From Pants to Potholders

 from back pocket

My friend Kay Rose called one winter day and told me she was making potholders, but hers weren’t just any hotpads. Kay had saved her husband’s jeans and shirts for projects to make some day, and this winter she was turning them into potholders. For each one, she used a back jeans’ pocket for one side and a square cut from a shirt for the other side.

front and back

What a wonderful way to share the memories with her children and grandchildren. My guess is these potholders won’t be used to handle many hot pots of soup. But perhaps they will—what could be sturdier to lift those pans than heavy denim? Kay said when she makes more potholders, she will be sure to put sufficient padding between the layers to prevent burned hands.

back from a shirt

Maybe you don’t have jeans to cut up and recycle, but look around for other articles of clothing than could work just as well. One friend said she needed suggestions for what to do with her mother’s dresses she had saved. A dress could yield material for several potholders. What unusual and valued gifts they would be if put in frames ready for hanging on the kitchen wall. Or instead of a frame, perhaps a set of three made from dresses and attached to a hanging cord. Be sure to include a note telling the history—who wore the dress, approximately what year, and any interesting tidbits that will make it unique for your family. If you still have a pair of Dad’s overalls and one of Mom’s dresses, why not combine the fabrics into your own special design.

Not all the memories have to come from the older generation. If you still have kids at home, stash away a favorite article of clothing when they no longer wear it. Your young son likely won’t appreciate a potholder made out of his old jeans, but it could be an unusual gift for his bride some day in the future. Most kids have a favorite shirt, dress, or jeans. Save the beloved item and turn it into a memory. If your little girl is alternately tomboy and princess, a lace-trimmed denim potholder may fit her personality. Again, remember to write the note with some history that will personalize the gift.

What wonderful memories Grandpa’s old jeans may trigger if you see them every time you open the potholder drawer. Whether they are used every day or hung on the kitchen wall, these potholders preserve memories with special meaning for your family.