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Thread: blue jean quilts for charity

  1. #1
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    first let me say i really enjoy reading everything on this board.
    i could really use your help as i know everyone has such terrific ideas and skill.
    i am trying to organize a quilting bee with my co-workers making quilts from old jeans. we will be making them for charities, such as salvation army, family and children services or the women's shelter.
    i need patterns or ideas to make inexpensive, very easy and fast quilts. most of my co-workers will have very limited sewing experience.
    also do we need to use cotton thread or would it be ok to use a less expensive thread.
    any help with the above would be greatly appreciated.
    also can anyone tell me how to cut up the jeans to get the most fabric out of it.
    thank you in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Do they have to be made out of jeans? It's a lot of extra work cutting patches from jeans (you have to deconstruct the jeans first), plus the fabric is often tough and therefore tiring to cut through. Jeans quilts end up being very heavy too.

    Charity quilts are utility quilts (utility quilts can be pretty!), so there's no need to use cotton thread.

    For beginners, the best patterns are probably those that do not require matching of seams. Bricks would be one. Cut rectangles of fabric, sew them together end-to-end. Rows are arranged so that the joined bricks of one row are in the middle of the bricks of the upper row.

  3. #3
    Super Member CajunQuilter2's Avatar
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    I was in the local JoAnn's today & they had a rag blue jean quilt that was just awesome. Some of the blocks were done with the front pocket portion. They used flannel for the back.

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    Super Member Sheila Elaine's Avatar
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    Siss,
    Google & Yahoo Search Free Denim Quilt Patterns & you'll find several sites with patterns. Determining which pattern to make is a big priority, so take a little time & go with a simple one. Some of the workers may want to use different sized blocks & shapes. Good luck to all.


  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I checked out some blue jean quilt websites. Here's one:
    http://www.equilters.com/library/jea..._gallearl.html

    She mentioned that she now makes all her jeans quilts with 1/2-inch seams for durability. Also, it sounds as if you need to be careful and use jeans needles when sewing denim. Those are thicker, stronger needles with sharp points that make penetrating the denim easier. With beginners, I would worry about them breaking needles while sewing denim.

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    thanks prism99, yes denium is our choice as it is free. bricks looks like a easy pattern.

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    thanks everyone for suggestions. was wondering if we could make the brick pattern or other pattern, but rag the outside edge instead of putting on binding. this would be a lot quicker. would we have to make the outside edge larger to accommodate the edge. do you think this would look ok. please remember we are not quilters, including ME.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siss
    thanks everyone for suggestions. was wondering if we could make the brick pattern or other pattern, but rag the outside edge instead of putting on binding. this would be a lot quicker. would we have to make the outside edge larger to accommodate the edge. do you think this would look ok. please remember we are not quilters, including ME.
    Would you still have a backing fabric on the quilt?

  9. #9
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    yes, we will be putting flannel on the back

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    make sure you wash and dry the flannel twice first...it will usually shrink a lot and it will pull the denim out of shape!! You can sew a really narrow zig zag around the whole outside of the quilt a 1/2 inch in and the flannel and the denim will rag. I might even go around it twice, to make sure the seam stays good. I would use a good 1/2 in seam to construct the quilt and a very narrow zig zag to seam the quilt with, too. The zig zag stitch will be stronger and help prevent the flannel from fraying out in the seam line.

  11. #11
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    thanks amma. i knew to wash the flannel, but didn't think to use a zig zag stitch. will be sure to do that as it sure makes sense. also use a 1/2 " seam allowance.

  12. #12
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    You are very welcome :D

  13. #13
    Senior Member CindyBee's Avatar
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    FYI: Denim is a twill and by nature a bias weave. Also, denim quilts can be very heavy! Just a heads up for you. Good luck and of course we will want to see the pictures.

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    thank you for all your help. as this is still in the planning stage i may have bitten off more than i can chew. it is hard to get a commitment. i will first have to find out how many jeans we have before going foreward with this. however if i get enough, i will try to do it myself as i know it will make me feel good knowing someone will benefit from it (them).

  15. #15
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siss
    thank you for all your help. as this is still in the planning stage i may have bitten off more than i can chew. it is hard to get a commitment. i will first have to find out how many jeans we have before going foreward with this. however if i get enough, i will try to do it myself as i know it will make me feel good knowing someone will benefit from it (them).
    If you can find a pair of electric shears, that may save your hands a bit when you go to cut the jeans apart.

  16. #16
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    I have also used a "stretch" straight stitch to sew denim seams--(goes 2 forward then one back). As to weight, the bigger the patches, the lighter the quilt as there are less seam allowances using a bigger patch--say 8-9 inch squares verses using 5 or 6 inches.
    Rag quilts sound great.
    Just finished a baby quilt for new grandbaby. Used 8 inch squares that I serged seams on. Think I had 36 squares (6 x 6). Utility stiched diagonally across each square, lightweight batting and flannel backing with bound edges. (Probably more work than what you want to do)
    Great project--they wear like iron--good luck

  17. #17
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oksewglad
    I have also used a "stretch" straight stitch to sew denim seams--(goes 2 forward then one back). As to weight, the bigger the patches, the lighter the quilt as there are less seam allowances using a bigger patch--say 8-9 inch squares verses using 5 or 6 inches.
    Rag quilts sound great.
    Just finished a baby quilt for new grandbaby. Used 8 inch squares that I serged seams on. Think I had 36 squares (6 x 6). Utility stiched diagonally across each square, lightweight batting and flannel backing with bound edges. (Probably more work than what you want to do)
    Great project--they wear like iron--good luck
    I thought I've read 6-8 jeans per quilt--and of course the bigger the jean and wider the leg the more usable the denim. Just thinking--a series of random length strips--say 4-6 inches wide--sewn to the length you wanted for the quilt (60-72"?) Then sew those strips to the width you want. Those might be quick to cut and sew. Again good luck

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    prism99. santa gave me a pair for christmas last year, but never used them. i just don't think of them. you are so smart. thanks so much. i have arthritis in my hands so that will be very helpful. also one of the other ladies at work has a pair too, and she has never used them. i am going to make up a few samples so i will try them out. now only if i can remember where i put them. :?: :?: :oops: :oops:

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    sorry oksewglad i missed your post earlier when i did my post. very good suggestions. i will keep them all in mind when we finally get started. i think i will print this off as there are so many good ideas i can't remember them all.. thanks everyone :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

  20. #20
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Just had a thought--scary isn't it! Anyway, if you go to the search icon at the top of the page and when the search dialog box comes up type in "blue jean" or "denim" you may find information on older posts. Just an idea for you.

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    thanks oksewglad, i will check it out.

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    sorry to be a pest. any suggestions on what approx. sizes should we make.
    as you can tell i am still in the planning stages.
    i know it will also depend on the size of jeans we get.
    could we make them rag with just one layer of denim and no backing. we we will be trying to make them quickly and keep the cost down but want them to be of good quality.
    has anyone made them this way or should we put on a backing.
    thanks again everyone for your help.

  23. #23
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    siss--I have made levi "tarps" for years. The first one I made I was a good little girl & cut all the old jeans the same size. BIG mistake-as now you have 4 layers of denim to sew thru. Even with a jeans needle, I broke quite a few. So finally it dawned me to cut the hems off-using siccors cut along each side of the leg seams, -(just a little)-now rip the legs up towards the pocket. I than cut off the leg from around the top. Sometimes the pockets come out also.
    Now back to the cutting board.-I line up one ripped side on a line & than cut the long strips of levis into the same length. I do 10" as it is a nice round number. I than use my serger & go around each piece. I than sew the 10" sides together-as long as I want. (Have been known to lay them on the beds to measure). Do several strips & than sew the strips together.OOOPS forgot-I usually use a 1/2" seam, but it doesn't matter.
    If one length is too long just cut it off & serge the cut edge. When I sew the seam, I than fold the serged edges to one side & sew on the serged stitches. No pressing involved!!!!

    The beauty of doing it all this way, is you have different widths & not all of your corners are a 4 corner match. I think it is like a brick design. These hold up really good & are VERY heavy. Mine have been used to lay under tents, over coolersto help insulate them when camping, on the grass for picnics, on the cruddy tables @ picnics, on the muddy ground as a tarp to change tires, on the fishing bank to keep the stickers out of your britches, as well as whatever else you can think of!!
    To clean them up- you just shake them out, & was & dry. If there is a hole on one of the pieces, just sew on an applique!!!
    Good luck!!

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    thanks billie g, all great suggestions. good to know that they are durable and easy to make. i have a serger, if only i can get it threaded again. i broke the thread a week ago and can't seem to get if working properly. will have to go back and watch the video on how to thread. it drives me crazy.

  25. #25
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siss
    thanks billie g, all great suggestions. good to know that they are durable and easy to make. i have a serger, if only i can get it threaded again. i broke the thread a week ago and can't seem to get if working properly. will have to go back and watch the video on how to thread. it drives me crazy.
    Most sergers require threading in a specific order. If you break a thread, often you cannot just re-thread that one thread because it comes before another one. It is often easiest to pull out all the threads and just re-thread from scratch in the correct order. My serger has the threading order printed on the side panel so I know exactly which thread has to be done first.

    I have seen denim quilts that were serged with bright red thread -- very cute!

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