Valentine's Day 2013 was the day that I finally took action and approached those old jeans with scissors and an idea. Although I have been toying around with some other ideas I knew my first project (or maybe projects) would be a pillow for my living room. And today is the big reveal! I have a new pillow made by me that combines chevron stripes, ombre color gradation and old jeans all into one! Talk about mixing trends!
Photography just doesn't do justice to how rich a fabric these old denim pants became. It is soft yet strong. I just love the new pillow. It really adds a bit of pizzaz to my old sofa!
Although the end result looks like it was difficult to piece together, it was really quite easy. I'll walk you through the steps of crafting your own chevron fabric from scraps so you to can use it for projects.
- Start with a collection of fabric, mine was old jeans. I have been collecting for awhile so I had quite an assortment!
- I knew I want to arrange the stripes in a color gradation so I laid out all of the jeans and picked five pairs that were fairly evenly spaced across the denim blue color spectrum. This pillow which is about 18" square took 5 legs worth of jeans. That means I have the other leg from each of these pairs for another project. It will take more legs if you are lucky enough to be able to wear skinny jeans. I am well past that phase! You also need to chose legs without worn out knees. In fact, the backsides worked best.
- I cut off each leg and cut off all the seams so I was left with a stack a flat denim pieces.
- On the backside of each I drew parallel lines 2" apart using a Sharpie marker the length of the leg.
- I cut the strips of fabric carfeully. I tried using my rotary cutter but it didn't work well on the denim so I switched to scissors and just cut carefully.
- This created 4 strips of each color 2" wide by 24" long.
- I then measured down 1 1/2" along each piece and started sewing them together in a staggered pattern.
- I sewed in 1/4" from the edge (1/4" seam allowance).
- It is important to try and sew the seams straight and even.
- Below is a diagram of the pattern I sewed. Note the following important pointers:
- Each piece is staggered down 1 1/2" from the previous.
- I started from darkest in color and went to lightest and then repeated the pattern.
- I sewed half the pieces together with the offset going one way.
- I sewed the second half together with the offset going the other way.
- Stream press all seams open with an iron.
- Using a ruler and a 45º triangle I first marked and then cut the pieced togther stripes into 4" wide strips.
- It is important that the angle be at 45º.
- You will notice in my example below that 45º does not line up well with the edge of the piece fabric. That is because I offset my pieces by 2". It should have been 1 1/2" as you were directed above.
- The red lines in the pattern below show the pattern of the cuts to make.
- Take one strip from the left group above and one strip from the right.
- With front sides together, carefully line up the seams and pin in place.
- Stitch along this seam.
- Again I used a 1/4" seam allowance working to stay straight and keep the seams lined up.
- Press open these seams as well.
- This is the point I got really excited by the prospects of this project. The pieced fabric is stunning!
Once I had my chevron fabric with ombre denim stripes made, I took an old pillow and made this fabric into its new cover.
I am not going to outline the steps for making the pillow cover. Those are shared in numerous blogs already and there are many ways to do it, all good.
Some of the choices I made were:
- to use a solid color back that matches the window shades and end tables.
- have the pillow open in that back with a velcro closure so the cover can be removed and washed.
The denim is strong and soft. It makes a wonderful pillow cover.
And I now have one beautiful pillow on our sofa and two that came with the couch. Looking at the photo I can see that it is just begging for another pillow!
Update 2/22/2013: My sofa needs more than one pillow and it needs a variety. I made a second denim pillow using a frayed edges technique. Go here to see more images and the tutorial.
Update 3/1/2013: I tried a third technique for pillow # 3- Bleaching. Go here to see how.
Update 3/13/13: Machine Appliqué is the technique I used for pillow #4. Probably the easiest so far. Go here to see how.
Previous posts of interest:I love denim - the color, the fabric, the possibilities. This series overview pulls together the many posts I have put together showing the possibilities of denim in craft and décor. I expect this series will grow with time. I've yet to use my collection of old jeans for a project but there are certainly great ideas in this batch of posts.
Denim Blue Jeans • Iconic
A series of ideas for recycling Jeans Pockets - just the pockets!
Originally posted July 30, 2012
Many denim pillow ideas, some using pockets, some using quilting.
Originally posted August 1, 2012
Worn jeans come in many various hues. This post shares examples of wall hangings created by artists using these gradations effectively.
Originally posted August 3, 2012
All types of containers from purses to bowls to baskets and more.
Originally posted August 6, 2012
Quilting is a natural for any scrap fabric and recycled jeans are no exception. But oh the variety! From country to contemporary and everything in between.
Originally posted August 7, 2012
Finish the edges or fray them. There is a softness inherent in frayed jeans. See how it is used as part of function or design.
Originally posted August 8, 2012
Denim is tough stuff which makes it a natural for casual furniture - and one not so casual option.
Originally posted August 9, 2012
And then there is everything else from jewelry to lampshades.
Originally posted August 11, 2012
©2013AshbeeDesign, Marji Roy
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