Projects so far

Saturday, 3 September 2011

35th project completed - A Quilted Penguin bag

Well what do you make with an old pillow?

A quilted Penguin bag of course!

Some of you may be wondering how I come up with the ideas and the process I go through to decide what to make each week. This weeks challenge is a prime example.

The first step is to work out what the item to be recycled is actually made of. In this case the pillow was made up of some poly cotton fabric and some polyester hollow fibre filling. Quilting obviously came to mind as a way of turning the raw materials I had into something new. 

A very similar process happens every week for example; a plastic bottle is just a thin sheet of plastic. We all know that plastic melts when exposed to heat, it is easy to cut and does not fray. Equally, a tomato purée tube is really just a thin piece of metal once opened out, and can be cut and embossed easily. It is a very soft metal so it can also be sewn through with care. 

So why not take a look around the house for things to use rather than using something new?


  • An old pillow - well washed of course
  • 2 x A4 sized inkjet Tee-shirt transfers
  • An inkjet printer
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • 2 x A4 sized pieces of felt
  • 1.5m Wide ribbon

1. Print out 2 x Tee-shirt transfers with a design of your choice

2. Cut open the top of your pillow, remove the filling and cut out 2 pieces from the case about A4 in size. Iron on your Tee-shirt transfers.

3. As your pillow has been washed, no doubt the filling will have bunched together a bit. Pull out a thin layer and flatten out to use as a wadding.

4. Layer up 1 x printed piece of fabric and a piece of felt with the wadding in the middle.

5. Take one 'sandwich' and using your motif as a guide, lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine and using straight stitch sew through all three layers to quilt (Quilting purists look away now!). Repeat with the second 'sandwich'.

6. Once both sides of the bag are quilted, place right sides together, pin and stitch about 1cm from the edge down each side and across the bottom. Zig-zag over the edges to protect the edges.

7. Now turn down approx 3cm to hem the top and stitch. Turn the bag right side out and set to one side.

8. To make the shoulder strap, fold your length of ribbon in half and stitch the sides together using a zig-zag stitch over the edges. You can then add a few extra rows of stitching to add strength and a decorative touch.

9. Sew the strap to the bag and there we have it a cute little bag. I am going to keep the rest of the filling to use as stuffing and other projects.

Other ideas - You could add a fringe (as I did) or tassels to the bottom of the bag or use some extra printed fabric to make the strap. 

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