Monday, March 23, 2009

Making your jean Quilt or picnic Blanket

If you can cut a straight line,
if you can sew a straight line,

Get out your sewing machine, thread it up and set your stitch to a nice strong one.

Forget what your sewing teacher taught you about right sides together. We're going to break that rule in this project.

Take your first square, both front and back. Put the wrong sides together. Do this will all your squares.

Next you will need to pick up your first square and put the two back together (while still holding the fronts onto them) and sew a straight seam along one edge. You'll want a seam allowance that is alot larger than you're used to, 3/4 inch at least.

Now you should have four pieces of fabric but only two squares joined by one row of stitching. Attach your next square to the last one and keep doing this till you've done the first row.

Next you'll want to sew each row the same until all the rows are done.

Stop! set up all your rows on the floor again, make sure everything is where you wanted it to be, there's no going back after this stage. Take time to rearrange rows if you're not sure.

You'll want to sew row 1 to row 2. Wrong sides together, seams pinned open. Keep your seam allowance the same as you used for the joining of the squares. Do this till all the rows are joined.

Hint: There is a strangely named tool, a hump jumper, that may help if your machine does not like the amount of denim a join makes. Usually sewing and quilting stores carry these.

Now you should have a quilt! It's not quite finished though, you have a fair bit of work to go but it feels heavy in your lap and satisfying to look at.

You will need to pin open all the outside edge seams and sew a line around the edge at the same width you did the inner seams. No need to bind or hem these edges.

The great thing about jeans... they fray. Remember cut offs? That's the feel of "ragging" a quilt. It works well with cottons, flannels and denim. So why fight it? Lets use that to add character to our project.

In order to get the full affect of ragging you will need to snip the seams. This can be fun or exhausting.. it's all about the right tool. Below you will see a picture of the snipper I recommend. Regular scissors will not work well and I guarantee you'll never make one again if you try them. Fiskars makes a great snipper. This is NOT a thread cutter... they are NOT strong enough.

Once again, time to call a friend, rent a movie and put on the tea. This is way more fun when you share it with someone else.

You'll need to snip all the way around the edge. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE STITCHING LINE! YOU WILL REGRET IT SO WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DOING. Once the edge is done, I tend to cut one row at a time till all the rows are snipped in one direction.

Turn the blanket and do all the rows in the other direction. It is not unheard of to miss something. When you think you're done. Lay it out and walk on it.. look at it and find any bits you didn't snip.

Don't you feel great? It's coming together. You'll soon be able to show off your prize.
To the laundry room. Wash your snipped quilt.
This helps the "ragging" fluff out more and gives your quilt a softer look.
To the dryer. A hint here... jean takes a long time to dry then it's this heavy. You will need to visit your dryer about every 10 minutes. This is because you might want to change the placement of the quilt so you don't end up with a damp bit in the middle. ALSO EMPTY YOUR LINT TRAP ABOUT EVERY 10 MINS. It will be full, trust me! You need to keep emptying it so you'll have less of a mess to clean later and so you don't start a fire. Once it's dry, I take mine out on the porch and snip off any threads that I missed and shake out any loose bits.
Now sit down, relax and snuggle under that wonderful heavy, warm blanket. Make sure you tell everyone how you made if for "free" yourself!

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I am happy to hear ideas, comments and even might be able to answer a question you may have.