Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recycling Fun

**This tutorial is intended for personal use only.**

You're either going to think that I am very resourceful or have simply gone off the deep end. I doubt that there is any middle ground on this one. I will explain.

I save discarded blue jeans in hopes of repurposing them into other useful items. I assume that some may think that this is just a waste of time and energy. Maybe it is, but it works for me and makes me feel good about sending that much less to the landfill. Each time that denim is needed for a project, I remove a pair from the recycling pile and cut away the hems, zipper, waist band, and the bulky seams that run the length of each leg. With much hesitation, I toss the useless scraps into the trash can. I then proceed to cut my pattern from the larger, more usable pieces.


This weekend, in an effort to condense and eliminate clutter in my sewing room, I decided to cut into the entire stack of jeans. I am now left with a much smaller and more manageable stack of denim pieces.


It has long been a hope of mine to find a way to utilize all parts of the jeans. The pieces that intrigue me the most are the hems and the long thick seams that run the length of each leg. I have no real idea why, but maybe it's just the way it feels when I have it in my hand. I love it's weight and thickness. I've played around with it in the past but was never able to come up with a good use for them until today. Now a "good use" to me may not be a worthwhile effort to you. This is what I mean by saying that you may believe that I have truly gone off the deep end with this one.





I used this today and it worked out great. It has a good weighty feel to it and is thick and absorbent and wonderful for catching the condensation from drinking glasses. It also makes a very nice mug rug for hot coffee or tea. Make it larger and it will make a wonderful and durable trivet for a hot pot to sit on.


Add a pretty trim to the outside of your mug rug and glue a felt round to the bottom or just leave it plain. Either way, you have a very useful piece to enjoy for years to come.


I recommend that you use fabric glue to hold these together especially if you will be using them as trivets for hot pots. Hot glue may melt from the heat and may cause your trivet to fall apart. You could also sew these together like they do in coiled basketry, but hey, this is supposed to be a quick and easy project made from a throwaway piece of fabric so I say, glue to your hearts content!

I guess the lesson that we can all take away from this is that we should give more thought to everything that we perceive to be rubbish before we toss it into the trash can. Even the most unlikely tidbits can sometimes be turned into something useful and fun.

Now, I realize that there is a thin line that separates sanity and madness. Have I crossed over? Muhahahahahahaha......

Take care!

Aloha!

67 comments:

Diane said...

You've only crossed over a little bit, in fact I think most of your readers would agree that those coasters are very useful. Clever thinking (:
Hugs, Diane

Red Geranium Cottage said...

You are one truly creative gal as I always say. Great idea. My jeans dont fit anyway so I might as well cut them apart.

Amy said...

THAT is a great idea. You never cease to amaze me....now, where can I find some old jeans : )

Amy

Calise said...

Oh I love that idea! So cute! Thanks!

Ann said...

I love this idea. Our basement family room is a blue denim theme to it. I'm going to make some of these from the stash I have in the attic. You've also inspired me with another idea....I'll keep you posted. Have a good week. ~~Ann

Craftpassion said...

This is a brilliant idea to make a coaster out of jean's seam!!! I should have save all my old jeans, grrr....
Thanks for sharing and you are really good in recycling!!! I love to follow your blog!!!

Catherine said...

What a great idea for using those seams!! Brilliant!

Jackie said...

I say not mad, but brilliant. What a super idea. Hmmmm...now I believe I have a pair of raggy jeans at home just waiting to be made into something more useful.

craftydiane said...

What a fantastic idea! Who would have ever thought of that? Makes me wish I had some jeans to cut up and make some out of!
Have a Blessed Day,
Diane

karenfae said...

great idea!! I should make several of these and put them in the camper for when we are traveling - I do not have any coasters out there and really do need some.
You have great ideas and I have put your blog on my reader
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Obe's said...

I think its fantastic!!
Diane

Jackie said...

You are a creative and crafty GENIUS, I say!! Unbelievable!!

Dawn said...

Another great idea...thanks for sharing!!

Sandra :) said...

Adorable!!! A lot of work ... but definitely a useful and pretty way to keep the scraps out of the landfill!

How's Mouse doing? Zoomer sends his felicitations :D

Rag-a-Muffin Collectibles said...

Ha! Okay that's just great! You amaze me. I've been following your colourful blog and tips. I just love your ideas, thanks for sharing so much! I save denim too. Last January I spent hours cutting it up. I keep the flat felled seams as well! I leave a little fabric on each side and am sewing them together to make purses...but I haven't finished one yet...let's see who's first!?
P.S. hubby and I were on Oahu for two weeks in January, Waikiki to be exact..had a wonderful time, it's been ages since we've been to Oahu. I can't remember which Island you are on, but we love Hawaii!
Colleen

Amanda said...

What a clever idea - I hate throwing anything away too, but have never been able to come up with any creative ideas for using bits and bobs like that.

Lindah said...

Great idea! I like the good, honest, hardworking, unembellished rugmat. Very clever idea. I was thinking, too, those seams could be used in the garden...trellising, ties, etc. I always save my selvages to lace between bamboo stakes for tomato cages.
I'm enjoying your posts!

alda said...

I love recycling projects!! This is a great idea!!!

Tozz said...

I am amazed with your clever ideas and I love the jeans seam coaster. I have a few jeans that are sitting in my sewing room waiting to be cut up and turned into something useful. I think they will become coasters, these are great for the man in ones life? Thanks for the great ideas.

Thimbleanna said...

Wow! That is very cool -- what a great idea! I love the touch of ricrac on the outside too!

sweetiepie said...

Lettie, what a great idea! You never cease to amaze me with your creativity. Thanks for sharing.

Rumi said...

Wow, I gave away 2 bags of old jeans! Oh well, they went to a good cause--Girl Scouts were making denim quilts for the homeless shelter. Next batch of old jeans will become coasters!

Clare said...

I too save denim - my friends know when they have old jeans to bring them to me. So I definitely understand. This is such a great idea - I have made coasters out of denim befored - but not like this. I will have to give this a try.

Jenn said...

I TRULY love your blog! It's fun to see what you are working on all the time! Hey - if there wasn't a "deep end" in this world, it would be entirely too shallow, right!
Thanks for sharing!
Jenn
www.handmadebyjenn.com

52knit4 said...

I love this idea...with 5 kids there are lots of "dead Jeans" around my house and I hate throwing stuff like that away....how awesome!

AnnieOfBlueGables said...

Just stumbled across your blog and loved it so much I made it an RSS feed into my google homepage.
When I cut apart my jeans they never look so neat, but I thought of maybe making a rag rug from those seams. . .never tried it.
Yours is nice too. good job
~a

Carrie P. said...

You are not mad, just very very creative. I like your ideas.

Kim said...

Wonderful Tip! Who wouldn't love one of those. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie D. said...

Well, now that's pretty darn creative, Lettie. I've always wondered what to do with the seams, too, but never enough to actually mess with them.

Tolentreasures said...

Wow, I have tons of jeans that I have been saving to make I Spy quilts for my grandchildren for Christmas. Now I know what to do with the seams! Great idea! I love it!

Cathy

Terry said...

What a great idea! I'll be saving all my jeans seams from now on! Thanks! :0)

AverettLadyNana said...

That is so neat with what you did with the seams and hems of bluejeans! And to think I've been throwing them away! No longer!!! I'm thinking a hotmat/pad/trivit for my table or countertop.

Suze said...

Very creative! Now, if I only had the time...

Pam said...

Your creativity puts mine to shame but I love getting all your great ideas. Love the trivet and I really like how the denim metal button looks on the floral yo-you.

kelly said...

seriously I love the mug rug!!! I am going to "steal" that idea!! I've been in a use up the stuff Ihave around here and trying to keep stuff out of landfills! Love them love them love them!

DeborahBrent said...

Nah, you've not crossed over. I believe we should use it up, wear it out, make do or do without. My dad, a depression baby, hammered this into my head more than once.

Cheryl Lynn Hirzel said...

What a great idea! I have recycled blue jeans into woven carpets for years and always wished I could do something with the seams, being too stiff to weave into the rugs. (The tops of jeans make great bags for toting ice skates with room in the pockets for extra socks and mittens and change for hot chocolate. (not something you likely need in Hawaii!) Thanks for the great idea!

Judy said...

These coasters would make a perfect "guy gift" -- make 'em wide enough for those beer cans.

Lorraine said...

I have at least two big bags of jeans that I had been saving for a quilt for my son someday. If and when I get to it I'll definitely be using some of your ideas for the scraps. They're so cool and so "green".

ratty said...

i've made 2 so far and i LOVE them! thanks for a wonderful idea :)

peskypixies said...

love it!!!!

love it!!!!

fab idea!!!!!

Laura said...

Wonderful idea thank you for posting it.

cherryarachnid said...

Thank you! I have a giant bag of hems, zippers and pockets in my basement that I just can't throw out. I just KNEW there was a use out there for them.

I've been sewing the pockets on the insides (and sometimes outsides) of bags and purses to add extra usable space for me and my family members, but I've been unable to come up with a good use for the rest.

Again, THANK YOU!

Kathryn said...

I love this - and like you have always hated throwing away those bits. Thanks for the idea.

Kinney Kreations said...

I really love this idea! I'm also going to start saving jeans to make braided denim rugs for my utility room and garage.

grammy and papi said...

Aloha! You are a JEANIOUS!! Love, Love, Love this idea. Would make great gifts for teens. I have 6 Grands who are teens, always looking for something they might like. Thank you!!

Mahalo!
Shirley

Missie/Crafting with Cat Hair said...

I LOVE this! I am getting ready to clean out my closet and I know I have a bunch of jeans that need to go. Now I know what to do with them. Thanks!

Simple Southern Happiness said...

Who would have thought? You have such a creative mind. I love recycling and this opens up a whole new chapter.

Thank you for posting and sharing your ideas.

Loris said...

You are definitely 'jeanious' material :-) I love your idea!

Rita May said...

Great Idea! What can I do with used tennis balls?
Rita

annie said...

Oh I LOVE this idea!! I have a pile (well, ok, 2 piles) of jeans waiting to turn into a quick jeans quilt. I love recycling as much as possible and I've been trying to think of a way to use more than just the flat parts. (I even use my tiny leftover pieces of batting in pincushions instead of tossing them.)

I'm on my way out the door to buy some fabric glue. Thanks so much for this idea! I'm going to make trivets!

Julie said...

I came across your blog purely by accident, and now I have it bookmarked! You are so resourceful & I love looking at all your new ideas. Thanks so much for sharing :)

Ru said...

What a great idea!! I would never have thought of this, ever..

JKMommy said...

Hi there - I just found your blog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
This post was great - you make me want to "recycle" all my clothes so I can make stuff with them! :) haha... but seriously I love this coaser/trivet idea!
You know what else it would be good for? Put it under a potted plant to absorb water from when you water the plant! yay! So fun! Must try this sometime.
What have you been able to do with the zippers? :)

Julie
http://www.ayearwithmomanddad.com

Mrsblocko said...

I made a huge coaster the other day and wrote about it here on my blog. Thank you for the great idea!!!

Robert said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has looked at those seams and had those same thoughts! What a great idea! Keep 'em coming!

Johnna said...

Another thing to use those seams for is a wick for an olive oil lamp.

kantuta said...

Hola, todas las ideas de tu blog son estupendas gracias por compartirlas e inspirarnos, cariƱos

SweetPepperRose said...

Hi! I just found this tutorial thru Tolent Treasures. I've never thought to use only the SEAMS. Great use of upcycled material! thanks for sharing.
JoAnn
sweetpepperrose.blogspot.com

debann2000 said...

Hi Arlette,
I would love to include your coasters in a story I'm writing for iVillage.com. Please contact me at deblevine@me.com if I can have permission to use the image. You'll be credited, of course!

Thanks!
Deb

Katherine said...

Love the idea. (found a link on Pinterest) I think it would be very cool as a trivet. Might have to start saving jean seams.... :)

Ana Lopes said...

Hi Arlette,
I LOVE this tutorial so much, thank you for sharing it.Fabulous idea! You have an interesting blog.
Have a look at my blog I’ll be glad.

Hugs from Portugal

Ana Love Craft

www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

Heavens to Betsy Handicrafts said...

Hi Lettie,
Adorable project. May I share it on my blog: www.fabricsalad.com? Thanks!

Elizabeth said...

A friend of mine gave me the link to your blog and I will thank her for that. Why? Finally I have found someone who is just as nuts about denims as I am! :) And I do mean that in the most positive way you can imagine.

My heart smiled when I saw your stack of jeans. One just has to love these shades!

Ofcourse I already made several projects with them but none of them are very quick to make since I sew everything by hand.

Still I like your idea a lot and it is added to my list of ideas for denim.

Thanks and have a wonderful week.

Elizabeth

Donna said...

Hi there - love your coaster. May I post your picture on my blog? I'm posting a picture of one I made and a link to your instructions and it would be great to post the picture of yours to show what it "should" look like. Thanks so much!

Donna said...

(Oh! Forgot to say that my blog is http://scrapstitching.blogspot.com/)

Bikinan Jari said...

its such a great idea.... thanks for sharing....