Preparing Denim Fabric
Some of the world's most beautiful quilts are made from fabric scraps and old, discarded clothes. Denim has always held a certain comforting fascination, and quilts made with the material are not just attractive, but are also sturdy and durable. When making a quilt from this material, you're usually going to be working with both blocks and strips.
When you're making a quilt out of blocks and strips, it's important to check all the measurements of the quilt and to have a little extra fabric on hand. First determine what size the quilt you'll be making is going to be.
Standard sizes are 15x15 for pillows, 45x60 for crib quilts, 60x90 for twin quilts and 82x107 for double quilts.
Once you have determined how much fabric you are going to need, you're going to want to prepare the fabric for quilting. If you purchase your fabric brand-new from the store, make sure you pre-wash it at least a couple of times to get it ready for quilting. However, for a unique denim quilt, it is ideal to get the fabrics from discarded and old clothes and jeans rather than the traditional retail stores.
A benefit to using old clothing is that it's a pretty safe bet that the material has already been shrunk and that it won't fade any further than it already has. To prepare the fabric, cut out all of the seams. If you leave the seams in blue jeans you're using for material, your needle is going to have a very hard time penetrating the thickness.
Also make sure that you pick out the other non-seam stitching in the fabric such as any hems, pleats or darts. After you have done this, wash and dry the material and iron the fabric flat.
When preparing the denim material from used jeans, make sure that you don't use the materials by the knees or the rear. If you're getting material from denim shirts, avoid the elbow areas. This material will normally be faded and worn and you will want to use stronger, more durable sections of the garments for your quilt.
When you have your material prepared, you will want to sort it so that it is ready and organized for your quilting project. Divide the materials into separate, marked containers. You'll want separate containers for dark squares, light squares, dark strips, light strips, and odd shapes. Depending on what kind of quilting projects you normally work on, you may also want additional containers for other categories, but these containers will start you with the necessities.
If you're going to be machine quilting and not quilting by hand, make sure that you use a needle that is made specifically for that purpose. There are denim needles available at most fabric and craft stores. If you are going to be hand quilting, make sure that you have tools on hand to help you pull the needle through the thick fabric, such as pliers.
Denim quilts that have fabric backings, such as fleece or flannel, are very popular and will keep you very warm during the winter months, but it's also very important to remember that these quilts are very heavy and bulkier than traditional quilts. Unless you live in a very cold climate, you may be better off if you do not use any additional backing material that is going add bulk and weight to the quilt.
Using these guidelines and tips, you'll be on your way to making your own masterpiece in no time.
Density Of Machine Quilting
Machine quilting is very popular in recent years. We want to finish our quilts faster so we have learned to machine quilt on our domestic machines; a mid or long arm system, or take them to a professional long arm quilter.
Deciding what type of quilting and how much quilting can be a difficult matter especially if you are unsure of the end use of a particular quilt. Each quilt top you piece or appliqué will have a different purpose. Don't simply quilt it without considering the end use of the quilt.
If your quilt is intended to be used for a utility quilt such as a crib quilt, child's quilt, or a very frequently used quilt you will want this one be soft and cuddly. If you want a beautiful quilt to decorate your home you will want special quilting but you still will want it snuggly. If your quilt is made especially for a show you will want it heavily quilted.
Cuddly quilts -- If your goal is a soft and cuddly quilt you don't want to quilt it heavily. Leave some open space and areas that will be puffy. This is what makes a quilt cuddly. The more machine quilting in a quilt the heavier it becomes and it appears flatter and not as puffy. If you are looking for a cuddly quilt you will not want to have quilting lines as close.
Most cuddly quilts are made to be loved, used, and washed. Many of them will be used up and that is OK that is what they were intended for.
Beautiful yet snuggly quilts to decorate your home -- Some quilts need to be beautifully quilted to decorate your home -- yet you still wish to use them and to snuggle in them and to launder them. These would be quilted closer than the cuddly quilts but not so heavily quilted that they become stiff.
Show quilt -- If your quilt will be entered in a show, show judges expect the quilts to be heavily quilted. Most show quilts are so heavily quilted that they become firm like large mats. While these quilts are very beautiful, they are so firm and hard they might not be considered for general use other than for their appearance. The quilt would not drape well if it were wrapped around a person.
So when you are quilting your quilts you need to evaluate what kind of quilt you are making and its end use. Then quilt it accordingly. Remember -- even in quilting - sometimes "Less is More"!