National Upcycling Day is this week and as quilters who constantly create little fabric scraps every time we work on a new project, we are big fans of upcycling!
If you’ve attended our recent slate of Stash Pot Pie classes, you know we love to use scraps in the most beautiful ways we can. We’re committed to busting through scraps because it’s less wasteful, plus doesn’t it break your heart to toss out all those beautiful bits of fabric? Just look at some of the stunning Stash Pot Pie quilts our Thimbleful of Sewists & Crafters have made so far this year!
So with scrap busting in mind, we present more of our favorite scrap busting projects. Some of these use fabric scraps, and some call for upcycling materials you may have lying around, like an old pair of jeans or a beloved sweatshirt you don’t wear anymore but just can’t bear to throw away. You can also refer to Our Favorite Scrap Projects post from last year for even more ideas!
This beginner-level Denim Clutch can be finished in an evening, and you can make several or do a patchwork look if you have more than one pair of jeans. We love the chic parallelogram shape and the opportunity to show off a really nice statement button.
Find instructions at We All Sew here.
Having a nice Scissor Case just makes good sense. You want to protect your scissors and keep them in tip-top shape, and if you can use up some scraps when making a case, all the better. We like to think of this as a more general sewing tools case.
As you can see above, there are tons of sewing tools that could use protective cases. If you make each one with a different fabric, you will know at a glance what you’re reaching for when you need it. It’s kind of a genius idea!
Find instructions for the Scissor Case in the Hoop here.
In this day and age, does anyone leave the house anymore without hand sanitizer? Trade in those weird rubbery holders or the inconvenience of simply throwing the sanitizer into your purse with this delightful Hand Sanitizer Holder that uses up the smallest of scraps.
A key ring makes this holder easy to attach to your keys, and a smartly placed elastic loop holds the sanitizer in place when it’s hanging upside down. This is a great project to bookmark for the holidays as an easy, quick stocking stuffer.
Find instructions for the Hand Sanitizer Holder here.
This Color Wheel Mug Mat from Crafty Staci is so cute, and the scrap sizes so minimal that you could make several of these without making a huge dent in your stash. This would make an adorable gift, too. Wouldn’t this mug mat look extra sweet with a little machine embroidery or a monogram? We think this would also be a wonderful gift for someone with a new baby because learning the color wheel is important! We want our future sewists to have an excellent sense of color theory.
Find the step-by-step instructions at Crafty Staci here.
Speaking of babies, these Quilted Baby Booties are too adorable for words. If you’re using scraps they should take only about an hour or so to whip up and seem like an excellent, unique baby shower gift. And if you’re looking at these and thinking But… I want them! We’ve got you covered: a slightly different but still cute adult version is here.
Find the instructions for Quilted Baby Booties here.
Don’t toss that beloved old sweatshirt! Instead, turn it into a unique tote you’ll want to carry everywhere. This intermediate-level project can be finished in an evening, and is another scrap buster that doubles as a fabulous gift. We love the ease and functionality of the drawstring closure, as well as the opportunity to play with your choice of straps. Have fun with contrasting colors and patterns, and remember: you will want a nice lining, so feel free to indulge in a little fabric shopping while you’re upcycling. Win-win!
Find instructions for the Upcycled Sweatshirt Tote here.
Another tote-ally adorable tote is the Flannel Shirt Tote. We absolutely adore that the original shirt pockets function as tote pockets—it’s such a smart design idea, and who can say no to a pocket??
You can also make this with any old shirt you have lying around, and keep in mind that the size of the finished tote is dependent on the size of the shirt. So if you want to make a smaller bag, aim for a smaller shirt. Also, the rolled leather handles are nice, but you can use the sleeves of the shirt to make matching handles if you prefer. This is a great project for an experienced beginner and can be finished in just an evening.
Find the instructions for the Flannel Shirt Tote here.
Can you believe this pillow was once a jacket? Sewists are truly some of the most inventive people we know. We love the patterned fabric strips added as a coordinating element and the opportunity to showcase a big statement button. Our favorite design aspect might be that the sewist left the original jacket’s pockets on the back of the pillow—perfect for hiding snacks or the TV remote!
Find instructions for the Upcycled Jacket Pillow here.
We hope these projects help inspire you to upcycle some old clothes and bust through some scraps this season. And if you’d like to bust your scraps into a gorgeous quilt, remember to check out our Stash Pot Pie sessions happening every month this year!
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