Here is my pillow collection with the newest one in front.
It is created by piecing together six long triangles cut from the legs of old jeans. I then applied straight household bleach to the fabric in a pattern that reflects the piecing. I allowed it to sit for over an hour and then washed the fabric. The end result was this denim fabric with a zig zag of gradations. Interestingly enough it has almost a wood grain feel to it.
It might be interesting to try and create a bleached wood grain pattern intentionally - another project for another day!
I did take some process photographs to go along with a brief tutorial.
- 1 pair recycled blue jeans
- paper pattern
- Sewing machine & thread
- backing fabric for the pillow
- Pillow form
- gloves- for protection with bleach
- 1" flat craft paint brush
- Measure the pillow you are covering to decide how big a pice of fabric you need. I needed a 20" square to cover my pillow.
- Create a paper pattern that will divide that square into long triangles.
- This is what my pattern looked like but yours may well be different depending on the shape of your pillow form.
- Make 2 triangle patterns that have a 5/8" margin all around to allow for the seam allowance.
- Cut up your jeans trying to create the largest flat pieces of fabric you can get.
- Remove all seams and hems.
- You will need to get two triangles out of the leg backs. They are the widest pieces in a pair of pants.
- I was just able to fit two on the back sides.
- Pin the patterns in place and cut them out.
- Continue pinning to the fabric pieces until you have enough triangles for your pillow.
- My pillow required 6 and 1/2 trangles. Yours may require more or less depending on its shape.
- Pin the triangles to each other with the front of the fabric together.
Stitch each seam on the sewing machine.
- Press all seams open.
- I saved a scrap of denim and did a bleaching practice run.
- Get your denim fabric wet.
- Place it in the bottom of your tub.
- Wear old clothes and thin gloves to protect yourself from bleach damage.
- Put a small amount of bleach in a cup.
- Dip the paint brush into the bleach and start painting lines of bleach on the wet fabric.
- You will see nothing!
- I put a few pins in my fabric to give me a marker for where I wanted the whitest spots.
- I positioned the brush so that I made long skinny lines of bleach.
- I waited.
- After about 15 minutes I could tell I hadn't painted enough. I added more.
- I checked every 10 minutes each time adding a few more stripes until I was pleased with the result.
- Most of the effects of the bleach occurred within 15 minutes. I waited about and hour but it didn't really change the fabric much.
- Put it in a pail to carry it to the washing machine.
- Wash the fabric alone so as to not damage other items with the bleach.
- When the fabric is washed and dried, press it flat.
- Using any pillow covering technique you like, sew the fabric to the pillow backing and make the pillow covering.
Here are my three pillow patterns together - chevron, frayed edge and now bleached.
And I still have more jeans! What should I do for the other end of the sofa?
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
- Old Blue Jeans • Pillow # 2 Frayed Edges
- Old Blue Jeans • Pillow # 1 • Chevron Piecing
- Overview of the Denim Theme
©2013 AshbeeDesign, Marji Roy
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