How to Make a Recycled Fabric Cuff

comments (4) April 14th, 2009     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
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Use some recycled fabric to make a custom cuff for your wrist!
Ive made tons of these, since they are a quick, fun project with so much possibility!
Two contrasting thread colors add interest.
Use some recycled fabric to make a custom cuff for your wrist!

Use some recycled fabric to make a custom cuff for your wrist!

Photo: Lee Meredith
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When it comes to fabric, I try to use every little leftover piece, especially since I love making small items like these cuffs, and if you were to peek into my studio you'd see that I really do save every last scrap! I work with almost all recycled materials to begin with, so these cuffs are doubly recycled for me—I would still consider it a "green" project to use leftover scraps of nonrecycled fabrics though. So dig through your leftovers stash and find a couple of fabric pieces that complement each other—it works out well for either one or both to be a knit fabric (like T-shirt fabric) so it's a bit stretchy.  I'm showing you my example made with one piece of recycled jeans denim and one piece of T-shirt.

You'll need:

  • Two pieces of fabric, long enough to wrap around your wrist with some overlap, plus about 1/2 inch for seam allowance
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine with matching (or contrasting) thread
  • A closure—either snap(s), Velcro, or button(s)
  • Optional embellishment materials of your choice

I cut the denim piece in a long triangle shape to make an asymmetrical cuff.

Start by cutting your pieces. You can cut one piece in the shape that you want your cuff, then cut the other piece after sewing them together. Place the pieces with right sides facing, and sew a straight stitch around three of the four sides. If your cuff is triangular like mine, leave the wider edge as the open end.

After sewing around the three sides, trim around to cut off the excess fabric.

Turn the cuff right side out. Use a knitting needle, pen, or scissors to push the points out.

I used a knitting needle to get to the other end.

Now turn the edges under on the open end. If you want to add a buttonhole loop or some other kind of extra piece for closure, you can insert it into this end once it's folded to sew it right into the seam.

Fold the edges in just enough to sew the end closed neatly.

Sew over that edge to close it up...

I like to use a contrasting thread color on my cuffs.

...then continue sewing all the way around the outside of the cuff. This will flatten it out and add a design feature with the stitching.

You could use a zigzag stitch here if you want or some other decorative stitch.

Now your cuff base is done, so take a look at it and decide what you want to add.

This recycled denim had some barely visible printing from a previous project.

You could use whatever embellishments you want—I chose to add some simple machine topstitching. So I just stuck the cuff under the needle again and made a big zigzag across the whole thing.

Machine topstitching is super easy and can look great!

Then I went back over the stitches, following next to the lines, for a double zigzag. You can see my shirt embellishment post for some more about topstitching.

My finished cuff, before adding the closure.

If you pay attention to both the top and bottom fabric and thread colors, you can end up with a reversible cuff. I've made some with one side being a dark fabric/light thread and the other side a light fabric/dark thread; with a Velcro closure, they are totally reversible!

Here's the back of mine, with orange thread.

I decided to use a snap for the closure on this one—a good choice for triangle-shaped cuffs. I use a wooden spool to hammer on my snap parts.

An old wooden spool is a great tool for snap installation.

And it's done!

My new recycled denim, asymmetrical, topstitched, snappy cuff!

Here's an example of another similar one but made longer with more overlap and some decorative yellow stitching:

Two contrasting thread colors add interest.

This one was also made with denim and T-shirt fabric, but it is rectangular with the T-shirt as the outside and the denim as the lining.

I used printed T-shirt fabric as the outside of this cuff.

I've made many of these cuffs over the years, and while I like the snap closures, Velcro has been my most commonly used option. Velcro is easy to sew on, makes for reversible cuffs if you want, and makes the cuffs super easy to put on and take off. I've also made a few with buttons and fabric or ribbon loops as buttonhole closures. Below is an assortment of cuffs I've made, all from recycled materials.

Be creative and have fun with it!


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posted in: bracelet, fabric, wearable, recycle, cuff, denim, wrist, snap, velcro

Comments (4)

Lynneathecraftyone writes: OHHHH I will be making this one in the next few hours! LOVE IT~
Posted: 11:25 am on April 24th
ficklesticks writes: fabric jewelry is where it's at, baby! No metal allergies, no worrying about treatment of diamond miners, no great expense, washable, and best of all, we can make it ourselves, any kind of way we want! Check out or for some other fabric jewelry ideas
Posted: 7:35 am on August 27th
smartstyle writes: So cool and so smart and the same time!!! Thanks so much!!!
Posted: 6:58 pm on May 17th
NanaCuellar writes: oh, this cuff is just amazing! and i love the other versions of it in the big picture.
Posted: 9:26 am on April 14th
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