Have you ever tried quilting with old clothes? Using upcycled materials as the fabric for quilting is a great way to maximize your resources and curb fabric shopping. It’s also a great way to bring new life to pre-loved clothing. Many keepsake quilting projects are made from old shirts, jeans, ties and other fabric.
Whether you’d like to create a family heirloom or just be a more resourceful quilter, here are some great ideas for quilting with old clothes!
Quilting with shirts
Photo via Lindsay Sews
One of the most common ways to start quilting with old clothes is to cut up some shirts and work them into your patchwork design. The Framed Shirts Quilt seen above uses a mixture of designer quilting cottons and men’s dress shirts for each of the quilt blocks.
To make your own, press your shirts and cut them into the basic shapes needed for any quilt pattern.
Tip: For lightweight or stretchy materials, you may want to add interfacing to the wrong side of the shirt fabric before cutting.
Photo via Craftsy member Jodie Hickman
T-shirt quilting is another popular way to make a quilt from old clothes. This is a popular project to make before sending off a student to college. This T-shirt Quilt by Jodie features mementos from three dozen tees. Remember to add interfacing to the back of your shirts to keep your quilt blocks square.
Quilting with ties
Photo via Craftsy member Dkydesigns
If you’ve saved up years worth of ties from a family member or friend, this Silk Table Runner project is a great option for turning those pieces into a keepsake quilt or home decor project. This Craftsy member combined deconstructed silk ties and paired them with dupioni silk for a luxurious, improv-pieced table runner.
Photo by Craftsy member Caraline2
If you don’t have enough ties around for an entire quilt, why not use a few favorites to make a patchwork pillow? Caraline2 learned how to make this Tied Cushion while enrolled in Peggy Martin’s Quick-Strip Paper Piecing class. It’s made from just two neckties, which are opened up and cut into diamond shapes. When quilting with old clothes, consider the possibilities for helping someone to remember a lost loved one with a handmade project. Or, perhaps you can sneak a couple of your spouse’s seldom-worn ties and turn them into a quilt to commemorate a special anniversary.
Quilting with jeans
Photo via Deb Reed
If you have jeans with holes or several pairs that don’t quite fit, why not use them as quilting material? This inspiring Denim and Flannel Rag Quilt pairs old jeans with a soft and cozy quilt back for any easy upcycling project. We love how Deb included the jean pockets, which are convenient for stashing a remote control!
Photo via Craftsy member Marie Withrow
If you have just one pair of jeans to spare, but not enough for a whole quilt, we love this idea to make a smaller patchwork project from upcycled denim. The Recycled Jean Clutch pairs a tiny jeans pocket (think children’s sizes) with scraps of checkered and striped denim for a dainty zipper pouch that’s as durable as it is adorable.
More upcycling ideas
Photo via The Passionate Maker
Here’s an interesting idea. Quilter Louise Coombes made this rainbow-colored quilt from a unique material: prize-winning ribbons. She collected more than 180 ribbons for the design, which were earned by a 4-H member who showed animals at county fairs while growing up.
Photo via Craftsy member Hideshobby
Here’s another great idea for using a common accessory as quilting material. The Hav-a-Hank Pinwheel Quilt is made entirely from cotton bandanas, cut and pieced into half-square triangles. The quilt back is made from square bandanas. If you make this project, take this tip from the creator: “Bandanas and hankies are not the easiest medium to work with as there are never two exactly the same, and they all very slightly is size.” Nevertheless, we love the patterns and fresh, bright colors!
Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow to weigh in on the debate: to starch or not to starch.