Saturday, June 19, 2010

Project Quilting - Challenge Three

I didn't finish my Challenge project in time to enter it, but I did get it finished, so I wanted to share what I did. It isn't as pretty as some of the other entries, but it is very practical and much appreciated by the beneficiary of my work!
The rules of this challenge were to make a quilt totally out of recycled materials, excluding the thread and the batting. We were also to add three recycled embellishments to the quilt. When I first read the rules, the first recycled materials I thought of was my drawer full of jeans. I've been saving them for some time, using them occasionally for patches on other jeans, but mostly thinking that sometime I would make a quilt out of them.

At this point I thought that I didn't just want to make another lap quilt, but wanted to make something a little more creative. After thinking a bit I realized that I have been talking about making a dog bed for quite some time, but haven't actually done anything about it. So I grabbed my doggie's fleece mat and ran it through the washer and dryer. This was going to be one side of my project, and determined the finished size of the bed.

I started by cutting all of my jeans into two units - 6 1/2 inch squares to piece together for the top, and long 6" sections to make the sides. I used the back of the legs to cut the long strips because they had less wear, then used the front of the legs to cut out the squares for the top. I saved all the leftover pieces of jeans to use for the stuffing, which is scraps from my quilting - batting, thread, pant hems that have been cut off, anything fabric that is waste from my sewing room. It makes a pretty heavy filling, but the dog doesn't mind!

I started out with the sides of the quilt. I used fusible backed scraps to cut out Tipper's name and fused them to the center of one long strip, then stitched around the edge of each letter to keep in place. I then cut two strips 4 inches wide by the length of the long zipper I had. (This was recycled from a previous use as a jacket zipper) I turned under 1/2 inch on one side of each strip, then sewed one strip to each side of the zipper to enclose it. I trimmed this to 6 inches, then sewed enough strips to go all the way around my dog bed.

I then sewed all my 6 1/2 inch squared together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I ended up with 7 rows of 4 squares. After sewing and pressing this, I layered it with batting and used a piece of fabric from some old curtains for the backing. (Yeah, getting rid on one more thing I've been holding on to for way too long - more than 15 years!) I simply quilted diagonally through each square, and I eyeballed it, didn't want to take time for marking! I did use my walking foot for this and it definitely kept my fabric from creeping.

After finishing the quiting I trimmed the denim quilt section to the same measurement as the fleece mat. I added the sides to the denim side first, then repeated my steps to add the fleece. I wish I had thought to take pictures as I was sewing, but you'll have to make to with my verbal explanation! I had loosely planned my strip by centering the name on one long side, then adding strips, added the zipper strip so it would be on the back side, then added more strips to go around the fourth side. I didn't do any precise measureing, just loose estimations. When I sewed the strip to the top of the dog bed I centered the name on one side, pinning right sides together. At the corner I made a 1/2 cut in the strip so I could turn the corner, continuing pinning and going around the corners until I got to where I needed to join the strips. I pinned the two strips and sewed that final seam, then pinned the strip to the last side. I sewed a 1/2 inch seam all the way around. I then repeated this using the fleece mat, being sure to make the corners line up with the corners on the denim top to make a nice square cushion. (Make sure you open up the zipper a bit so you can turn the whole thing right side out when you finish!)

I turned it right side out, then made the sack for the stuffing out of the rest of that old curtain. I dumped all my saved filling material into the sack, then put this in the bed. Fluffed it up, laid it out and called the dog - she laid right down on it and loves it! I really enjoyed making this project, and I liked the feeling of the denim squares so much that I plan on creating a lap quilt using future denim scraps - but instead of saving the whole pair of pants I will simply cut my squares and save them, discarding the rest of the pieces so they won't take up so much space! I think a denim quilt with flannel backing would be so nice for picnics by the beach!


MoranArtandQuilts said...

Love it; great idea!

sewfunquilts said...

Glad Tipper loved it. Have fun with your projects..

PersimonDreams said...

Love it! Can I blog about it?

DownHome Designs said...

Great job, Pam! It looks so soft and comfy!