Go Green for Earth Day!

Quilters are some of the most resourceful, green people we know! We are always saving up scraps and asking other quilters for ways we can reduce, reuse, and recycle quilting and sewing materials. We never want to throw anything away if we don’t have to!

In recognition of Earth Day and being green, here are a few ways that we choose to reduce, reuse, and recycle to demonstrate our support for the environment!

Found Fabrics

Found fabric is fabric that you can find . . . anywhere! Make a trip into your closet, into a loved ones closet, to the closest thrift store, or have a stash swap with friends and start cutting up and stitching the fabric back together to create something new and beautiful!

Jean quilts, like the one pictured below, are great found fabric quilts! Take some old jeans, cut them up, and you’ll have a quilt that will last! Bust these out during a camping trip, outdoor sporting event, picnic, or outside play time and they’re perfect for staying warm and dry. The sturdy material won’t pick up dirt and debris as easily as other fabrics can – it’s the perfect outdoor blanket!

Jenny Doan and granddaughter Katie on a jean quilt.
Jenny and granddaughter Katie enjoy some sunshine out on the jean quilt Jenny made years ago!

Jeans are not the only clothing item that can be used as quilting material! Shirts of all kind (T-shirts, plaid shirts, flannel shirts, and more!) are great fabric sources. Who knows, you could find the perfect missing piece for your next project in your very own closet!

T-shirt quilts and memory quilts are perfect ways to hold loved ones and warm memories close for years to come.


Don’t let those scraps go to waste! There are plenty of ways to make use of small pieces of fabric.

Do you have tiny scraps from a project that you just can’t bear to throw away? Do you have a stray block sitting around that you don’t know what to do with? Make a pincushion! Those tiny pieces are perfect for stitching together to create a cute new home for your pins – make a new one for your sewing space or make a few and gift them to your quilting friends!

Do you or a loved one have a pet? Make a fabric scrap animal bed! Do you want to use those scraps to make something bigger than a pincushion? Try crumb quilting! There are countless ways to make use of those tiny pieces that we may not think twice about as we sew along on other projects. What is your favorite way to use up scraps?

Re-Purposed Items

Many items around you can be re-purposed into something new. The possibilities are endless!

Do you have a cute little cup or pot that needs a new home? Turn it into a cactus pincushion!

Easy Cactus Pincushion project by the Missouri Star Quilt Company.
Easy Cactus Shaped Pincushion project.

Are you in need of an ironing station closer to your sewing machine? Use a TV tray! Simply grab a heatproof surface such as the Missouri Star Wooly Betty Board to lay on top of the tray and you have the perfect portable ironing station so you can iron as you work! There are so many ways things around us can be re-purposed and transformed into something new. What items have you transformed?

For even more inspiration on how to go Green this Earth Day, check out our Celebrate Issue of BLOCK Magazine! This issue is filled with projects you can stitch up using your small pieces and scraps. Download the digital version and get started on a t-shirt quilt, wall hanging, denim bag buckets, adorable little aprons, and more – today!

Tell us how you go green while quilting in the comments below!

More on Going Green…

I have always been a big supporter of going green and recycling. I remember when I was in the fifth grade our Science teacher took us to McDonald’s so we could protest their use of Styrofoam containers for their big macs! So, yes, that seed was planted early!

My kids are also big into recycling…they are also very creative and recently started making these bracelets from pop tabs. p4170134p4170135You can find a good tutorial HERE. I think they are so great. Very funky.

A few other things we do to recycle, reduce, reuse:

1)we try to separate our trash…taking aluminum, cardboard, newspaper, glass, and plastic containers to the local recycling center.

2)we donate our toys and clothes to charity when we no longer need them…we also shop thrift stores and garage sales! We only buy new if we have to!

3)we walk as often as possible…to the park, the library, the gym, and school.  We love to take walks

4)we USE our library…we have lots of readers in our house and we are always checking out new things to read!

5)we have lots of house plants around to improve our air quality, and we try to plant a garden every year. This year we are planting tomatoes, green beans and strawberries! We love to feed the birds too!

6)we use reusable grocery bags as often as possible, and on the chance that I forget them, or I don’t bring enough and we get plastic grocery bags, we use the plastic bags to line our small trash cans instead of buying trash bags.

If you stop and think about it…there are a lot of things we just do naturally every day that help to keep our world cleaner, and our lives healthier. And, if you’re not already doing these things…then just start today! Its not so hard if you take it one small step at a time! and I wouldn’t get too discouraged,  the earth is like our bodies…in that, it has the ability to repair and rebuild itself…and any little thing that we can do to help will make a huge difference! Good Luck!

Happy Earth Day! ~Reuse your old T-shirts!

Paper or Plastic? How about neither. It takes as much petroleum to make 14 plastic bags as it does to drive a car one mile. These grocery bags are made from rescued T-Shirts. They are similar in size and shape to your average plastic grocery bag and can be used anywhere! They are quite durable, keep them in your purse or your car, it just takes a little at a time to get in the habit of recycling. It’s all about making a difference one small step at a time.

So, what do you do with your favorite T-shirts after they are too small, or worn out? Why, make reusable grocery bags of course! Here’s how I do it:

First choose a t-shirt…p4170162p4170153I find that small to mediums work best. If you want to use larger T-shirts you would either have a very big bag (not a bad thing!) or you would need to cut and sew the side seams. (Confused?) You’ll see in a minute.

Lay your T-shirt out on a hard flat surface (I am using my kitchen table), p4170154then lay your template…(any grocery bag will do. Pick one that has a size and shape you like.) on top pf your T-shirt.

Match the top of the bags handles with the shoulder seams.

Trace the opening around the neckline, and around the sleeves. (don’t worry, the chalk comes right off!) :)You are basically cutting out the neck and cutting off the sleeves to make your handles.p4170155

I usually fold my shirts in half, matching up all the seams and then do my cutting…this way both sides match. We leave the original side seams intact. (One less seam to sew!) 🙂 p4170157When that is done, cut off the bottom of the shirt. Again I use my walmart bag as a guide but, remember, your bag can be as big or small as you like.  When you have decided on a good length, cut it, then turn the shirt inside out, Sew or serge the bottom seam shut.p4170159 (If using a regular sewing machine do a straight stitch and a zig zag to make it nice and sturdy) If desired, you can also sew or serge around the handles.

Then take the bottom seam of the bag and fold it against the side seam like this..p4170161..you will have a little triangle, measure about 1 1/2 inches from the point and place a pin. (do this for both sides) sew a straight seam from pin to pin. You can leave this on or cut it off, its up to you. When you flip your bag right side out, you should have a nice squared bottom to your bag. And, its done! Nice job!p4180001Here is your finished product! p4180003You can roll them up and keep them in your purse or under the seat of your car. You can tie them with hemp cord and give them as gifts! They’re great! Have a happy day!

MSQC on going GREEN

In case you didn’t know, this Wednesday (April 22) is Earth Day! So in honor of that, this week all of us here at Missouri Star are going to be sharing little ways to make your life a little greener.

I’m one who is easily overwhelmed, so for me, the little things I can do go a LONG way. Here are a few things I do to get my green on…

1. Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose. I’m a big believer in making something old new again. Step outside of the box and before you throw something away think about what it could become! My best personal example is definitely my table & chairs… In case you missed it when I shared this project before, check it out here.

2. Buy in Bulk. I know what you’re thinking… I’m not talking everything here, but the stuff you know you’re going to consistently be using, buy it in larger quantities at one time.  Think shampoo. You’re always going to need it (hopefully!), you might as well buy the biggest bottle you can. If you don’t like having a giant bottle in the shower with you, keep the little bottles you used before and refill them.

3. Turn off the lights. During the day I open all my drapes and blinds to allow natural light to fill my house, not only does it use less energy, it lowers your bills.

4. Make a MENU. I have found that not only does it help me know what I need when grocery shopping, it also lowers the amount of leftovers and general waste. (We’re not big leftover eaters at our house, so cutting back on that is good for us! I guess another version of this could be… EAT YOUR LEFTOVERS! hehe)

What do you do to live a greener life? I’d love to find out!