How to recycle pre-loved fabric? And most importantly, how to use pre-loved fabric?
Of course we did not invent recycling. Recycling is as old as history of human kind. Our ancestors did it out of necessity. I remember my grandma and also my mum keeping leftover anything, and I am not just talking food. Maybe that's why I became a
'keeper of everything' as well.
Recycling is finally a 'THING' again and an important one at that.
And nothing combines importance, necessity and beauty quite like a quilt or a mosaic. Have I told you that I am collecting broken dishes and tiles as well, nicely sorted by color? But that's a story for another time.
We're talking fabric today.
Why recycle fabric?
There a a few reasons why we should recycle fabric:
1. fabrics are pretty expensive:
We all know, especially if you've been sewing for a while, sewing isn't a cheap hobby.
A yard or meter of fabric can easily cost between 18-24 Euros. And depending on your project this can get really expensive.
2. for environmental reasons :
The cost of the fabric isn't everything, let's talk environment.
Fabric has to be produced, that means cotton fields, pesticides, lots of water etc.
Then it has to be bleached and printed, packed and shippped worldwide.
This is just the quick version , but you get the drift, if puts a strain on our environment.
So even if we can reduce this by a little bit it makes a difference in the big picture.
3. memories / history:
Some of the items , that we recycle remind us of people, places or experiences, and are so worth keeping. Your dads favorite shirt, your daughters first dress, your grandmas sheets, whatever it is, it can turn a sewing project into a very special gift or keepsake.
And even if it's not a personal memory, it can be a 'feel' of time or history.
and last but not least
4. the beauty of vintage prints
This is my favorite, since some of those vintage fabrics, just have the nicest and coolest prints, weaves or textures.
They will turn your sewing project into an awesome item.
Where do you find 'pre-loved' fabric for quilting?
There are numerous places to find beautiful used fabrics.
But not all of them are useful for quilting or sewing projects.
Look out for anything cotton or cotton blend.
You will probably find wash care labels in clothes, but it's harder with fabric remnants or home decor fabrics.
Cotton fabrics are usually stiff and can be crushed easily and the crease will stay in the fabric. Whereas man made fibers such as polyester, nylon and rayon etc. are smoother and creases will not stay as much in the fabric.
You can always test the fabric with burning a little corner, if you're really not sure.
Natural fibers will burn as opposed to man made fibers that will melt.
Here you can find anything from clothing to fabric remnants, pillowcases, table linnens, curtains/drapes and sheets.
Fine cotton sheets are awesome for the backing of quilts. Coarser cotton sheets can be turned into bags, pouches dish towels and much more.
Let your imagination run wild and try to experiment, you'll be surprised at what you will find.
Flea markets :
As with thrift stores, check out anything that catches your attention. A cute cotton dress with a flower print, a nice cotton mens dress shirt with an awesome stripe, some 70's table linnens with huge orange flowers.... the possibilities are endless.
Same as the above, when you see items that catch your attention, check for stains, holes or tears. Depending on what you'll be using the fabric for you can still use one that has some imperfections. Sheet especially need to be checked in the middle they are often faded or thin in the center from longer use. It might not be a big deal , because you decide to cut it up anyways, but knowing what you get is always good.
Now that you found a whole bunch of fabrics what's next?
First of all I like to wash the fabrics. Most of your finds might be washed already, but I like to make sure I wash them again for two reasons, one, I want to be sure there are no bugs, dust, smell etc. and two, I want to make sure none of the fabrics bleed after I've sewn them up.
For pre-loved clothing I cut the items up into usable fabric pieces. This means I will cut off collars, cuffs, buttons etc. and fold the usable parts as I would fold my fat quartes.
For sheets etc. I will cut stained or teared parts and fold the rest as well.
Then, being a color freak I like to sort the fabric by color so I can easily find them when
I want to use these treasures for new sewing projects.
Here are a few projects I made with pre-loved fabric:
Quilts I made with recycled fabric:
These are just a few of the quilts I made with recycled or pre-loved fabrics.
All the white fabrics are pre-loved sheets, the blue quilt is almost entirely made with mens dress shirt fabrics and sheets, I just added a few quilting cottons to give it a more modern look.
What do you think you guys? Wanna go fabric thrifting?
A quilted fabric book cover is not only extremly pretty on your coffe table,
it also comes in very handy if your reading is as 'deep' as mine.
Life is serious enough, so I sometimes enjoy 'easy' literature also called romance novels.
Especially on holidays, or to wind down after a long day.
But obviously not everyone needs to know what I'm reading, right?
Literally no one needs to judge my book by it's cover :-)
So why not sew yourself a fun and easy, adjustable, quilted fabric book cover
with the sunglasses quilt block pattern of mine?
Materials/ fabrics needed:
> the finished sunglasses quilt block ( or any other )
> fabric for the outer book cover (approx. 10"x 20" including quilt block depending on book size)
> fabric for the lining ( approx. 10"x 20" depending on book size)
> fusable light weight batting ( 10"x 20" depending on book size)
> 10" elastic band
> ruler, clips, scissors, thread and sewing machine
I use a 1/4" seam allowance unless noted otherwise.
The size of your fabric depends on the size of your book.
I made my book cover to fit most average size hard cover novels,
which is roughly 5 1/2 "x 8" with a 1" spine. The book cover is adjustable in length.
This is how you calculate the total size of your fabrics and batting needed:
> total length will be:
book front + spine + book back + 2 x 3 1/2" fold + 1/2" seam allowance
> total width (hight or top to bottom) will be:
hight of book + 1" .
The sunglasses quilt block I used is 8"x 8" finished, I added a strip of fabric 2 1/2"
to the right and a piece of fabric 9 1/2" to the left.
I also added a 1" strip of some very cute selvage to the bottom.
The finished piece of outer fabric is 9" x 19 1/2" , same size for lining and batting.
Iron on the fusable batting to the outer book cover fabric then clip the elastic band at about 2" from the back edge of the book (if your size is different then this one) or 6" from the outer edge ( the short side of the fabric).
I did some hand stitching around my glasses, you could also quilt the outer fabric with simple straight line quilting, or what ever quilting you prefer.
Now place outer fabric and lining, right sides together and clip or pin
( I prefer clips) in place.
Stitch all the way around and leave a 4" opening at the side (the one that will be folded into the book's back) for turning.
Cut off the edges for nicer corners.
Turn the book cover through the opening on the side, and close the opening,
by folding the seam allowance inside and stitching the opening close with a 1/8" seam from edge.
Fold in the front pocket 3" - 3 1/2" and stitch top and bottom with 1/8" seam.
Fold the back pocket under the elastic.
And well done your adjustable, quilted book cover is finished.
This quilted book cover will be a wonderful addition if you're gifting a book
or will work just as well for a diary or note book.
Any other ideas? Let me know.
I cant wait to see what you guys come up with. Share your creations on social media and use #joejuneandmae so I can cheer your makes.
What is fussy cutting patchwork and how to use it in Foundation Paper Piecing, English Paper Picing or quilting in general?
I have been quilting for a long time, and I remeber the days when I was cutting fabric for a quilt and was giddy with joy when the pattern of the fabric ended up centered in the shape I was cutting.
Little did I know back then, that this was actually 'a thing'.
It's not only a thing, it also has a name........
It's called FUSSY CUTTING.
As I went on, on my quilting journey I noticed that some people were really 'lucky' and got their print centered all the time.... really lucky indeed.
I have to confess till then, I was still trying to use up as little fabric as possible and it didn't even occur to me, that someone would deliberatly just cut an image out of a piece of fabric.
So there is was, FUSSY CUTTING .
A whole new world opened up to me.
Fussy cutting is when you cut your fabric to showcase a specific area of a print rather then cutting random pieces.
There are different reasons for fussy cutting depending on your project or quilting technique.
You use fussy cutting to:
1. Feature a particular part of a print
2. Use a specific part of a print in your quilt pattern to enhance the pattern.
These reasons also determine the techniques and tools you use.
So lets start with featuring a particular part of a print:
1. This method is usually used with English paper piecing, but also with squares, triangles or other geometrical shapes.
You can use acrylic templates to cut your shapes or make your own templates out of cardboard.
The advantage of acrylic templates is, they're easy, reusable, see through and include a 1/4" seam allowance.
If you make your own template, which is absolutly fine, draw your shape on cardbord and add 1/4" seam allowance, cut out the desired shape and you're left with the seam allowance 'frame' , which you then use to cut your fabric along the outside line.
Either way, place your template on your particular part of your print and cut along the outside lines with your rotary cutter or fabric scissors. I prefer a rotary cutter, so the fabric can stay put on my cutting mat and I don't move the template by accident.
For geometrical shapes its best to use an acrylic ruler, these can be easily placed on top of your print and your design can be centered accordingly.
Make sure you don't forget the seam allowance, trust me it happened to me more than once, that I cut a cute image only to notice afterwards that I had fogotten the seam allowance.
Fussy cutting to enhance your foundation paper piecing pattern:
2. This is a bit more tricky , as you're not only working with a mirrored image, but also with weird angles in the pattern sometimes.
Let's start with the easier part placing a particular part of a print on your foundation paper piecing segment.
This can be done to give an eye more life by using a dotted fabric, or by adding some print detail to an otherwise simpler background, as I did with the seals in the orca pattern.
This is fairly simple if the part of the segment that you wish to place the print on is part 1,
as shown in the photos below.
I always use a fabric glue pen, it just makes your life so much easier.
The dolphin and the orca pattern are featured in my new book. Which can be pre ordered here.
It becomes more challenging if it is any other number of a particular segment and has weird and pointed angles on top of it. But there are a few tricks.
1. First you place your segment wrong side (unprinted ) on wrong side of fabric.
Here I chose the pirates for part B1. I use a fabric glue pen, and glue the segment onto the fabric (glue only B1).
If you're planning on doing this a lot, a light box comes in very handy, but for starters just hold your segment and fabric against a light or your window.
2. Cut out, with aprox 1/4" seam allowance, around the perimeter of B1. You can use a ruler to do this and a rotary cutter, I usually just use fabric scissors and eye ball it.
(I trim the seam allowance after sewing part 2 and 3.)
Then sew part 2 and 3 with your chosen fabric for those parts.
3. Trim the seam allowance. I am using here the add-a-quarter-ruler, since I want this particular seam allowance to be super accurate.
4. Now place the segment part B4 (wrong side of paper on wrong side of fabric) over your fabric folding back the seam allowance of B3 and glue in place. ( just glue B4, with just a little bit of glue, you'll remove it later)
5. Cut out roughly and mark with water soluble pen, where fabrics should align.
6. Then trim along the raw edge of B3. Use a ruler and rotary cutter you want this to be accurate.
7. Place your pattern segment printed side down and flip the clued(yes un-glue!) fabric backwards. Right sides together with the previous fabric. Align raw edges and he marked lines. Then sew along the line between B3 and B4.
8. Fold the fabric over, an its exactly where you want it to be .
Finish this segment and then all the other segments, assemble your quilt block and
voila your little happy boat isn't just a happy boat, it actually tells a story.
Fussy cutting in foundation paper piecing takes for some practice but it is extremly rewarding and turns a simple quilt block into a stunning make.
You find all the boat patterns including the little happy boat here.
Is this something you guys would want to try?
Or do you have other techniques for fussy cutting?
I'm really curious so cant wait to hear from you all.
ask questions, learn and support the #blacklivesmatter movement....
Muted and listening that’s how it started last week on Instagram.
You know you have to do something when you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach
that does not let go.
This past week was planned completely different.
It was supposed to be colors and rainbows, fun, cute and happy as usual,
but I just couldn't.
The only conversation I can have right now is about racial injustice.
As a family of many colors, we face racism in a lot of ways, some are very subtle
others more blatant.
Sometimes it's so little that you barely notice or frankly get used to it. BUT WHY?
Why do people of color have to make the extra effort and strain themselves just to be treated the same way a white person would be treated?
I'm so saddened and shocked, AGAIN, by what’s going on in the US right now and the unnecessary and violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor
and countless others before that.
These are someone’s sons and daughters ….it could be ours!
And no, it's not just in the US, it's here in Europe as well as in many other countries.
It's my responsibility, as a mother and also with my public platform,
to use my voice and help with whatever I can to be part of the solution to end racial injustice and try to make this world a better place.
Therefore I have designed three different patterns that stand for
UNITY, LOVE and PROTECTION.
All proceeds through June 2020 of these patterns will be donated to NAACP,
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People , it was founded in 1909.
The NAACP is the US's first and largest grassroots-based civil rights organization;
check out their page for more info.
Also my dear friend Natalie Santini is donating the proceeds this month of her fantastic
Santorini Tote to the NAACP as well.
How about sewing a Santorini Tote with one of my patterns on it and
take a stand against racism?
And while you're at it, read her great blog on injustice and human rights.
I will do my part by asking myself uncomfortable questions as well as listening to the community and most importantly my children.
The events of last summer (BLM protests and COVID-19) saw many people rally to support Black-owned businesses. Sadly, since summer ended, people forgot to keep sharing and supporting these businesses.
I just found a new article with links to more than 150 Black-owned businesses. I was so happy to see that people still care about helping these companies thrive.
So there are always ways to keep supporting!
Have you ever wondered what you would've done during pivotal moments in histroy?
This is the question @wastefreemarie asked on her Instagram account.
And it was such a 'OH YES OF COURSE' - moment for me!
The answer is:
How you act NOW and I will add to this, how you act ALWAYS!
Check out her instagram for really excellent information.
I think now is a great time to listen.
Some examples of the beautiful work of all the pattern testers and makers online:
Share your makes on social media and use #joejuneandmae so we can cheer all your beautiful work, and if you want share it here on my blog.
Shop all the patterns here
And to finish, I want to share a textile Artist who makes my heart sing.
Her work is beyond amazing. The fabrics she uses and the expressions of her quilts are absolutly stunning.
I just cannot stop looking at them......
I am looking forward to hearing from you all, and seeing your makes with these patterns.
I am super proud and happy to announce, that we collected 860,78 Euros
with these patterns through the month of June 2020.
I decided to personally fill the gap, to get an even 1000 $,
which we donated on July 8th to the NAACP.
Thanx so much for everyone who participated, you guys rock !!! xx