Friday, March 24, 2017

BERNINA Ambassador Blog Tour

Welcome to all of you who are reading the TrashN2Tees blog for the first time. I am honored and thrilled to have you join me as we round out the final day of this fantastic BERNINA Ambassador Blog Tour. I'm imaging you found your way here after reading about Kari Carr and how she fell in love with a BERNINA sewing machine more than 35 years ago. Perhaps you were cozied up reading Diane Doran's account of her beautiful dresses her mother made he when she was young- and how magical sewing is. Maybe you even imagined yourself on an archeological dig uncovering quilt inspiration with my dear friend Mandy Leins. Whatever path has brought you here, thank you.

The universe sends us the greatest gifts- and being a part of the BERNINA family has truly been one of them. I am lucky to work alongside and learn from some of the most talented men and women in this industry. I've shared intimately what it means to me to be a brand ambassador for BERNINA.  While that original post was written more than 2 years ago- it is still true today.
Me and my two boys
Legacy is a word I won't use lightly. It's a powerful word that to me represents something far long-standing than our physical time here on earth. The personal stories we share, in the quilts and clothing we make, in the skills we teach; they are our legacy.

America Recycles Day Event at Frenchtown Elementary School 2016
Unlike Diane whose mother taught her to sew when she was young, I did not get to experience that magic until early adulthood. Teaching myself along the way. Often times I look around to my peers who've been sewing for so long and wish that I, too, would've experienced that freedom in those formative years. While I relish and trust in the timing because I fully appreciate the power, confidence, and achievement these skills and challenges offer.

Sewing has provided me with a concrete path of action, how I have chosen to make a difference in the world. For me, I've used sewing as way to empower and inspire communities around the world to reimagine textile waste taking it beyond refashioning your wardrobe to opening up your eyes to the devastating toll of fast fashion, consumption, and helping create (read: sew!)  measurable, practical solutions we can utilize in our own homes. This journey started as a small home business for me as a line of funky, fun, whimsical applique designs I sold under my brand TrashN2Tees. The designs were (and still are today) all original hand cut designs from discarded clothing. This is called upcycling (or downcycling depending on who you ask!)

Today, my business has evolved to include nationwide textile recycling, the development of recycled fabrics. published author, designing patterns, workshops, and classes that promote sustainable sewing or empower students to explore new techniques and find their passion. Partner this with the opportunity of working with the innovative precision and high quality that BERNINA is renowned for (in addition to their environmental commitments)- I doubt there could be a better fit for me.

A few of my favorite classes include:
Reignite Your Passion (Lecture) where I ask "How do we replenish that creative fire that has been smothered by years of doubt, fears, and neglect?" Together we'll discover 5 techniques that will help you spark your passion and get you back to creating the work you love. If you like this read: How Do You Measure Making a Difference? 
Serger Stitches for Eco Home: Linen Monogram Laundry Bag // Pennington Quilts 2016
Serger Stitches for An Eco Home Create a beautiful, healthy, and sustainable home that reflects who you are, no matter how small your budget or space. From veggie keep sacks to reimagining waste- discover the many ways a serger can maximize your eco-impact and impress your friends. Join Jenelle for a comprehensive guide to serger stitches for an eco home learn how to create a blind overlock hem, basic cover stitch, and how to create a blanket stitch with a serger while creating projects that save time, money, and energy. If you like this read: How Your Serger ACTUALLY Works or Inserting Zippers with Your Serger Tutorial

A Modern T-shirt Quilt
Step away from the traditional boxed & sashed t-shirt quilts we've been accustomed to. Choose between the Modern T-shirt Knits quilt or Ida's Garden raw edge applique made with Jenelle's line of Eco-Knit fabrics. This is a comprehensive class that explores the value in choosing the proper supplies and executing the best techniques for a gorgeous everyday throw using jersey knit materials. If you like this read: A Modern Twist on The T-shirt Quilt or Memories of a T-shirt Quilt 

Visit the shop to grab a copy of my latest book! 
If you're interested in seeing more of my offerings or scheduling an event don't hesitate to visit this page for a comprehensive list or email me directly at I still have some dates available for 2017.

I hope you've enjoyed your time here on the TrashN2Tees blog, I would love for you to stick around and tell me a bit about you. I'm always curious to know how you learned to sew and what amazing journeys has it brought you way. Tell me in the comments below!

Catch up with the amazing artisans that I call friends and family:

Monday March 20
Lynn Carson Harris
Kelly Ashton
Diane Doran
Melody Crust
Tuesday March 21
Kathy Delaney
Christa Watson
Mandy Leins
Wednesday March 22
Sandy Fitzpatrick
Beth Ferrier
Cheryl Sleboda
Thursday March 23
Annie Smith
Lori Kennedy
Kari Carr
Catherine Redford
Friday March 24
Joanne Sharpe
Cherry Guidry
Jenelle Montilone

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: The Wasted Swap

Last week we kicked off the first official "Wasted Swap" I'm still surprised and humbled by the great response. This upcycled and/or conventional sewing challenge is my call to action to the sewing community urging creatives to seek innovative ways to reduce our waste for Earth Day! Last year, I toured the state visiting elementary schools exploring the effects of textile waste while teaching them fun and practical ways they can easily upcycle (without sewing!) We even set out to break a work record for the largest ball of t-shirt yarn!

This week's inspiration is focusing on texture & materials you can opt to use for any of your sewing projects. Beyond upcycling bed sheets, vintage linens, and clothing. You can find some unique ideas and tutorials on The Wasted Swap Pinterest Board. I, myself, have been tinkering with some ideas that tickle my brain cutting up latex gloves to create a scaled material. It's been moved to the back burner for now but maybe I'll revisit it again soon.

If you're not sure where to find unconventional materials or fabrics to repurpose in your own designs I have the perfect post for you. Find a Creative Reuse Center near you! A creative reuse center, if you've never been to one- is like the motherload honey hole for anyone who loves to craft, repurpose, or upcycle. The materials aren't limited to just 'trash' though. Each location has its own flavor but you'll find something you want to bring home at each one- or drop off! These locations also collect craft supplies, signage, textiles, industrial and architectural pieces, educational materials, toys, and more. You'll save on disposal costs, contribute to the community, and help divert tons of materials “too good to throw away” from landfill each year! What are you waiting for?! Here's a growing list of Creative Reuse Centers in the United States and around the World! 

If you're playing along and/or participating in #TheWastedSwap: what are finding to be your biggest challenges so far?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Patching Knees With Your Sewing Machine

You can easily repair the knee of your jeans with your sewing machine, I'll show you how! There are always pants to repair being a mom of 2 boys- and often enough I'll patch them using needle and thread stitching by hand. That's time-consuming. Not to mention these kids are growing so fast I feel like every time I patch a pair of pants they outgrow them 2 weeks later. It's some mean trick.

Today I grabbed a pair of my own favorite jeans that have been thinning in the knees for some time now. The holes had gotten large enough that they needed some serious work. Instead of mending them by hand I opted for a quicker route. (No one here is surprised, right?)

Using my seam ripper I picked the stitches on the outside seam of my pants enough to allow me to fit my pants under my sewing machine needle. I didn't seam rip the entire leg. I used a bit of sulky spray to tack down patches on the backside before mending.

I'm not quite finished with them yet, I feel they still need a little something extra... maybe hand embellishments. Maybe a bit of AMH fabric. I'm not sure. What do you think? I hope those of you who were snowed in today had a bit of sewing to finish or start too!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Wasted Swap: Earth Day Celebration

Earth Day is just around the corner and you know how I love to call our community to action. This year I thought it would be so much fun to host an unconventional & reuse sewing exchange! You're invited to join the fun. Participants are encouraged to push past their traditional fabric choices and look at "waste" materials in a new way- repurposing and reimaging items we might throw away.

Sign Ups Open 3/9 and will remain open until 3/16 or 50 spots are filled (whichever comes first) When full I will remove the sign up link from this post.

Update: Thank you for the incredible amount of interest and support of this swap. I hope to do another round in the future- if you're interested in participating please follow @JMontilone on Instagram or subscribe to my TrashN2Tees Briefs newsletter for updates. 

By opting in and participating in The Wasted Swap you are agreeing to make one reusable zipper bag OR reusable tote using reclaimed materials. This includes and is in no way limited to harvesting fabrics and elements of design from disassembling clothing, upholstery, leather, shoes, etc, creating or creating your own fabric from plastic. I completely encourage you to kick it up a notch and really try to use unconventional materials. Think: CD's, tooth picks, monopoly money, tubes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency; 70% of the items in our landfills today can be recycled or reused. Together we're shedding light on this important issue while encouraging others to seek creative alternatives.

Partners will be paired at random and notifications will be sent out shortly after 3/16. Packages must be post marked by April 22! That's Earth Day! Shipping is not always cheap so please reference this great post for tips on  keeping your shipping charges down.

Shoulder Pad Pouches //Erin Considine

What to include in your package: 
-A reusable tote bag -OR- reusable zipper pouch made from upcycled or reimagined material
-Notecard or postcard from your hometown

-Your contact details (email, return address, IG handle) so your partner can thank you when their package arrives.
-Extras? Sure, if you like. I often send a couple of crafty things or a fat quarter or two. Optional! Would be extra great if they're eco friendly too!?

Connect with all of the amazing Wasted Swap participants on Instagram (which seems to be the most active swap community!) Share sneak peeks, fabric choices, work in progress, and packages using hashtag #TheWastedSwap. Don't miss out on updates and giveaways be sure you're also connected with me there @jmontilone. Find inspiration in copy of my book, The Upcycled T-shirt, or by visiting The Wasted Swap Pinterest Board for free patterns and inspiration!

I'm excited to meet you & see all how you're inspired to change the way we consume and create together! Please be sure to let me know if you have any questions and don't forget to share with your friends! Space is limited. Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Upping the Applique Game: T-shirt Quilt

Popping in to share a quick peek at the fabulous job Mandy did quilting my Ida's Garden Quilt. (Mandy and her amazing work can be found at  This is a design I've been planning to turn into a quilt pattern. Mandy knew this and chose a few various techniques for long arm quilting on the knit fabric. I love the little doily detail!

Quilting with knits isn't something many folks have ventured in- and if you know me, you know that I'm ready to push past the cookie cutter square memory quilts we all know (and love.) Are you interested in learning to QUILT and/or sew with knits? I'd love to hear from you in the comments, what kind of questions do you have? Get a jump start by checking out my series on Modern T-shirt Quilting with Sew Mama Sew or pick up a copy of my book The Upcycled T-shirt.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10 Ways To Hem with Your Serger

After hitting publish on yesterday's Hemming With your Serger post, I realized that I had opened a can of worms. I loved getting all of the messages and notes from my readers who had NO IDEA they could do a blind hem using a flatlock stitch. Here's a quick follow up, here are 10 different ways you can hem using your serger or a serger/sewing machine combination. I'm sorry that I don't have the time this week to run down mini tutorials for all these.

Blind Hem
is used for hems on all different weight fabrics, it works great on textured knit fabrics because the stitches do not show

Eased Hem used on medium weight to heavy weight fabrics for flared bell-shaped hem

Fishline Hem is used to add firmness and body to light weight fabric ruffles and flounces. Most often used to create a special effect in evening wear.

Fringed Hem uses a decorative flatlock stitch for detailing on scarves, linens, and shawls.

Lettuce Hem is and edge finish with a fluttering touch.

Overlocked and Blindstitched Hem reduces bulk by using an overlocked edge rather than hem table or double folded hem.

Overlocked and Topstitched Hem is similar to above but includes topstitching as a detail

Rolled Hem is used to finish the edges of light weight fabrics- scarves, ruffles, table linens, and some garments. (Silks, sheers, broadcloth, etc)

Shirt-tail Hem is used to prevent rippled edge on curved shirt hemlines

Sport Hem is used as a decorative application on fleece and sweatshirts or t-shirt fabrics

What are your favorite uses for a serger?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Hemming With Your Serger

It's hard to believe that February is almost over. All month long I've been exploring and sharing some great projects and getting to know (and love) your serger. Sergers (some folks call them overlockers- they're the same thing) are most often used to create professional hem finishes on sheers, knits, or wovens. The overlock stitch, created by your serger, can be used to sew hems on so many different types of garments- from yoga pants to evening gowns. In some cases your overlock is used side by side along with your conventional sewing machine to finish hems.

Overlocked and top stitched hem reduces bulk by using overlock finish instead of hem tape or a double fold hem. 

Using a 4 thread overlock finish the raw hem edge. Fold hem to the wrong side of garment; press. From right side top stitch (using your domestic sewing machine) using a double or single needle

Blind Hem
Adjust your machine to a flat lock stitch. Set stitch length to 4mm.

Fold hem up and press. Use clips if needed instead of pins. (safety first!)
Fold hem back to the right side of garment, with the raw edge extending 1/4'' beyond the fold. Stitch on the extended edge with needle BARELY catching folded edge. Tip: Your stitch will look sloppy- and should. Don't fret!

Open hem and pull fabric flat. Ladder of stitches show on right side of light weight fabrics (you may choose to lengthen your stitches) on heavier knit or terry fabrics it is invisible.

I hope sharing these two widely used techniques are a good starting point for learning how to hem with a serger. Interested in learning a few more ways to hem using a serger read 10 Ways To Hem on A Serger 


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