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The Second Life of Denim

One of my all-time favorite fabrics to incorporate into a new quilt is old denim jeans. My husband and I live and work in our jeans. As they become worn and torn and graduate to retirement, saving and reusing the fabric in a quilt gives them a second life, representing our partnership and efforts in creating a home that is comfortable and beautiful. Oh, and the textural effect is pretty cool too!

The above pattern is a modified version of a larger scrappy swoon, a quilt-along hosted by Jennifer at Hopeful Homemaker.

I made the above scrappy swoon quilt with a combination of denim, quilting cottons, and some other scrappy odds and ends. This is one of my favorite quilts, with simple "stitch-in-the-ditch" quilting. In case you are wondering, the denim can be a bit tough in the seams, but a jeans needle will get you through just fine!

The quilt above was made at the request of a friend's mom, using several cherished articles of clothing she had saved from her parents. These included her dad's work shirts and denim overalls, and her mom's robe. The pieces were incorporated into a modern spin on a traditional log cabin design. This quilt is completely from the heart and is a brilliant way to remember our loved ones and keep them close. This piece also uses simple "stitch-in-the-ditch" quilting. Hand stitching the binding on the back was my last task. The denim added a really comfy weight to this quilt as I sat on my sofa and finished that last interaction with it. It was a great pleasure creating this project and is one of my fondest quilting memories.

*Modified to include two "Mini Havanas."

Oh, collage much do I love thee? The background for the collage art quilt above was created using several legs of my husband's old denim jeans, cut to size and seamed together. I then created the lighter denim "waves" over the seams and resumed the collage technique per the pattern instructions. Once all of the design elements were in place and the quilt layers were sandwiched together I quilted a simple wave design over the whole piece. I love everything about this sea-themed wall hanging!

I made Edyta Sitar's "Made in USA" quilt pattern using denim in several different rinses and Shibori prints for the canton sections of the flags. The wave quilting in these sections matches the waves in the Shibori print and adds texture to the denim. As I began to think about a quilting design a friend asked if stars would be included since there were none in the canton sections. The sashing was the perfect place to add them! The stripes are, again, a simple stitch-in-the-ditch, as this is a comfy quilt that lays over our sofa.

In case you were wondering how this combination of denim and quilting cottons holds up in the wash, I have had no problem with normal wash and dry cycles. Many of my quilts are constructed for everyday use. That means they get thrown over sofas and beds and are thoroughly enjoyed by Murph, our furry family companion.

So, are you thinking about using denim in your next project? I look forward to seeing what you make!

Happy sewing!

- Liz


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