Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breathing new life into old jeans

I made a startling discovery a few weeks back: I'm a closet jeans hoarder. 

It all started when my husband needed new jeans for work. The jeans he'd been wearing every day were wearing thin and already had a few holes at the corners of the back pockets. So, we picked up a few new pairs and I promptly rotated the old ones into the closet as back-ups (I think I see now why I have a problem...) and too out the old back-up jeans (three pairs) thinking I should probably toss them since I couldn't imagine thrift stores wanting jeans with holes in them.

And then, since I'm easily distracted and can be rather lazy when it comes to cleaning, the old jeans sat in a pile in our bedroom for a week or so. Every day I saw them sitting there, and for some very odd reason I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away. 

Finally, it hit me: maaaayyyybe I could make a jeans quilt out of them! I knew I had a few more pairs of old jeans in the closet, so I started digging. 

I found two extremely worn and tattered pairs of mine that had holes in the knees and were completely unwearable. They were hiding on a shelf high up in my side of the closet.

Oh, and then there was that pair in my drawer that I never wear because they fit waaay too loosely in the waist.

A little more digging in the closet produced another mystery pair of jeans. What's going on here?

A quick check of my kids' closet revealed two very ratty pairs of little boy jeans, complete with patched knees, and a very old pair of little boy jean shorts. Also too ratty to wear.

So, final count (including the original three from my hubby's closet): nine pairs of jeans and one pair of jean shorts. Most completely unwearable.

What happened to me? When did I become the crazy jeans lady?

Yikes. Well, I figured this was as good a time as any to put my crazy jeans collection to work.
I spent about a week cutting each pair at the seams, then carefully rotary cutting denim rectangles to leave as little waste as possible. I even figured out that I could squeeze little more denim out of each pair if I cut up the back pockets (most of them had holes at the pockets, so I didn't want to incorporate the entire pocket into the quilt).
Now that every single pair of jeans has been sliced and diced, I'm left with a hefty stack of denim rectangles. What you see below is able half of what all of those jeans yielded. Next up, I need to pick up a denim needle so I can start piecing them into strips!
The plan is to make it into a twin-sized quilt, with a Lightning McQueen sheet that I have in our linen closet (washed, but never used) as the backing. Then, a some light straight line quilting and it will be off to our church's St. Vincent de Paul ministry so they can give it to whoever needs it most. Hopefully, it will help keep some sweet little guy warm this winter.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle. Denim makes the best stuff. I have made bags, purses and quilts out of old jeans. For a really soft quilt, make a rag quilt using old denim and flannel. Have fun with your project.

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    1. Ooooh! I bet those rag quilts are super soft. I've always thought that the frayed parts of jeans are just super soft and comfy. Thanks, Joyce!

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  2. Wow, you certainly got a lot of pieces out of the jeans didn't you! I am sure that the finished quilt will be loved and appreciated a lot. xx

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    1. There was an amazing amount of denim in all those jeans! I'm really crossing my fingers that it will be enough for an entire quilt.

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  3. Wow! That's what I would call determined recycling. Way to go. I'm looking forward to your progress reports. Way to go!

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    1. Hahaha! Yeah, I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away. I think I get that from my grandmother!

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  4. One thing about denim that has been washed heaps is how soft it becomes, this is going to feel so lovely when it is finished.

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    1. I'm hoping you're right, Leanne. I'm also thinking that it will have a nice heavy weight to it, too, due to the denim. When I was a kid I loved heaping many, many blankets on my bed during the winter time. Partly for the warmth, but also because I just loved the heaviness of all those blankets. It was very comforting. I hope that's the case here, too.

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  5. I'm totally laughing at the crazy jeans lady hoarder thing!!!! please show off what you make when it's all done!!

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    1. I will! I'm so glad you got a kick out of that story, Melissa. I really did feel a little crazy when I realized just how many pairs of jeans I had stashed throughout our closets! Hahaha!

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  6. Ok, that's completely cool. I applaud your recycling!!!

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    1. Thanks, Rachel! I finally started stitching up some rows this week and it's going to be so cool! Already, I'm loving the different shades of blue together, and it has a nice weight. I can't wait to get some photos of it in progress to show. xoxo

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