Sunday, 23 September 2012

Make do and mend part 2

I thoroughly enjoyed mending my log basket yesterday with the sun beating down on my back! The morning however, was spent indoors doing another job (converting this time) that took nearly 2 hours and was a struggle. I won in the end though the air was often many shades of blue during my battle.

As we use duvets in our house, they are just too big to fit in the washing machine and too expensive to leave at the launderette for them to wash. All our beds use the next size duvet up from their size so a single uses a double, a double a king etc. 

So every 3 years or so, despite lots of airing, they need the heave ho. Goodness knows what is breeding in there after that time.

I don't know about you but I resent paying almost as much to have them cleaned as buying new. Also the waste is a bit difficult to stomach. So what is the answer?

Convert them.

Yep, that's right, do something with them that makes them small enough to wash at home therefore getting many more years of use out of them.

My family refers to me as the princess and the pea. I can feel the stitching that holds quilt filling in place – don't get me started on some mattresses and their button covers. What mad man thought of that!

Anyhow, a new mattress topper was needed. The king size quilt was laid on the floor and the measurements for the mattress drawn out on top of it including an extra inch for tacking and cutting. You need to tack before you cut otherwise it's a bit unmanageable to sew on the machine.

Before it was cut I tacked 1/2” inside the line. OH had to cut it as we have right handed scissors and I am left handed. We did this on the ironing board to save our backs!

Four hands also help for sewing so he held the weight of cut duvet until I got enough through the machine then took up the slack to help 'pull' it through whilst I concentrated on keeping my over-locking straight. Being a winter quilt we were converting, it was like trying to wrestle an anaconda through a keyhole :0) 

The elastic that holds the cover in place on the mattress was still in good order on the old cover so was re-used on this one. 

Also, a new strap had to be fashioned to be attached to the middle for running under the mattress before being tied in place to stop the cover moving in the middle.

I'm afraid I forgot to take a photograph of the finished article but you get the idea. 

The stuffing from inside duvets can be kept for many quilting projects or cushion stuffing etc. I made an entire cot set including bumpers for our son from a single new quilt.

We have enough left over for me to eventually make a yoghurt quilt to keep it at the right temperature whilst 'brewing'. The rest is used to stop cold air from the attic dropping down whilst OH is up there doing jobs (for safety he also has a board underneath it in case you are wondering).

Draft excluder sausage dogs, place mats, feet warmers. All these and many more can be made from an old quilt but more importantly, they can now all be washed.

How's that for a bit of recycling!


  1. What brilliant recycling ideas!

  2. Great ideas :o) I know exactly what you mean about the cost of having the darn things cleaned, and yes I buy new ones too, but up until now I've sent the old ones to the local greyhound rescue centre - looks like I'll be keeping one to re-use myself now ;o)
    Rose H

  3. I wish I had some talent with a sewing machine, perhaps I should try to sign up for a course. You are very good with your recycling and mending ideas xxx

  4. Since changing my sewing machine a few years back to an 'all singing all dancing thing' I don't use it as much as I used to. I get very frustrated with it (usually me a bad work-woman blaming my tool). Mind you I think my patience at times is not as good as it used to be either, I get very frustrated with myself the older I get.

    A basic sewing course is good for learning how to use a machine and might be all you need Fran.

  5. Great recycling project!

    We use more quilts than we do duvets, but to be fair it doesn't get super cold here and most homes now have central heating.

    My grandparents used feather mattresses on top of their purchased mattresses and I remember having to take them out to air out and things of the sort. There was no way to truly wash the things...except to unstuff and wash the covers. Quite a job.

    However, I will admit it was nice to sink down in that mattress on a winter night because they did not keep a fire going at night.

  6. Thats a great idea for recycling! I always felt bad having to send our old duvets to the tip but they do now recycle them! I certainly wouldnt pay what they are asking for them cleaning, its far cheaper to do that even though it seems very wasteful.

  7. We do have central heating but due to the high cost of oil in this country, choose to only have it on for one hour early morning. The rest of the time we use our wood burner. Even when we used to use heating all the time, it wasn't on during the night so extra warm, soft and bouncy layers are always welcome.

    I'll have to get my brain in gear to see what else I can recycle!

  8. I like central heat, but it sure doesn't feel as good as backing up to a warm stove does!

  9. What a great way to recycle a quilt, something like that would be great for the caravan bed to smooth out some of the lumpy bumpy bits. All my scatter cushions are made from an old single quilt. I love your repaired basket too, it looks so pretty.


I love hearing from you, will read all your comments and try and answer any questions you leave. Don't forget to come back and read my reply! All comments are moderated so if you try to link it to a commercial web site, it will not be published.