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 recycled fabric to make a custom cuff for your wrist.
Ive made tons of cuffs, since they are a quick, fun project with so many possibilities.
Two contrasting thread colors add interest.
Use recycled fabric to make a custom cuff for your wrist.

Use 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 leftover piece, especially since I love making small items like these cuffs. If you were to peek into my studio, you'd see that I really do save every last scrap. I work with almost exclusively with recycled materials, 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. This project works well for either one or both fabrics to be a knit (like T-shirt fabric) so the finished cuff is a bit stretchy. I'm showing you my example made with one piece of recycled jeans denim and one piece of T-shirt knit.


  • Two fabric pieces 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, can be snap(s), Velcro, or button(s)
  • Optional embellishment materials

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

Start by cutting the pieces. Cut one piece in the shape that you want the 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 the 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.

You can use a knitting needle to get to the other end.

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

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

Sew over that edge to close it up . . .

You can use a contrasting thread color on the cuff.

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

You could use a zigzag or other decorative stitch.

Now that the cuff base is done, decide what to add.

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

Use whatever embellishments you want. I chose to add simple machine topstitching, using a big zigzag across the entire cuff.

Machine topstitching is super easy and can look great.

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

My finished cuff, before adding the closure, had a lot of interest, thanks to the topstitching.

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

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

A snap for the closure works well on triangle-shaped cuffs. You can use a wooden spool to hammer on snap parts.

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

And it's done.

Here's a finished recycled denim, asymmetrical, topstitched, snappy cuff.

Take a look at an example of another similar cuff that was made longer with more overlap and some decorative yellow stitching.

Two contrasting thread colors add interest.

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

Printed T-shirt fabric was used for 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 easy to take on and 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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