Introduction: Upcycle Fabric Cuff

About: Geeky artist. MUST. MAKE. STUFF. More stuff at:

I make a line of upcycled jewelry from materials I might otherwise throw away. For these bracelets I use any old scraps of fabric and trim that can still be sewed together. Old clothes that have passed the point of being hand-me-downs are perfect. These fabric cuffs are environmentally friendly, super fun to make and even machine washable! 

Step 1: Gather Material

Collect what you have that might work for your cuff. Old jeans make a great base. Bits of ribbon, tulle or lace can be sewn on for decoration and color. Embroidery can make a beautiful focal point.

You will also need some kind of fastener. I use snaps, but you can use buttons, bracelet clasps, velcro, or even ribbon ties.

Step 2: Prepare Your Scraps

You'll need to decide how long you want to make your bracelet (you can measure around the wrist of the person it's for and add a couple of inches - you can always cut down the length if it's too long). Also, decide whether you want the edges to have fringe or smooth stitching. 

My wrists are about 7", so my finished cuffs are about 8 1/2".
I make them 1 1/2" wide without fringe and 2 1/2" wide with fringe.

You don't need 8" long scraps. Just lay out what you have in a pattern until you have the right sized rectangle. Play with it until you're happy with the design. You can pin the pieces together and measure if that makes you more comfortable. I personally prefer to wing it - it's really hard to mess this up!

When you set up your scraps keep in mind that the inside of your cuff is important also. This is jewelry after all. I like to make sure I have at least one layer of fabric for the front and one for the back. Then I add to those.

Step 3: Sew It Up

Get creative!

You can sew these by hand or machine (I mostly use a machine).

Use contrasting threads and a variety of stitches. Lots of stitching makes for a sturdy bracelet.

If your making fringe, leave at least a half an inch UNstitched along each long edge (All the way around works, too.) If you're not making fringe, sew up the edges however you like. I usually just turn them under.

Make sure to stitch the narrow ends well. This is where fasteners will go.

When you have a good base, sew on your next layers and decorations.

Step 4: Finishing

Check the size a last time and add your fastener. Snaps are punched through, buttons are sewn on, button holes can be sewn or made from cord loops, velcro and ribbon ties get sewn on. Your choice.

If you have no fringe your done! 

To make fringe, cut the edge fabric every 1/4 inch, perpendicular to the bracelet. Keep the cuts away from the stitching! At least 1/4 inch. When all the edges are cut, throw your bracelet in the wash. Dry in the dryer. This will give the fringe a rag edge look.

Now your fringed cuff is done!

(Note: Because I use old clothes, I never have a problem with the wash and dry. Make sure your fabric is machine washable.)

Step 5: My Environmental Blog

For more information on sustainability and my other sustainable jewelry attempts, check out my blog at:

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