Frugal Living

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How to make slippers from jeans


If your favourite jeans have seen better days, turn them into some stylish slippers. The doyenne of denim, Nancy Minsky, shows you how

I am the Jean Girl - I patch, mend and refashion denim in all kinds of special ways. Handcrafting old jeans, with style and imagination, can give your wardrobe a burst of fresh fashion without the designer expense.

The appealingly soft textures and faded colours of worn denim make it the perfect fabric to sew into "new" things. So yank those long-forgotten jeans out from the back of your closet and discover what you can create!

If you have intermediate sewing skills then you can easily stitch yourself a pair of proper denim slippers. When you're finished, slip your feet into these soft, soothing slippers and pad around your home feeling lovely and comfy. Or just put your feet up and glow with satisfaction while you gaze at your resourceful - and chic - handiwork.

What you need

Pair of old, cast-off jeans
25cm wadding
25cm iron-on fusing
Piece of thin cardboard (not the corrugated type), about 30x30cm
Two pattern pieces
Around 60cm ribbon (I've used pink and white gingham)
Blue thread (choose a shade that matches your denim)
Straight pins
Pencil/tailor's chalk
Needle and thread/sewing machine

What to do

Step one: Prepare the pattern

Print out the pattern pieces and enlarge to the right size. To check the size, stand barefoot on the sole pattern. The edge of the pattern should extend about 2cm beyond your foot.

Step two: Cut the denim

• Cut the legs off your jeans and cut them open along the inside seam. Lay them flat on the table.

• Using the pattern, cut one sole piece and one upper piece from one of the legs. Worn denim has many colour variations. Use your favorite shades of blue, especially for the top upper, which will be the most visible. Draw on the stitching lines using a pencil or tailor's chalk. Turn the paper pattern over, then cut one more of each piece from the same leg. Mark with pencil or tailor's chalk as before.

• Repeat this last step using the other jean leg. You'll now have eight pieces of denim. For a more professional look, cut the pieces so that your left and right slippers are a good colour match.

Step three: Cut the other pattern pieces

• Using the paper patterns, cut two pieces of the sole and two pieces of the upper out of the wadding.

• Again, using the paper patterns, cut the same four pieces out of the iron-on fusing.

• Using just the sole pattern, cut two pieces from the cardboard. These now need to be trimmed, so they are 1.5cm smaller than the pattern all the way around.

• Now to get organised: put all your left pieces into one pile and all the right pieces into another pile.

Step 4: Sew the upper

• Start with the left upper. Place the left denim upper piece on to a flat surface, right side down. Following instructions on the fusing packet, iron it to the wrong side of this denim piece.

• Take the wadding and sandwich it between the two denim pieces - the right side of the denim pieces should face out. Pin these three pieces together.

• Temporarily sew these pieces together using long, easily-removable stitches (this is called "basting"). Remove the pins, then stitch all around the perimeter, 1.5cm from the edge, as marked in figure A.

• Sew a running stitch (red thread in figure A) on the toe, as marked on the pattern (later it will be pulled to form gathers.)

• Repeat all of this with the right upper.

Step five: Prepare the sole

• Start with the left sole. Place the left denim sole piece on to a flat surface, right side down. Following instructions on the fusing packet, iron it to the wrong side of this denim piece.

• Stitch a running stitch on the toes of both denim sole pieces as marked on the pattern and figure B (later they will be pulled to form gathers.)

Step six: Sew the upper to the sole

• This step is rather cumbersome, but don't despair - it all works out and in the end you'll have a durable and comfortable slipper.

• Start with the left slipper. Lay the wadding on the table and align the denim sole on top (the upper one), right side facing up.

• Align the upper on top, right side facing up, as noted with blue thread in figure C. Pin and baste together.

• Align the other denim sole on top, with the fusing facing up.

• Pin, baste (those temporary stitches), remove pins and stitch around the 1.5cm seam allowance, as marked in figure D. Back stitch and knot thread ends.

• Remove the basting, and clip and trim the seam allowance.

• Turn the sole right-side out, wiggling it through the toe.

• Take something long (I used a chopstick, but the end of a pencil or even a pair of scissors will also work well), slip it inside, and nudge the seam into a nice smooth edge.

• Slide the cardboard inside, between the lower sole and the wadding. If it's a squeeze to slip the cardboard inside, fold it a bit. Don't worry, it will flatten out and will still be supportive.

• Repeat with the right sole.

Step seven: Finish the toe

• Starting with the left foot, pull the running stitches you added earlier on the sole so it curls naturally around the cardboard toe. Knot the ends of the thread so that it stays in place.

• Pull the running stitches on the upper so it matches the shape of sole.

• Tuck the seam allowance inside the toe and hand-stitch the toe closed with little neat backstitches.

• Repeat with the right foot.

Step eight: Adorn your slippers

• Cut the ribbon into four pieces of equal length.

• Pin two pieces on the left slipper front, about 6.5cm apart with a 1.5cm fold back. Hand-stitch in place along the folded edge, following figure E.

• Tie into a snug bow.

• Cut the ribbon ends at a diagonal.

• Repeat with the right slipper.

• Knot all threads securely.

• Alternatively, adorn them with feathers and beads, pretty buttons, different fabric mixes or fabric flowers. Search through your sewing basket to find the right combination that reflects your personal style.

More information

Visit Nancy's website where you can find her blogs, 21centurydressmakers and jeanrepair; read about her eco-chic DIY book filled with denim clothes and accessories; and download her fabulous monthly fashion screensavers. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

How to make slippers from jeans
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, May 18, 2010 12:02 PM

Tea Towel Watch.


Trendy tea towels are wasted on the dishes. Product designer Andy Murray explains how to turn one into a watch instead

Everyone has tea towels in the kitchen drawer, perhaps from a holiday in Spain, a wet weekend visit to a castle, or even a stylish present from a design-conscious friend. Some tea towels are so quirky, or such good quality, that it's a shame to hide them away. I've made a collection of handmade, personal items from tea towels, including bags, wallets and belts. The instructions below explain how to make a watch - I hope you're inspired to give it a go!

What you need

An old but working watch face
A tea towel with a hem around the edges
Sharp scissors
Pen or pencil
A 30cm ruler
Fabric glue
Clothes pegs
Popper studs (from a good craft shop)

Getting started

Set all the things you are going to need on a large flat surface, such as the kitchen table. Lay out the tea towel face down, making sure there are no creases.

Step one

• Measure the watch pin.
• Measure the watch face.
• Decide how wide you want the strap. It's up to you, as long as it's the same size or bigger than the pins.
• Mark out on the tea towel the width of strap you want, three times, adding a 1cm hem around each edge.
• Measure your wrist, then make the strap 5cm longer.

Step two

• Draw out the strap on the tea towel. Draw it three times, as it's going to be folded over three times for strength.
• Add a 1cm hem to the edges if there are not any on the original tea towel.

Step three

• Glue along the long hem on all necessary edges.

• Fold 1cm hems towards the centre.

Step four

• Glue along the top edge.
• Fold along line the top dotted line (see picture, left).
• Glue along the bottom edge, fold along the lower dotted line, so the top and bottom edge meet.
• Hold in place with clothes pegs and leave to dry.

Step five

• Mark out the watch face holder.
• The width is 4mm smaller than the watch pins.
• Cut out double this width, as it's going to be folded over.
• The length is about 10cm, but alter if needed.

Step six

• Glue along the edges, folding towards the centre.
• Make sure the width is still smaller than the pins.
• Glue and fold 1cm of each edge.
• Leave to dry, holding in place with clothes pegs.

Step seven

• Position the watch face in the place you would like it on the face holder (with the tea towel pattern facing the same way as the watch face).
• Attach the face, clipping the pins in place.

Step eight

• Glue the face holder in the centre of the strap.

• Hold in place with clothes pegs and leave to dry.

Step nine

• Using pop studs, glue them in a position that fits your wrist.

• To make it more secure, try sewing the studs on, or try different ways of fixing.

Step 10

• Leave to dry before wearing.
• Ensure fasteners are attached before wearing to ensure the watch doesn't fall off.

Why not try ...?

• Using different sections of the tea towels to create interesting straps.
• Finding unique tea towels to make your watch more personal.
• Stitching parts on to add detail.
• Using different fastening methods.

More tea towel projects can be found in Andy's book, Made by, £8.95 at Find more of Andy's design work at © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Crafty chap
Posted by OneProudMomma at Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:59 AM

Horse Print Floor Cushion With Reused Polyester Fibre Filling


Jenn on her new floor cushion

A couple of years ago I saw a lovely old fashioned style panel print of some children with horses. I just knew my daughter would love it, and thought it would make a lovely floor cushion for her bedroom. The problem was it was so large that it was going to cost a fortune to buy enough stuffing to fill it, so I started to save the old lumpy fibre filled pillows and cushions.

Today I decided that we probably would have enough, unfortunately the panel was much larger than I remember, but there was enough filling so that the cushion is usable.

  1. Wash and throughly dry the old pillows and cushions.
    Old lumpy pillows
  2. To start with you need to open up the old pillows and cushions and remove the filling.
    Lumpy hollow fibre filling
  3. Shred the filling, taking care with the lumps so that the fibres are seperated out.
    Shredded hollow fibre filling
  4. Stuff the item of choice.
    Empty Floor Cushion
  5. Stitch the opening closed.
    Stitching the opening closed

Horse Floor Cushion With Recycled Hollow Fibre

Posted by OneProudMomma at Monday, May 10, 2010 12:03 PM

Rice Crispie Marshmallow Square Recipe


The following recipe makes 18 2" x 4" squares weighing (approximately) 36g each - the same weight as a single pack of Kelloggs Rice Krispie Squares.

My children absolutely love the Rice Krispie squares but even when you buy them in a multi-pack it works out at 25p a pack. This recipe is just as sticky, has just as much chocolate and costs only 12p per portion. It could be made even cheaper if you wanted to melt a chocolate bar and drizzle that over the Crispie Squares instead of using chocolate chips. The image below shows less than half the amount made, and cut into half size portions (2" x 2" squares).

Marshmallow rice crispie squares  

Quantity 18 x 36g portions
Total Cost £2.17
Amount Per Portion 12p

These costs are based on shopping at Tesco and spending the following

Rice Snaps (600g) £1.30
Tesco Marshmallows (200g) 68p
Silver Spoon Cakecraft Milk Chocolate Chip (100g) 75p


Ingredient Metric Measure
Rice Snaps 200g
Marshmallows 400g
Chocolate Chips 50g

Marshmallow Crispie Recipe Ingredients


  1. Line a 12" by 12" cake tin with greaseproof paper, both the base and the sides. This is essential as the mixture is really sticky and cannot be turned out of the tin like a cake. - Not even a non-stick one!
    Lined cake tin
  2. Empty the marshmallows into a pan and melt over a low heat. Keep stirring to make sure the marshmallows don't catch and burn on the bottom of the pan. They will eventually look something like this -
    Melted Marshmallows
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the Rice Snaps. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and press flat. - This can be tricky because the mixture is so sticky, I use the back of a fish slice to do it.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the mixture (or drizzle melted chocolate). Press the chocolate chips gently into the mixture so they stick.
    Crispie cake mixture
  5. Leave to set.
  6. Once the mixture has set it will still be sticky! Lift the Crispie cake out of the tin and using a large bladed sharp knife (I use our carving knife) cut into squares.
  7. Peel the individual pieces away from the paper and store in an airtight box until needed. I'm not sure if this freezes or how soon it needs to be consumed after making, I think 48 hours is the longest this has ever lasted in our house before being eaten up!

Marshmallow Crispie Cakes

Posted by OneProudMomma at Thursday, May 06, 2010 7:25 PM

Garden Planters


We seem to have gathered an array of various planters and plant pots in my garden. Most of them are the flimsy variety which split easily, but the others are quite sturdy although badly faded from being in the sun.

Old faded green planter

Whilst sorting through the shed I found an old tin of red gloss hammerite and a partly used tin of yacht varnish, I thought that the combination of those with a little artistry with some acrylic paints would give the paint pots a new lease of life. I set about decorating two planters and my daughter had one of the others - we had originally wanted to do four but the hammerite ran out after the first three tubs.

To start with make sure your planters are clean and dry. I gave mine two coats of hammerite as the base - I didn't see the point in painting all the way down the inside of the tubs as they are going to be filled with soil after all!

Planter with base coat

The pillar box red is colourful enough as it is, but I wanted to add something a little different to it so I adapted my Daisy Chain face paint design and decorated each of the four sides with it. Two sides with pink tipped petals and two sides with blue tipped petals. I used artists acrylic paints for the designs as they are waterproof when they dry, however to ensure that they designs have as long as life as possible I also gave each tub a coat of clear yacht varnish when the designs had dried.

To make a Daisy Chain design paint 5 or 6 white petals, then give them a yellow center. Paint a green curved stem between each flower and at the end of each 'Daisy Chain', give each stem a leaf. Once these first areas of design are dry add coloured tips to the petals and highlights to the leaves and stems.

daisy petals yellow centers

leaves and stems Highlights

The second planter I decorated with a sunflower design.

Sunflower design planter  

The three finished planters waiting for the varnish.

Three finished planters  

Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, May 01, 2010 12:05 PM
Edited on: Sunday, July 18, 2010 12:11 PM