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Upcycling a shirt to make a gift card holder – smart and reusable!

Upcycling a shirt to make a gift card holder – smart and reusable!

by Jean Boyd

Yesterday we made a cute little Christmas picture quilt using the Brother Innov-is NQ700 sewing machine.

Finished Pop-Out Picture quilt with removable photo; Brother NQ700, Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼" Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼¼" Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Finished Pop-Out Picture quilt

And now, lets make another quick holiday project. Do you have some old, long-sleeved shirts or blouses that you’re not wearing anymore? Today and tomorrow, I’ll be showing you how to use shirt sleeves and the Brother NQ700 to make some quick Christmas projects. Of course, these items can be used for other occasions as well – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries – just use your creative imagination!

Our first project, a gift card holder, uses just the cuff of the shirt. Make sure the cuff is about 3″ wide.

Cut the cuff close to the edge where itʼs sewn to the shirt.

Now itʼs time to use one of the many decorative stitches on the Brother NQ700. All the stitches are shown on the inside of the top cover for easy reference. Here’s a picture of the keys we’ll be using in today’s project.

Important keys for decorative stitching as shown on the operation panel; Brother NQ700, Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼” Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼” Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Important keys for decorative stitching as shown on the operation panel

My shirt cuff was made of striped fabric, so I decided to use the stripes as a guide for sewing my stitches. There are over 100 decorative stitches on the Brother NQ700 machine and almost every stitch can be made longer and/or wider just by pressing the + or keys that are just below the LCD screen. I chose stitch #8 for my project and a variegated thread for added interest.

You can see on the LCD screen that the N foot is suggested for this selected stitch. I prefer using the open toe foot to have a better look at my stitching line, but that is a personal choice.

Decorative stitch #08 showing on the LCD panel at the front of the Brother NQ700 machine; Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼” Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼” Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Decorative stitch #08 shown on the LCD panel

Because the shirt cuff is a double layer of fabric with some interfacing in between the layers, you don’t need to use a stabilizer when doing decorative stitching on the cuff.

When you start to sew, make sure to press the reinforcement stitch key. The machine then sews 3 to 5 stitches in place before starting your decorative stitch. To make sure you’re always starting at the beginning of a stitch pattern, press the back to beginning key and then start sewing.

When you’re near the end of your stitching line, press the single sewing key. This ensures that the machine stops sewing at the end of the stitch pattern. Then use the reinforcement stitch key to make sure your threads are anchored.

Now go ahead and decorate your shirt cuff as desired using your favorite stitches and thread!

Decorative stitching on a shirt cuff created by using the open toe foot on the Brother NQ700 machine; Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼” Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼” Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Decorative stitches on the shirt cuff

When the stitching is finished, fold up the bottom third of the part with the buttons to make a pocket.

Using a regular straight stitch, sew along the open sides of the cuff as close to the edge as you can.

Sewing along the open edges of the shirt cuff with a straight stitch on the Brother NQ700 machine; Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼” Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼” Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Sew along the open edges of the shirt cuff.

Fold the top part of the cuff with the buttonholes down to make a little flap at the top.

Now your gift card holder is ready to use!

A gift card is placed in the pocket created on the shirt cuff; Brother NQ700, Brother BQ3050, HeatnBond Feather Lite, Brother SA185 ¼” Piecing Foot-Guide, Brother SA125 ¼” Quilting Foot, SULKY Heidi Lund's Life in the Tropics Cotton Blendables Thread Collection

Place a gift card or other small item in the pocket.

These little ‘pockets’ can also be used to hold jewellery or other small items when travelling, or as gift bags for any small item. This is another great opportunity to try all those decorative stitches on your Brother NQ700 machine!

I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow on QUILTsocial as I show you how to make some personalized gift bags from shirt sleeves.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: Planning ahead for successful decorative stitching using the Brother NQ700

Go to part 5: Transforming a shirt sleeve into a gift bag – A great way to upcycle!

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