Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WiP Wednesday: My Denim Quilt

When I was growing up, my dad used the sewing machine just as often as my mom did, if not more so. Since my dad was in the military throughout the majority of my childhood and my entire teenage years, I often saw him at the sewing machine, stitching patches on BDUs and other army gear. I think doing that opened him up to trying other sewing endeavors.

For instance, when I left for college, my dad made me a quilt, along with a matching pillowcase (what a guy!). After that project, he made a quilt out of all his old pairs of jeans (and maybe some of my mom's and brothers' jeans, too), with a flannel backing. It's a heavy-duty quilt that is super warm and ridiculously durable. Once he showed me his finished product, I immediately got envious and wanted my own. Currently, my dad is working on a corduroy quilt made from all his old corduroy pants, while also thinking of a way to use all his marathon/10K participation shirts. My dad is awesome.

So what does "WiP Wednesday" mean? From time to time, I'm going to show some of my "works in progress". Since this quilt is probably going to take me a while to do, I just wanted to show my beginnings and then on some other random Wednesday, I'll show you where I am in my progress. This way, you'll have time to get your materials together and be ready for the next step. Sort of like we're going through the process together. Plus, now that I've mentioned it, I can't abandon the project- this blog will hold me accountable. It's really a win-win situation for all concerned.

-I couldn't bring myself to Photoshop the little toes out of the picture.-

For the last little while, I've been storing away my husband's and son's worn-out jeans (I don't really have any - I'm not the jeans wearing type. Probably because shopping for pants, particularly jeans, is the bane of my existence). The fun thing about this quilt is that you can use any wash of denim - it will give your quilt a cool, mixed-up pattern. I think this is a great way to reuse something that would just end up in the trash - the jeans I'm using couldn't be donated since they have holes in the knees and seams. If you're super-anxious to get started but don't have enough denim in your household alone right now, you can ask other family members and friends for their old jeans (I'm sure they'll oblige), or you can buy some at a thrift store quite inexpensively.

I'm making the quilt using the same dimensions that my dad used. This makes a really big blanket - perfect for picnics and camping. I'll be cutting my denim into 7 x 7-inch squares. You can adjust this to whatever size you want. I laid out each pair I was working on and cut down the side seams of the leg. From there, I spread out the denim and cut some rough sections, around 8 x 8-inches - when I start patching them together, I'll make the size more precise and the edges even.

Cutting them up as I go not only makes the job easier and less overwhelming, but it also gives me more room in my storage. Instead of having piles of pants, I just have a small stack of denim squares. One note: as you're cutting out your areas/squares, don't be afraid to include the pockets or any other detail of the pant. My dad's quilt has squares made out of back pockets. For one of my squares, I'm using the bib part of my son's broken overalls; I may even try to think of a clever way to use the straps.

Now, if you're the go-getter type or you already have a ton of denim you can use and you want to get started on this quilt right away, I found this link that has a how-to (though their quilt is smaller, more like a lap quilt), along with pictures. Or, you can learn along with me and take it nice and slow...

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