Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forever in blue jeans....

I've decided it's time..... cut up blue jeans.  My mother-in-law used to say she "turned jeans out to pasture" when they were worn out enough to start cutting them up. You cannot imagine how many, many pair of jeans I have stashed for use in mending and for jean quilts.  I've made all of my kids blue jean quilts from our family castaways, and now I feel it's time to get cutting again and start making more quilts.  My main goal is to get squares cut in various sizes.  That task alone takes lots of time when you consider that you must take off all the seams and hems before you can even begin to measure and cut.  I figure if that part is done, the sewing will come easy. So far I've cut 6" and 7" squares and 8x5" rectangles, all with hopes of sewing them together into quilts.  While I've got the bug, I'm just doing it!  I
think picnic sized quilts would be the best since denim quilts are SO heavy and hard to handle on a sewing machine when they get very big.

(I couldn't resist adding this label from the pocket of a pair of old Levis)

Do you remember the days of the Shrink-to-fit, button-fly, 501 Levis?  I think they still make them, but those were the very best jeans back in the day.  If you had a pair that made it to nearly faded-white, you really had something.  Those jeans wore like iron.  Nowadays we are lucky if we can get a pair of jeans to last 6 months with hard wear.  And what's with the pockets in women's jeans?  You can't even fit a tube of chapstick in them let alone a pocket knife!  Now take a look at this Levis pocket label -- it's big enough to write a whole paragraph on it and add some swanky emblems and such.  Those were some real pockets.  And who doesn't love the Levis back pocket with the little red tab peeking out?

This past week I assembled a few of my squares into a small quilt -- baby sized.  I've decided I'll  leave it unfinished for now until I decide who to give it to.  It might be for one of my grandkids, but it might be for someone else.  I think it will be nice to have a few of these in my gift stash when a baby comes along or when someone needs a heavy lap quilt or picnic quilt, and then I can add the backing and the binding to match the person. 

Here are three of the five jeans quilts I made years ago.  Here and here and here.  My kids love them!


  1. I have always been a fan of quilts made of bluejeans. I have bags of them in my shed that I have saved. I need to get with it. I love how pretty they are and of course I know they will last forever.

  2. I first saw one of these when I was about 10 - the new neighbors were using it as a picnic quilt on their weedy front lawn - and I was quite impressed even then. For ages I saved all the old denim jeans our family wore out, but I only used a few of them for small crafts and patches, and I finally gave the lot to the thrift store a couple of years ago. I'm glad people like you are still keeping up the good work. Yours are definitely high quality!!

  3. How beautiful and inspiring. Must try making a blue jean patchwork quilt.

  4. You're so good Jody! I've had a big stack of jeans for YEARS. Hubby used to try to sneak his worn out jeans into the garbage so that I wouldn't add them to the pile because it was getting so big. I was always going to make us a picnic blanket but never got around to it. Now, I'm thinking a picnic kit will make great gifts for the kids as their families grow. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I've been stockpiling jeans for years, too, but still haven't made a quilt from them. Yours are so beautiful! One of these days ...


  6. Love your denim quilts! Those 501 shrink to fit were my husbands favorite for many years!

  7. I love your quilts! My favorite for denim quilts are also the picnic size. One of the denim picnic quilts I made I spaced the pockets out evenly and sewed them on leaving the top open and when we "set" the table the napkin and silverware fit perfectly in each pocket. :-) You've probably done that too. Thanks for this post because I needed the reminder that I've got bags of denim I need to cut up and use! - Dori -

  8. I always think of you when I hear or see anything about denim quilts. What a great touch to add to it...historical even. :)

  9. These are so interesting, so full of family history. I don't know any other stitching blog ladies who do these. I love the labels, so unique! It'll be great to have all those pieces cut and ready to assemble.


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