Recycle, Reduce, Reuse | Staff Blog

Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

In honor of Earth Day (a day late), I thought I’d share a few earth-friendly ideas for quilters that are available on

T-Shirt Quilt
A 5K race here, a concert there–if you’re like me, T-shirts accumulate quickly. Call me sentimental, but I always have a hard time parting with them, even though I have more than I could ever possibly wear. I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that my limited closet space is too valuable to be a graveyard for the T-shirts of my past. So, I’ve decided to use these instructions to put together my own T-shirt Quilt that recycles and reuses my surplus of T-shirts into something that’s more useful for the here and now and reduces the amount of space the T’s take up in my closet. It’s a win-win!

T-shirt quilt

Designers: Elizabeth Tisinger and Hanna Piepel

Scrappy Quilts
Before you toss your fabric scraps in the trash, check out this slide show of 21 fun, scrappy quilts. They’ll inspire you to save those little bits and turn them into something new! I like to think of scrappy quilts as “scrapbooks” of your quilting experiences–using up the scraps from quilts that you give away can help you relive and remember the experience of making the quilt for years to come.

Dotty Stars

Designer: Becky Goldsmith

Fabric Gift Bags
I’ll admit it–I save gift bags, boxes, tissue paper, and bows, and reuse them when it’s my turn to give a gift. Often these wrapping supplies still have lots of good miles left in them, so I keep them out of the dumpster as long as I can. But why not take it a step further by making your own reusable gift bags from fabric? Recipients can use them again to give gifts on their own, or put them to work as lunch sacks, grocery totes, or toiletry bags. Here’s another tip: If you’re giving a gift to a quilter, wrap it in fabric that person will like and will use.

Designer: Cindy Taylor Oates of Taylor Made Designs

How do you recycle, reduce, and reuse as a quilter? Do you repurpose plastic lunch meat or salad containers as storage in your sewing room? Wrap binding around an old paper towel roll? (See our June 2010 “Tips From Readers” column for more details on how that works!) Leave your quilting-related recycling tips in the comments or e-mail them to to be considered for a future “Tips From Readers” column.

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