Pillow to cushions – simple upcycle

Time to replace those tired pillows? It is a good excuse to use the old filling to create smart new dress cushions.

Just cut the (washed) old pillow in half and sew the open edges closed. I used my machine but hand sewing won’t take long.

I covered one with ticking style denim to match the recovered seat pad and the other with off cuts from an IKEA net curtain (which I decorated with fabric pens outlining the fabric weave design).

No buttons or zips for me just a simple envelope cover in both fabrics and job done.

Handy pouches

These lined pouches are made unusually following a crafts channel (Corinne Brad) tutorial. I used a pony tail band rather than the fabric loop suggested so I could stretch them around dog leashes and never forget pooh bags again.

To make sew the two short ends of lining and outer fabric rectangles together (wrong sides facing) then press over the flap to mark a crease. Sew from crease to top end on each side then manipulate fabric to fit the other seam into the crease and sew the remaining sides (leaving a turning gap in one lining side and tucking in the loop or band in one of the outer sides). This makes a weird three flapped object but when turned and pressed it is a tidy, quick clutch.

To finish I top stitched in places and put in a snap. At last, I am using my bargain bag of pony tail bands.

Shirt conversion quickie

Blame me if the weather breaks … I have just converted his shirts (some of them) to short sleeved.

A simple chop and hem job using a ‘proper’ short sleeve shirt to get the length right. Just cut off an inch and a half below the intended hem line. Keep the chopped off bits for crafty projects.

Turn shirt inside out, press a hem along the intended length and then turn under the raw edge about a quarter of an inch. Press again, pin and stitch around the sleeve.

Tip: remove the bed from your sewing machine so you can turn the fabric as you sew. Tip 2: start stitching at the under arm seam so if there are any gathers (if the sleeve tapers) they can be hidden underneath.

Hand stitched cards

A labour of love but deeply satisfying. Inspired by the excelllent Craft World blog I sketched, punched and stitched on to some strong paper.

This is a great ‘use what you have’ project especially if you have time!

Cotton face mask, I know there are issues

Just in case you want to break a face touching habit or deal with a short trip out… adult size requires two pieces 9” x 6” fabric and two 7” pieces of skinny elastic

Update June 2020: I now interface one of the pieces of fabric to provide three layers and give a bit more structure …

To make: put the fabric pretty sides facing and sandwich the elastics inside with the ends poking out from the corners . Leave a 3” gap and stitch around the rest of the edge with a straight stitch. You don’t have to be too precise about seams as long as you sew over the ends of the elastic and keep the rest of the elastic well tucked inside.

Turn right sides out and then pin tucks roughly equal on each side. Three each side should do it.

Finally top stitch all the the way around to close the turn8ng gap and fix the tucks. You are done!

Mini oven/coal mitts

A ‘use what you have’ project as I couldn’t bear to throw out some wadding scraps when decluttering.

I made a rough pattern of an oval about 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide. (That is big enough to grab a small log or oven dish.) I cut out four ovals of fabric and one piece of wadding. Two ovals of fabric were cut in half widthways to make the pockets.

Each of the pairs of halves was pinned right sides facing and stitched along the straight edge to make two shapes like this…

Then the pieces were stacked in the following order : wadding, complete piece face up, pocket pieces face up, complete piece face down. Carefully pinned together I stitched around the edge leaving a big turning gap towards the bottom of the oval.

After turning right sides out, flip the pockets inside out and stitch closed the turning gap, then flip them back the right way and you are done.

More reusable face wipes

I have increased my stash of face wipes as they are really useful but have to be washed in a mesh bag so there is often a backlog in the laundry system!

Sixteen more wipes were made from one microfibre face cloth (that came in a set of three from Pound World) and a remnant from a cotton shirt in less than an hour.

I laid the materials right sides facing and sewed 16 circles, leaving a turning gap in each circle. I then trimmed around each circle and flipped them right sides out before hand stitching the turning gap closed.

Transparent gift bags

Use what you have for quick make bags…

I have a roll of book covering plastic doing nothing in my stash, so cut rectangles from it and headed to the sewing machine

I folded copy paper (yes I also have a lot of coloured copy paper to use up) over the short ends and stitched it in place with a long zig zag.

The covered ends were folded together and the open sides zig zagged together to make a bag. I even boxed the bottom of the bigger one shown but am not sure it was worth the effort.

Two tips: use an old blunt needle as the plastic will ruin a new needle and long stitch lengths will minimise problems with the plastic slipping.

Snap bags

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‘Snap’ was a local word for packed lunch in Nottingham/ Derbyshire when I was living there many, many years ago. So these lunch bags fastened with Kam snaps had an obvious snappy name.

I used remnants of vinyl from an Amazon job lot which meant cutting front and back panels to use the fabric best. If you have a plasticised tablecloth or even a heavy duty shower curtain to upcycle that would work well.

Because the remnants weren’t squared, one of the sunflower bags has an angled flap which needs three snaps to keep it closed well. But because the colour of the snaps is a positive (there were about 20 sachets of different colour snaps in the beginner set I bought) it makes the end result better in a quirky way.

While the snaps were out I made a small lined bag (angled flap and 3 snaps again) and turned the cuff end of a shirt sleeve (left over from last week’s laundry bag make) into a phone holder to avoid scratches when it is in my bag.

to make: cut vinyl into required shape (back bigger so the flap folds over)

with right sides facing sew round the sides and bottom – use a long stitch length to make as few puncture holes in the vinyl as possible and don’t do too many back stitches at beginning and end or the vinyl will be too holey and might tear when in use.

trim seam allowance and clip the seam really close to the stitches at the corners before turning right sides out – the clipping helps neaten the corners as vinyl is quite bulky.

fold the edges of the flap over and seam these in place, on one of the bags I used zig zag for this to hide a blooper I had made.

position the snaps or you could use Velcro to finish the bag