I admit it. I have a weakness for books. I also have a little job in which I am paid in book vouchers, which does not help me stay away from my weakness. Some time back I decided to invest in Quilting: 20 Mindful Makes to Reconnect Head, Heart and Hands, by Elli Beaven. I can’t quite remember all the details, but I think I saw her floor cushions on instagram, a place where I very seldom feel moved to buy things. Or perhaps I saw some other project obviously made from recycled materials, and checked the book out. But the floor cushions were the deciding factor.
If I saw this book in a physical store, I would never buy it. The cover is not exciting (to me–YMMV) and I don’t personally feel drawn to the idea of mindful crafting. I think some of my craft is mindful, but perhaps not in quite the way I feel is implicit here? Never mind. The book is really pretty fabulous, and the waste not floor cushion is right up my alley of interest. Elli Beaven’s cushion is beautiful. It is not made from denim, but everything about this book invites reuse and upcycling, and denim is what I had and felt I could make work. And (tiny, or otherwise unusable) scraps were the category of textile I was looking to keep out of landfill. That is just what she uses to stuff her waste not floor cushion. I was there. I made the inner cushion stuffers from a stained tablecloth a friend had given me for reclamation, sheeting scraps, and ticking salvaged by another friend’s Mum.
Also, I made a little modification and mitred the corners. I can’t help myself, apparently!
I had collected a lot of discarded jeans one way or another, as long term readers know. I turned them into a yoga bolster, lots of bags, two shirts (at a friend’s request! that is how it all started), and now two floor pillows. I have been collecting my scraps in a drawstring sack made out of an old tablecloth, and from time to time, a solution appears (like a friend doing weaving with school children, who wants a lot of them–or a friend making an art piece out of many tiny scraps). Here’s an idea of what I mean. Sheet hems, bits of dead pyjamas, elastic from fitted sheets that have gone to their next incarnation, trimmings, seams, thread, the odd discarded shoulder pad.
I actually had to wait for enough scraps to accumulate to make these! I waited so long that I think I turned the cushion back panels into bags (not recognising them as special or different to the random denim patchwork to be found in my room) and had to make a second set. And then another friend who sews brought over a polyester fibre quilt with a disintegrating poly cover that she had acquired on Buy Nothing, in her quest for materials to make pouches for rescued animals. It was clean but awful and… I cut it in half and used it to create a soft layer around the random, lumpy, heavy scraps inside these two pillows. You can see it under the coloured parts above. And here is a little video of the final step…
And then I sewed them up. Like a minor miracle of textile waste salvage.