Monday, 19 October 2009

A Frugal Quilter

Liz Burnes is an amazingly frugal quilter! She and her friends in the Rags to Stitches group salvage 100% cotton shirts and denim jeans from charity shops and car boot sales. This reclaimed fabric is first washed and pressed. Then it all goes to the blade. With the shirts, the first part to go is the back. The back of a large mans shirt yields at least 9 six-inch squares. You can probably guess that big is beautiful, and that the gals are looking for the larger sizes.

These pre-cut squares are sold to quilters looking to achieve the shabby chic of instant vintage. This fabric is so soft and comfortable as only fabric mellowed by many washings over time can be. The sales from the back squares more than cover the cost of the shirts. That means that Liz and her friends are quilting for free as they salvage all they can from the rest of the shirts.

Liz uses the yoke, sleeves and the fronts of the shirts to make squares and strips which she in turn uses to create her own quilts and bags. All the buttons are saved too. My favourite part that Liz salvages from the shirts is the french seam that runs from the cuff to under the arm and then down the sides of the shirts. Liz slices these off, and uses them like pieces of string to tie a bag shut, wrap presents or to tie a bunch of flowers from the garden. In fact the only part of the shirts that Liz hasn't found a use for is the collar. Perhaps that's just as well as with my husband's shirts it's always the collar that wears out first.

Liz has gone back to the Isle of Wight now. But she's left me a great present. I just love the way these 'shirt strings' look hanging from a hook on the beam in my kitchen. They look so pretty that I don't really want to use them. Then again, I suppose I could just make more of my own.

1 comment:

Val said...

That is such a good idea. It reminded me of the cotton dresses I used to wear as a child, they always ended up being soft and comfortable. How I wish I had saved them! lol