Quilt Diary – Blue Jeans

13th September 2010 –

Last month Nigel delivered all his old jeans to me  …….. thankfully, not to be mended! While he was going to school I made him a quilt which left home with him and has been used on his lounge during most of the intervening years, and is no longer fit for public life! The jeans are to make a replacement, big enough for a six-foot plus, broad-shouldered bloke to use during late night movie sessions after a late shift. It has to be tough enough for a bachelor pad too.

Starting a few days ago I cut as many twelve and a half inch squares as I could, then cut rectangles from the remainder. Will need a minimum of 15 to make a lap quilt for the man who used to be our little boy!

Pocket areas have been saved, and the waist band above them hand stitched to a smaller scrap, then squared off with the rectangles.

After a week of fiddling with the small stuff, there are twenty-five squares almost ready to join together.

All of these jeans have stories to tell.

One pair of Levis 501s were pretty much the first item of clothing our teenage son bought for himself … out of school, but still without a job, he spent a large proportion of his available cash on just one pair of jeans. I thought he was crazy …. but those jeans were his good jeans for about 12 years, and were about twenty years old before they were retired and placed in the pile to be used for a denim quilt. The button fly front have been saved to be a part of the quilt, and both   of this pair and another pair of 501s have ‘Made in Australia’ tags inside ….. they were made at Elizabeth, South Australia, not too distant from where Nigel works and lives.

Another pair have evidence of the day he helped a cousin brand sheep. Some have ripped knees, one has a pattern of holes caused by acid, only two had broken zips (they were not Levis) and most have stains of their past use. (I am not going to try to identify them!)

15th Sept 2010

Who needs to bungee jump to get an adrenalin rush?

The plan for the day was to get the final blocks finished and join it all together.

The pockets and buttoned flies are part of the appeal of certain jeans, and I want to include them in the quilt. But that means mixing extremely sharp implements with solid objects.

Try stitching close to the studs which are added to secure pockets to the jeans! I missed them all, but not by much!!!! Added a few grey hairs … I had thought they were all grey before, but ……

I bought a new iron a few months ago ….. almost ironed over one of those studs, which would have scratched that lovely shiny stainless steel plate! Well, I did iron over it, but gently enough that it didn’t mark the iron.

Then when I was trimming one square, the rotary cutter found something sold …. one of the studs! I now have one less spare blade!

Had to remove a few belt loops, and the good quick-up-pick was the other end of the house, thankfully. I now have one less quick-un-pick, but the good one is intact!

No blood spilt, so it’s all good, and a strong Scotch will settle the stomach.

16th Sept …. Early  ….. all the twelve and a half inch squares are ready to join together …. twenty-five of them!

Later ….. Twenty five pieces have become one, though there are a couple of spots which need hand stitching. Studs too close to seam lines are a worry!

Other than that, denim is a forgiving fabric to work with as there is a certain amount of give in the weave, which is probably why so many people around the world enjoy wearing it! But then the top is so darn heavy it would probably sit flat anyway, even if it is distorted in the piecing!

18th September

I have the borders cut …. a narrow dark navy furnishing fabric with a 6 inch scrap border of denim, trying to use up all the scraps

(I had scraps left over from ‘Blue Jeans for the Limousine’ plus some op shop finds left over from making some jeans bags once upon a time, and have two more quilts cut out!)

20th September

The top is together, but it was too dark to take a photo … hopefully it will be fine and dry sometime soon to take a photo. The top is the size of the top of a queens size bed … it is heavy …. and it is dirty! Well, stained, as I don’t think the dirt will wash off! The jeans had a hard life before they became a quilt top!

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