Repurposing Sentimental Fabrics

Repurposing Sentimental Fabrics

Sarah Rainwater
Jan 26, 2011

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how to use fabric scraps to create a patchwork table runner and I was thrilled to hear from a reader who was inspired by the post to sew her own runner from a friend's grandfather's collection of bow ties.

Not only is the idea of re-purposing sentimental clothing, scarves, or linens into patchwork fabrics a heartwarming way to make a fresh start, it's rooted in craft traditions from cultures all over the world and can produce beautiful results. The secret to a successful project is to let it be imperfect and therefore personal — patchwork takes on a greater beauty when it's somewhat improvised and not overly thought out (though some pre-planning is never a bad thing). Above is some inspiration for giving the fabrics close to your heart a whole new life.


1. An inherited vintage scarf I hope to re-use one day

2. An example of Japanese Boro Textiles — patched fabrics made from scraps, once a sign of poverty, but now coveted antiques. The early-to-mid twentieth century piece is on sale from SRI Threads.

3. A gorgeous quilt made from vintage scarves by the Vancouver-based Ouno Design

4. A custom quilt by Denyse Schmidt, made from a friend's childhood dresses that were sewn by her grandmother

5. A unique and quirky t-shirt quilt by Michelle Kempner

(Images: 1, Sarah Rainwater; 2, SRI Threads; 3, Ouno Design; 4: Denyse Schmidt; 5, Michelle Kempner)

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