Gorgeous Denim Quilts

blue jeans pocketsI know, I know, it’s like we’re obsessed with denim around here. Gavin showed us how to patch our jeans if we’re not ready to let them go, then Leslie showed us how to recycle a pair into a sexy miniskirt and use the leftovers to make a shopping bag. (Personally, I’m waiting for Gavin to upcycle HIS jeans into a miniskirt…)

My favorite jeans have finally died, and before I saw Gavin’s post I was planning to start a denim quilt. Denim quilts are heavy duty for picnics and playing on at the park, and I was just at Goodwill this past weekend so I’m inspired by the availability of cheap denim that needs a second chance at life.

Then I started to think about my “dead” jeans from a green point of view. The mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle doesn’t include the word “repair,” but it probably should. Reducing is best, reusing or repairing is good, recycling is a last resort. I had decided to recycle my jeans rather than repair them because I had this notion that patched jeans look “run down.” It’s like I’ve been trained by society that if a repair is visible, it makes the garment worthless.

Let’s get serious, people. I am a stay-at-home / work-at-home mother of an eight month old baby. I spend most of my waking hours in my own house. I get spit up on a lot. I crawl around on the floor to retrieve pacifiers and toys. Who the heck is going to put me on What Not To Wear for sporting a pair of patched jeans? I thrifted a “new” pair to replace them for going out, but if I can get more life out of the old ones, why not do it? Also, that way the new ones won’t be worn every day and they’ll last longer for occasions nicer than than cleaning pureed sweet potato out of someone’s hair.

I’m not saying that I’m going to spend all day in clothes I hate in order to be green, but I think it’s time for me to fight my way out of the trap that equates repaired with flawed.

At this point you may be thinking “Um, excuse me, wasn’t the title of this post DENIM QUILTS?”

Yes! Even though my favorite jeans aren’t going to be included, I still want to make a denim quilt.

The Goodwills in my town don’t sort jeans by size, so it’s way too time consuming trying to find some to wear. It’s more fun to pick them out for craft projects. I’ve been to the “overflow” discount shop where I saw how many they’re trying to get rid of that didn’t even make it into the store, so I know they’re not running short on jeans for people who are actually trying to buy clothes to wear.

I’ve been looking for inspiration, though, because I’m in a quilting rut lately. I keep falling back on unplanned scrap quilts or large squares just to get a project done instead of putting time into finding or designing a pattern I will be delighted to look at. A lot of denim quilts are rag quilts, which I don’t personally care for, or they look a little bit country to me.

So I went to look around for other options, and I thought I’d share a roundup of some of the beautiful denim quilts I found.

So that ought to help me get out of the quilting blahs. First, though, to patch my jeans…

[Image by Alessandro Paiva.]

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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