I’ve been working on a ton of projects but current resources are making things hard to finish anything. And when I say “resources” I am not talking about time, imagination or inspiration and generally speaking also not about fabric, thread or sewing machines.
The group of quilts that I’ve been working is based on using denim fabric harvested from old jeans. Getting my hands on really, really cheap jeans isn’t an issue. The problem I am having is that the borders I want to add to these quilts in progress I want to be seamless. And that will require the purchase of new denim fabric. And, of course, I want to use is flannel and I am finding that the necessary amount of this fabric will be quite large. I tend to find myself in this quandary quite often now that I am approaching nearly a year of unemployment. 😦
Not so long ago, I saw a comment posted on a beautiful – simple yet very functional – quilt made from old blue jeans. The comment, which I cannot seem to locate now, said something to the effect that quilts made from old jeans look like “old jeans” and therefore implied that the quilt looked ‘old and worn’. I replied saying that’s what makes these quilts so extraordinary, that they feel as great as your favorite jeans and thereby by extension, are something to be used and to feel comforted by. These words kicked off a goal of using harvested denim to make both beautiful and functional quilts. To show that your blue jeans and flannel shirts aren’t about dressing up, but about feeling good; and isn’t that what we all love about our favorite quilts?
So, let me start with sharing my method for acquiring blue jeans. It was a absolute accident that I stumbled upon this idea. If you’ve been reading or following my blog, you’ll know that I am a huge lover of thrift shops and going with my son. We just happened upon the “Last Chance” racks of clothing at Red Racks. Red Racks, I believe, are local to the Missouri, from Kansas City on the west all the way to St. Louis on the east. With a little luck, you may find your solution in your area.
Red Racks is a major source of funds for DAV. The proceeds from the sales of donated goods help our country’s Disabled American Veterans, providing assistance for transportation, medical needs, counseling, and much more. Find out more at DAV.org.
So, Red Racks have what they call “last chance” and all items on these racks are priced at a dollar. Sometimes, they have some wonderful items (a great place to get kid’s clothes!) and often many pairs of jeans. These range from baby jeans all the way to guy’s jeans. Even at this price, you can’t beat it.
But… on Sundays the last chance has one really last chance and everything is marked to twenty five cents! Now here is a unbelievable price! And as you might suspect, items go quickly. For some reason, The Kid and I just happened to be there early and literally took every piece of denim we could find. And even at this, our giant haul was only $13!
Now, here is one thing that I discovered with working with denim. Be extremely cautious using denim with stretch. One project I am working on is using the jeans seams. However, when you add in seams with stretch, the piece becomes … curvy. Not a result that I wanted. And if not used correctly, the stretch denim can cause havoc in your quilt. I am not saying that you can’t use it, just be careful when you do. I, personally, have opted to reduce my use, if not all out stopping.
So, this is one of my first hauls. Either someone was watching or had the same idea as me, but it never was more than this. But this is more than enough. I was also working on collecting colored denim as an accent for these quilts, but true colored denim is hard to come by. Or maybe I should say heavy denim or colored denim without stretch.
In this pile, really only the top red, the blacks and browns and the bottom turquoise print are what I would call “real” denim. The others are lightweight and/or have stretch and will not use them in quilts. They may work great for making doll clothes though.
So, I’ve been able to piece together six denim quilts, four that need borders and all need flannel backings before I can ship these off to my top quilter. For those who may have missed it, I have a wonderful friend Becky, who does my longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: email@example.com. Just let her know that I sent you!)
Here is a quilt that I stumbled onto via Pinterest. It is called “Cathedral windows” and was quite quick to put together.And the back:This is quite wonderful since it didn’t actually require top quilting… it is a ‘quilt as you go’. I love the varying shades of denim… this is one of those quilts I am working on in the concept to show just how beautiful old and faded jeans can be turned into equally beautiful quilts.And here, a shot of the front. Some of the squares turned out a little funky, I think I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to the flaps as I worked. I think once its gone through the washing machine once or twice.I’ve actually starting working on another of these quilts, starting with 10″ circles which should fold down to about 7″. Initially, I was going to use the harvested colored denim, but after assembling a few squares have determined that it is too dull. So, more investigation as to other possibilities.I actually did a smaller quilt with some leftover squares and ran it through the washer. This will give you an idea of how it will look:I did finish the binding for one more that Becky top quilted for me (there are still a ton more to finish binding!):
The quilt didn’t turn out quite like I hoped. The patterns of the fabrics mask the layout and you can’t quite see it for the colors.Oh, well, sometimes you hit a homer and sometimes it is just good for keeping the fans in the bleachers warm.Pretty purple backing with a nice meandering pattern.
I also finished my cross stitch of my favorite Pyrex pattern: Friendship Birds.I’m not thrilled with it in the hoop, can’t seem to get it taut. I am going to look into other options. Stay tuned!
Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks for dropping by!