Well folks the quilt is finished. I must say that I am pretty proud of my accomplishment, but it is one of the UGLIEST quilts I have seen in my life. However, it is also one of the warmest. I’m learning that quilting and sewing takes a bit of artwork and a lot of patience. Inspired by my Grandma’s stories of making bed sheets from chicken feed sack cloth, my Antireliant project that I chose to work on during the month of October was to successfully pieced together a quilt from old jean pants.
I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work. For years my wife and I have been saving up old pants with the thought that someday we would be able to use the cloth. I’m glad we saved all that cloth. I thought the jeans would be really difficult to work with, but they actually weren’t that bad.
Here are the steps that I did to make the quilt:
Step 1 – Cut the jeans into squares
I made a template by cutting a cereal box into a 7-inch square. I then traced around the cardboard template on the old jeans. I didn’t worry about the pen showing up on the blanket since the outside edge of the square would be hidden anyways.
I ended up cutting 100 squares. Leaving enough room for a 1/2-inch seam around all the edges, that was enough to make a 6-foot by 6-foot quilt. I wish it could have been a little bit bigger, but I didn’t have any more old jeans!
Step 2 – Sew a chain of squares together
Once all the squares were cut, I sewed 5 squares in a row. Once 5 rows were completed, I would then sew the rows together. This created a square that was 5 squares long by 5 squares wide. Splitting the quilt into 4 segments made it easy to work with. Instead of trying to line up 10 squares, I was only trying to line up 5 at a time. It was also easier to manage smaller segments at the sewing machine.
Once I had 4 segments of 5 squares x 5 squares, I sewed them together to create the final 10 squares x 10 squares sheet.
Step 3 – Place Batting and Cloth Backing
I went to cloth store to get some cloth for the back sheet and the batting. This is my second time going to the cloth store and it was a nightmare both times. Long lines to cut the cloth, long lines to check out, …strange stares from all the women in the store.
I had my daughter helper with me and she was very adamant about choosing a polka dot cloth. What was I to do? I came home with a red felt cloth with white polka dots. I think it looks just fine.
Step 4 – Connect The Sheets and Batting
The denim sheet and fleece sheet need to be attached so that the batting doesn’t move around inside the blanket. There are two ways that I figured I could do this. I could tie them together with yarn, or I could run it through the sewing machine.
I chose to use the sewing machine to hold it all together. I don’t recommend doing this. It was difficult getting the cloth under the sewing machine. There are a few spots where either the denim or the fleece got bunched up. My recommend to you is to get a yarn needle and some yarn. I think it will come out looking better in the end.
Step 5 – Finish the Border
The final step is to finish the border. Apparently in quilting terms this is called “binding”. There are quite a few ingenious ways to make professional looking bindings, or edges, around the quilt. I didn’t have the skill or the patience to try it. I chose to make a thick seam around the border of the quilt to finish it off.
Perhaps with a little more practice and patience my next quilt will come out looking better. Even though it may not look the best, I’m pretty happy with the results. Sewing a quilt is one of the most useful and practical Antireliant projects I’ve done. The entire quilt could be made from scraps of cloth. With a little bit of work a handful of scraps can be transformed into a useful warm blanket.
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