Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recycled Jean Denim Quilt - Part II

It's done! Finally! After being put on the back burner for weeks (if not months - Part I is here), I finally got around to sewing on the trim to the mostly stitched together blanket.

So I learned a few things about quilting. One is the edging (or "binding", to actual quilters) - if you have to buy fabric and cut it to form the trim, keep in mind the length of the material and measure your semi-finished quilt before heading to the store. If you don't mind having an additional seam along the edges (where you had to join a new piece to make the length), then it isn't critical.

The other thing is what's called "filling" or the "filler pattern", where you stitch the back panel (the "backing") to the batting in the middle (in my case, a cut-up thrift store blanket). You kind of have to do that before sewing on the edging... I figured it didn't need it and surged on ahead. But there's probably a very good reason why people do "filling", and I'm sure I'll discover why in time. I figure I can always just sort of sew x's over the denim block corners to tack it all the way through if needed, almost like sewing on a button. Let's experiment and find out what happens if I don't bother with it first! I'm just so glad to be finished, I don't want to add on another task!

Anyway, I'm rather pleased as to how it turned out. I'm not even sure which side I like best - those vintage curtains I used for the backing has such a great pattern to it. I think the edging fabric I chose looks great with it as well as the denim (I'm such a sucker for polka dots, as well as earth tones).

I can't decide which side I like best...!

So altogether, the estimated cost breakdown (yeah, I lost the receipts already) was:

Denim: free
Thread: negligible, since I bought it for pennies at Dressew
Batting (old blanket from thrift store): $6
Backing (vintage curtain material from thrift store): $5
Edging fabric (1 yd., from Dressew): $15*
*I'm sure you could get cheaper, but it was worth the extra cost buy something to coordinate with the vintage curtain panels

Total: about $26 bucks! Not bad!

A bit of a photographic recap for the steps between "Part I" and "Part II":

Hope this has inspired you to make one of your own! It's a good feeling to get it finished! Too bad I ran out of summer weather to use my picnic/beach blanket in.

Stumbled across an entire how-to on denim quilts: http://www.mormonchic.com/crafty/denim_quilt.asp
I didn't use these instructions myself, but at first glance I dare say they'd have made life easier! :)


  1. Did you seriously sew this all by hand?? Impressive! Love that backing fabric!

  2. See, the thing is that I have an old Husqvarna sewing machine that my Grandma gave to me. And it didn't really work, but I didn't have access to my Mom's machine, so I made do with the 1960's contraption. Then I paid $150 to have it tuned up for a Halloween costume, only to realise I could have bought a new crappy one for the same price...
    And even after the repair job, the thing only half works. If I leave it plugged in too long without actually sewing (i.e. 5 minutes while I remove/replace pins), it overheats and shorts and starts sewing at a gazillion miles a minute 'til the needle breaks off and becomes a rather scary projectile. (I wear safety glasses when I sew!).
    At any rate, it turns out that between all the fiddling and thread breaking and bobbin-jamming, I can actually hand sew much faster.
    I'm no hand-stitch hero - I just have a schizophrenic sewing machine from the 60s that doesn't work! :)