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Thread: Cutting Up Jeans for Fabric

  1. #1
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    Cutting Up Jeans for Fabric

    I collected about 22 pairs of jeans and want to make a rag quilt out of them. Are there any tips for cutting up the jeans into squares? Anyone been there and done that? I would like to learn from your experiences. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    I cut long strips a wide as I can get then I cut into same size blocks. like if your long leg strip is 5" wide then I cut 5" blocks, you can also mix in smaller longer blocks like bricks that makes it pretty.I use flannel for the back of each block so that it is 2 layers, flannel and jeans then sew them together.
    Clear as mud??
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    Super Member chairjogger's Avatar
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    jeans as fabric

    I used jean fabric and found it to be so very heavy. Using pockets, embelishments from the jeans, jean skirts and shirts. I had the best fun ! But the result was too heavy.

    Humm.. Good luck.. plan your size. be open to the weight of the final product and let that decide your size.

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    Senior Member MoanaWahine's Avatar
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    I have even left the outside seams alone and cut squares that way. Adds a little extra to some of the blocks. Otherwise just like what "valleyquitermo" stated.
    Julie

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    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I try to get them to be flat so I can use my rotary cutter . So cut either the out side or inside seam. I like to keep the flat feld seam for potenial use , so most time I don"t cut that seam. Do be mindful od the straight of grain, its easy to see on jeans. I do keep the remains once I have cut squares, there may be enough to cut triangles , and then make into squares, it can add a bit more interest , and if you are running short of sqaures be very good to have on hand.
    I almost forgot--- Use a new blade or close to a new blade in your cutter. I dull blade will make it tough going.
    Last edited by Lori S; 03-26-2012 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6
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    I did a double wedding ring with used denim appliqued onto bandana fabric. (actually 2, one bed sized and one baby sized) It worked fairly well and was not as heavy as an all denim quilt top. Around here, people mainly do the denim rag quilts with flannel backing and no batting. It is still heavy. I used my seam ripper to help fringe the edges, even so, it was very time consuming. A few pieces which I cut out were on a convenient line for the fabric I had, rather than straight of grain. That was a mistake. They did not fringe nicely.

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    Senior Member Quilterfay's Avatar
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    Do you have a picture of the Dobule Wedding Ring. I would love to see that.

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    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilterfay View Post
    Do you have a picture of the Dobule Wedding Ring. I would love to see that.
    i would also!
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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Be careful of your hands when cutting jeans up! This is the type of job that can really do a number on your joints, tendons, etc.

    What helped me was using a cordless electrical shears to cut off the seams and waistbands. I have an old one, but there may be similar versions on Amazon. You need the kind that can cut through heavy fabric. Mine goes through jeans fabric like butter!

    Even after I got the jeans fabric flat, I developed hand problems cutting it into squares with my rotary cutter and ruler. I decided it's not worth damaging the joints in my thumb and index finger with this kind of project, so now I have a jeans UFO in the closet to add to all my other UFOs!

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    I made 2 of the rag quilts out of denim jeans that had blocks of the 50 states embroideried on them and cotton fabric for the top and flannel for the back. I also put flannel in the middle instead of batting. I will agree with them being so heavy. Do not try to wash them in your home washer. I took the 2 quilts to the laundromat. I washed them in a washer that does 4 load size. I do not go to the laundromat as a rule, so I really didn't know how these washers work. After my quilts were in the washer for about an hour I decided to ask if my washer was stuck. Not only was it stuck, the drain had stopped up. The lady was really nice about it. She said that she was glad that I didn't try to wash them at home because I would have had a really bad problem. The good part about it was that all that time in the washer really made the seams ravel good.
    Good luck Wyvonne

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    Check the jeans first for the stretch kind and throw them out. I have done a lot of cutting before realizing that they were stretch. You dont want to have to deal with that when sewing. Aovid the front panel knees because even if they are not showing wear, they are most likely stretched out. If you need more, try going to a thrift/resale shop and ask for any that can't be sold. I have gotten many pairs that had one leg ripped while the other was good, or the hems ruined but the rest were fine. Also, if you have some left, two legs and a waistband make a great bag.

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    Member quiltingshe's Avatar
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    I made a ragged jean quilt and I really like it. I used both dark and light jean material and appliqued a few stars on it. I used red plaid flannel for the backing. The biggest problem with a ragged jean quilt is washing it after you get all the cutting done. I was afraid that laundry-mat might fine me, it made such a mess.
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    My daughter and I made a jeans quilt for her dorm room bed. It was heavy but it wears like iron. Now that she is out of school and has a family of her own she uses it as a picnic blanket!

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    Junior Member flhomeschoolmom's Avatar
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    I too collect jeans for quilting, and have discovered that an entire denim rag quilt is extreamly heavy. Now I tend to use my denim for accents, sashings, or borders. One thing you might could do is decide what size squares you want in your quilt and cut your strips accordingly. Then find other co-ordinating fabrics that will fray nicely to alternate with it. That would decrease the heavy weight of your quilt by half.

    My sister had me make her boys winter quilts for their beds from denim and bandana's. Cody's bed was done in denim and red bandana's and his brother Dalton's was done in denim and blue bandana's, he was a blue fanatic. They were very cute. We just made some pillow cases by sewing bandana's together, and she paired them with solid colored sheet sets in red and blue.

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    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    I cut along the seams on jeans, then I rotary cut my squares or rectangles.
    Sadiemae

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    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    I have made four or five of them - one larger than the rest (my first) and the others were more lap size. The first one is just denim (single layer) and my son keeps it in his car - great for the beach and river. The others have flannel stitched on the one side of each block and I flip-flopped them when I sewed them together so they look like giant checker boards. For me, the flannel was a great way to use up scraps and on one of them, there really are no matches so it is truly scrappy. I used decorative stitches to stitch down the seams (some of flannel was strip pieced to make blocks). It was a fun way to test out stitches. I also used up all my extra bobbins with different colors and that added some fun to the quilt and used up all those little bits of thread left on bobbins from other projects. They wear forever! I have a 66 quart container full of jeans and my summer project is to get them cut up into squares - not necessarily sewn up, but reduced to a size and readiness. Then, I can use the container for something else. Have fun making your quilts.
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    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    On the one I posted pictures of I used the same flannel on one side and scraps on the other side - on others I have used scraps on both sides -- I also found that you can use the stretchy jeans if you are going to "stabalize" them with another fabric on the other side - so far I have not had any problems with them when I have done this.

  18. #18
    Junior Member bigbrownowl's Avatar
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    I used cut up Jeans to make slippers last Christmas, for all the kids in the family. They turned out brilliantly. I also used them to make handbags for all the grownup ladies! They were well recieved and everyone loved them. I am sure other people could give you other ideas on how to use Jeans material.

    I can't give you advice on rag quilts, because I have never made one - I don't really like the look of them! However, I must admit that the ones shown here look fantastic! I am sure that whoever you make them for, will be delighted.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ShabbyTabby's Avatar
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    I made one for my son. Used about 12 pairs of jeans. I cut the inner leg seams, flattened them out and then cut strips. I used the flat feld seams as decoration on some of the blocks. I aso used some of pockets on the blocks. I made all my blocks 10" by using the strip method. Didn't matter what sized strips just as long as the final block was squared to 10". I used a light weight fleece for the backing. No batting for as everyone else has said it will be a heavy quilt. Also follow suggestion about taking it to the laundromat! My son loved it. I think that will be my one and only as it's a lot of strain on the old hands.
    Families are like old quilts....although they tend to unravel at times...each can be stitched back together with love.

  20. #20
    Senior Member leggz48's Avatar
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    This was good information; I've been saving old jeans for several years with plans to make a rag quilt. Thanks for sharing!
    Linda

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    I made a couple for an organization giving them to injured soldiers and I had a bear of a time with the first one. Use a heavier-duty needle in your machine for sure. My machine wasn't working right and when I shook out the quilt, threads kept breaking! It was pure h e double hockey sticks, but I just kept repairing until the quilt held. We were told to use flannel as the batting. Both the quilts I made ended up nice enough but so heavy. They were used to cover soldiers on chilly med planes so I hope the receivers found them cozy enough (I just don't see blue jeans as cozy). I had cut the squares, per specifications, 6-1/2 inches square and people signed the squares with messages of encouragement.

  22. #22
    Senior Member sewred's Avatar
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    re: jeans for fabric : Things I've done with jeans.....

    I haven't made a jean quilt yet but have been collecting old jeans and jean skirts for projects ! One year my mom bought jean skirts and shorts , belts, and scarves and I made purses with them for everyone for Christmas!
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    Sew, sew, it's the threads that keep love together :>} I love sunbonnet sue,old-fashioned things like 1950's or older housewife things, and like hankies,tea towels and aprons . Thanks to some lovely members on here I now have lots of aprons in my collection !!

  23. #23
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I bought a new couch and have 4 dogs-duh.Well any way I made a denim and twill quilt to cover the couch to protect it.My daughter quilted it and it is heavy but has protected my couch well.With the thicker fabrics the dogs have not damaged it yet at all.
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  24. #24
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    When I made quilts out of jean fabric, I used rectangles instead of squares. Then I staggered the seams so that I didn't have bulky seams coming together.

  25. #25
    Senior Member starlite's Avatar
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    I have been collecting jeans also. With mine I decided to cut down all seams to save for a coaster tutorial I found then I cut off the pockets for yet another project that makes potholders out of those. I then cut out the most strips I can and then I decided if I want whole squares or mixtures of strips hst or what the possibilites are endless. Good luck.
    starlite(Jan)

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