How to make a pot holder with recycled jeans and Boro stitching

stitching tutorials upcycling Nov 06, 2020

Last week I put together a list of fun things I would make recycling an old pair of jeans… the list included things like a face mask (an essential fashion item these days), denim tote, pouch, floor rugs and these oven mitts. And of course, I was looking for projects that would combine my love of sashiko stitching and mending.

Once I decide upon an idea, I generally want to make it straight away (plus we were going camping on the weekend and I wanted to use it) so when I looked at the list of materials needed to make oven mitts, I was deterred by the fact that the insulating fabric was made of a plastic fibre. Im looking to reduce my use of anything that will not naturally biodegrade, and Im a big advocate of making do with the things around me, so I started thinking about other alternatives.

Looking around my studio at the creative chaos I just happened to have a piece of freshly felted fleece (used for a demonstration in one of my classes) so I grabbed it. This would be perfect as the insulating layer in my mitts. But it wasn’t big enough, so I decided to change up the project slightly and make a pot holder instead.

So the dimensions are based upon the size of the felted swatch, which was about 8 inches square.

The front side of the pot holder

You can see the layer of wool felt, cotton muslin (calico) topped with jean scraps. On the very bottom is a layer of denim. All the layers have been stitched together using boro / running stitch.

The reverse side of the pot holder. This was once the leg of a pair of jeans.

With pins holding the fabric in place I used a sashiko needle and thread to stitch together the layers of fabric. To my surprise, it was relatively easy to stitch (I was expecting a bit of resistance) and I had it stitched in a couple of hours. There was something oddly satisfying about the quilting effect the running stitch on the fabric….

I decided that the sides were too shabby, and I wanted to create a nice clean edge. With the help of Leah Day and her instructional videos, I attached a binding.

Not too shabby for my first binding attempt!

I finished it in time to take it camping (I wasn’t timing it, but it probably took about 3 hours to make), and it worked remarkably well!

We had stir fry for lunch infused with smoky flavours of the open fire. Yum!

Hi, I'm Kate!

I am a strong believer in starting where you are and using what you have, wherever and whatever that may be.

Everyone should get to experience the joy of connecting to others through learning, experimenting, and creating.

Creativity doesn’t have to be expensive or wasteful. Whether we’re using natural materials, reusing materials, or shopping our own stashes first, creating mindfully goes beyond being present in the moment - it extends to being mindful of our environment and the other communities around us, too.