Monday, May 27, 2013

Blue Jean Quilt

 The big quilt is done and I can wait another week before I hand it over to my daughter for her birthday!While I wait on fabric for my next project, I started a picnic quilt! I have been saving squares of denim for ages and knew that I wanted to make a mock cathedral.

I've searched You Tube for tutorials and found some great ones. I also tried their methods and found the seams to be incredibly bulky, despite steaming the heck out of them. So, I came up with my own way of doing it. Before anyone tells me I "stole" their idea ... believe me, I didn't research anything, I just sat and thought about how I could do it myself so that the squares would lay FLAT!

First, press your denim squares with starch before you cut them out into circles. Starch your 5" squares as well. This extra step results in a nice clean finish as well as helps the sewing without struggle. Make sure that you use a denim needle and take your time sewing. This is not a marathon, and the faster you put your foot to the pedal will result in broken needles -- uh huh! Experienced here!

I have also been collecting various 5" charm squares. I wanted this to be as scrappy as possible and I started the quilt this weekend. Spend the money and buy yourself an Olfa rotary cutter. You "can" draw circles and cut the circles out of the demin with scissors, but your hands will be killing you and you'll be cursing by the end you get a few done. The Olfa Rotary cutter is easy to use and has a ratchet handle so that you don't have to wind your hands and arms into a pretzel to get a nice circle. I won't bore you with the details of how to use it. My circles were cut a touch bigger than the 5" square. Realize I am NOT with the quilt police and nor do I believe that this particular quilt needs super close measurements. It's a picnic quilt for Petey sake and it will have ketchup and mustard on it, along with grass stains and beach sand ground into it. You get the picture!

Get some varigated thread, or whatever colour you want and stitch the square onto the circle corner to corner, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER.

The next step is to use your Hera marker along the edges of the 5" charm square. This doesn't mark your fabric, but "dents" it. A Hera Marker is made out of hard plastic. This puts a visible seam in your denim so that you can turn it and press it over onto the printed cotton side. I used one of my older cutting mats and pressed quite hard on it so that it would give me a nice area to fold. It works! I was surprised, but when I say "HARD" I mean it! lol

Take your square over to the ironing board and press the seams down.  (You will be bringing the right side of the denim over to the top of the right side of the cotton. ) You'll notice they (the folds) are not perfect, but they will be fine when you get top stitching.

Take your pressed square back to your sewing machine and top stitch the edges of the denim through the layers. Note that the edges, once washed, will fray nicely. I stitched a bit smaller than 1/4" (remember, you don't have to live by rules here! Keep the stitching to "about" 1/4")

Once you have two completed, top-stitched squares -- stitch the two squares together with a zig-zag or similar decorative stitch. The key here is you want the needle to go into both sides (left square to right square) to hold them together.

Once you have two squares done, do another two squares. Then stitch those 2 square rectangle onto another 2 square rectangle to result in one 4 square unit. Then sew 2 Four Square Units together....

You will need to keep sewing a four square unit to the right of your long strip until you reach the width you desire. Note that you don't want to keep adding and adding to make larger squares. You want long strips, no wider than 10" across. You are limited in the amount of room you have on your sewing machine. Trust me -- denim is heavy, so you want to make this as painless as possible. Stay tuned and I'll show you the end result once I complete it!

I'm really pleased with the way it's turning out! It's heavy enough and NO you do not need to put batting in it! I think it's going to be a great addition to our outings!

It will be a while before I post the finished product!

How many pairs of jeans? I'm guessing you need to start with at least 6 pairs of men's jeans. If you don't have enough -- you can always ADD to the quilt as you go!

Happy Quilting everyone!


Donna Joy said...

I have a box of denim and lots of scraps so this will be my denim quilt. not sure how strong this will be by just zig zagging the edges together. I will try it and see.

Donna Joy said...

Looks great, i will try this.Is it strong enough to just zig zag the blocks together?

Donna Joy said...

I have a box of denim and lots of scraps so this will be my denim quilt. not sure how strong this will be by just zig zagging the edges together. I will try it and see.

Margo said...

Hi Donna Joy! I have a stitch on my machine that really bites into both sides. I would think if you set your machine with the width of your zig zag wide enough to get a goot bite of both sides and close enough together it would hold up just fine.

Donna said...

I don't see a reason why the zig-zag wouldn't hold. I like this method a lot better than stitching the squares together with a straight stitch and then turning down the round edge. I think I will zig-zag around the circle edges too to hold off some of the fraying.

Unknown said...

Have you posted a photo of the finished quilt? I'd like to see it - have been wanting to know which method to finish my quilt with, yours or the traditional method (like yours better for speed and finish ease).
Carol H

Margo said...

Hi Carol -- this is a quilt that is still in my WIP pile.
I was just going to end it with the edges turned over to complete the squares. Nothing fancy as this is going to be our car quilt for picnics. Once I have it done, I will be sure to post pictures! Would love to see yours when you finish it! -- Thanks for asking! Margo

goldy's goings on. said...

I'm new to quilting. I am going to try this as my first quilt. Thankyou for the clear instructions.

Margo said...

Hi Carol! update -- the quilt is finished! You can see the finished product on the blog.

Goldy! Glad you found us! This is a quick quilt and I loved the outcome! Good luck with yours!