I toss all this surplus fabric into a paper bag I keep in my sewing room. In a previous post, I described the cat pillows made from these scraps.
But even with 3 cats, I can only make so many little pillows. So I came up with another use for leftover fabric -- a stuffed doll made from denim, burlap, inseams and cuffs from the clothes I repurpose for other things. I call her "Rita the Re-Doll."
I drew a simple pattern on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper. I cut the front from the leg of kids' blue jeans.
(I probably should have used the discolored part where the pocket used to be, since I couldn't use it for one of my bags.) Rita's backside came from a large burlap bag I scored from a local hardware store. (You'll see why I chose burlap later on.)
To keep the burlap from raveling, I sewed around the edge.
For Rita's hair, I cut the side seams from several pairs of denim jeans. To give her personality, I chose bright colors, like these yellow-green striped pants.
The next step was tricky -- I pinned 6 seam strips to Rita's head. The first time, I did it the wrong way, with the strips fanning away from the head. Here's the right way, strips pointed toward the center, pinned to the right side of the denim.
I basted the strips to Rita's head. Before sewing the burlap to the denim, I tied all the hair stands together, to keep them from falling into the seam.
Then I sewed the front and back together, leaving the bottom edge open. Happily, the hair made it easy to turn Rita right-side out. I just reached inside, grabbed the wrapped strips, and pulled. I hope it didn't hurt!
With my fingers, I pushed out Rita's head and arms. Then I began stuffing her, starting at the top. I cut the fabric remnants into small pieces and picked out any hard bits (like snaps). When she was tightly packed, I sewed the denim oval I'd cut from the same pant leg to the bottom of Rita's skirt. (The oval keeps Rita standing tall.)
The oval didn't fit perfectly, so after I attached it to Rita's body, I trimmed the edges around the seam. She was almost done. All she needed was button eyes and a broad smile (made from part of a cherry red zipper).
What's that striped bikini for, you may ask? Not merely modesty. You see, Rita has a job -- holding electronic devices. Like TV remotes.
And cell phones.
The bikini, btw, is made from the sleeve and bottom edges of a toddler's fleece top.
What about that burlap back? It's for Rita's other job -- keeping track of notes and coupons. She's like a tiny bulletin board!
I hope those pushpins don't give her a headache! I'll have to put Rita to the test for awhile to see how well she works. But as a plain old stuffed doll, she does just fine!