Start Quilting to save waste

Quilting Part 1 – cutting fabric – basic from frugal queen on Vimeo.

Hello Dear Reader,

Managed to get home in day light today so I could make another short film. You don’t need much to get quilting, just a cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter. I hope the short clip shows you the basics. I’m making the Blue Ridge Beauty and I’m also going to make a sample quilt just to show you the start to finish process of making a quilt. The thing I love most about quilting is that I not only use bought fabric, but gifted and thrifted fabric. I recently bought pyjamas, shirts and a dressing gown from a local charity shop and after washing and pressing the fabric, I have deconstructed all of it so I can cut it as required at a later date. I have a quilt that is getting past its best and I will use that for quilting too. Any cotton fabric can be used. To my mind a quilt is just about the greenest item any household can have. Not only do they keep us warm, they can hang over curtain rails for winter insulation and extend the life of a sofa and be anything from a play mat for an infant to a shroud for a much loved family member. 

According the BBC news today, goods worth £400 million are thrown away each year. Click Here  for the report. I find this kind of waste as a total shame. There is no need. To start, ask do I really need to replace this or can it just do for a few years longer. Next, I will always think of how I can adapt an item. I might paint a piece of furniture or change it in some way. I buy the best quality I can afford in the first place and my vacuum cleaner, washing machine and dishwasher have all been repaired more than once. I always prefer to do this than replace. I try to buy everything I can second hand. The only new item of furniture that we have is our bed. Everything else comes from ebay, the freeads or the local auction house. If I want anything decorative then that comes from car boot sales or charity shops. I do everything I can to keep anything out of the council skip. I don’t have much luck with clothes from charity shops but we do take all of our old clothes to charity shops and I certainly buy second hand clothes to use the fabric for quilting. I find it hard to understand why people throw perfectly good items away………..other than for the fact that they can.

Over to you Dear Reader. First of all, let me know if you are enjoying the sewing tutorials. Next, what do you do to save anything and everything from landfill? 

As ever, I will be back tomorrow and I will see you then.

Much love,

Froogs xxxx


30 thoughts on “Start Quilting to save waste

  1. Freecycle is a great way to get rid of things that you no longer want. Our local tip has a section for small electrical goods which are fixed and sold for charity where possible, and some of our local charity shops will collect larger items of furniture. I don't like taking anything to landfill, and try hard to minimize waste.


  2. One of my favourite subjects (or rants)!

    I try very hard to use our clothes until they wear out. And even then I cut them up and make cushions etc with the non-worn bits.

    I have just finished a quilt using old cushion covers and am in the middle of one using old clothes. It certainly makes me think creatively and it’s good fun. And it keeps stuff out of landfill.


  3. We decorated our kitchen a couple of years ago and I tool the blinds down to clean them. 3 of the little plastic clips which attach them to the track broke. Next day I was walking through Worcester and passed a bank which was being refurbished. In the skip outside were some vertical blinds…in much better condition than ours. the clips were all there, so I dived into the skip (in my velvet jacket…) and a builder came out to ask what I was doing. When I explained, he retrieved the clips for me! I have done quite well with clothes from charity shops over the years (trousers never long enough!), one of my my favourite things buying a large shapeless jumper (but made form good quality wool), undoing it and reknitting as something else!


  4. I found your video very useful, why it has never occurred to me to cut layers of fabric in one go is beyond me! Makes perfect sense. I'm feeling a bit more confident to have a go at a 'proper' quilt now. My first attempt was a layer cake just pieced together, even that I found tricky. Looking forward to the next video. Thanks ever so much for this one. On the subject of recycling, I've been very lucky, what my Mum and Dad don't want anymore my sister and I usually have. I've got curtains, bedding, wardrobes, drawers and even our old family sofa from the 70s that has been reupholstered several times (by my mum who is a whizz on the sewing machine). I love it as lots of memories are attached to various pieces, especially the sofa, the amount of sleep overs we've had on that sofa, me as a kid and now my children.


  5. Some time ago, I read that 7% of the solid waste stream in the US is fabric and linens. It surprised me at the time, but as I reflect on it, I think that the percentage may be higher. I don't quilt. However, I donate all of our clothes that have any resale value, and I make rags out of the rest. I may eventually throw away the rags, but they are well-used by then (washed and reused) and saved a lot of trees from becoming paper towels.

    I live outside the city limits and do not have curbside recycling. However, I recycle all newspapers, mixed plastics, plastic bags that I haven't reused, mixed paper and cardboard. I haul it to the landfill about once a month. Only for about two of the last 40 years have I had curbside recycling–I've always had to take it somewhere. I recycle more than I throw away.

    My best recycling and frugal tip applies to just about everything I buy–I don't buy something for the purpose of throwing it away. I buy the cheapest toilet paper I can find and about one roll of paper towels a year. I use plastic grocery sacks to line my wastebaskets. Some of the stuff in my freezer is wrapped in plastic produce bags.

    I just bought a like new sheet for $1.60 that will probably become new bathroom curtains for me.


  6. I was also appalled when I saw how much people will throw away. Virtually everything, apart from beds and electrical goods that we own we have had for 10 years or more. In fact our large farmhouse table was second hand when we bought it and we have had it for over 16 years and it is still as good as ever, despite always being just that little bit too big for our small cottage, I don't know how we'd have managed with anything smaller as it gets used for everything

    Any chance of a curtain making tutorial as I can't really afford to buy new but need some. Loving the blog. Ta.


  7. Thank you so much for the video. I only started making quilts this year & use recycled fabric for most of them. BUT thanks to you I now know how to correctly measure (from left to right) I was measuring each and every cut with a tape measure (from right to left) – even though I have a big plastic gauge like yours – thank you – it now makes sense!


  8. Your timing is excellent. I have just cut out my first 9 squares (much fun and initial annoyance as everything kept slipping!). I am starting with a cushion cover.


  9. Hi Froogs, I love making my quilts out of old clothes, when my dad died I cut up some of his shirts, combined with my partners and sons shirts and made a quilt which is full of memories, it comforts me and keeps me warm. I'm working on a quilt made out of my sons old jeans and old checked surfy trousers they used to wear, all dug out of the attic. The wadding will be an old mattress protector and the back some fabric I was given years ago. It will be really hard wearing so its going to be a picnic/beach quilt, and cost nothing.


  10. Thank you for the video, After the deconstruction, remember to save the buttons! My grandmother, use to look at buttons, and if she didn't like the correct side of the button she would turn them over, and you have a different button!


  11. I started knitting at age 3!! And sewing a couple of years later. I sew and knit most of my own clothes. I have just deconstructed a dress that a/friend bought in a charity shop for herself but the top doesn't fit. It will make a nice skirt for her and is really simple to do but she can't sew. Such a shame the dress actually cost her £6 in the charity shop so for me this was can expensive buy. I have to say I have a pile of fabric to work from that will last when I finally retire,


  12. Thank you so much for this fantastic video…I have never made a quilt before but with your inspiration I can't wait to try…It is truly shocking the amount our society throws away..its so sad!! off to find a rotary cutter….Hugs May x x


  13. P.S. For anyone who is looking to buy quilting equipment. When you choose an cutting ruler (e.g. Omnigrid), look for one which is non-slip – it will have little textured patches on the underside which help to stop the ruler slipping. It may be a little more expensive, but will save it's cost many times over in ruined fabric! Also, single rotary cutter blades can be very expensive; you can buy packs of 10 on Ebay for about half the cost of single blades from a shop. I buy these and then sell them to members of my quilt group at cost, saving us all money.


  14. Love your tutorials! I have been collecting my husband's old shirts for some time and I am slowly processing it to create Flying Geese quilt. I also just finished making pyjamas for myself from an old bed sheet. I don't make clothes all that much but certainly remake quite a few. I love Sewing Bee for great inspiration. I find the process of creating something new from old much more exciting and creative than just going to a shop and buying (very expensive) new fabrics. I also think it is more in the original spirit of quilting as it was created precisely to use old scraps. I am looking forward to more of your tutorials!


  15. If you are in the US, and buying used, I recommend an old Kenmore (Sears)–they were made with all metal parts long after everyone else switched to plastic. If you are buying new, get the Brother Project Runway machine. There is nothing else out there that approaches it for anywhere near the price. They start at around $130–the Limited Edition is $40 more but has some features good for quilters. My best friend teaches quilting at a women's prison and they get these machines donated so they can give one to every quilter when she leaves prison.


  16. Thanks for your tip on 10-packs of blades. I desperately need a new blade. I used mine to cut panels for curtains for a whole house, and it won't even cut cleaning rags now (I know–I tried it last night!!).


  17. Great tutorial – thanks. I've cut all my squares out with scissors for my first quilt. It's taken me ages but I was determined not to spend any money apart from for the wadding. I'll be buying a cutter, mat & ruler for my next quilt. I'm hooked.


  18. Sometime in the 60s or 70s, Sears made machines with plastic gears. They are just pieces of trash. So, a person who buys a secondhand one might be disappointed. Beware


  19. Hi Mikemax
    I do prety much the same here. Have an old hoodie top and the arms have streched to took it up and made elbow patches to exstend its life. I rarely go shopping fro clothes now and make a lot of what I have jammie bottoms out of soft fabric and the leftovers fro hankies . if there are any strips over and its possible to sew them together fro rag colths thats what I do. Aso make family wipes fro myself to reduce the amount od loo roll used and like you if I like the sheet/quilt cover i have found it becomes a top or something for the house. Im also big on unraveling any hand knit jumpers that come my way and crocheting them into a gift for someone. the list of things that can be done is endless!


  20. I agree with the above replys. DH bought for me (2ndhand) a husquvara machine and I also have an overlocker bought 2ndhand as well but they were life long investments and serve me so very well. The cheeper ones are never worth the cash and have no “guts” for makeing things like curtains and heavy duty projects.


  21. Pingback: Making a quilt

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