Fabric Salad

Green goodness for quilters and sewists

Archive of ‘Upcycled’ category

Upcycled luggage tag off the cuff

With a bit of inspiration from Pinterest, I made two luggage tags using cuffs from cast-off shirts. I purchased shirts in women’s and larger boys’ sizes. The cuffs from men’s shirts seemed a bit too large for the project.

I sewed along each side of the cuff to create a pocket for a card that lists the luggage owner’s contact information.

I replaced the buttons on one of the tags to give it a bit more personality. I cut the neckband from the shirt and used it (with its convenient buttonhole) as the strap to wrap around the suitcase handle.  I’ll demo this project at my local Make It, Take It evening at the end of this month!

upcycled luggage tag from dress shirt

Jean Mutation

If you’re a quilter or sewist, and your friends know it, sooner or later, you’re going to end up with “The Bag.” Sometimes The Bag is dumped at your front step in the dead of night. Sometimes, it’s handed to you out of the trunk of someone’s car. What’s in The Bag? You know…it’s fabric or old clothes or a mix of both. Things your friend just knows that you–with all your sewing skills–can put to good use.

“When did I become the home for wayward fabric?” you cry. I, too, used to dread The Bag.

But now I see these cast-offs through my “green” glasses. There just might be treasure in The Bag.

I still have a bag of jeans someone gifted to me. Looking for inspiration, I went straight to Pinterest (my board is Mutated Jeans) and found enough ideas to fill dozens of bags. One highlight is a pin from the Quilt Inspiration blog that offers a handful of denim patchwork ideas. Jeanius!

Jeans redeemed at International Quilt Festival

“My religion is quilts,” proclaims Estonian quilter Marja Matiisen. “Textiles sewn in quilts,” she says, “have made it to heaven.”

For countless pairs of cast off jeans, Marja’s a savior. Her quilt “Green Blue Planet Under Siege” hung at the International Quilt Festival in Houston last week, proving that salvaged fabric can be just as beautiful as new.

Green Blue Planet Under Siege by Marja Matiisen

Special thanks to The Plaid Portico for the photos of Green Blue Planet Under Siege by Marja Matiisen.

detail Green Blue Planet Under SiegeWooden spools add dimension to another of Marja’s jeanious re-creations: Sanctuary for Old Jeans.

Sanctuary for Old Jeans by Marja Matiisen


Vintage charm in the bag

Something about the cheery floral patterns on vintage sheets always reminds me of the Brady Bunch. Whether you spent your Friday nights with Marsha, Jan and Bobby or not, the homey appeal of vintage sheets is irresistible.

Heather Grow shares a tutorial for transforming a vintage pillowcase into an adorable grocery bag on her Vintage Sheet Blog.

Vintage Sheet blog tutorial

From tatters to treasure

Ann Wood Owl

So, have you ever picked up a tattered piece of centuries-old clothing and immediately thought, “I can make this into a breathtaking owl!”?

No, neither have I.

But Ann Wood does. She fashions the most amazing birds, boats and bats out of salvaged tidbits, scraps and buttons. You can find more of her awe-inspiring creations on her website and read about her creative process on her blog.

Dancing with the scarves

Back in the day, I wore a peasant blouse with my rust-colored cords to my sixth-grade dance. Now floaty tops and cords have come back around again. This scarf project would be perfect for a sunny Indian summer day.

Stacie Grissom gives us the how-to low-down on her blog. Stacie has plenty of neckwear cred. She works and blogs for scarves.net.

Super simple stuffie

Made by Joel vintage fabric dolls

OK, raise your hand if one of your first sewing projects was a rag doll. Yarn for hair, wonky embroidery for a face and a slightly lumpy dress sewn together with oversize running stitches… Sound familiar?

A stuffed friend made by hand (especially little hands) has such charm, and makes a wonderful vehicle for using up fabric scraps or upcycled clothing bits.

Joel Henriques from made by joel whipped up this pair of couldn’t-be-more-simple dolls from vintage fabric. Click over to his blog to see how smitten his kids are with these squeezable sweeties.

Makes me wish I still had that doll I made decades ago. Do you still have yours?