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Cathedral jeans

Every household produces jeans to be up-cycled.  An excellent way to do this, is by having one of these in progress.

You’ll need:

  • Denim Jeans
  • Old shirts or other fabric.
  • An old saucer – to use as template
  • Old t-shirts or pieces of batting/wadding
  • Heavy Duty scissors
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • Sewing machine with thread in a neutral colour.
  1. Mark and cut the circles from the denim. This works wonderful in front of the telly watching sports with hubby. Use a pair of heavy duty scissors.
  2. Don’t worry if you include pockets or seams. This adds character to the quilt.
  3. Measure the diameter of the cut circles.  Draw a square using the diameter to measure from corner to corner.
  4. Mark your circles with this square.  The marked line will be the stitching line.
  5. Sew the circles together in a line and then lines together, the size of your quilt.
  6. Fill the squares with plaid shirt squares and fold the denim back to form the finished square.  You can, include a piece of batting/wadding or a piece of old t-shirt under the plaid to give it a little loft.
  7.  Stitch the curves in place.
  8. You may want to clip the curves to the stitching lines and brush it to give a fluffy look.






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The up-cycling of old clothes

A couple of years ago, I joined a Facebook Group called Up-cycled Cloth Collective. This site was started by Melanie Brummer and now has a following of nearly 40k members. I have seen what a difference 40k people can make to upcycling or recycling of textiles worldwide. It has definitely changed my point of view.

Runner ducks in the garden at 40 on Ilkey B&B
Runner ducks at 40 on Ilkey B&B

Descending from a very thrifty mother that grew up during the depression years of the 1930s and the war years thereafter, we were brought up not to waste. This has now, in my latter years, rippled out in almost all spheres of my life. We run a productive worm farm at the guest house for scraps and paper, we keep runner ducks for pest control, eggs and fertilizer and I recycle fabric. Not much of a fashion freak, I buy durable clothes and wear it until it is not decent or reparable anymore. This is where the problem comes in, as I’m not able to dispose of these clothes. I have never, and probably never will throw a piece of clothing in the bin. I am too ashamed of the state of clothing to take it to a gift shop as no-one deserves to get it.  I therefore keep it.

The beginning of 2017 marked a turning point. I identified a couple of projects to work away the bulk of the clothing.  The first of the projects I decided on is a strip quilt from hubby’s old shirts.

Imigqa Yomlingo + The Zulu translation for "Magic stripes" Strip quilt made for my son Kenny.
Imigqa Yomlingo + The Zulu translation for “Magic stripes” Strip quilt made for my son Kenny.

Every shirt is de-buttoned and cut into usable pieces.  From the larger pieces I cut 7 ½” squares to use as base of the blocks.  What is left, I cut into 1 ½” strips to mix into my (generous amount of) fabric off-cuts.  I use 1 or 2 layers of old t-shirts as batting and quilt as you go the strips into position, starting in the center of the block.  The block gets squared off to 7”.  All the off-cuts go into the dog bed bag.

Eighteen months down the line, I haven’t made much of a dent in the scrap bin fabric – as a matter of fact the scraps seem to have accumulated, but the tower of squares grows each day as I sew a block or two to get my eye in for serious sewing.  I’ll join the blocks with the quilt-as-you-go method once they are all done.

This strip quilt will probably end up as a picnic quilt and get smeared by little dirty hands and muddy paw prints, but I can already see it becoming part of our busy family. It warms my heart to know that every piece of fabric and those within, are re-loved in their second life.

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Stash Busting?

I have inherited a lot of fabric. From my Mom, from my Sister and some from my friends. I also was in the bad habit to buy fabric that I liked, with no specific project in mind.  All these factors lead to an accumulated fabric stash of unneeded cloth.

At the beginning of 2018, I decided to downscale this stash and have been actively busy with it since. I have found some fabric in this stash of dubious origin and/or dubious fiber. As I have not been able to trash these fabrics, I have been on the look out in which projects I can use them.

This brings me to today’s tutorial of Japanese folded hexagons.  This pattern can be hand stitched or made with a machine. Personally I prefer the hand stitched  version as this is something that I can drag with me wherever I go and have to wait.  The flowers come together surprisingly fast.  But I have to warn you, it is pretty addictive.  This pattern is quilt as you go, so once it is finished, it is indeed finished. No need to quilt.

The pattern is very forgiving to the fabric that is used. I mainly stay with cotton on the bigger fabric that folds over the core, but for core fabrics, anything goes.  Polyester, wool, silk, thicker and thinner all works well.  Even the batting / wadding used on the inside, can be flannel, t-shirt fabric, other knits or pieces of wool, bamboo or polyester batting.

Download the Hexagon Template

Try this pattern and send me a picture!

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The Quarter Inch Corner Marker

The quarter inch  corner marker is used to accurately mark a quarter inch from the corner. Small in size, this is a handy tool to use when hand piecing small patches or to accurately measure tricky intersections as in the eight pointed star , Le Moyne Star, Tumbling blocks and other patchwork that requires inset- or Y seams.

Corners measured to be marked are 30, 45 inner and outer, 90, 120 and 135 degrees. This marker is also indispensable to make perfect mitered borders.

Buy it here!