Weekly Quote

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.---C. S. Lewis

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 Uses for Your Old Jeans. Recycle.Reclaim.Upcycle.

I love denim, especially denim jeans.  The more worn, the more loved, the better.  And I love taking those old jeans and giving them new life.  I have been recycling, reclaiming and upcycling jeans since I was a teenager (and that has been awhile).

A couple weeks ago I made a list of 101 things to do with an old pair of jeans.  Here are the first six items on that list.  
  1. Mend or patch your jeans.  As a teen this was my favorite thing to do with my jeans.  
  2. Restyle your jeans.  Check out Pimp My Jeans!
  3. Cutoff into shorts.
  4. Placemats.
  5. Drink coasters. Check out MyRecycledBags for a coaster pattern that uses the hems!
  6. Potholders.
I will be making some of the 101 items on my list and sharing the instructions with you (also I will be offering most items I make for sale on my etsy site).  

Today's tutorial is making denim potholders.

Click on the picture to zoom in.

Difficulty Level: Easy, beginner, great learn to sew project.
Materials: Denim jeans, old cotton clothes or calico, matching or contrasting thread
Tools: Scissors (sharp), ruler, sewing machine
Optional tools: Cutting mat, rolling cutter

Step 1.
Using the legs of a pair of jeans, cut two 8-3/4 inch squares and two 8 inch squares.  If you have a cutting mat and rolling cutter use them there is no faster way to cut straight lines.  If not, just measure and draw the square on your material with a Sharpie and cut out with scissors.
Step 2.
Cut two 8-3/4 inch squares of cotton calico.  I used material from my extensive collection of quilting fabric.  However, in keeping it green you could just as well use old cotton clothes.  Make sure you don't use fabric with polyester in it.  To test for polyester burn an edge of your fabric.  If it forms little hard balls around the edge it has polyester in it.
Step 3.
Stack the larger pieces of material (like a sandwich) with the denim in the middle and the calico on top.  The right side of the material showing on both the front and the back.  At this point  you can sew across the diagonal to stabilize the sandwich, if you want.
Step 4.
Position the smaller denim squares on the front and back of the sandwich so they are framed by the larger squares.
Step 5.
Sew the stack together by stitching across both diagonals.
Step 6.
Sew a seam around the edge 1/2 inch inside the edge of the smaller square.  Sew a second seam 1/2 inch inside the first seam. Your seam should be even on both sides of the potholder.
Step 7.
Throw your potholder(s) into the washing machine with a load of towels, dry (I use a dryer but I think hanging them on a clothesline would work), trim any long straggly threads and voila! you have denim potholders with frayed edges.
Embellish the top denim squares with patches, embroidery, rickrack, etc. prior to Step 4.
Use contrasting thread.

I searched the internet and found other patterns for denim potholders that called for aluminum coated batting in the center for heat resistance.  I have not found that to be necessary.

This tutorial could also be used to make placemats and coasters, just adjust the size of the "squares".  And in the case of the placemats make rectangles instead of squares.

Feel free to share my tutorial (it's not rocket science), and spread the green crafting word.

Let me know if you try making a denim potholder (or placemat or coaster) using this tutorial.  Was the tutorial easy to follow?  Any suggestions for making it better?  I didn't take pictures because this is an easy pattern?  Do you think I needed pictures anyway?

No comments: