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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

All for Me!

Improvise! Create! Have fun!

I wanted to create something fun and personalized for my friends. These luggage tags featured in Shelly Smola’s book, All for Me, fit my needs for creativity. They can be used as gift tags, luggage tags or even Christmas ornaments!

The luggage tags are designed with a handy pocket made of clear vinyl to slide a name tag with contact information. Unfortunately, I didn’t have vinyl and I didn’t want to drive all the way to the fabric store. (It’s a whole 5 minutes away from the office!)

I decided to improvise…

Improvise on Materials

First attempt: Clear plastic from a paper CD sleeve.
I wasn’t using the CD sleeve and the plastic seemed like it would work. However, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic making it easy to rip away.

Undaunted, I hunted the office for other clear plastic materials…

Second attempt: A Ziplock bag!

I thought I was pretty clever for trying this technique. Again, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic.

Suggestions from office mates: Use a clear shower curtain.

This idea has been used and tested in the building… but sadly there wasn’t a shower curtain in the office. And the nearest retailer is at least 20 minutes away….

Next attempt: Tulle.

I used two layers of tulle and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method worked! Plus tulle comes in countless colors to coordinate with my fabric selection for the dresses. The card insert I placed in the pocket is still legible through the tulle.

Next attempt: Sheer ribbon.

I used two layers and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method also worked. I prefer the ribbon because it’s easier to work with but that’s just a personal preference.

All for Me


Sample 1. Pretty Blue!

I selected blue satin fabric for the dress and soft thread colors to coordinate with the fabric. I accidentally stitched the leaves in pink. Surely there are pink leaves found in nature somewhere! I added hot fix pearls to the flowers for added embellishments.

Sample 2. Bridal Party

I selected the same blue satin fabric. This time I stitched everything in white. The blue is subtle enough that it could be used for a bridal shower gift tag. I added the hot fix pearls to the flowers and the buttons. Also consider making one as a Christening ornament for a baby.

Sample 3. Celebrate the Crinkles!

When discussing our serious fabric shortage in the building with Eileen, I came upon a delightful brown crinkle type fabric. I hesitated but had to ask anyway, “will this work or am I crazy?” Fortunately, Eileen encouraged me to try. In fact, she shared a tip to ensure success.

Eileen’s tips:

Add fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the back of the fabric. This will add stability and will also keep the wrinkles in place as you stitch the crinkle fabric. The particular concern was ensuring the stipple stitches would stitch properly on the fabric.

Another tip, the fusible polymesh comes in black. This is especially useful if you’re working with a dark colored fabric. I’ll keep that in mind next time!

I love the added texture this fabric brings to the dress. In fact, I’d wear this dress if it were full size!

Sample 4. Embrace Color!

Now with 3 dresses successfully stitched, I was feeling quite bold. I found a bright yellow satin fabric. I fused polymesh to the back of the fabric. I opted to embrace contrasting colors… and during the process I must admit I got some inspiration from the movie, 27 Dresses. I used two layers of pink tulle for the pocket and of course a bright pink for the stitches. While stitching the flowers I noticed the leaves look like hearts. I decided to skip the flower centers and add hot fix crystals as embellishments.

Have Fun!
The primary motivation when I create anything is to have fun. During this process I enjoyed focusing on variety and details. For this project I only made dresses and challenged myself to try and make each one slightly different. What details can I add? I experimented with fabrics, thread colors, skipping embroidery details, adding hot fix embellishments and more!

Looking at the dresses, I realized hangers would be a nice addition. Using wire and some pliers I fashioned a small hanger for the embroidered dress. I cut two pieces of wire—one for the hook and the other for the base. I wrapped the end of the hook to the base. Next I covered the wire with a decorative fiber.

The hanger was an afterthought for my pretty brown dress. Next time I would skip stitching the hole for the ribbon since the hanger serves the same purpose.

What a wonderful way to have fun with small scraps of fabric!

There are additional luggage tags included with the book as well as other fun projects.

A total of 6 projects are included:

  • Tea Party Luggage Tags
  • Glamour Girl Makeup Case
  • Petite Purse
  • Vintage Apron
  • Time for Tea Pillow
  • Time for Tea Quilt

All for Me

Did you know? All for Me is now available as a download! That’s right, now you can download the book and the designs from the comfort of your home. This is especially ideal for overseas customers!

Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for more information.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Urban Threads is giving away four (4) $25 gift certificates to their website. Just leave a comment below about a design you re-purposed for something new, something different! Maybe you turned a kitchen towel project into some doll clothes or made a bracelet out of a sashing – whatever it is, we want to know.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most prized monogram project? Tell us your favorite and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


And the winners is..Shea  – “My favorite monogram is the stacked one that I put on one of three t-shirts I gave to my 30-year old son for his last birthday. I’ve seen him wear that shirt three times in the month since then – he LOVES it.”




  • Jacque

    Baby leggings out of outgrown T-shirts and I used the rib knit tank top for the bands on the legs and the waist. Super cute and a good way to rid my closet of T’s that have gotten to small or that I don’t wear any longer. My “2nd time around” fashion! 🙂

  • barbara ann

    Made a quilt out of my old embroidered t-shirts!

  • Cindy

    I repurpose t-shirts into 18″ doll tanks, skirts, leggings and pj’s.

  • Sharon Helms

    Used my old jeans and some salvage seatbelts to make a tote for my son’s teacher. Its great not to have to make pockets :).

  • Lori E

    I taken several regular embroidery designs and turned them into reverse applique.

  • Shelley

    I made personalized dog bandanas out of old sheets. I also repurposed a quilted pillow sham as a pressing pad.


    Used a old suit coat to make a jacket for a child

  • judy

    I used a bridesmaid dress to make a little girl’s dressy dress.

  • shirley rogers

    I love the dresses….that is so cute…

  • Rhonda Sanford

    I love to make these little make-up bags that are stippled and have the first name initial on the front. Everyone that receives them just loves them…I also make personalized aprons for the teachers at my grandkids schools…

  • Kristi D.

    I used old blanket sheets for a pressing table top. Makes the best top but so hard to find these days.

  • Carol Seavitt

    The hardware from old purses are stored in a drawer in my sewing room. I’ve also taken out zippers and cool buttons from clothes. I love going to my stash when making new purses.

  • susanj

    I used an appliqué free-standing leaf design to make a name-tag for a Fall event.

  • Jane Towsley

    I’ve made tote bags out of the tyvek dog food bags and chicken feed sacks. I’m now going to make some aprons out of it for using at the fish cleaning stations since it is waterproof. Should help to keep the fisherman cleaning his fish dry and somewhat cleaner.


    tshirts into necklaces.

  • Donna G.

    i used fabric from clothes I made my daughter for a quilt for her dorm room!

    • Nanette

      Hi Donna G.
      I did the exact same thing!!! I handed my daughter the items, and said go ahead.
      One was a dress my dear Mother wore when she was young (high school?).
      Every 5″ square has a memory for me anyway. lol
      She did a fantastic job – put the top together with my serger. ^_^

  • Gail Beam

    I used jute rope to make a lion mane for one of the Noah’s Ark animals that I made for my first two grandchildren. I made loops going back an forth as I pushed the jute loops through the sewing machine sewing down the middle of the loops. Then I folded the loops in half and sewed the loops down to make a trim and attached the jute trim on the head by hand. I used the same method to make a yarn mane for the Noah’s ark giraffes and zebras. For the giraffes and zebras, I cut the loops open, but left the loops whole for the lion’s mane.

  • Jane Scott

    I love to refashion! My favorite project was to take the handle and vinyl flowers from a handbag from my daughter and reuse them on a new handbag.

  • Lynn D.

    I took my 45 year old wedding dress and, with Hubby’s blessing,cut it apart. I made an embroidered and appliqued quilted wall hanging using silk, satin and lace from the dress. It is elegant and we both enjoy seeing this reminder of our 45 years together. I have yards of usable fabric and many tiny satin buttons left for my next “wedding” project!

    • Denise Holguin

      How beautiful!


    • Karen W

      I also rec’d a wedding dress that a friend gave me (from a previous marriage. It yielded yards of lace, satin, buttons & trim. Within a month I attached the gathered deep ruffle to the outer edges of a Xmas tree skirt, then used some of the ribbons & trim on the cuffs of patchwork stockings, the satin & lace made lots of potpourri sachets for gifts & the most prized, a chatelaine for my mother — to hang in her closet with a mini repair kit & stork scissors for quick repairs. When she passed, I got the chatelaine back. I’m sure there’s still some of that dress left in my fairly extensive stash, even after all these years & loads of projects!

  • Kitty Kontak

    Years ago I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I wanted to make a small quilt for my new granddaughter. She immediately went to her stash and as she pulled pieces out she remembered what and for whom she had used it for. I left with a large bag, but told my hubby I felt guilty using it for Erika. I ended up making a lap quilt for my father-in-law. After all, he had watched her make all those things! He loved it.

  • Barbara McKenzie

    I used the fabric from an outdated and outgrown maxi skirt for a stylish jeans style jacket with coordinating embroidery.

  • joyce

    Used a old rayon skirt that was too small but I loved the fabric to make a Infinity Scarf.

  • Carol Keeler

    I saved a pair if my grandsons very first jeans and made them up into a tooth fairy pillow. The little pocket serves to hold the tiny tooth which is placed in a tiny zipper bag placed in the pocket. I also added a tooth fairy rhyme on the back with machine embroidery. He has started using it this year as he is in second grade. Now I will have the pleasure of making one for my little granddaughter from her saved tiny baby jeans. She is now three so I will need to start planning how I will make hers!

  • Sharon B

    My favorite re-purpose was to turn a dish towel into a charming tote bag.

  • Maga

    Cutting old clothes into strips and crocheting shopping bags with the strips. Not very inventive but it worked.

  • Kris

    I embroidered on a man’s shirt sleeve and turned it into to a wine bottle bag. Save those shirts.
    Also embroidered on screening and rescreened my bathroom windows.

  • Melanie Leigh

    I’ve repurposed tshirts that I blundered into doll clothes, sw alters into decorative pillows, overalls into aprons,jeans into aprons. I also make “memory bears” from antpything, ie. Clothes, blankets, tablecloths and more.

  • Cindy Dickinson

    I recently used the veil from my step granddaughter’s flower girl dress that I made her three years ago when her Dad married my daughter to make the sleeves and the neckline of her Elsa (Frozen) costume for Halloween this year.

  • Laurene Shewan

    My son’s vintage cloth diapers – made them into pajamas for his daughter’s American Girl doll. She thought it was so funny. He’s 45 now so that’s how long they’ve been in my sewing stash!

  • Nancy Weber

    I turned used baby shoes into darling pin cushions. Everyone loves them. Hugs.

  • SJ Brower

    I like to turn regular applique designs into reverse appliques. Also have used potato chip bags for mylar inside of FSL to pretty it up.

  • irina

    I changed a toy design into the applique design.

  • Stacy

    I took a sweater and made them into boot socks!

  • Nicole S

    Love turning old clothes into new, youngest daughters shirts and dresses become new redesigned outfits for granddaughter, jeans into quilts.

  • Jennifer Jasmin

    I used the sleeves from an old sweater to make sweater boots. It was an Urban Threads tutorial!

  • Mary

    i like to make bracelets out of FSL bookmarks!

  • Janice Harris

    I made an antique cross stitched apron into a skirt for my daughter. And I’m currently working on making a faux suede slipcover into a jacket for her!

  • Natalie

    I love finding and reusing baby overalls for my parrot. No, he doesn’t wear them, but with a few quick stitches, they get turned into treat holders. He has s great time going through all the pockets and playing with the bottoms and buckles.

  • Sylvia K

    Used a flower design to “fix” a favored pair of shorts – bleach spot was the center of the flower design!

  • Brittany Smith

    I’ve used all sorts of urban threads designs– even light stitching ones– for patches for LARP groups! We use them to denote different Non-player character groups to reduce the amount of unique costuming staff has to bring, and to make these characters easy to recognize for the players!

  • linda evans

    I took a old dress skirt that was torn up and made some epic victorian open hand glove/wristettes…

  • Patricia Lennon

    check out used clothing stores for nice buttons on sale blouses and jackets

  • Michelle wayman

    Lamp shade out of wore out blue jeans with embroidery around it.

  • Sharon

    I love to ‘up cycle’ and often remake clothes. I am short so have to cut the bottoms off denim jeans. I save up all the bits and a few years ago I made my first project. I joined all the different bits together to make a patchwork bag for my mother to use to carry her little Yorkie. I have also used the offcuts to make hammocks for my daughter’s rat and use the ‘good’ sections of old denims to make doll’s clothes, bags and pet beds.

  • Phil Carlton

    I’ve used Crown Royal bags to make scarfs and pillows.

  • Christine

    College sweatshirts into a quilt, jeans to skirts, old wool sweaters into purses, leather mini skirt to soles for my slippers, old purse hardware repurposed for new, vinyl records to purses and the list could go on and on. I was up cycling/repurposing way before it was cool!!!

  • Kayleen Runyan

    I repurpose garage sale clothing finds to make 18″ doll clothes for my daughters’ doll wardrobe. One Christmas I made 3 (have 3 daughters) complete wardrobes from ^ worth of garage sale finds.

  • Kristina MacLauchlin

    I bought a design from of a cute owl that was meant to be a bow holder, (for attaching feltie hairclips). It was meant to be an in the hoop design, but I put it on both ends of a scarf, and gave it a back and front piece of felt, so on the back part of the scarf, you didn’t see any stitches, but the plain felt outline of the owl instead. (this is hard to explain without a photo!) but it came out great!

  • Lela

    I wanted to try to make an ITH bear stuffie and did not have any furry material on hand. So I used a micro fleece towel. Turned out really cute.

  • Debby E

    I made a couple of tote bags from old jeans – not very original but fun! I love Urban Threads!! Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

  • Sally

    I used the fabric from one of my husband’s old shirts to create wings for my Goddaughter with an Urban Threads design.

  • Julie Suchomski

    My most recent “upcycled” project was a little bag or purse for a bride from doilies I found at a garage sale.

  • Chassen

    I turned some of Urban Threads “Wheel of the Year” designs into an altar cloths

  • Karen Jennings

    When I moved into my house, it came with vertical fabric blinds on almost all the windows. THey had to go! I took them all down, washed them in the washing machine, and saved them (of course). They are made of a very nice, soft, flexible-type of material. Now, I embroider Urban Threads designs on them and make Christmas ornaments, key-fobs, zipper-pulls, luggage tags, patches, and anything that I need to be extra sturdy and very durable!

  • Misty lindseth

    I have made scarves out of old tshirts, handbags out of old tshirts and Capri sun pouches, baby leg coverings out of adult knee highs, purses out of old blue jeans, quilts out of blue jeans…..the list goes on and on! 🙂

  • Jo Nemeth

    I like taking my old turtlenecks and making legging for the grand kids out of them – They really love the old Christmas designs to wear to bed!

  • Shelli Moon

    When my kids were little, I used to love to make shorts out of bandanas.

  • Judy

    I love Urban Designs for their Steampunk and Animal designs! I will make a quilt with some of the AWESOME ones if I win!

  • Cheramie Breaux-Leger

    I love to take sweaters and sweatshirts that I have embroidered on and make Christmas stockings out of them.

  • lindsey vanleeuwen

    I used old burlap to embroider on, and embellish pillows for outdoor decor.

  • Suzie Suliman

    When I lost my mom I upcycled one of her favourite sweaters to make myself a blue memory bear, it turned out great. Stretch Velour…who knew it would stitch up so good?

  • Judy Wong

    I’ve made pillow case dresses for orphaned girls out of thrifted sheets. They are cool and don’t wrinkle.

  • Dawn Warren

    i have started making aprons our of kitchen towels. I add ruffles to one end and add straps to the other end. Then I add a cool design to it, usually one from Urban Threads!!

  • Sandi McGregor

    I’ve made winter mittens from wool sweaters.

  • Abby Newell

    When I make tshirt quilts, I use the left over fabric to make doll clothes for my grand daughters. That way, I don’t even have to hem them.

  • Cindy Smartt

    I have been upcycling jeans into Christmas stocking with the embroidery designs from Urban Threads! Fabulous!

  • Lesley

    I re purposed a nightie and made a doona for my elderly small dog in winter when she wasn’t well. It kept her really warm and Cosy.

  • Rachel Phillips

    I used and old button up shirt from my hubby to make a sundress for a 3 year old. It is her favorite and has to wear it atleast twice a week, as she claims it smells like daddy!

  • Dora

    I used traditional Dutch folklore neckkerchiefs with borders with sailboats and the old Amsterdam skyline to make very simple smocked dresses for my little girls. Also I use old cross-stitched samplers and such I buy at the thrift store to make belts and bags for them now they are older. Not strictly what you asked for, I think, but very nice recycling all the same.

  • Cyndi

    Turned an old nightgown into an Elsa costume. Attached bodice to top and then cut a hoop skirt off of a princess dress and sewed that to nightgown.

  • mandy

    Baby clothing into clothing for the plush monkeys that I make. So much fun carrying a dressed monkey. 🙂

  • Daphne Brune

    I like to take cool buttons of of old clothes and reuse them on pillows and stuff. I also use good portions of fabric I love from work or our outgrown clothes for applique. I love Urban Threads!!

  • Khristine

    My current fave is to take my girls torn up jeans and out grown tops and turn them into 60’s style peasants skirts. I cut off the legs of the jeans then cut the shirts into good size squares, if there are any holes or stains I embroider over those areas sew it all together into a fun new skirt.

  • Maria

    I washed/felted an old wool pullover sweater and made it into a child’s cardigan with crochet collar. Such fun!

  • Jennifer Nielsen

    I took a raven design that looked perfect for a wall hanging and turned it into bath towels for a friend’s wedding gift.

  • jan schrock

    my favorite project is a super cute purse i made from a burlap sack that had the best popcorn in it!! i think i find things daily that can be repurposed into something else useful

  • Lydia Fulp

    I like to repurpose and reuse everything I can! Some of my favorite thing I’ve repurposed is a skirt I made from an old button up men’s shirt, scarves, and headbands from old tee shirts are fun too! I also like to pick up old wooden embroidery hoops at garage sales and thrift stores and use them to frame my machine embroidery work like art work 🙂

  • Jane Ruhl

    I have used FSL bracelet designs as trim on doll clothes. They were gorgeous and I could get the color I needed.

  • Jodie Emmons

    I take embroidered designs from my sample stitchouts and from items that didn’t turn out the way I liked and then stitch onto purses, patchwork style. I add pieces of lace and buttons around the edges to make a Gypsy or Bohemian style purse.

  • Pam

    I still really like my curtains from my kitchen and dining room, but needed a change. I made them into a throw rug for my kitchen and I still love the colors

  • saida

    I used my hubby’s military uniform. That he wore when he enlisted, when he deployed,and current one. I made a quilt for him. He love it. 🙂

  • Rebecca Chinn

    I took an old pair of favorite jeans and turned it into a bag. The pockets already had beautiful embroidery so I didn’t want to throw them out but I couldn’t wear the jeans anymore. The bag worked out perfectly with all the built-in pockets.

  • Ann Slobodian

    I make medicine packs for kids. When I first started, they were made out of canvas scraps from a local boat covering business and old blue jeans.

  • Deana

    I started learning to sew when I was 4. Being raised with little to no money, we couldn’t afford things like doll dresses or princess costumes. So I took my worn or stained clothes apart and made them myself. After a while I’d save up enough for Goodwill curtains and make costumes for my high school theater.

    Fast forward a few short years, one of my senior projects while earning a BS in fashion design was to make a garment out of recycled items. I made a strapless top from a “Royal” brand rice bag I’d gotten at Costco and hand beaded the logo. The skirt was a short little ruched piece that had formerly been an embroidered taffeta shower curtain. The exterior of the coat was a misprinted trade show banner, the interior was a jacquard table cloth, and the interlining was a gutted electric blanket.

    • Deana

      Oh… I did the march hare costume head in that picture too LOL – he’s a bicycle helmet, wire coat hangers, plastic mask, floral foam nose, 6 or so skinned stuffed animals, and a Finding Nemo plush for the eyes.

  • Susan Jacobsen

    I go to 2nd hand stores looking for vintage clothing to use the material in upcoming projects!

  • Meg Ammerman

    i made an infant sleep sacque out of my fathers shirt for his third great grand baby!

  • sue

    I took an old denim jacket from good will and put the clock designs from Urban Threads all over it. It was a perfect project for it.

  • Lupita Campos

    I am thinking these luggage tags would make an awesome name tag for my next sewing group meeting.

  • Stephanie Zoller

    I make a lot of things that are repurposed. My favorite is to make purses and jewelry from old jeans. I also make tote bags from old t-shirts which are great to use for quick trips to the grocer.

  • Christina Coyle

    I turned a bunch of old tee shirts into diapers, and some towels into car seat covers.

  • Amy

    We used old tank tops and made tote bags out of them. It’s very simple so my daughters could make the themselves.

  • Jo Ellen Brown

    I turned a Army duffle bag into a book bag for a friend’s daughter. It was a gift for her new year of school. I put all the tags and buckles on it. It turned out great.

  • JoAnna

    I repurpose a lot I have made blankets from t shirts, I made a doll sling from a curtain, I have used old clothing buttons and made button ornaments, mens button ups into aprons…

  • Diane Bowman

    I used my son’s long John shirt to make a miniature long John shirt for a muslin Santa. Also used rib knit waistband from sweatshirts to make snowman hats and ragdoll socks

  • colette davidson

    I made a mittens for my son from and old pillow cusion and a doll cape from an old velvet dress 🙂

  • Marlene

    I was heartbroken when I discovered moths got to my only cashmere sweater. I bought it for $6 at a thrift store, an it was so warm and soft. I re-purposed it into a pillow. I just couldn’t get rid of it.

  • colette davidson

    I made mittens for my son from an old cusion cover and I made a cape for a doll from and old velvet dress.

  • Jenna Gordon

    I made cyanotype prints (sun prints) out of lace embroidered quilt squares and then used those in another quilt.

  • Kylie

    Turned some ut designs into crazy dolls. I would love to win this prize

  • Sharon Morfick

    I made snap bags out of practice embroidered pieces, those “orphan” pieces. They made beautiful fronts for the bags, and I had the flexibility to make the bag fit the design.

  • Anne

    Love making things out of old jeans bags quilts doll clothes, you name it I’ve tried it!
    Love your ideas!

  • Donna Lee

    I used discarded adult knit shirts, combined with some new woven fabric to make cute ladybug peasant style shirts with shorts for my granddaughters. I also used a thrifted knit top for little girl leggings. And of course, embellishing with embroidery always adds pizzazz to repurposed garments.

  • mary johnson

    Like most crafters of all mediums I too repurpose those old jeans into purses and backpacks, thrift store treasures that wind up embroidered works of art. But the one I really love is the holster I made for my son’s Steampunk costume for Comic Con. He steampunked up some old nerf guns and I engineered the holsters.. I machine embroidered the steampunk spider from Urban Threads on the face of it… so Coool

  • Sky C

    I used a dress my daughter wore as a baby in a wedding for her Embroidered non paper doll clothes. Love that she will have it for a long time to come!!!

  • Lynnell Linke

    I made pillows for my family out of our Dad’s ties, and a pillow out of a good friend’s mother’s blouses. Something to have close in remembrance of those we lost!

  • Terry Pitcock

    Necklaces and bracelets out of old, broken jewelry.

  • Heather Toczek

    I love to take old clothes and upcycle them into kids clothes and other fun things.

  • barb

    cut up old jeans to make water bottle carriers…

  • Diane Crane

    I’ve made my twin grand-daughters some very nice, long-wearing bibs out of their father and grandfather’s old jeans (for the front) and t-shirts (for the back). Just add a little ribbon or a few buttons for decoration and they are great!

  • Maggie Murphy

    Although it was set right in my software, the machine decided to load a design more centered in the hoop and rotated it. I didn’t check first and had a lovely snow couple stitch sideways on a huck towel. Decided to just let it finish stitching that way and repurposed it to be a larger matching hot pad / mug rug.

    • Karen W

      Maggie, Isn’t it great when we can turn a mistake into a “happy accident”?! I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me! Now I try to think ahead for test samples & mistakes to get used in some other project if it can’t be rescued in some fashion for its original purpose.

  • Suzanne

    I used some old wire coat hangers for “bones” in a dragon wing costume.

  • Heather McAuliffe

    Used old jeans to make a purse.

  • Laura B.

    Making a quilt out of gpa’s old ties. He passed away from brain cancer. If this works out, I have enough ties for 2 quilts.

  • Joan Toczek

    I made a bag out of an old pair of jeans

  • Jennifer Bieniek

    I took some old curtains that I had made for my daughter and repurposed them into a play tent that fit overtop of a card table.

  • Marge L

    I turn wedding gowns into christening gowns. Embroider the underskirt with the date of grandmas/ persons wedding date. Later add the name of the child and christening date if they would like. Also have used the left over fabric for ringbearer pillow with wedding dates and names added.

  • Nicole

    Sweater and socks into stuffed animals, leather coat into pillow covers, oversize t-shirts into kids dresses.

  • Diane Thorpe

    i take blue jeans, specifically the pockets & turn them into wall storage for small items that always find their way onto my countertops!

  • Sarah Bleakley

    I re-purposed candy and soda bottle wrappers into hair bows! Difficult but fun.

  • Leslie

    Right now I am taking old jeans and cutting them up for a picnic quilt. My favorite in the past is to take an embroidered dish towel and turn it into an apron.

  • Dawn

    I’m working right now on jeans skirts that I am turning into purses.

  • sylvia

    I’ve refashioned thrift store clothes into new skirts.

  • Penny Gray

    T shirt quilt for my daughter with embroidered names and places on it.

  • Brenda Wylie

    I turned my granddaughters baby blanket into a pillow so she could still have it with her.

  • Lolulapu

    I cut my old t-shirts into smaller pieces and make some katwise style tuniques from it! 🙂 Love it!

  • Robbin E Dillon

    I got SOOOO excited when I bought my first embroidery machine (10 months ago), that I digitized an image of a 6,000 year old tattoo found on a Russian warrior princess dug from permafrost…. I placed it on a new-2-me skirt from my Church’s rummage sale!! Looks awesome, now all I have to do is lose 15lbs by spring so it’ll FIT!!

  • Alexis Davis

    I reused my test stitch outs of designs (the ones that turn out) into quilt squares. The quilts from them get used as gifts!

  • Rosemari Kapp

    I love to reuse feltie designs as small appliques on larger projects!Or appliques as hair boy holders, if you skip the satin stitching.

  • Leandra

    I found some really cool holiday placemats and turned them into a sewing tote to use at the holidays. I hope to find other seasonal ones and make others! 🙂

  • Jessica Churchfield

    Made tank tops out of my husbands t-shirts that were 5 sizes too big. Have made pillowcases out of his old shirts, skirt out his old pants, bags and blankets out of t shirts.Made pillow shams out of old curtains and saved the grommets for a wallet…I love pcycling/repurposing 🙂

  • Stacey Goldyn-Moller

    I tore apart an old couch cushion to gain upholstery fabric to make a beautiful embroidered bodice, which I embroidered with sugar skulls from the Urban Threads collection. Photos at

    • Karen W

      Stacey, That reminds me of when we were in Germany 20 yrs ago & a friend needed help reupholstering her dining room chairs. We re-did her chairs & made a matching valance. That was a couple of years before I got my first embroidery machine. Anyway, I kept that ugly olive green striped velveteen fabric. Well, back in the USA, another friend mentioned she loved that color, so I made her a lined tote bag, embroidered it with a large Asian crane design from Embroidery Library onto the bag & smaller motif on the pocket (for her cell phone). There’s more fabric waiting for another project to come to mind.

  • Angel bowen

    First let me say I LOVE urban threads!!! And All for me! So this was the perfect combo!!! Lol! I took a thrift store quilt that was torn and jazzed it up with my own embroidery and cut it down to the size of my wooden TV tray, with about 3 inches extra all the way around. Made an elastic casing and voila! It’s a folding mini ironing board next to my sewing table!

  • Brandi

    I had an old work out shirt that was the perfect match on color for doctor scrubs, so my daughters and I turned that into a full doctor scrub set (including mask and footies) for one of their American Girl dolls.

  • morgan

    Made pillows out of old jeans and Jean pockets.

  • Linda Sue

    i have repurposed men’s and women’s large shirts into lovely aprons and also little girls dresses. I have photos but don’t know how to add them here

  • Denise Young

    My favorite repurposing project was taking a man’s dress shirt and making it into a lovely blue and wgite striped a-line skirt. Kept the buttons for accents and added pockets for convenience.

  • Mike

    Turned an old tshirt into a onesie for my son.

  • Georgia

    old jeans turned into bags! that would be the one thing I do the most of lately. 🙂

  • AbbyK

    I made Capri sun packs into a beach bag. My husband thought I was a loon saving empty drink packages but even he says the bag isn’t bad. TY for the giveaway!

  • Kerrie Butterfield

    Love repurposing things. Just did leg warmers from an old sweater and pillow cases from a flannel top sheet.

  • Colleen

    I have taken an old fitted sheet that had been torn. Mended the rip and used as a pool cover for an 8 foot pool. Snug fit, elastic hold cover in place, and keeps debris out of pool between use.

  • jody starr

    I turn old jeans into fancy purses.

  • Mirela Popovici

    I’m going to use the hand embroidered part of an old (already cut) hand towel to apply it to the sleeves of a new peasant top.

  • Jen Franklin

    I used the snowflake skull as window decorations, tree ornaments and also made some into coasters. They turned out very nice, and I ended up giving many of them away.

  • Julie

    i use old jeans for a small make up type bags to hold ladies femine products .. The bags alway say oh bloody hell with a embroidery to match I. E Dracula .. They are given as gifts

  • jeanine

    I use felties to decorate my kids clothing

  • Nancy Drake

    I took pieces of left over fabric from 3 wedding dresses I had sewn (my own, 2 cousins of my husband’s [sewing those 2 were their wedding gift from us] and made them into a decorative scissors holder and matching narrow scarf to hang on my dress form. I embroidered them with yellow roses which were the flower I carried at my wedding. They are pretty and dress up the form that is out and in view all the time.

  • Georgia Nelson

    I made Kitchen Angels from an embroidered dishtowel, square homemade potholder and a dish brush with a face on it. The embellishments and potholders were made with scraps of fabric.

  • Jennifer Cail

    Turn an old damaged wool coat into a nice new purse for the fall.

  • helly

    I use outgrown babygrows and infant clothing to create keepsakes. I’ve also used wedding gowns, garments from a loved one after their passing and curtain fabric too. Bears are the most popular but was asked to make a tortoise and this proved very popular!

  • Amy

    Design??? Only 1???? Please I used sooo many Urban Thread designs. I have them on jackets, shirts, bags, and walls. They decorate my shop!!!!

  • JudiC

    Embroidered the legs of my jeans years ago. Then when the jeans no longer fit I cut off the embroidered legs and made them into plastic bag holders using hoops from my cross-stitch stash.

  • Melody Fialho

    I love upcycling old clothes into dolls, bags, refashioned clothing for friends and family as gifts or just because items.

  • lawna whaley

    stand alone angel wings onto a memory pillow for a photo

  • Vicky Isliefson

    I made “Scrubbies” dish cloths for hostess gifts, and also used the same designs to make matching embroidered tea towels, but I replaced the scrubbie mesh with an applique fabric for the towels.

  • Nancy H

    I always use denim to make sample embroideries and then they become patches on my kids jeans or elsewhere when needed

  • Amanda Bryant

    I started making LED candle wraps when my mother was still alive so she could have a beautiful and safe candle in the nursing home. I make them in the hoop, stitched on organza and often use Urban Thread designs. It took me awhile to figure out my process but I wanted to use a fabric like organza that would let the light shine through. Sometimes I hand color the lightly stitched designs to add a stained glass quality. On heaver designs I sometimes remove some of the background colors to allow more light to shin through. Since I use two pieces of organza I can get a wide variety of background colors by using two different colors of organza and then I have the fun of choosing my thread colors. I might mix in bits and pieces of thread scraps and Angelina Fiber to add texture and color toto some desings. It seems I can always count of Urban Threads designs to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Leslie

    I took an UrbanThreads lace choker, turned it upside down and stuck it on a headband. Voila! A perfectly pint sized tiara!

  • Sandy Guba

    I took an old white shirt and turned it into a doggie t shirt with the Urban Threads Canine Couture design on the back.

  • Patti

    I used t-shirts to make a ruffled hat and dress for my niece’s birthday day.

  • Julie

    we travel a,lot around our beautiful australia and I often bought t shirts as souvenirs, kids have grown, shirts got shabby – so cut out the front where the design was and sewed together, now have a beautiful quilt for bed in caravan full of all our memories.

  • Diana

    I used my boys old jeans to make my favorite Beach Bag!

  • Shellaree

    I love the thrift shops and friends for old jeans for bunting and tote bags.. Kids clothes for fabric selection in appliqué. Keep all seems for strip quilting
    Never throw away anything….even keep threads from unpicking for stuffing.

  • Colette Wilson

    I have repurposed linen dresses into table runners and mens silk ties into crazy quilt blocks.

  • Polly

    I stitched a continuous design around the bottom of my husbands old t-shirts, then cut them off and added as a ruffle to the bottom of a cotton skirt that had become too short.

  • Georgia

    I used an urban threads design for a tattoo ❤️

    Their folded clockwork wings are fabulous.

  • Tammy

    i make Christmas stockings out of thrift shop
    Wool jackets and embroider urban threads
    Christmas designs

  • Bree Miller

    I turned a Urban Threads FSL design into a reverse appliqué. It looked awesome.

  • Christi Davenport

    I have taken parts of several designs to make one design and framed it.

  • Dee

    I repurposed my wedding dress to make my daughter’s christening gown. Used the lace to make the bonnet. Many years later I repurposed one of the bridesmaids dresses which was given back to me and made her a beautiful party dress.

  • Jeanelle Felix

    I use cloth diapers or hand towels trimmed with scraps and embroidery and make burp cloths for shower gifts. I’ve also used curtains to make Renaissance clothing

  • Lori

    I reposed a couple embroidery designs. Combining some branches with a couple bottle designs and added the words bottle collector. I made it as a patch which was then glued onto a wetsuit. I guess the divers collect patches for different skill levels.

  • Marichu

    I had several old dog leashes that I took apart and used the buckles and straps on new ith bags that I embroidered.

  • Jean

    Am taking an old shower curtain and embroidering Urban Threads designs onto the fabric and will be making pictures.

  • BJ Marley

    I made a set of sheets into a house coat.

  • Charlene Waggoner

    I use blue jeans for everything but mostly I make iron-on badges out of them.

  • Dianna Wilson

    Used a small man’s dress shirt, ironed on vinyl and fabric shapes and made a paint smock for my daughter. Used the back for the front and vise versa. Cut off collar and sewed bias tape around neckline. Cut sleeves the right length and made elastic bands at cuffs.

  • Mimi Miller

    i made a headband from a handle of a basket. Used two sections and attached to a meal headband.

    • Mimi Miller

      That was metal headband

  • Amanda Buchanan

    I turned my daughter’s baby clothes into a memory quilt.

  • Chris Sanchez

    I cut up
    curtains, shirts, nursing scrubs….anything cotton for fabric to use in other projects….sometimes it is hard to find the right fabric

  • Renee Forsythe

    I take my old jeans and turn them into aprons. They are perfect to wear for teaching my 8th graders to cook and sew. It also inspires them to repurpose something in their lives.

  • Vera Campbell

    I couldn’t find a non-floral sequin lace I liked for a headband for a Katniss costume, so I made my headband out of buckram and pellon I had leftover from a different project, netting from another different project on which I embroidered a random lacy design from Urban Threads, and sequined it with leftover materials from yet another project. I managed to use all scraps to make it.

  • Fronye

    I have tons of drapery and upholstery samples. I have made bookmarks out of the paper-backed part of the samples for my daughter. I would love to know any ideas other people have for using these samples, as they are small. 9″x9″ or smaller.

    • Denise Holguin

      Stay tuned… this Fall we will introduce a new product that is ideal for your samples!


  • Debbie

    I refashion outgrown baby clothes in to American Girl and Bitty baby size clothes. Often use tiny embroidery designs to liven up solid fabrics.

  • Carol

    I was gifted a fabulous stash of antique lace some of which I sewed onto paper in the making of several altered book projects. Also used the lace to make crowns–layered over a base of chicken wire, then embellished with old jewelry like rhinestones and pearls. Oh, and made gift tags, too–inked, dyed, stitched lace on Manila tags, replaced string with lace or ribbon. And stitched an urban threads rose on to wide lace for a cuff! I could go on…:)

  • Emily

    I sewed old t-shirts into bags!

  • Gretchen Willi

    I used robes, sweatshirts, and an old winter parka to make two memory quilts for a dear friend and her sister – since I needed to make two quilts I used filler blocks with embroidery designs.


    Grampa’s old blue jeans turned into dungaree’s for twin baby girls

  • Debra Wilson

    Using tee shirts for quilts and remant are being crochet into rag rugs

  • Nancy

    I used some old jeans to make cute embroidered baby bibs. They looked more like something for a little boy, but with girly designs they made cute “tomboy” bibs too.

  • Jackie

    I love the dresses as luggage tags! Great ITH idea. I took an ordinary dolphin filled embroidery design and used it for a towel holder. I had large flour sack towels that I folded in quarters and made the dolphin into a circle, and put it at the fold, cutting away the circle in the middle of the embroidery. Now it works as a towel holder. It was a gift and the lady loved it because she loves dolphins. (The towel is thick since it is 4 layers thick and doesn’t hang too low.)

  • Pat

    I used the Urban Threads FSL Fascinator for shoe clips for my DD-I-L’s wedding outfit. I made the bottom layer in royal blue, the middle layer in steel gray and the top layer was in a very pale gray, almost silver. They turned out very pretty and the design was a perfect trim for the silver shoes she wore. I love Urban Threads dsigns and have followed their designers ever since Embroidery Library first featured them! I visit the site frequently and usually find at least two or three designs I either purchase or add to my Wish List.

  • Ann

    I used my daughter’s jeans to make a graduation quilt. I embroidered a design in each square and backed it with flannel putting it together in a rag style quilt.

  • Terri

    I took a damaged wedding dress and made a christening outfit for her infant son. Truly a labor of love.

  • Julie gibson

    i took a black sheet and made them into four pirate scarves using two of the skull and crossbones embroidery designs. Then dressed a pumpkin head with a face and eye patch and laid a plastic sword beside this depicting the image of a pirate. I used these along with decorated witch hats and boas as well as glitter pumpkins for our 40th class reunion decor this fall. Everyone had a great time!

  • Erin M

    I’ve used salesman fabric collection samples (purchased in bulk) to make placemats for nursing homes plus cute and sturdy purses. The coordinated fabrics work out great for small projects. Hope to purchase more such fabric samples because I love to sew. These were great projects!

  • Pat Oishi

    I’ve been re-purposing things for years – I just though I was being cheap! A few years ago I made name tags for our Sunday school preschoolers using an applique sheep design and an old flannel sheet. Instead of appliqueing onto a larger fabric, I simply hooped them double-thickness and then cut them out when done. The kids loved them. I made a few extra “just in case” and I’ve been using them as coasters!

  • Kathy

    I took a pair of children jeans and added embroidery to the pockets and then made it into a purse. I get so many compliments and fell good I recycled it.

  • patti

    one of my fav things it find a clearance on fleece blankets. So many fun things. Make stuffed animals, Foot cozies, pillow covers, doll coats, even fleece vests and jackets yes I know how to stretch a buck. Now hint folks fleece blankets, twin size are very inexpensive same with flannel sheets great for nite shirts, bath robes

  • Debbie

    I took a Fsl tealight design and enlarged it – only using the background and instead of the design included used a regular non-fsl embroidery design which was a breast cancer awareness design for my mom. It worked great. We were both very happy with the result 🙂

  • Becca

    Last Christmas I used a couple of the embroidery designs from Urban Threads to make tree ornaments. My favorite is the Ninjabread Man. Pirate Santa isn’t bad, either.

  • Carolyn

    I used my husband’s old jeans and made a bag for the jumper cables complete with a fun embroidery.

    • Karen W

      I upcycled a Walmart insulated bag that had seen it’s better days – handles tearing away & exposing the insulation. I made another tote in a cotton print from my stash, added insulating fleece, added longer, made stronger handles that wrapped underneath, embroidered it with a sassy saying, inserted the old bag & re-lined it with an old wind-breaker (polyester-silky type) — this ensured it was well insulated (for ice cream, frozen foods, etc). I left the old short handles & velcro closure intact. My hubby does most of the shopping now & loves that bag!

  • Carol M

    I made stuffed bear and heart pillow from flannel jacket, also from old quilts, Christmas stockings and pillows. I embroidered a design and put on them.
    I love Urban Thread designs, I have got quite a few from them.

  • Pam

    Anything fabric is fair game for re-purposing! I used bits of my brother’s pajamas when I made “I spy” quilts for my niece & nephew. My yarn stash is stored in a metal garbage can painted 70’s style with orange & green mushrooms that I bought at a garage sale years ago!

  • Guinevere

    Nothing irritates me more than perfectly good toys being thrown out to make way for new more expensive ones. I stalk garage sales and op shops for bulk stuffed toys with squeakers and rattles in them. I open them up and use the stuffing and squeakers etc in the sensory toys and blocks I make. Saves me money and I recycle and resuse something not wanted.

  • lyn

    jeans–jeans. Have made gift bags, baskets, aprons, boxes. Each has embroidery design(s) to up-cycle into something fun and showcase a design I just have to try.

    White sheet: I was given a new flat sheet that was of good weight. Used it for embroidery squares for table runner, pillow top. Love upcycling ideas.

  • lyn

    I have upcycled jeans into boxes, storage totes and aprons. Adding an embroidery design to each item gives it a new fun look. I was given a new white flat sheet and use it for quilt blocks. Love reuse ideas.

    • Missy

      Je suis stupéfait de lire autant de commentaires intéressants. Merci à tous de partager vos expériences et de nous décrire le modèle économique de Costco mieux encore que l&colus;artirqe.

  • Beth Rowan

    I regularly take FSL designs and stitch them as the focus for regular embroidery. Even without all of the plain air around the open space, the design with fabric color showing through can look beautiful!

  • Karen W

    I LOVE Urban Threads for their slightly off-beat designs, especially those that appeal to the younger set, tattoo aficionados & GoT fans!

    I recently purchased some of their Halloween designs to decorate our front entry for trick or treaters. I plan to use the spider design & metallic thread to make Xmas Tree ornaments as tiny gifts in Xmas cards (I’ll be enclosing a copy of the story of the Christmas Spider).

    I’ve also used 2″ wide organza ribbons to make mini labels (2 x 3″) to attach to several projects/gifts I’ve made for others. It turned out to be easier than I’d expected!

  • Joanne Dillon

    My little puppy chewed the bottom of my bathrobe while cuddling with me in the recliner. The robe was in fine condition and fairly new, so I didn’t really want to part with it just yet. I needed a new kid on the block baby gift, so I cut the robe up and repurposed it in a baby blanket. One of the sleeves made a fine “bag” for the blanket.

  • Kim cady

    I use old silky shirts to make nightgowns for my daughter

  • Michelle Chatterson

    I bought a dress for myself that was way toooo long, but just had to have because of the beautiful fabric it was created out of. I cut 20″ off the bottom of it and made my daughter a top, put pockets on pair of pants, and a ruffle on a skirt out of the piece–sew much fun !!!!!

  • Dorset Boronia

    cut legs off 1 year old granddaughter’s jumpsuit, to make it a jacket, and used legs (embroidered) for smart phone cases.
    cut pantyhose into long continuous strand, knitted it on my knitting machine and made shopping bag. I won a scissors set for that.

  • Le floch, Anne

    I copied the wonderful idea of a Urban Threads customer who turned a UT yeti plush design into a cellphone pouch. I’ve now made more than 10, they are VERY popular.
    It took me a while to work out how to make it, as there was no tutorial but I was so happy I persevered.

  • Ann S

    Can’t believe I finished this. I repurposed Gramma’s wedding dress into 2 baptismal dresses for twins. I got lucky. There was a boat load of lace. Names and dates are embroidered on the under slip as well as Gramma’s name and wedding date. Best of all I love reading this blog to see what everyone else is doing. It’s an inspiration builder.

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