Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

PostHeaderIcon Recycled Blue Jeans Project: Cat Toy

Toy Mouse Tutorial

The best part about this project is it uses all scrap materials or recycled blue jeans. Personally, I like using recycled jeans because the cats can’t tear them up nearly as fast as other weaker fabrics. We have a few in perfect condition floating around the house, and some with just normal kitty ware-and-tear. Out of all the cat toys we’ve made over the years, I’m pretty sure only one or two became subject to total destruction.

This summer, my daughter and I are planning to create a Kindle book together. I figured this would be a fabulous “bonding” activity for us to do, plus help her earn some money while she’s away at camp. One of the projects to be included is the blue jean cat toys we have made for our cats in the past.

Please note that I really dislike sewing machines, so this tutorial involves all hand sewing. If you prefer to use a machine, I’m sure it is possible. However, with the tiny stitches and pieces involved, I do recommend it be hand stitched, at least in some places.

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PostHeaderIcon Sewing Up a Storm ~ The Great Fabric Hunt

Whenever I see a sale from Joann.com, I’m on it. Doesn’t matter if I need fabric or not, I buy it anyway. It’s in my head that eventually I will need it for a project, and that it’s just too cute to pass up. This obsession really has come in handy many a time for my random project and ideas. Such as when I finally latched on to the perfect fabric for my cousin’s baby, a cute collage of giraffes and baby boy decor.

A baby blanket seemed easy enough. I had batting left over from a project years ago, so that was no issue. Scraps from other projects worked for making it a “real” quilt instead of just one straight piece of fabric. It was all coming together beautifully, block by by block, hand-sewing each piece. The problem started when I started the hunt for another yard of fabric I knew I had purchased over a year ago.

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PostHeaderIcon Recycling Clothing

Did you know the average American throws out 68 pounds of clothing per year?

Recently I took a class in Global Change, and the emphasis was on how much we pollute our Earth. This sparked me to look up that scary titbit of info mentioned. How wasteful we are!

Since I have a passion for sewing and ability to wear out blue jeans, the only natural thing to do was “Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle”.

It started with the discovery of my worn-out favorite jeans. Wanting to keep them in my clutches forever, I decided to make a blue jean purse out of them. It got my creative juices flowing and I couldn’t wait to make more of them. I began digging for other jeans once deemed “favorite” long ago worn out, and found quite a few. Fabric at Joanne’s started jumping out at me too, as “perfect” for a jean purse.

It wouldn’t be long before other projects and ideas would come to mind. For example, over the summer we adopted a new kitten, so naturally he needed a few toys. A quick scan of the cat toy aisle in various stores had me saying “I could make that”, or at the very least, something like it. I’ve always done better creating my own patterns and instructions (I don’t do well following orders!), so I made one for a cat nip mouse. Planing every detail of the toy was so much fun! My creativity jumped several notches after a trip to Hobby Lobby in search of cat-toy parts.

El Senior Mousey

A few useful items had to be worked in, such as my daughter’s lunch bag and a organizer made of scraps (still being completed, piece by piece!). After finding a fantastical fuzzy fabric at Joann’s, I got carried away making pillows for anyone that wanted them.

While my hobby will never be more than just that, I can at least feel good about saving money and taking pride in items I make myself. Isn’t that kind of the point? I do hope you’ve gotten a few ideas on ways to recycle clothing and a jump start on your current projects. Please feel free to share! I’m always curious to see what others are making themselves. :)

PostHeaderIcon Back To School Sewing – Lunch Bags

I’ve been in such a sewing mood lately I just had to make something useful for the kids. The boy declined a handmade lunch bag, but he’s 11 so I forgive him. My 8 year old daughter, on the other hand, was super excited about it.

The fabric she picked out came from Joann. Originally it was to make a quilt from, but I couldn’t resist using it for some back-to-school stuff. Especially because of the girly sports theme.

I absolutely stink at making my own patterns or instructions for others to share, although seem to do alright when I design them on the fly. Sometimes it involves ripping out a few seams, but usually projects come out looking like they are suppose to.

Obviously this one isn’t my best work, but the girl is happy with it, so that’s all that matters. I started by reading over a few tutorials on lunch sacks, including a pretty easy lunch sack from Simplicity.

Since we’ve been on a mission to “go green” and recycle, I didn’t have special fabric or “real” insulation, nor did I want to buy it just for one project. However, we did include batting so it will keep foods semi-cool. The up side is it’s 100% washable in the machine, and I don’t have to worry about special care instructions.

I also added a strap to make it a bit easier to tote around, something I didn’t see much of on other patterns.  It’s a simple “sew together and pull inside out” strap, which totally works for a little girl.

Hopefully my pattern skills will improve so I can share more projects in the new future!

PostHeaderIcon Sewing Jean Purses – Blue Jeans Recycling

A few years back, I became flat-out too busy to sew. Plus I never did get the hang of using a sewing machine (didn’t help my only two sewing machines are older than I am!), and my attempts at clothing weren’t so great.

But a few weeks ago I was cleaning closets and sorting clothes, when I came across an old pair of jeans I deemed my favorite ever. Sadly, they are torn to the point they just aren’t wearable anymore. I’ve never been able to find a suitable replacement for them, so for the last several years I’ve hung on to them for some unknown reason. I’m so glad I did. Since these were my favorite jeans, I decided to give them a second life by making a purse.

I made one long ago for my mom, which she used for years and got a ton of compliments on. I figured it was time to make myself one, especially since I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect purse to fit my netbook.

I started by cutting the legs off the jeans like so:

Now you can see, I don’t cut as straight as I could. The jeans were torn in weird places, too, so this was about as good as I can do.

Next, I cut a piece of fabric that will be used as the lining. Again, I did the best I could cutting it, even though the jeans were an odd shape….

The fabric my daughter found at Wal-Mart one day, with a request for a pillow, that I figured I’d get to someday. She’s a little mad I made my purse out of it first instead of her pillow, but I’ll make up for it soon (more on that project in a bit).

Very carefully I folded the edges back and pinned them to the inside of the purse. Then I sewed the fabric to the jeans by hand, followed by the edges. For a strap, I used a piece of the legs from the jeans. I still have a few embellishments left to do, but here’s the mostly finished purse…

These are so super easy, it makes me want to make more. We have no shortage of worn jeans around here what with two kids, that’s for sure, so why not make something useful with them?

This project has made me want to sew more, too, and I’ve come to realize there is nothing wrong with hand-sewing everything. It gives me a greater sense of accomplishment when I don’t use a sewing machine, and I don’t have to fight when the machine gets jammed. Also, my significant other and I have a new habit of watching instant-play TV shows on Netflix in the evening, so I’ve got the perfect time to sit and sew.

Right now I’m working on a pillow-case of sorts, made using the zipper bag a new pillow came in. Next up will be a few pillows made with regular cotton prints (including the fabric I made the purse with) and really cool fuzzy and snuggly black fabric I found at Joann’s over the weekend.

I absolutely love Joann’s, and it’s a miracle I made it out of there only spending $25. The upside was we got a yard of the expensive-ish black fabric, and a yard each of 4 cotton flannel prints for a blanket my daughter requested. That’s less per yard than we spent at Wal-Mart, and most likely better quality. Hurray Joann’s!

What projects are you working on? What else have you made with old blue jeans?