Upcycled Denim Kangaroo Patchwork Pillow

I haven't done any clothes upcycling in a while and thought it was about time I started tackling my large stash of old clothes - in particular jeans.

I have lots of scraps of denim, left over from old jeans and many projects to upcycle them. I keep even the smallest of scraps, so was looking for something to make with them.

Paper piecing is something I've been wanting to try for a while, so I figured that was a good thing to combine with my denim scraps and give it a whirl!

I have a few books and patterns given to me by a friend a few years ago, so I chose one of those,

and a pattern from it to try.

I have to admit I didn't follow the paper piecing instructions too carefully - I printed the template onto some thin cardboard

 then cut the pieces out and kind of held them on my denim scraps and cut around them with a rough seam allowance!

I did follow the order to join the pieces together though - and think I did ok for my first try (considering I wasn't too careful with cutting my seam allowances!)

So then, what to do with this kangaroo block?

Inspired by a recent post from Anna of Tea and a Sewing Machine, I decided to make a cushion cover. Nice and simple!

So I added a border to my kangaroo block using more pieces of denim from the remains of a pair of jeans which had already been cut.

Then for the back of the cushion, I decided to try something I'd seen on Pinterest - a patchwork of jeans pockets. which I stitched together in a very random order.

So here are my 2 cushion cover sides (before trimming) with an old cushion.

And then trimmed, with a zip and ready to join together!

I simply stitched the zip across the top and joined the sides to make the cushion cover. 
I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

Although a little fiddly with the small denim pieces and the thick seams denim produces, I like the effect of this denim paper piecing and think I might try some more.
I have plenty of scraps to work with anyway!

My daughter came home and told me my cushion looked professional! Praise indeed!

So what do you think?
Anyone have any tips for a novice paper piecer?

I have several upcycling tutorials to browse through - many of which use old jeans to work with. Go here to see them all.


  1. No advice to give as I've never done it before, but as far as I can see, you've done a stupendous job... love the 'roo! (And you must have a lot of old jeans!)

    1. Ha! Thanks Rochelle! And yes - I've gone through A LOT of jeans over the years sewing various things and have seemingly endless scraps to sew with now!

  2. Well, aren't you the smart one, Jill. That Kangaroo patchwork is awesome!

  3. Love the Kangaroo and the use of the pockets for the backing of the pillow cover. I am in awe of your creativity! I hope to get as comfortable with zipper installation as you are. Great work!

    1. Thank you!! I used to be terrified of zippers! The best way to learn is just to jump in and try and practise. I unpick zips from old clothes to work with - lots of free practice material there!!

  4. Great going paper piecing with jeans, Jill. Your cushion looks fabulous. No tips from me re paper piecing. I have to concentrate whenever I begin a new project, until I get into the rhythm of it.

    1. Thanks Pam! The paper piecing was fun if a little fiddly with all the small pieces! I'll definitely be trying more!


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