one pair of jeans at a time
gerund or present participle: upcycling
reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.
When I first heard this term about 10 years or so ago I was kind of puzzled. I didn’t occur to me that people didn’t do this naturally. Not that I am a tree hugger or crunchy, well maybe semi crunchy, but I just look at something that might be discarded and say hey - I could use that to make a….
Raccoon made from my black jean skirt, gray towel and reclaimed buttons.
This goes back generations, when it was just part of daily life. Grandpa made our swing from a pillowcase, grandma would make sure nothing went to waste by making “meat” salad sandwiches (ugh). My mom tears up towels and worn out socks for rags, my dad has a compost pile and is planning on making my mom’s coffin out of old barn boards. We do hand-me-downs (all six kids love it....uhm...), I make boxer briefs from t-shirts and I barter homemade bread for haircuts.
Crazy quilt stocking made from scraps and vintage doilies.
One of my favorite things to up - cycle is junk mail into journals. I take old flyers, church bulletins, bills, birthday cards and envelopes. It’s quite a process to layer them just right and then sew together to form a book or junk journal. Then you create a cover and attach it so it forms a spine. I use up odds and ends to decorate it. There are lots of ideas on Pinterest, this is one that I have done.
When I first made the animal pillows I pretty much stayed to minky and purchased fabric. I wasn’t sure how well worn denim, wool and upholstery would hold up. Turns out pretty good. I just let the customer know that the pillow is made from materials that should not be washed.
Denim owl. Notice the worn look. I hope I didn't ruffle her feathers.
I get the majority of my treasures from our local thrift store and sometimes I have been known to raid our closets. Interesting oranges for instance (penguin feet) is hard to find in a fabric store, but orange shirts are easy to find there. Another source - especially denim - is from friends. One time I had someone give me 4 boxes of jeans. She was saving them to make a denim quilt, knew it would never happen and was happy to pass them on to me. I will take me a while to get through all of them including what I already have.
Penguin feet are courtesy of a peach bathrobe!
The feel of washed denim or a carefully laundered wool skirt makes great animals. It adds a depth to the pillow that new fabric just does not have. So even when it’s not cool anymore, I will continue to find fabrics that not only I love but other people have loved before me.
As always we encourage comments and questions! Thanks for joining us on the journey!