone know if Annie’s Attic has converted to an online edition at all? I was not successful at finding it.