Denim YLP Intro

Getting started on my Denim Crazy Quilt, which will be one of the Year Long Projects (YLP) on my YouTube Channel!  

My daughter and I started collecting old jeans from the rest of the family about 4 years ago to make some picnic quilts.  Picnic quilts are simply durable quilts that can be kept in the car for use as picnic blankets, or spread on the ground to sit on.  Denim makes a really heavy quilt, so these won't have any batting.  We are hoping to back them with old flannel sheets.  Our hope is to make 6 to 8 of these quilts over the coming year, and these will be our gift to each family this coming Christmas.  We've been talking about it for years, so I don't mind sharing it on here!  

My quilt is going to be a crazy quilt, and I thought it would be a perfect project to share on my YouTube channel!  In all, I'll be making 16 blocks that are 14" square to end up with a quilt approximately 62" square once the outer sashing is applied.  I have a stash of old white cotton cutter lace that I hope to use, and also some old Japanese fabrics from a friend that I hope to incorporate in little spots.  

The cutting up of the denim turned into quite a project.  Not wanting to go through expensive rotary blades on this heavy fabric, I opted to use my designated wire/ribbon cutting scissors.  They were pretty sharp to start despite the occasional nick in the blades, but they are noticeably duller after cutting 6 boxes of denim jeans up!  I developed a couple of interesting calluses on my fingers as well, not from rubbing on the scissors, but from the fingers rubbing against one another as I cut.  

We salvaged as much as we could.  We even kept the double stitched seams to see if we can find a use for them.  I'm thinking of making woven hot mats for the table with them.  We also saved the back pockets, many of the watch pockets, the odd triangular back yoke pieces, and the zippers.  My daughter does a lot of clothing repair, and the short zippers for jeans are hard to come by, so now she has a big stash to pull from to help with that.  

For some of the jeans, we kept larger pieces so we can include the nicer seams in larger pieces.  Some of these larger pieces may also be used in creating a tote bag to store each quilt in.  There are some fun decorated back pockets that we saved and hope to make a few fun denim purses out of.  We are going to focus on getting the quilts done first, making the denim crazy quilt I'll be working on a priority so I can upload videos of its creation in a timely manner.  While I'll probably help with the planning and cutting pieces for each quilt, Jessie will likely do most of that sewing, and then I'll help her finish them.  Should be a busy but fun and productive year for both of us!

Check out some of our inspiration pins for this project on my Denim Picnic Quilt inspiration board here

One of our inspirations behind this project was learning about how many textiles end up in the landfill, or are baled up and shipped thousands of miles overseas, using valuable resources in order to be remanufactured into rags or other items.  In some cases they clothes are resold in other countries, which impacts local manufacturing of clothing and textiles in a mostly negative way.  I'm including some links and facts here if you are interested in learning more.

Some interesting things about textile use/reuse in the U.S.A.
In 2017: 
- 16.9 Tons of textiles were created
- 11 million Tons of textiles ended up in landfill, accounting for 8% of all municipal solid waste
- 2.6 tons of textiles and footwear were recycled (including sold for reuse as is as well as deconstructing and remanufacturing into other products.) 
- 3.2 tons of textiles are incinerated in energy recovery facilities 
- Only 1 in every 4-8 garments that are donated to thrift stores are actually sold for re-use.
- The average American throws away approximately 81 lbs of clothing a year.
- 85% of discarded textiles end up in the landfill

A good article from Great Britain on the impact of fast fashion that also highlights what we can do to help decrease the impact of textile waste by responsibly managing our textile purchases

Good article from the Saturday Evening Post about the waste clothing problem in the US (and around the world) 

A UK perspective

Article on some of the social implications of used clothing from the US/UK being sold in other parts of the world.

All of this makes me glad to be a crazy quilter, because it is so easy for us to salvage and re-use fabric from otherwise unusable/unwanted garments and linens!  We get to stitch AND help the environment at the same time!  

For my part, I decided at the beginning of the year that this was going to be a NO-BUY year when it comes to my crazy quilting, with one exception.  That is the heart quilt that I'm working on, I don't have an appropriate fabric for the solid blocks and so I will plan on purchasing that fabric.  But otherwise, I'm going to make it a year of using what I have - which as you have seen is a lot!  Hope that some of you will join me!  

Happy Stitching! 


JustGail said…
I'm glad to see you posting here again! I had to go back and figure out what the last time I read here was - it's been a while! I enjoyed your video on organizing the threads and the studio redo.

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