Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The making of quilt that ended up became a throw

I had this bright idea for a sweatshirt quilt a while ago. Cut up all kinds of old sweatshirts (the pieces are nicely folded in a bag waiting for my attention) and make a throw out of them. So off to You Tube I went. It is amazing what you can find on there! I found a denim rag quilt that looked like a lot of fun to try. The denim pile was getting a wee bit large and it was time to get rid of things. The goal: don't buy anything .. use what I had.

First I cut 81 squares of denim into 6 inch squares. (I just came up with any number that sounded good and would give me the most denim out of a pant leg.)

Next to cut 81 squares of the same size of batting and 81 of denim for the backing. I use lightweight denim for backing ... not hacked apart blue jeans. (My kids still need something to wear!) The 3 pieces are put together in the right order.

The design was laid out on the living room floor and I started off with strip sewing. The fun thing about this throw is that once you're done sewing, it is all put together. The backing and batting are all sewn in at the same time. When you sew 2 pieces together, you're actually sewing 6 layers, using 1/2 inch seam allowance. The seam ends up on the front side of the throw and the back is completely finished. Getting them to all line up is a bit of a challenge. I had 9 rows ... labeled them so I didn't get messed. up.

Then to sew the rows together. I did 2 rows at a time and then sewed the double rows together.

It sounds easy ... it is. Just time consuming. The needle on the machine was giving me fits and I was blaming the machine. Went to switch machines and found some denim needles just lounging around. Ahhh! Perfect!! Zipped through 6 layers without more than one more broken needle ... and much less anxiety on my part!

Once all the rows were sewn together I wanted to add a border around the edge. Now comes the problem. I did the top and the bottom out of pieces that I had cut to 4x6 size and sewn into a row.

After getting both the top and the bottom on ... I ran out of jeans. The pile had looked rather large, but shrank quickly. Now what? If I wait to cut up more jeans as they become unwearable ... it will never get done. The unfinished blanket will be back in the laundry room with the pile of sweatshirt pieces. So I consulted the only available expert at the time. Brock. He told me it would work the way it was. Love that kid of mine!!

Rather than finish the edges with any kind of binding, I ran a stitch all the way around the edge, 1/2 inch seam.

Then off to the washing machine. Threw it in, cleaned up the mess of a washer after all that stuff coming loose in there, into the dryer and voila!

Now to trim the edges of all the fraying fabric.

Then you brush the seams. On the You Tube instruction they had used a stiff bristled hair brush. I'm not about to go buy a hair brush to brush a quilt. I used a stiff bristled scrub brush and it worked fine. This blanket's seams aren't nearly as soft looking as the one on You Tube, but we throw them through the washer quite frequently around here. It'll just need a few more trimmings until it can't ravel anymore.

It isn't big enough to wrap up in ... needs a few more rows. But it did work for snuggling under yesterday evening.

And ... the brightest side! I saved the pieces I had left over for edging on the other two sides. As I clean out jeans ... I'll finish the other sides. It should just take a trip or two through the washing machine to have it looking pretty much like the rest of the blanket!


Anonymous said...

you can teach me how to do that! it looks like a lot of fun! -debbie

Anonymous said...

That turned out so cute!! I was wondering if the batting was supposed to be part of the fringe too. now I know! I don't know if I dare sew four denim layers on my machine though. Must find a denim needle. They sell them for every machine?

Joni said...

This quilt is awesome looking! I should start looking for a used sewing machine! :-)

Anonymous said...

That turned out soooooo nice! Always nice to have a few throws around. They can be used anywhere, in the livingroom, the car, the porch....... Gina just finished one for her bed, but she used a layer of fleece for the back, so nice and cozy. Missing my big bedroom where I had room to keep my machine set up.

Anita said...

Keilah - you dare. The machine I used was what I would consider a very starter model that I bought for $20 at a yard sale last summer. I believe that sewing needles are universal to all machines. Makes the going a whole lot easier ... sews like sewing through butter!

Debbie - if you want some step by step instructions, check out YouTube under "rag denim quilt". There are many clips on there that are very step by step.

Joni - good luck with finding a machine. "Repurposing" seems to be the rage in some corners these days ... I've been doing it forever. :)

Annette - what kind fleece did Gina use? Any special kind? What did she do with the front of hers?I want to back the sweatshirt "throw" with fleece. I'm afraid I have things scattered all over the house, but have taken a small place in the laundry room to store all the materials for projects to come. Haven't started working down there tho'. I like to be accessible and in the middle of things at the kitchen table.