4 Ways to Upcycle Old Clothes Into Gorgeous Quilts

This year, make one of your quilting projects a little greener — and not the color green . Instead of buying more fabric, look for materials you already have around your home. It brings new life to pre-loved clothing, is easy on your wallet and maximizes your resources. What's not to love?

1. Make a T-Shirt Quilt

One of the most common ways to quilt with old clothes is to cut some shirts (like a child's sports jerseys from over the years) into DIY blocks and work them into a patchwork design. They make great gifts, and all you have to do is press your shirts and cut them into the basic shapes needed for any quilt pattern.

Pro Tip

If you're using lightweight or stretchy T-shirt fabric, add interfacing to the wrong side of the shirt before cutting. This helps the blocks keep their shape and avoids stretching.

Sara Snuggerud begins class by helping you figure out the number of T-shirts you need for your memory quilt and how to select ones that complement each other. Then, learn to use a rotary cutter for efficient shirt preparation.

2. Quilt With Ties

Photo via Bluprint member Dkydesigns

Don't toss those old ties — if you have them in excess, transform them into a pretty silk table runner . This project combines deconstructed silk ties and pairs them with dupioni silk to create a luxurious table runner without a pattern.

If you don't have enough ties for an entire quilt or table runner, use a few favorites to make a patchwork pillow. This Tied Cushion is made from just two neckties, which you open and cut into diamond shapes.

And don't forget, quilting with old ties means you just made space to sew a new one !

3. Transform Old Jeans

Take an old pair of jeans and turn it into a small patchwork project, like this Recycled Jean Clutch. It pairs a tiny jeans pocket (think children's sizes) with scraps of checkered and striped denim for a dainty zipper pouch that's as durable as it is adorable.

If you have a bunch of pairs to toss, pair 'em with thick batting and a soft quilt back instead, then turn it all into a fabulous rag quilt.

Did you know you can make a charming, super cozy quilt without putting in a ton of time or — wait for it — even really knowing how to quilt? It's shocking, but true, thanks to one quickie weekend project: the rag quilt.

4. Use Your Accessories

Photo via Bluprint member Hideshobby

It's so easy to make simple quilt blocks, like the pinwheels pictured above, with fabric scraps you have around the house. Case in point: this Hav-a-Hank Pinwheel Quilt is made entirely from cotton bandanas that were cut and pieced into half-square triangles . Simply pair brightly-colored bandanas together to make your quilt pop, or hand dye your own for a more cohesive look.

Learn More Now

Get more tips on quilting with old clothes and stitch along to make a T-shirt quilt in our class The Ultimate T-Shirt Quilt .

Meet your instructor, quilter Winnie Fleming, as you dive into any T-shirt quilt project of your choosing. Winnie shows you how to select the best fabrics and patterns for your project, helping you cut around focal points with care.

March 02, 2020
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4 Ways to Upcycle Old Clothes Into Gorgeous Quilts