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June 2009
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Start a Business Recycling Old Quilts

Even if you’re not a quilter, you could still make money in a quilt business by recycling old quilts and giving them new life.  The odds are good that you’ve got some lumpy old quilts around your house that you don’t use anymore, but they’re just too charming to throw out! 

Try turning your “vintage” quilts into other items that you can sell for a profit.  Handmade purses and bags are a major trend right now so consider making some new purses from your old quilts.  Add some modern embellishments like sequins or beads for a really unique design.

Make some simple padded photo frames from old quilts.  Use the quilts to decorate photo album or scrapbook covers.  You could even offer to personalize custom covers with embroidery, by machine or by hand, before you complete the cover.

Old quilts are terrific for making doll clothes, or seasonal items like Christmas ornaments.  Sew balls from the old quilts, stuff them for fullness and add tassels or buttons to dress up the look.  Christmas stockings made from vintage quilts have an old world charm.

The project possibilities are endless, and if you’ve got more ideas than available quilts to make them with, simply shop at yard sales, thrift and consignment stores to find more.  Ask your friends and family members if they have any they’d like to see go to a good use.  A quilt with a small stain may not be used anymore, but it could be easily worked around for your craft projects.

When searching for more quilts to recycle, be sure to look for fabrics that can be washed before you use them, and are not so worn that they won’t stand up to being washed.

Another service you could offer is for people to bring their old heirloom quilts to you to repurpose them and give them new life.  Sell your recycled quilt projects through an Etsy store, on eBay, through craft shows and sales, or work out an arrangement to sell them on consignment through local retail or quilting shops. 


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Author, Instructor & Pattern Designer


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