DIY Sweater Pumpkins / Made With Upcycled Clothing

diy sweater pumpkins

There’s a little nip the air, and that means pumpkins and wearing sweaters. But as most of you already know, wearing sweaters is not what gets me excited; it’s MAKING THINGS WITH SWEATERS that makes me smile.

In this sewing tutorial I am going to show you how to make these fun, whimsy upcycled DIY sweater pumpkins. These pumpkins can be made with felted wool sweaters, cotton sweaters, orange knit, and even fleece. They have so much character; each one turns out a little different and is sure to bring a smile to anyone who sees them.

sweater pumpkins

I am not a big fan of Halloween decor, but I do like to decorate with pumpkins and leaves. So you can put these out for Halloween and leave them sitting around for Thanksgiving.

Don’t limit your color options to just ORANGE sweaters or fabric, look how cute they are made up using a yellow and even a brown sweater. A little whimsy, fun and something you don’t see every day.

diy sweater pumpkins upcycled clothing

You can make these DIY sweater pumpkins with upcycled sweaters, t-shirt fabric, and even fleece. They are quite easy to make and you can even sew these by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine. (Learn some easy and basic hand sewing skills here).

The pumpkin leaves are made with two different shades of green felt and this layering technique that I’ll show you, really adds a unique look.

The pattern comes with two different sizes of pumpkins and can be downloaded and printed out so you can save and use it as much as you want.

diy sweater pumpkins itmes

DIY Sweater Pumpkins Materials & Items Needed

If using upcycled wool sweaters read and watch this video for some great tips.

diy sweater pumpkins cutting out

DIY Sweater Pumpkins Instructions

1 – Cut out 6 sweater pumpkin panels.

They can be all the same color or mix and match colors and fabrics.

DIY Sweater Pumpkins2 -Using the leaf template, cut out one light green leaf and one dark green leaf.

 

Sewing Sweater Pumpkins Leaf

sweater pumpkins leaf veins

3 – Stack the leaves on top of each other, with the dark leaf on top.

Using the leaf template as a visual, sew the leaf veins using a straight stitch on the sewing machine.

You don’t need to be too particular. You can draw the lines lightly with a pencil if you feel you need a pattern or just free sew it. Clip threads.

DIY Sweater Pumpkins stem4 -Apply a strip of hot glue or craft glue along the back center vein of the leaf.

Place the stem wire onto the leaf.

 

sweater pumpkins sewing

Sewing Sweater Pumpkins

5 – With Right Sides Together (RST) place two of the pumpkin panels together and pin in place.

Sew from tip to tip and backstitch.

6 – Sew the third panel to the two you just sewed together with (RST).

Set that set aside while you sew the next three together. You should have two sets of three panels.

7 – With (RST) place the two pieces together. Line up the top and bottom tips and pin them in place.

Starting on one of the side panels, start sewing around the circle. (You will be leaving about a 3 inch opening for stuffing).

Take your time when going over the top and bottom tips where all the pieces come together.  Make sure the seams line up. Go slow so you don’t break a needle!

sweater pumpkins trimming8 – Trim the bottom and top tips.

diy sweater pumpkins stuffing

Stuffing the Sweater Pumpkins

9 – Stuff the pumpkin through the hole you left.

10-Sew opening closed.

Double thread a needle with matching thread and slip stitch the opening closed.

*I have a little tutorial on how to do the slip stitch. You can locate HERE

sweater pumpkins needle11-Making pumpkin contour

Double thread a LONG needle with upholstery thread so it is about 20 inches in length and knot the end.

To plump out and give the top indent: Stick the needle into the top center end poke the needle through the pumpkin to the bottom. You will have to pinch the top and bottom together to find the needle. Just gently keep poking until it pokes through the center bottom.

12- Repeat this back and forth a few times until you get the plumpness you desire.

End at the top and take a little stitch and knot. Don’t worry about the knot showing, as it will be covered up by the stem.

diy sweater pumpkins stem

Adding Sweater Pumpkin Stem

13- Cut tree branch.

Get out your tree pruners and go out in your yard and find a thin tree branch that looks suitable for a pumpkin stem and cut about two inches off.

Apply a big dab of hot glue in the top indent of the pumpkin and stick your branch in and secure place.

14- Wrap the wire around the stem several times and then wrap the other end around a pencil to make the curly vine.

Pull the pencil out and you are finished!

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do. If you have any questions, please reach out.

OTHER POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN

 

DIY Fabric Carrots Sewing Tutorial

 

Baby Gift Ideas – Upcycled Sweater Toys

 

Make It With An Upcycled Sweater

Have fun sewing!

jan3

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags | Sew and No-Sew Methods

DIY Upcycled T Shirt Bags

Recycling and upcycling is one of my passions, and making these t-shirt bags is another way to reduce waste and find another use for unwanted clothing. I love these bags! They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

Making and using these DIY T-Shirt bags is great way to reduce waste and recycle unwanted clothing. They make great grocery bags, activity bags, and you can even use them as a purse if you want. You will be surprised how durable they are!!

These bags are super easy and quick to make (10 minutes), and it will help to reduce the pollution of shopping bags. Did you know that one hundred billion grocery bags are used in the United States each year?  This means that the average American family gets 1,500 bags from shopping trips. That’s NOT OK!

That’s a lot of bags. Even if they make it into the garbage, 100 billion bags take up space. Whether they’re stuck in a tree, floating in the breeze or sitting in a trash pile, these bags don’t decompose. Because they’re made from petroleum, toxic chemicals can seep into soil and water.

 

Pollution on land is a problem, but what about these bags when they get in the ocean?  It’s dangerous to animals. Sea turtles, marine mammals and fish confuse the bags with prey, such as jellyfish, and eat the plastic imposters. Ingestion of these bags can lead to malnutrition, and eventually, starvation. Bags can also become caught on waterfowl or coral and wrap around the animals, causing injury or death.

Ok, I think you get the picture. Making and using these upcycled t-shirt bags will help reduce plastic bag pollution. I love that, and I love upcycling t-shirts as most of you know.

I am going to show you two different methods. A no-sew method (in case you don’t have access to a sewing machine) and a simple sewing method.  I prefer the sewing method myself because it is a lot faster!

Let’s jump right into the tutorial.

Upcycled T-Shirt Items & Materials Needed

  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape (optional no-sew method)
  • Sewing machine/serger (sewing method)
  • Fabric clips/pins (sewing method)

T-Shirt Bag Instructions

NO-SEW METHOD

  • Turn the t-shirt wrong side out.
  • Cut off the sleeve just inside the arm seam.
  • Fold the shirt in half lengthwise.
  • Cut out the bag opening by cutting a deeper neck line. (About the depth of the armholes).
  • Decide how deep you want the bag to be +3 inches/7.5 cm. Cut the bottom off if you want it shorter. You’ll really only need to shorten if you are using a very larger t-shirt.
  • Measure 3 inches/7.5 cm from the bottom of the shirt, take a piece of masking tape or painter’s tape and apply it to the shirt to mark this point.
  • Cut little slits along the bottom of the shirt up to the tape line, ½ -3/4 inches/1 cm apart.
  • Starting from one side, tie one strip from the front to the adjacent strip on the back in a double knot. Continue tying knots until the bottom is all tied.

There will be little holes between the knots. To close those up, take one tie from the first knot and tie it to one of the ties of the second knot in a diagonal manner. Do this to all the knots.

Reinforce the end knots by tying them again.

Flip right side out and there you have it.

T-Shirt Bag Sewing Method

  • Follow the steps for the no-sew method, but instead of cutting the strips, simply sew the bottom closed.

 

  • Set your sewing machine to a LIGHTNING BOLT STITCH or SMALL ZIGZAG STITCH. (SHORT & NARROW).

You can use a serger if you have one.

  • Make a tuck/pleat in the bottom of the bag by folding the sides of the shirt over about 4 inches/10 cm. Clip or pin in place.
  • Use about a ½ inch seam allowance. Sew across the bottom, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam.
  • Turn right side out and ta-dah you’re all finished. Such an easy project.

Get in your closet and find some t-shirts you no longer want or need and MAKE T-shirt BAGS!

Play Video

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Cool Zipper Upcycling

zipper recycling youmakeitsimple.com

As many of you know I’m really into upcycling and recycling items, and clothing is one of them. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to deconstruct an item of clothing for some really cool zipper upcycling.

Benefits of Zipper Upcycling

  • You can save a little money
  • Avoid a trip to the fabric store
  • Recycle material (which is always a good thing for the planet)
  • You can have a better selection of zipper colors
  • Add a professional and unique look to your sewing projects by using zippers with zipper pulls that have a little character and charm. It’s hard to find zippers at the store with cool zipper pulls.

What Kind of Zippers To Look For

  • As mentioned before, look for zippers that have unique ZIPPER PULLS.  (There are some cute vintage, leather, metal, beaded, and fabric pulls out there on existing clothing). Keep your eye out!
  • Unique colors of zippers    
  • Good, sturdy zippers for projects that require a DURABLE ZIPPPER
  • All sizes of zippers (short, long and extra-long)
  • Zippers that are in good condition and are free of stains
  • Separating zippers and non-separating zippers

Items To Use For Zipper Upcycling 

If you are getting rid of an item that you no longer want or need and it has a COOL ZIPPER in it, save it!  I have been known to buy items at the thrift store just for the zipper. YEP! There are all kinds of items that you can find a zipper in.

  • Clothing
  • Bags & purses are a good place to find heavy-duty, DURABLE ZIPPERS.
  • Couch and chair slipcovers have LONG ZIPPERS.
  • Jacket & Coats
  • Sweaters can even have fun zippers in them

How To Deconstruct Clothing For Zipper Upcycling

All you’ll need is a pair of FABRIC SCISSORS, a SEAM RIPPER, and YOUR ITEM OF CLOTHING.

  1. zipper upcycling cut out of clothesCut the zipper out of the clothing. This makes the process so much easier! There is less bulk to work with and if you don’t feel like unpicking right then, you can save it in your zipper bin and unpick it later.
  2. zipper upcycling seam rippingTake the end of the zipper and pull the fabric away from the zipper to expose the stitches. Slide the tip of the seam ripper into one or more of the stitches and cut the threads. Pull the zipper tape away from the fabric to expose more stitches. (The first stitches are the hardest to navigate).
  3. Zipper upcycling unpickingContinue ripping threads and pulling all the way down the zipper. (Sometimes you can rip both sides of the zipper seam at the same time).  Remove any cut threads that are lingering on the zipper and place the zipper in a bin or use the zipper straight away on a fun sewing project or craft.

Zipper upcycling is the BEST! Stay tuned. I’ll be sharing some fun ways to use your upcycled zippers both on sewing and craft projects! If you haven’t signed up for blog updates, you can do that HERE. Let me know what you want topics you want to be notified on.

Play Video

Happy Upcycling!

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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T-Shirt Yarn | Made From Upcycled T-Shirts

T-Shirt Yarn youmakeitsimple.com

In this post, I’m going to show you how to make t-shirt yarn from upcycled t-shirts. As some of you know, upcycling is one of my passions and I get a little excited about recycling items of clothing, and t-shirts are one of them.

In a previous post, I have shared some different ideas of how to use upcycled t-shirts. and you can find them here. But for now, let me show you how to make t-shirt yarn.

What can you do with T-Shirt Yarn?

Oh, baby, this stretchy yarn is the best! I have been making it for years, and it comes in handy for so many things. You can use it just like you would yarn and twine.

  • Gift Wrapping
  • Face Mask Ties
  • Crochet it (rugs, bags, etc.)
  • Bracelets
  • Rugs (wrap method-STAY TUNED FOR A FUN TUTORIAL
  • Shoelaces
  • Colorful Decoration (place them in a cute basket for display)

How to Choose the Right T-Shirt for T-shirt Yarn

The best scenario is to find a t-shirt that doesn’t have side seams and is just one continuous piece of fabric. That is ideal, but they’re not as easy to find, but don’t worry because I’m going to show you a really slick way to join the seams and how to cut off that bulky side and make it flow a lot nicer if you have to use a shirt with seams.

I like to find t-shirts that have a little bit of synthetic content and stretch to them. T-shirts that are 100% cotton tend to fray and don’t stretch as well. (It all depends on what you’re using the yarn for).

Don’t limit yourself to just t-shirts. You can use knit dresses and skirts too. Check out this post where I give some helpful tips on upcycling t-shirts.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter/Ruler (optional but recommended)
  • Sewing Machine/Needle & Thread (optional)

Using Printed T-Shirt Fabric

TAKE NOTE: If you have a t-shirt that has a cute print that you want to be shown, you’ll need to cut the fabric differently. If you cut the strips horizontally, what happens when you pull the strips to stretch the yarn it is going to curl with the wrong side of the fabric showing on the outside. This is fine if you are using a plain color fabric. But if you want the print exposed, you’ll need to cut the fabric strips vertically.

Most people don’t know this and I don’t want you to be all bummed when you go to pull your strips and the cute print is not visible, just something to consider.

Follow the cutting instructions for printed fabric below. If the t-shirt you are using has a logo or screen print, you’ll want to cut around that as well.  

How big should you cut the strips?

You can cut the strips in different sizes, just depends on what you’re going to use them for. I recommend cutting different size strips on a sleeve and then pulling the strips to see what they look like. Try 1, 1 ½, and 2-inch strips. All fabrics will react a little differently.

Cutting Strips with NO SIDE SEAM T-Shirts

Remove the bottom hem. I really like using a rotary cutter because you get a very straight edge!

Flatten your t-shirt out and fold it in half lengthwise, but leave it unfolded two inches. *Something to consider, if the shirt has a logo on it, you don’t want this in your strips, so cut around it.

Cut from armpit to armpit as shown here. Cut the desired width of strips horizontally, BUT DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY ACROSS! Stop cutting just past the fold of the top layer. Continue cutting strips all the way up the shirt.

 

On the last strip cut it all the way off and remove the top of the shirt. As you can see there’s a section that’s not cut and this is where the magic happens! Slide your arm between the layers and adjust it so the uncut area is accessible over your arm. This makes it easier to cut than cutting on a table.

As indicated on the drawing, start cutting through the single layer of fabric on the bottom strip at an angle to the end of the cut edge. On the next layer cut from one end to the other ON A DIAGANOL!  Follow that same pattern until you’ve cut all strips.

 

Cutting Strips on T-Shirts with SIDE SEAMS

You can follow the same procedure if you don’t mind bulky seams in your yarn. This may be fine for some craft projects, but if you’re crocheting something, this seam will be very bulky. I will show you below how to join the pieces without all the bulk.

If you want to cut strips and sew them together, cut off the side seams and then cut strips to the size you want. Follow the instructions below on how to piece strips together.

Cutting Strips of PRINTED FABRIC

Remove the bottom hem and remove the sleeves. Instead of folding the t-shirt over vertically, fold the bottom edge up to the neckband. Cut off side seams and then cut vertical strips to your desired width. You will need to piece strips together.

 

How to Piece Strips Together

Before sewing strips together, pull the strip ends that you are going to sew together to see which side curls in. Put the curling sides facing down flatten it out and take the other strip that you’re joining together and place it on top of the strip with the curling side facing up.

Place them at right angles overlapping just about a 1/4 inch at the top and on the side. It doesn’t really matter if it’s more, but it needs to be at least a quarter inch. Sew from notch to notch at an angle using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Clip fabric and leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip away the two little ear tags. When you open up the seam it’s at a diagonal and when you pull it, the seam will be tucked inside. You may be wondering why you can’t just sew it at a straight angle. Doing it this way distributes the seam at an angle so it’s tucked inside and less bulky. Pretty cool huh?

So if you can’t find t-shirts without seams, you can join them this way and it works really well. If you really needed to, you could do this by using a needle and thread as well

Pulling Strips to Make T-Shirt Yarn

To finish the strips into yarn, simply pull the strips. When you pull the strips, they’ll curl onto themselves making a nice yarn. Wrap strips into a ball and place them in a cute basket.

Who would have thought that you can make yarn from an upcycled t-shirts! This is such a fun thing and it’s easy to do.

So go through your closets and find some cute colors of t-shirts and make yarn!

Print the FREE PDF infographic below.

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY Cut Off Shorts | 4 Simple Hemming Methods

cutoff short options

Making a pair of DIY cut off shorts is a snap with these 4 simple hemming methods. This is a great way to recycle and save a lot of money! As you know, I like to upcycle and re-purpose items.  Clothing is one of them.

Cutting off a long pair of pants and making a pair of shorts is one of the simplest upcycling projects there is. I am going to show you FOUR different ways to hem your cut off shorts.

I recommend watching the video tutorial which will walk you through

h all four of these methods step-by-step!

 

Play Video
  • Cut Off & Fray
  • Rolled Hem
  • Cuffed Hem
  • Trouser Hem

What you’ll need to make a pair of cut off shorts

  • Pair of pants

Pants of all kinds can be used. Jeans are one of my favorite things to cut off. So if you have a pair of jeans that have holes in them, don’t throw them out, make SHORTS!

If you don’t have a pair of pants you want to cut off, thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales are great places to pick up an inexpensive pair of pants.

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Pins
  • Needle & Thread (optional)
  • Chalk pen (optional)
  • Seam gauge
  • Iron

How long do you want your cut off shorts?

Whichever way you choose to hem your cut-offs; the first thing you’ll need to do is decide HOW LONG YOU WANT THEM.

The easiest way is to take a pair of shorts that you already have and like the length of and use them as a template.  Or you can simply try the pants on and carefully apply a straight pin at the DESIRED LENGTH. DO NOT CUT OFF AT THIS POINT!

Once you’ve decided how long you want your shorts, it’s time to decide how you want to finish the edge.

If you are using an existing pair of shorts as a template, simply lay the shorts on top of the long pair of pants you are cutting off. Line up the CROTCH SEAM, NOT THE WAISTLINE. (Some pants have a longer waist height than others). Make sure the waist is lined up horizontally so you get an even cut.

Depending on what hem style you are using, you’ll either be cutting off at the DESIRED LENGTH or ADDING TO THE LENGTH.

CUT OFF & FRAY – Cut off at that length.

ROLLED HEM  –  Add ¾ inch

CUFFED HEM  – Add 2 inches

TROUSER HEM – Add 1 3/8 INCHES

1  Cut Off & Fray

The “cut off & fray method” is the simplest and quickest way to finish a pair of shorts.

  1. Cut off one pant leg at the DESIRED LENGTH.
  2. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  3. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

You can leave the fabric unfinished and just the fabric fray out. I recommend sewing around the leg with a straight stitch ¼ – ½ inch from the cut edge. This will keep the fray to a minimum. This is a preference only.

2  Rolled Hem

Using a seam gauge, measure ¾ inch from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.

Cut off one pant leg.

Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.

Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the edge up 3/8 inch and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Topstitch just inside the fold all the way around, starting at the inner thigh seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Repeat on the other pant leg.Finished cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place.

Finish cut edge by using a serger, or the zigzag stitch of a single needle machine.

Fold the edge up, wrong sides together, 3/8 inch, and press. Roll up another 3/8 and press.

Pin in place

Tack the cuff in place so it does not come undone while laundering. To do this, simply sew along the side seams of the cuff using the sewing machine or you can do this by hand.

4 Trouser Hem

This hemming method is a good one to use if you want a more finished look. Dress pants and trousers with a lighter weight fabric work well.

  1. Using a seam gauge, measure 1 3/8 inches from the DESIRED LENGTH MARK. Make sure the top of the waist is even and straight. Using a chalk pen or disappearing ink pen and draw a cutting line.
  2. Cut off one pant leg.
  3. Fold the pants in half and line up the top of the waist.
  4. Use the already cut pant leg as a guide to cut off the other side.

Fold the cut edge up 3/8 inch and press.

Now fold another 1 inch. Press and pin in place.

There are a few ways to finish this hem. You can topstitch with a single or double stitch or you can use the BLIND HEM STITCH. The blind hem stitch can be done by hand or by using the sewing machine. You can watch the blind hem video tutorial HERE.

There you have it; four different ways to make a pair of cut off shorts from an upcycled pair of pants. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. Let me know if you have any questions.

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt

Have you ever slept under a denim patchwork quilt? There is nothing better! There is just something about the heaviness of the denim and the coziness of a soft flannel fabric that just seems to tuck you in and comfort you. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how easy it is to make a quilt using upcycled denim jeans.

My sister-in-law gave my husband a denim patchwork quilt many years ago and it has been a family favorite. We use it to throw on the lawn for a picnic, watching fireworks, or just to add some warmth to our bed on a cold winters night.

I have been saving jeans for many years with the intention of making each one of my kids an Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt. I made my oldest son a
denim quilt when he graduated from high school, and planned on doing the same for the other two kids.

Last Christmas I made another quilt for my youngest son and now it’s time to make one for my daughter. So am cutting out denim squares again.

The quilt that I made was for a double/queen size bed. I ended up cutting out 132 squares. Whew! One night my husband, bless his heart, helped me cut. I opened up the jeans and marked them, and he cut. We had quite the process going. (He is a manufacturing engineer)!

A FEW TIPS FOR CUTTING OUT YOUR SQUARES.

1-  MAKE A TEMPLATE of the size square you want.

I found about the biggest square you can get out of most jeans pant legs was a 8 x 8 inch square. You could always make this smaller if you wanted. I like to use oak tag paper. Oak Tag is similar to poster board, except it is thicker and holds up better. You will see it used in a lot in packaging of clothing, and other items.

I always save it to use on pattern templates, stencils, and of course VALENTINES!

2-  OPEN UP THE PANTS 

 

 

Here is a video showing how to deconstruct a pair of jeans to make it easier for cutting out these squares.

Play Video

3-  TRACE AROUND TEMPLATE using a pen.

You can include the seam of the pants in one square if needed. This actually gives a little character anyway. To optimize fabric usage, butt up the edges of the square whenever possible.

Include a few pockets in your quilt, especially if you have a pocket with a good tag.

4-  COUNT OUT SQUARES BY TENS and place a scrap piece of paper with the amount of squares up to that point written on it, between the layers.

(That way you will not waste time counting over and over again to see how many squares you have). I used 132 squares for a double/queen size quilt.  11 squares x 12 squares.

SEWING THE denim patchwork QUILT TOP TOGETHER

  1. Place two squares  Right Sides Together (RST) and sew a seam using a 3/8 seam allowance. I used my serger which works really well if you have one. No worries if you don’t have a serger.
  2. Open the two squares up and place another square (RST) and sew that seam.  Continue in this manner until you have 11 squares sewn together in a long strip.  *Alternate colors and shades of denim to give it some character.
  3. Sew 12 strips.
  4. Now to join the strips:  Place two long strips (RST) and sew all the way down the one edge of the strip.  (Take time to line up the seams as you go).
  5. Open the two strips up and place another strip to the two already sewn together.  Sew that strip on.  Now you have three strips sewn together.  Add one more strip making a section of 4 rows of 11.
  6. Set that foursome aside and build another foursome in the same manner, until you have 4 sets of 4.
  7. Now to join them all t.ogether, place two of the foursomes (RST) and sew.  Do that again with the other two foursomes.

This gets a little bulky sewing it all together, just take your time and give yourself some room around your sewing machine.

Denim Patchwork Quilt Back

Instead of buying about 6 yards of fabric and having to piece it together, I have found buying a flannel sheet set is cheaper and you usually get a better quality fabric. Don’t settle for a thin piece of flannel, as you will want it to be durable.

 

I found this Eddi Bauer queen size sheet set at Burlington Coat Factory for around $39.00. It came with a flat and fitted sheet and two pillow cases. My son was thrilled to have a new bottom sheet and some matching pillow cases. It was a good thick flannel as well.

To Tie The Denim Patchwork Quilt

Choose a matching color of yarn to tie the quilt with.

Throw it on your quilting frames and tie away.

I tied this quilt at the corners and one in the center. There is nothing better than an afternoon with a friend, sitting around chatting while you tie a quilt. That is about how long it took the two of us, 2 1/2 hours. It was so enjoyable and relaxing tying the quilt!

Binding The Quilt

Binding quilts by hand is so enjoyable to me. I am not sure why? There is just something about it. It does take quite a bit longer, but I think it looks so much nicer and is good therapy.

You can use the sewing machine to bind it if you like.

I usually leave about an inch of flannel around the edge. Fold the flannel edge over 1/2 inch and roll again over the denim top about a 1/2 inch and sew in place.

I like to personalize my quilts with some kind of endearing tag.

Want some other upcycled jeans project ideas? Check out this post.

Have fun sewing!

 

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Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Pixie & Pilot Caps Pattern with New Video Tutorial

Just in time for the cooler weather coming on, these cozy pixie & pilot caps are the perfect thing to keep your little ones ears nice and toasty!

Although this is not a new pattern release, I do have a NEW video tutorial to go along with it. I’m super excited to share it with you.

These whimsical, but most importantly functional pixie and pilot caps were designed to fit snug around the face and tie comfortably under the chin.

A cap for all seasons

Spring & Summer: For those days when the little ones just need a light covering, a cap made with cotton knit is the perfect thing.

Fall & Winter: An upcycled sweater or a cozy piece of fleece, are the perfect thing to make a pixie or pilot cap out of. 

If you would like the look of a hand knit hat for your child but you don’t knit, but you DO sew, this pixie & pilot cap pattern works great. Use the bottom cuff of a sweater and cut it out with the method I show in my pattern tutorial and it will hug around your child’s face just like you had knit it by hand.

These make really fun baby gifts!

Where do you get the pilot & pixie cap pattern?

 

The pattern includes two different styles of caps: A functional pilot cap and a fun whimsy pixie cap.

Five different sizes from Newborn to a Child Size Small.

The cap uses very little fabric or sweater material. This one was made from an upcycled cotton sweater and the lining from an upcycled fleece jacket.

Lining the cap will make the cap REVERSIBLE and it’s so easy to do!

This is another opportunity to use some of your sweaters from your stash, if you have one.

If you are like me, once you start making things from upcycled sweaters, collecting second hand sweaters becomes an addiction.

Just think of all the combinations of colors and textures you can use to make some fabulous caps.

Pilot & Pixie Caps Soft and Cozy Binding

Using the method I show, in a previous post, to bind the hat with fleece, makes the hat so cozy around the face and ties comfortably under the chin. 

HERE ARE SOME OTHER FUN HATS TO MAKE.

Christmas is just around the corner. So dig into your sweater stash, or purchase a small amount of fleece and get sewing!  *******Holiday sales are coming up and fleece can usually be found at a really good price this time of year.

So grab your pattern and get sewing. 

 

Here is the video tutorial that will walk you through the process, step by step!

Play Video

Have fun sewing!

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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It’s Poncho Time: Upcycled Sweater Project

It’s poncho time. Keep your little girls toasty warm this winter season with a poncho.  Whether your little girl or toddler is at play, at school, or just hanging out in the house, a poncho is a great lightweight covering that is not too bulky or constricting.

These ponchos are super easy to make using upcycled sweaters and fleece of all kinds.

upcycled sweater

Dress it up with a soft flower made of fleece, decorative trims, or other fun embellishments.

upcycled sweater

I put a few of my felted wool sweater balls on this one.

upcycled sweater

Mix and match colors to create a one-of-kind, whimsy, fun, playful poncho she will love wearing.

upcycled sweater
upcycled sweater

The neck binding is easy to sew and made with cozy fleece that fits comfortably and easily over the head.

upcycled sweater

Just think of all the different color combinations and fun contrasting neck bindings you can create.

upcycled sweater
upcycled sweater

The patterns are available in my etsy shop. Sizes 6 months to girls size 14 is available.

upcycled sweater

For those of you gals who would like to wear something a little whimsy and fun yourself, you can get the women’s poncho pattern HERE.

These make fun Christmas gifts for your little girls or grand kids! This really is a quick easy project.

Get out your sweater stash and make ponchos.

For sweater upcycling tips and know how, check out my FREE online course HERE.

upcycled sweater

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Upcycled T Shirts – Ideas and Tips

Do you have a t shirt that you love, but it doesn’t fit anymore or has gone out of style?  Give it a second life by making something else out of it. Here are some great upcycled t shirts ideas and tips.

Knits are “sew” fun to work with and there are so many fun things you can make with them, especially children’s clothing. Although, nowadays, little kids t-shirts are usually cheaper just to buy already made, than to purchase a pattern and fabric (not to mention the time involved). However, if you already have an existing shirt to use for fabric, and an EASY pattern, then making something can be quite fun and save you a lot of money!

Have you priced good-quality interlock knits lately?  They are not cheap and the selection is usually poor.

This piece of knit with 5 % spandex was $12.99 yard.

So if you have a shirt that has good quality fabric, good colors, and design, and you don’t wear it anymore, MAKE SOMETHING COOL WITH IT!

Here are a few ideas of what to do with upcycled t-shirts:

Here are a few before and after photos

 

polka dot knit shirt upcycled t shirts

I used this polka dot shirt to make a skirt……..

repurposed t shirts before

……….. and this shirt to make a comfy double fold yoga waistband for the skirt.

Ta dah!  I added a cute green pom pom trim on the bottom and look what a cute whimsy skirt these upcycled shirts made.

You can get the pattern for this skirt HERE.

Felted wool sweater strips make up this cute skirt. (pattern can be purchased in my Shop).

I used this shirt for the waistband.

This purple turtle neck wasn’t the most attractive shirt to wear, however, it was good fabric and worked really nicely for the yoga waistband on this simple fleece skirt. So instead of going in the trash, or to the thrift store, this shirt came in real handy!

I love cutting strips of t-shirts and winding them up into a ball. Not only do they look cute sitting in a basket, but there are a lot of fun things to make with strips of knit shirts. Here is a link to a video tutorial on how to cut up the shirt into t-shirt yarn.

Go to Pinterest and type in the search ” t-shirt strips” and you’ll find all kinds of fun things to make.

If you haven’t seen my post on how to make these adorable baby beanies from upcycled t-shirts, you can find it HERE.

In a previous post, I show and give some tips on how to cut out t-shirts to get them ready for projects and how to use the fabric for other things.

So, that was a mouth full. I hope you find it inspiring and gives you a few ideas.

Have fun sewing my friends!

 
Play Video

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Upcycled Denim Jeans – Ideas and Tips

Do you have a bin of denim jeans that you have been saving? It’s time to get them out and make something fun with them. There are so many simple things that you can make using Upcycled denim jeans. It is a durable fabric that can add a lot of classic style to quilts, bags and other fun projects.

Here are a few fun upcycled denim jeans projects I found on Pinterest.

This was one of my most favorite projects to make with upcycled jeans. I have made two of these. You can find the tutorial for the patchwork quilt in the link below.
Upcycled Denim Jeans

 Skirt

 

The list of things you can do with a pair of  denim jeans is ENDLESS.

Upcycled Denim : How to deconstruct a pair of jeans for recycling projects

Play Video

To get the most yardage out of a pair of jeans, I came up with a system on how to cut them open so they are easier to work with.

Lay the pair of  jeans out and cut along the inner leg seam, just on the outside of the seam allowance.

 

Keep cutting around the crotch and down the other side.

 

Now cut the front open, along the side of the zipper.

 

Cut the back open, cutting up along the side of the back center seam.

 

You will have two separate pieces that lay open and flat.

 

Now you have better access to cut out whatever it is you are making with your denim pieces.

I like saving the cute tags form jeans to embellish other sewing projects.

Simply unpick and top stitch on other projects.

Get yourself a bin and start saving the jeans that no longer fit or have a few stains or holes, and give them another life.

Keep Smiling,

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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Upcycled Sweater Slippers: Sewing Tips & Tricks

For all my upcycling friends, it’s time to get busy in Santa’s workshop. If you are still contemplating what to make for your loved ones for Christmas, why don’t you sew up a pair of upcycled sweater slippers?

Some of you may have already purchased one of my upcycled sweater patterns and have experience sewing with felted wool sweaters. Others of you may not even know what I am talking about. Making something out of a recycled sweater is so fun and rewarding. There are so many things you can create with this yummy fabric once it is felted. If you want more information about how to felt wool sweaters, you can check out the tutorial HERE.

Today I want to give you some tips and tricks to use while making up a pair of upcycled sweater slippers.

I am going to cover:

  • sole fabric options

  • cutting out tips

  • binding tips

  • hidden seam lining

Sweater slippers SOLE FABRIC OPTIONS

Depending on your needs, there are several options of fabric to use for the bottoms of your slippers. You can use

  • A regular weight felted wool sweater 

Using a regular sweater as the sole, is softer and a bit more cozy. However, if you have hard wood floors or tile in your home, they can be a little slippery.

  • Thick, dense felted wool sweater

Sometimes when you shrink down a sweater it can get really dense and thick. These sweaters are more difficult to use on other craft projects, but work well for the soles of slippers.  The only drawback here is that they can be a little more challenging to sew with because they are so thick.

  • Anti-slip fabric

These fabrics can be really nice to sew into the soles of sweater slippers for LITTLE PEOPLES feet.  Most likely you have seen the fabric on the bottoms of children’s one piece pajamas. You can find this fabric on the bolt in most fabric stores, or in pre-cut packages. It is also available online.

Another thing to do to prevent slipping and works better for adult slippers, is simply using rubber shelf liner. It is inexpensive and easy to work with. You can get it at most stores and online here.

*When using either of these two fabrics, you will be cutting out a regular sole piece with a regular weight sweater AND the anti-slip fabric. You will stack those two pieces together and treat them as the sole piece.

  • Leather  or suede

Sewing in a leather or suede sole can be really nice. It will make the slippers much more durable and can be less slippery. Working with leather can be a little more challenging, as it does not have any give to it, but not too big of a deal. I love sewing on leather. The only thing is that you will want to make sure it is a nice soft piece and not too thick.

CUTTING OUT

When cutting out pattern pieces with felted wool sweaters, you want to maximize the fabric. (It’s crafting gold) Place the pattern as close to the edge as possible. Arrange the pattern to use up the best space possible.

Felted sweaters will not fray. So don’t worry about that. If the sweater has a print, stripe or design, you will have to take that into consideration the placement of the pattern piece.

Play Video

Since you are making a pair of slippers, and there is a LEFT and RIGHT side, after cutting out one piece you will need to flip the pattern over and then place it back on the fabric. (Very Important)

Another tip I give in the pattern tutorial, is to USE SAFETY PINS to help mark the RIGHT SIDES of the fabric. Applying a safety pin to each pattern piece will help keep things straight when putting everything together!

Don’t forget to SAVE YOUR SCRAPS!  There are so many fun things to make with all your scraps.
Sweater balls, hearts, dryer balls, etc. can all be made with small pieces of sweater fabric.

BINDING

I came up with this technique that saves time and is much easier when sewing binding on something. However, this technique can only be used if you are using fleece or a stretchy piece of felted wool. The reason is, is that fleece and felted sweaters DO NOT FRAY! I Love applying fleece binding.  You can read more about how to do it here.

You can also access my FREE online binding course HERE.

HIDDEN SEAM LINING

This is such a cool way to apply the lining to a pair of sweater slippers without all the bulk and having a seam showing. Using this technique can be a little difficult to wrap your head around, so I thought I would clarify the process and show you a little clip of my online class on how to do it.

Play Video

If you are like me, a visual learner, being able to watch someone do something is so much easier to learn from than just reading the instructions.

Crossover Slipper Online Course

I have created an in depth sewing course showing how to make the CROSSOVER SLIPPERS. The course includes the step by step process and the printable PDF pattern. You can get the scoop HERE.

****If you have a SKILLSHARE membership, you can access the crossover slipper course HERE.

I hope this was helpful, and I hope you take some time this season to create something fabulous using an upcycled sweater.

Please send me a note if you have any questions.

jan

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My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY: Hemming Pants And Shorts That Are Too Long

hemming pants

Here where I live, we are in the thick of the summer, and it is WARM. I decided I could use another pair of shorts. So instead of going out and buying a new pair, I took a pair of capris that I don’t wear much and cut them off. Hemming pants or shorts is really an easy sewing project. If you know how to sew a straight stitch, you got this!

While I was doing this, I thought I would bring you along for the ride. So here is a quick video tutorial.

Play Video

1- You Will Need

  • If you have a pair of shorts that you like the length of, use them as a length guide.
  • Pair of scissors
  • Pins
  • Chalk pencil, pen or regular pencil
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Seam gauge or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine (Can be sewn by hand if you are familiar with the hem stitch)

2- Determine How Long You Want Your Shorts or Pants

  • Add 3/4 inch to the finished edge and mark with pencil.

3- Using the pencil and ruler, mark the cutting line.

4- Cut along line

5- Fold cut pant leg over the top of the uncut leg.

  • Line up the waistline, crotch seams and inseams.
  • Using the already cut leg as a pattern, cut the other pant leg.

6- Folding, pressing and pinning

7- Sewing

  • Using a straight stitch on the sewing machine, sew along the top edge (about 1/4 inches from the bottom edge)

8- Back stitch

9- Clip threads

Ta dah!

Save some money and see if you have any pants that you can transform into some COOL, perfect length shorts.

jan3

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DIY Upcycled Poncho

Do you have a few sweaters kicking around that you don’t wear? Turn them into a fun, colorful DIY upcycled poncho.

Ponchos are not just for little girls!

diy Upcycled Poncho

Last fall I designed a few little girl poncho patterns and had the intentions of making them into women patterns, because ponchos are not just meant for little girls, right? Well, I put it off until I had someone request an adult size. It took me a while to tweak and get it right, but it tuned out kind of fun.

diy Upcycled Poncho

Look how cute they are made up using fleece. Just think of all the possibilities and color combinations. Ahhhh, imagine one made up using all black fleece or sweater material, how classy and sharp that would look! Something I will definitely do. If any of you make one of these up, please send me photo so we can share it.

What is fun about these ponchos, is that you can wear them several ways. Flip it sideways and off center and it has a little more whimsy, playful look than just straight on centered. If you use felted wool sweaters, and sew the seams using a single needle sewing machine, the poncho looks real cute worn inside out with the seams exposed.

diy Upcycled Poncho

I use fleece on the neck binding which gives it a soft, comfortable feel around the neck.

diy Upcycled Poncho

The neck binding is easy to sew using a technique I use that saves time and uses less steps than applying normal binding. LEARN HOW TO DO IT HERE.

These ponchos make a fun alternative to a light sweater.

Put a little playful back in your wardrobe!

The patterns are available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

Have fun sewing!

jan2

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Easy To Make Upcycled Skirts

upcycled skirts

It’s boot and skirt weather! The air is getting cool and crisp and what a great time to throw on your tights and skirts.  In the office, running errands or even keeping house, a skirt, some tights and a pair of boots are a great GO TO for any occasion. I love wearing skirts in the winter.

upcycled skirts

A few years ago I designed a skirt pattern for girls and had intentions of making a women’s pattern but never got around to it until now. These two skirt patterns are so easy to make up, and better yet, you can recycle some of your clothes to do it.

Whether you want the length of the skirt to be just above the knee or mid thigh, the pattern is adaptable. The comfortable fold down yoga waistband makes it easy to get on and off and is easy to sew.

Here are a few tips when choosing fabric or recycled clothing for your skirts.

  • Large sweaters either cotton/synthetic blends or wool blends are great for the eight panel skirt.
  • Check the clearance sections for long knit skirts or dresses. They have a lot of yardage and can be used either for another skirt or the waistbands of other skirts. (Check the fabric content. If they have a high percentage of spandex, and it is a good color and quality, most likely the clearance item will be cheaper than buying fabric. Spandex fabric at the fabric store can be quite expensive and the selection is usually poor).
  • Don’t forget to check the thrift stores and yard sales for sweaters and skirts to use as fabric yardage.
  • If using sweaters, be sure to check for any holes before cutting out.
  • Try to use fabric or sweaters that are similar in weight for the same project.
  • If using wool sweaters, either felt them before sewing, or make sure you hand wash the skirt in cold water. (Shrinking the sweater before may make it too dense to use for a skirt).
  • Use your creativity to come up with some fun color and texture combinations.
  • Add trim and embellishments if you want to get real creative.

The pattern for these easy to make upcycled skirts include women sizes 2-14 and is available in my Etsy shop or Craftsy shop.

upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts

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