Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Once in a Lifetime Quilt

I finished a once-in-a-lifetime quilt yesterday. I will never make another one like it. Truly! It turned out okay, but for so many reasons I won't try again.

This is my daughter's jeans quilt made from the jeans she wore in high school and just after. She had written on several pairs during classes, so she wanted a quilt to keep them with her. I learned so much from making it, but won't mess with again. I used this pattern, which is written and illustrated so well I thought I had it made.

My biggest error was in the size of the square template I made. (After cutting the circles of denim, you mark squares inside as stitching lines) Mine were a touch smaller than the edges of the circles. If you look at the tutorial above, you see the squares go right to the edges. This gives you your perfectly straight lines when assembling and finishing the edges.

If I were to do this quilt again (which I am NOT, even though I have enough circles left over and already sewn into small groups) here are some things I'd keep in mind:

  • Denim needle. Wow, imagine that! It only came to me toward the end and made a HUGE difference in sewing through the layers.
  • Make long strips rather than small blocks when assembling. Sew four columns of circles together, put the inserts in the center circles. Stitch down the flaps as she suggests in a long wavy line. Then add another two columns and insert squares again. Working in long straight sections is much more maneuverable than going round and round in small sections. I assembles mine into three or four long sections before putting the sections together, which meant sewing flaps down in between bulky finished areas. Not fun!
  • Perhaps I needed to press the flaps open better, but I was thinking a dab of glue stick or fusible bonding might have helped. But if I'd worked across in columns rather that finishing sections, it might not have been an issue.
  • Wind every bobbin you own, then go buy more and wind them before starting. Zigzag and satin stitching use a ton of bobbin thread! Better yet, buy a few boxes of prewound bobbins.
  • Use up all the leftover quilting threads you've hung onto, that don't have enough on a spool to do a quilt. The different threads are fun on a scrappy quilt like this!

While I don't want to work with jeans circles again, after finishing this I have a yearning to make a cathedral windows quilt. Stay tuned!


AndiMac said...

Well I do have to say I appreciate all the work and thread that went into preserving my jeans. I love it! Thanks again.

Diana said...

great job Aileen!

leslie said...

VERY well done Aileen!

sewnut said...

This is on my long term plan. I have been moving that huge box of old jeans around for 6 years now.
How many squares did this end up to be?

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

This is such an old post that I don't know if you'll even see this comment, but I wanted to tell you that I really appreciated your post about this quilt. I have the instructions for this quilt saved on my hard disk and have always wanted to make it. Thanks for all the tips!

On thing I've wondered about, how does the regular fabric inside the denim circles wear compared to the denim. Does washing it cause the regular fabric to rip or shred?

One thing that held me back from making this is the thought of all that satin stitching. I've been considering the possibility of letting those curved edges fray like a rag quilt.