Jenelle is the author of The Upcycled T-Shirt: 28 Easy-to-Make Projects That Save the Planet and owner of the TrashN2Tees business; Jenelle’s work has been instrumental in keeping over 400 tons of material from landfills (turning it all into creative and useful items!). Jenelle filled us in on supplies and prep in Part One of the Modern T-Shirt Quilt series, and Part Two is coming up next…
From Jenelle: It was 12:34 p.m., May 29, 2009. My nail polish was showing signs of wear, my hair now matted to the side of my face… I hadn’t slept in a day, and I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. The infant and toddler who had been following me looked up, and in that second I caught a glimpse of hunger in their eyes. A loud rumbling sound catches me off guard as the ground beneath my feet began to shake. We were standing between a bulldozer and 2,230 metric tons of waste. I didn’t know it then but the minutes that followed changed the course of my life forever with this one innocent question, “What are they going to make with all this garbage, Mommy?”
Today, my nails aren’t always manicured but lunch is never late. (Those hungry eyes are scary y’all!) I’m Jenelle Montilone, a recycling and repurposing revolutionary, changing the way we consume and create. I believe all waste has value and have seen first hand how creative solutions through the art of sewing can impact our future generations. Last year I published my first book, The Upcycled T-Shirt: 28 Easy-to-Make Projects That Save the Planet that includes 28 fun, practical and easy to make projects that reimagine unwanted t-shirts for sewists of any age or skill level. In addition to running my business TrashN2Tees, I teach sewing workshops, techniques and trends while representing as a BERNINA Ambassador. Through grassroots programs and partnerships, my work has diverted more than 240,000 pounds of textiles from our landfills. Tutorials for appliquing a keepsake portrait of your favorite people, building a bologna sandwich wallet, plus over 400+ ways to repurpose a t-shirt can be found on my Ultimate Upcycled T-shirt Tutorial List on the TrashN2Tees blog.
I’ll leave you with three things you might not know about me: 1) I’m naturally a morning person and do my best to never make any life altering decisions after 5 p.m.; 2) I used to drive a monster truck; 3) I don’t eat a lot of sweets unless they’re Haribo Gummy Bears (Pineapple are my favorites!). Bonus: I own 15 sewing machines. I sew primarily on my BERNINA B580 but I also restore and collect old beauties too! My favorite right now is my completely original Wilcox & Gibbs treadle I accidentally bought last summer at a neighbors yard sale. I hope to connect with you here on Sew Mama Sew and elsewhere. I can be found @TrashN2Tees on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Keep your needle moving forward in the meantime!