Upcycled Denim Throw Pillows: A Hexing Patchwork

Turning ordinary objects into something extraordinary is so satisfying. A couple years ago, I transformed denim scraps into a denim trench dress. I couldn’t stop imagining other ways to upcycle denim and before long, I was sketching designs for denim throw pillows. Among the eight designs, I created a pillow with a repeating hexagon pattern. This design left a lasting impression on a good friend who recently commissioned four for his new home. We settled on a color palette (hues of blue and tan accents) and I was ready to tackle this project! –after a quick re-watch of my original build video.

In the original build, I struggled to sew together hexagon since they’re an awkward shape to navigate. This time I wanted to try sewing trapezoids columns with matching colors to form hexagons. I wanted a trapezoid stencil to easily trace against fabric, so I’d measured and drawn the shape on paper before gluing on layers of posterboard to create a sturdy stencil. Armed with my trapezoid stencil and scrap fabrics, I was finally ready to test this idea. Not gonna lie, I was surprised when it worked so well. I whipped up a template for a pillow panel to see how many trapezoids I’d need to cut (roughly 200).

After some basic algebra and geometry, I started planning out the color story. First, I wanted hexagon colors to be continuous no matter which way you turned the pillow. This meant I needed to match the hexagon colors of the front and back panels’ edges. Second, I wanted to distribute the tan hexagons so that one side had more tan accents than the other. I figured these design choices would allow a little more flexibility in how they compliment or contrast a living space. The pillow’s predominantly blue side would be more universal, while the tan side could offer a nice pop of color in the right space.

Now that logistics were sorted, all that remained was the tedious work. I queued up some podcasts and traced/rotary cut a couple hundred trapezoids. The mock pillow panel I made while brainstorming was as a great visual aid to organize my color scheme as I sewed trapezoids into columns. Next I sewed the columns together, making sure to align matching colored trapezoids to form hexagons. Wash, rinse, repeat and before long I had panels which were sewn into pillows. For safety sake, I used a serger to finish every edges of my seam allowance. These serged edges will stop the denim from fraying or unraveling, which would likely happen over time or during a machine wash.

A couple zippers later, I had four upcycled denim throw pillows with a patchwork hexagon pattern. I have to say, I’m so ridiculously proud of how this project turned out. It was a fun stroll down memory lane and allowed me to gauge how much my sewing skills have grown. I had so much fun making these pillows that I decided to translate the design into tote bags. I actually just finished sewing two large tote bags using this exact process which are available for purchase on my Etsy shop. I don’t know how but I keep finding myself patchworking denim. Let’s not pretend this will be my last time.

What would you like to see next? Clearly no idea is too ridiculous for me.

Upcycled Memory Quilt: Sew Many Memories

My parents had a sewing machine collecting dust in their office for years. One day I asked for it and they agreed without question. I excitedly told a coworker about my new machine and they asked if I’d be willing to sew a quilt. I hesitantly agreed and, before I knew it, I was sewing two mini quilts made of my coworker’s deceased relative’s shirts. I never expected my first project to have such high stakes but these quilts gave the push I needed to dive into sewing and upcycling.

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