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Thread: Help! I want to make a denim rag quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    In rummaging through a box of old pictures, I found one of my sister when she was about 11 or 12. It was mid 70's. Her pants were denim pants, and they look like there were made from a denim rag quilt. It looks like the denim was cut in about 4 or 5 inch squares and sewn with the raw edges on the outside of the pants. They were all fringed around the edges from washing. Sounds like rag quilt to me.
    So, my feeble brain decided that I would like to make her a quilt like her pants and put a copy of that picture in the middle square. Dumb idea?
    What would be the best way to do this? I thought about making the quilt and washing it several times to really fluff up the seams, then attach the picture to a middle square with wonder under? My concern is washing the picture multiple times when trying to fluff up the raw edges.
    With it being heavy denim, should I just use a flannel or cotton for the backing? Should it be tied instead of quilted?
    And should I use regular fabric for the square that the picture goes on or should I use white denim? How would the picture look if printed onto denim? Or would it even print on denim?
    So many questions.....
    Can't wait to hear all the suggestions.

    Carol B

  2. #2
    CAROLJ's Avatar
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    I made a denim quilt and they get very heavy. It was machine quilted on my sewing machine which was hard to do becuase of the weight and I only did a twin size quilt. A quilt as you go method or a rag quilt quilt would be cute and they are not tied. I would not line the quilt, a flannel backing would be nice. I would use a lighter fabric to print on, it would be easier to see the picture. Your LQS or JoAnn's may have a photo copy kit you can use.

  3. #3
    Super Member earthwalker's Avatar
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    Carol is right the denim will be very heavy so maybe do a smallish one just under single bed size to curl up on the couch with. For a rag quilt it kind of gets quilted as you go. I used fleece as an inner batting for mine, but when I do another I'll leave it out, it is heavy enough without batting of any kind. Flannel makes a great backing, but cotton will work too. I just used X's across the middle of each square to "quilt" it and my husband got me some Fiskars snips to assist with the ragging. Carol is also right about getting a slightly lighter fabric panel to print your photo on. I am not familiar with the phototransfer thing so, maybe it could be applied to your blank panel after all the washings. Not sure even white denim would transfer nicely.

    Anyway, that's all I can think of...oh and of course use a denim needle in your machine (sorry if that sounds condescending, but I sometimes forget such things). I don't think it's a dumb idea either....if I had a sister who did something so sweet, I'd be thrilled to bits.

  4. #4
    Super Member moonrise's Avatar
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    I've made several denim rag quilts and used fleece for the backing (no need for batting). They're throw-sized, and yep, they were incredibly heavy. The sewing part was easy (I just sewed the standard "X" on the squares), but dealing with the weight of the quilts was challenging even with my husband helping me. Whew! It was worth it, though, because the quilts turned out great and they're VERY warm. I've seen larger denim rag quilts, but the folks who made them obviously have stronger arms than I do. LOL! :lol:

    I've never worked with photographs, but it sounds like a very cool project! Please post pics if you can, when it's done. :thumbup:

  5. #5
    Super Member no1jan's Avatar
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    I am in the process of making one now. If if comes out well, I plan on making a second one as I have plenty of material.

    The one I am working on is actually for my daughters back seat of her car/truck for when they bring their Siberian Husky. Yes, my granddog will have his own quilt!

    I have never done the photo thing yet, first of all I don't understand how the ink doesn't run. But I think the idea is great. But a lighter cover heavy weight material would look great. In my opinion just be careful about the weave as you don't want the ink to run.

    Good luck! Can't wait to see the pic's.

  6. #6
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    AS long as you are planning a rag quilt, you don't need to add anything to it - let the denim be the only fabric. It's already heavy, and with the seam allowances purposely on the "outside" there is no need to put any other layers on it. The "wrong" side of denim is still nice looking on its own.

  7. #7
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    I had those JEANS!!! Boy, they were styln' back then!! Did you bring up memories! :lol: :lol:

  8. #8
    Senior Member cassie69emt's Avatar
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    instead of washing the denim several times after it is sewn together you can take a little wire brush and brush the edges giving it the same effect of washing it and your washer and dryer would love you for it .when I did my denim quilt I didn't even quilt it I just took some tacks here and there to keep the fleece secured to the denim. I liked to use the fleece on the back because if the one you are giving it to has little ones they like the softness of it and some adults do too :)

  9. #9
    Super Member athenagwis's Avatar
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    You could always print your picture on some fabric paper and then attach that on top of the jean block in the middle. Fabric paper is really just fabric attached to a stiff backing so it will run through a printer. The paper comes off after it prints and you now have a picture on a regular piece of fabric. Print the picture so there is a large border around it and then just layer that fabric over the middle jean square and sew them together like they are one piece of fabric, this will make the picture part of your quilt with no need for wonder under or fear of it detaching later.

    I think this is a very cool idea, and I hope you post pics when you are done!!

    Rachel

  10. #10
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewcrafty
    I had those JEANS!!! Boy, they were styln' back then!! Did you bring up memories! :lol: :lol:
    I had those jeans also, now we're telling how old we are,lol!!!
    Please post pics when you're finished!

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