Two things gave me the final push I needed to finish this denim quilt that has been 10 years in the making: the Refashioner’s Jeanius challenge, and a threat from Mr. Skirt Fixation.
As faithful readers (and good counters) of the Skirt Fixation blog know, I have 4 sons. Boys wear jeans and wear out jeans often. Multiply that times 4 boys and you end up with a lot of jeans with holes in the knees. Which leaves you an item you cannot donate to charity, but which has a lot of good, useable denim left. Being the thrifty (pack rat?) type, for over 10 years, I’ve been stashing away these old jeans with the intent of using the denim someday. Well, a few months ago, Mr. Skirt Fixation was digging through the attic and found my tote (okay, fine! TOTES) of old worn out jeans and suggested rather strongly that I use them or get rid of them. He even offered to do it for me! So it was time to get busy.
Over the winter, I cut out hundreds of 7 inch squares from the usable parts remaining of the old jeans. The next step was to sew a light and a dark square together across the diagonal (from corner to corner) with two seams, each one 1/4 inch from the center line. Then hours were spend cutting them apart down the original diagonal line. When I began to lose my steam, Thomas, my 10 year old son, got excited about and involved in the process.
The pile grew and grew and grew. We needed 224 finished half square triangles (HST). The finished quilt was intended for my oldest son who is (currently at 16) 6’8” so I was aiming for dimensions near king size. The finished quilt is 76 x 88, so slightly larger than king size, but my tall son is not complaining!
When we finally had all 224 HST made, we looked up different layouts that used a dark and a light 1/2. My son loved the look of this one, and so the piecing together began. As I was piecing this, I realized I would never be able to wrestle a quilt this large through my home sewing machine. The denim makes the quilt quite heavy, and the sheer size of it would be the end of me and probably my machine too!
When the top was finally pieced, we all stood back and admired it for a while. It was simply gorgeous! The next order of business was to choose the quilt backing. My son decided he wanted a plaid flannel for the backing, and I ordered some flannel buffalo plaid. (affiliate link)
I have a special Aunt who has taught my sister and I a lot about quilting, and it just so happens that she has a long arm quilting business. She is an AMAZING quilter and walking through her house is like walking through a quilt museum! And here’s an example of how fantastic she is: she offered to make the quilt sandwich for me! So I got the fabric, the pieced top, and the batting to her. We looked over quilting designs, discussing how the junctions where the HST came together on the corners were going to be nearly impossible to quilt through.
We all agreed it ended up much better than the original plan, and she was able to easily avoid the thick joints.
When she had finished the quilt and we picked it up, she had another great suggestion. Folded in half, and lined with flannel, this quilt would make a perfect sleeping bag for my very tall son! After pondering and pondering on that idea, we decided to keep in open. He plans to wrap up in it when there’s a situation where he needs a sleeping bag, but he loves it open on his bed too.
You may be wondering about the Refashioners challenge I mentioned at the beginning of this post? This summer is the 2nd season of The Refashioners, and the theme is Jeanius. (Last year was Get Shirty, and you can see how we participated here.) Well, how could we not sew along with a sewing contest that was all about refashioning jeans, when all we had to do was finish this quilt in time to enter? (If you want to check out the absolutely mind boggling things other refashioners did with denim, click here.) So all that was left for us to do was to bind the quilt. Binding a quilt this size and weight by hand seemed too daunting of a task for me, so I turned to my expert, in house hand sewist – Allegra, and within about 2 weeks time she had the task completed!
Everyone is delighted with the finished quilt. Mr. Skirt Fixation is pleased about the amount of denim used up. My son is delighted with his new quilt that is not only long enough for him, but rugged enough to last a lifetime. And I’m inspired to make another one. Or two. Just don’t tell Mr. Skirt Fixation I have enough denim still stashed away to make several more!