Repurpose Old Denim

Denim Upcycling ideas

I don’t know about you, but I always find myself hanging onto all my old denim jeans. Jeans are my comfort blanket, I live in them.

The ones with holes in get stored in my craft room while I find ideas on how to re-purpose the fabric, while the ones that are still in good nick get delivered to the local charity stores.

Every so often I will find myself on Pinterest wondering what I can do with all the left over denim. We have several boards with ideas pinned ready to inspire our creative spark. You can find book cover ideas, up-cycle projects, interesting finds and quick sew projects all here.

Japanese folded patchwork bag

Just recently I revisited one of our early workshops with our Home educators sewing group. It was the Japanese folded patchwork project bag that was created for us by Craftier The Second Time Around. You can find the project printed in our book, Unravel & Unwind, here.

The bag is large enough for an A4 diary or even a laptop. I quite often use mine when I go on a workshop or a meeting as it is just the right size.





denim bag denim bag  denim bag




Above are just a few of the design ideas that the group, aged 8 to 12, came up with for their project bags. I particularly liked seeing them using the embellishment features of their jeans in the final design.

denim jeans
re-purpose old jeans

A few years back I went through the fashion phase of skinny jeans. I easily had a dozen pairs. More recently though I have gone back to straight leg and boot cut jeans because skinny ones were causing me pain and discomfort in the knees. That meant I was left with perfectly good jeans that still fitted around the waist. I didn’t want to just cut them up and use the fabric for something totally different. On this occasion I wanted to still be able to wear my denim. Another route around Pinterest gave me the spark to try something totally out of my comfort zone. I’m a yarn loving crochet addict – but just for one day last summer I became a seamstress extraordinaire!

Well, not quite! But I did manage to convert a pair of skinny jeans into a lovely knee length skirt. It was fairly simple really. You just break the seams of the inside legs, cut off the excess length and do some magic around the wedge seam that sits just below the zip. Okay, that was where I got stuck but I found this great tutorial to follow.

One BIG thing I learned that day, was to never use cheap shoddy machine needles that I picked up in a pound store. They bend, break, blunt and invariably waste several hours trying to fix the machine and repair the fabric. 

denim skirt
denim skirt

denim needle

So what ideas do you have for re-purposing denim? One future project I think I would like to try will involve using the old down cushion pads from my last leather sofa. We reclaimed the cushion backs and the leather. They are lovely and huge and will make great floor cushions.

Secret Garden in Pictures

Helen is choosing a new cover photo each week for the Secret Garden Facebook Group


First up was Ruth’s. Helen particularly enjoyed how the butterfly blocks were laid out with the butterfly mobile.


Tracey’s photo is this weeks cover image, showing her mini gardens in her own sunny garden. This has certainly been warming us Brit’s up.

Participation Grows

Seven days into the Secret Garden CAL


31 Days into the Secret Garden CAL


Even pets are getting in on the action


Have your pets been helping you with your blocks? Please do share pics with us


What do we do with all our ends?

What to do with all these ends?
What to do with all these ends?

Here are just a few suggestions that have appeared on the group;

Helen from Swansea shared a link to maRRose – Colourful Crochet & Crafts for a yarn bowl that has been sculpted using all the ends that she had saved up from her crochet projects. I love this idea and I hope to do something like this with my ends. If you’ve done something similar why not share your photo’s with us.

Our Helen (Rainbow Valley) saves all her ends and gives them to a couple of her students. Why? Because they breed canaries and they use the ends for making nests. That’s such a sweet idea.

I have heard from one of my students in the past would leave her ends hanging from a bush in her garden for the sparrows to use when they are nesting. She would also supply them with the fur that her dogs & cats had shed.

Creative Changes

There are now more than 500 participants making the Secret Garden CAL and naturally not everyone is using the same yarn brands, so there are some beautiful colour and texture differences.


But the most creative change has been from Tracey who has chosen to do the crab stitch round of the big flower in one of the colours from the centre.


Related Links

Secret Garden CAL – Block 1

Secret Garden CAL – Block 1 Round-up 

Secret Garden CAL – Block 2

Secret Garden CAL – Feedback Time

Secret Garden supporting Lupus UK

Rainbow Valley is supporting Lupus UK
Rainbow Valley is supporting Lupus UK

Secret Garden supporting Lupus UK

Helen’s Secret Garden Prize Draw

Rainbow Valley Crochet Secret Garden CAL
Rainbow Valley Crochet
Secret Garden CAL

This blanket is a unique design by Helen Free using Stylecraft Special DK for a Crochet Along.  There are six blocks, each made in the four different colour ways giving a total of 24 blocks.  The finished size is about 140cm x 95cm.

There is no minimum donation.  For every £5 you donate, you will receive one entry into the prize draw.  Please make sure you leave your full name and email address to enter.

The draw will be held on April 28th when the Crochet Along is over.  The winner will be published on  Facebook and notified by email.


We fund medical research to help find a cure for Lupus

LUPUS UK is the only National Charity which supports people with the immune system illness Lupus. We have a number of groups throughout the UK and support over 5,000 members through these groups. We also provide funding for medical research into this life threatening and debilitating illness

Create your dreams & goals in 2017



The 2017 Create Your Shining Year Biz & Life workbooks and brand spankin’ new weekly planner are incredible & useful tools to help you plan out & make happen your most incredible year in life or business (or both!).

Over the last seven years, thousands of women have used these goals workbooks with the most amazing results. It’s the best planning tool available to help you make your year your most exceptional yet! Used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, the Creating Your Shining Year workbooks + daily planner are filled with powerful worksheets to help you create your amazing new year.

Unravel & Unwind North Kent Group


Meeting in Rochester, Kent, the Unravel & Unwind workbook group is a friendly and flexible group of like-minded women from a variety of backgrounds. We enjoy setting goals with each other and hold each one of us accountable when working towards our goals, no matter how big or small. We have discussion sessions based around some of the topics found within the workbooks and other subjects that fit into the holistic mind-sets of improving and empowering our lives. Below is a flexible guideline for the year and we are open to suggestions, ideas and speakers. So if there is something in particular you would like to see in our schedule then please drop us an email ( We also try to fit some craft sessions into our meetings and we hope that the weather stays good in the summer as we would like to have a picnic meet up too.

You can purchase physical and digital workbooks here and you can also join the mastermind biz/life academy here. The academy has over 100+ courses created by Leonie Dawson over the years which you will have access to, only if you join the academy. In addition you will be able to join the academy Facebook mastermind group along with thousands of others. I have found this group very helpful and insightful over the past 12 months and have learned so much more with regards to being an entrepreneur and a Mum.

Continue reading “Create your dreams & goals in 2017”

Discovering Papercrafts

Discover Papercraft!

With Happy Accident Studios

Cardmaking has been around for a long time, but if you feel you’re a bit late to the party, there’s no such thing! Discover Papercraft is designed to help you even if you have never made a single card before. If you’re acquainted with the basic skills of papercraft, but would like to do something a little different, we’ve got that too. There’s a little something for everyone!


In November and December, we started out from scratch– the absolute basics. We covered the use of a paper trimmer, matting and layering, and basic card layout ideas. 

Continue reading “Discovering Papercrafts”

Can Draw? Will Draw!

Can Draw? Will Draw! – Goes through my mind regularly…


So how about you? And what can we do to help you?

Did you know that we run 3 regular art classes in Medway, Kent every week? And we have just added 3 more stand alone classes over 3 months too.

Want to know more? Keep reading

Continue reading “Can Draw? Will Draw!”

Monday Morning Chit Chat

Morning Chit Chat 21 Nov 2016

Just in case you haven’t already heard we are now streaming live on Monday mornings at 10:30 GMT/BST on our Facebook page. During our streams we will be covering up coming events, news, show & tell and anything else that grows organically from the stream.

We have also chosen to record the streams so that other peeps on the internet can watch the playbacks. These recordings will be available on our YouTube channel and of course over here too. So without further ado, here is our next live stream from the Unravel & Unwind studio.