By Shawn Stevenson
Family sewing circles and craft projects are a great way to knit together (pun intended) and bond as a family while also problem solving together to accomplish a unique task.
If something about the Amish philosophy resonates with you, whether it is the simple living ethos, or the easy down-to-earth style, learning new and creative ways to repurpose old items is sure to fit into your evolving sensibilities. If you’re having a hard time finding a project that everyone can get enthusiastic about, have I got some ideas for you!
The only tools the repurposing projects below require are a bit of effort, a pair of scissors, pins, a needle, and thread. While some may be more complicated that others, when you finish, you’ll have a unique one-of a kind item to display, gift, or pass on as an heirloom to generations to come.
If you grew up in a modern, middle class, family you may have attended a public or private high school that participated in the age-old tradition of awarding chenille letter patches to affix to the iconic letterman jackets.
The tradition of jackets actually got its start as letterman sweaters in 1865 at Harvard University. The letters were originally used to distinguish between the more accomplished members of the team. It may surprise you to know that, at first, not everyone was allowed to keep the awarded letters at the end of the year.
Not to be outdone by this fun idea, other colleges and universities began implementing these chenille letter and jacket awards until they grew into the iconic representation of athletic prowess they are today. It’s a time-honored tradition that deserves some display and recognition.
If you still have you jacket or other old jerseys and sports memorabilia that is otherwise collecting dust tucked in the back reaches of closets, or packed away in the attic or garage, you may be perking up to know that something can be done with them! You know which clothes I’m talking about – the ones that no longer fit but you just can’t bear to throw out because they trigger such fond memories.
Enter these three fantastic repurposing projects:
Chenille Letter Throw Pillow
This a great way to recycle worn jackets, jerseys and shirts. Just cut into a square or rectangle, sew up the edges, and stuff. However, if you don’t own a letterman jacket you can recycle other fabrics as well. Once you find a base fabric you like, you can easily purchase vintage patches or custom order some color-coordinated chenille letters to complete the look.
Custom Heirloom Bear
Custom stuffed bears made from old, repurposed, letterman jackets let you hang onto the memories while also creating a unique hand-me-down family treasure. The jacket is cut apart and the various bits are fashioned and crafted into the body, arms, legs, paws, and ears of a colorful stuffed bear.
This activity is a bit more complicated than the straight lines and patch application of the pillows, but for seasoned crafters, a none-to-difficult project. You can also purchase bear-making patterns online for pointers and ideas or enlist the help of exquisite handcrafters like Stearnsy Bears out of Stotts City, Missouri to do the hard work for you. With a bit of time and effort you can create your own adorable heirloom bear made out of a real repurposed letterman jacket.
Patchwork Memory Blankets
If you have a decent sized collection of shirts, sweaters, or other clothing items that no longer fit, you can lovingly repurpose them into a memory blanket that includes bits and pieces of all the items.
This is a great way to repurpose not only old sports shirts, sweatshirts, band t-shirts, and worn out jeans, but other items like children’s clothing, used sheets, or baby clothes. There are many things we can learn from quilting, and a memory quilt or blanket makes a thoughtful gift for a family and a unique addition to any home.
You can also find some of the products in considerable discounts when bought in bulk through some promo codes and vouchers to help you save some bucks. Finding family activities that everyone can appreciate and enjoy doesn’t have to be a chore. With these interesting, easy, and unique projects you are sure to find one that the whole family can slow down to work on and love.