Repurpose denim, tea towels and an old sheet to create a beautiful patchwork throw.
Handmade crafts lend character and personality. Homemade (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010) by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson is packed full of practical, thoughtful handmade ideas from seasoned crafters. With over one hundred projects using everyday objects from around the house, they craft beautiful works of art. The following excerpt from “Summer” teaches you how to make a patchwork throw.
Patchwork is as complicated as you want to make it. Complex designs using cut out templates and tiny hand-sewn stitches are all very well, but few of us have the time these days. The modern “cheats” approach is to machine-sew together the fragments of fabric, first of all in strips, and then joining the strips of fabric together to form a flat piece of material that can then be cut to create clothing or used to upholster furniture. This eye-catching throw, inspired by a piece by stylist Kristin Perers, uses strips of worn and faded denim, striped ticking, and the edges of vintage linen tea towels. Far easier than re-upholstering a sofa, it’ s a great way to put to use the parts of pairs of jeans too worn to wear, or the unsullied borders of singed or stained tea towels, which can be picked up cheaply in second-hand stores.
You will need
• Assorted pieces of denim, ticking, and tea towels
• Cotton thread for machine sewing
• Old sheet, blanket, or length of fabric
• Choose which pieces of fabric you are going to work with. You want a good distribution of colors, stripes, and textures throughout—it will always show if you run out towards the end and have to start again with new material.
• Cut strips and squares of random length but more or less the same width—here they are 6-8 inches. On the throw in the photograph, the stripes face the same way on alternating strips, so if you want to do the same thing, divide your fabric into two equal piles and arrange them so that the stripes are vertical for one half and horizontal for the other.
• Sew them together in strips in a well-spaced yet random looking order, with all the stripes facing the appropriate direction. Make enough strips to join together to form the throw.
• Pin or tack the strips together, with stripes facing upwards one row, crossways the next. Sew together.
• Trim the seams, trimming away large overlaps where necessary, and iron into shape.
• Make a backing using an old sheet or blanket or, if you have it, a large length of striped canvas or similar, of contrasting or coordinating colors. Cut this to the same size as the patchwork piece, place right sides together, and sew around the edge, as if making a huge cushion, leaving a little gap along one edge. Turn right sides out through this gap, sew up, and iron into shape. With any leftover fabric, make a couple of cushion covers to match.
Reprinted with permission from Homemade: 101 Beautiful and Useful Craft Projects You Can Make at Home by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson and published by Skyhorse Publishing, 2010.