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Going Green with Repurposed Quilting

September 17, 2009

Last year we asked our email subscribers what their sewing New Year's Resolutions were, and the most common responses (by far) were to learn how to quilt and to quilt more.  My quilting experience is limited to a small baby quilt I made for my brother when I was 11 and the bulky beast of a denim quilt I made for my husband while we were still dating.  When I say "bulky beast" I truly mean it; I ignorantly went for a fairly heavy denim, the loftiest batting I could find, and I nice, thick flannel.  It weighs a ton.  But I digress...

Seeing all those resolutions reminded me of the summers I spent with my family in Utah, sorting through boxes of nine-patch blocks my grandmother and great grandmother had made from old clothes and cutting blocks of denim from jeans worn by various family members.  I remember sitting around talking with my grandmother and aunts as we tied quilts together, examining pieces of fabric that used to be my grandfather's shirt or my mother's girlhood nightgown.   I wouldn't consider myself a quilter, but the importance of it on my development as a sewer is undeniable.  With that in mind, I would like to share the work of one of the most talented women I know and hopefully offer some inspiration.  (Click the link to read more)

I may be biased, but I think my Aunt Jennifer is a fabulous quilter.  She is skilled in construction and design, but what I find more intriguing is her ability to turn piles of old clothing that would otherwise end up in the thrift store donation bin into cherished keepsakes.   I have piles upon piles and boxes upon boxes of old clothing that I have saved in hopes that one day I will create something as marvelous and unexpected as her projects.  Below are some of my Aunt's work.


ShirtQuilt.JPG This quilt is by far one of my favorites.  My grandfather's signature style was his plaid, button-up shirts.  After he passed, Jennifer gathered them up and made a quilt for my grandmother.  I know it's hard to see, but the little dark dots are buttons from the shirts.  I wish there were some way to duplicate this quilt so I could have one.  It truly is a family treasure.


 This quilt is made from various slacks worn by both my grandfather and great grandfather.  Here the colors are sleek, the pattern modern and the quilting style fun.  It's hard to imagine that this used to be church slacks worn by two adorable, little old men.

tiequilt.JPG TieQuilt2.JPG













Both of the above quilts are made from neckties (that's right, neckties) and pieces of velvet and jacquard.  I'm sure not all of the ties were worn by family members, but a great many of them were.  According the Jen, she also attached a necktie tag at each corner.


This quilt is made from wool skirts and jackets once worn by my grandmother and great grandmother.  Warm, sturdy and full of family history.  Love it!

I know most crafters are natural stashers, and if you are anything like me you don't need any encouragement when it comes to hording anything that might be used in a projct, but I hope this post will make you think twice before you toss an old sweater or torn pair of jeans.  There is possibility in everything if you look at it just right.  I can't think of a better way to save money, reuse and repurpose old items, and create a great family heirloom that can be treasured for years and by generations to come.

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Utah! email me off list

I too am saving/hording clothes from my husband, kids, and myself. I'm hoping to make quilts out of all of them someday. I've got enough jeans saved to make at least a couple of quilts.

I loved seeing your family quilts. They are wonderful!!!

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 17, 2009 7:51 PM.

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