Tuesday, May 7, 2013

River of Jeans • Table Runner

It is the Pinterest Challenge going live tomorrow from Bower Power and her buddies that got me moving.  I have been in a creative funk and so, I took the challenge. They said, look through your Pinterest boards, get inspired and create. I did.

Thanks to these ladies for getting me moving and creating again!

My finished project, made in one day (with a doctor's visit and grocery shopping in the middle) is a table runner crafted from recycled blue jeans.

It is designed specifically for my dining table which is natural ash. Many fabrics don't work on this table but denim does. The runner is pieced together from many pairs of old jeans (yet another collection of mine!)

My Pinterest inspiration came from two sources. First is a denim wall hanging created by Etsy crafter Seams to fit. It is no longer available or pictured in her shop but it was shared online in The Passionate Quilter blog here. I pinned it in my Denim-Indigo board.

I loved the old jeans used for a new purpose. I also love all of the shades of indigo available in today's denim.  And, as you'll read later, the seams inspired me.

I also saw this table runner - It is from Helen Howes Textiles Blog. She made the runner AND placements. I especially liked the randomness of the individual pieces but felt the pattern was too busy for my use so I simplifed with jeans of many colors. I pinned it in my Table Runners board. (Placemats maybe my next project!)

Combining the ideas from these two sources (and also others that can't be traced to original source) brought me to my design today. I see it as a river of denim, flowing between two darker banks.

I love the inclusion of the jeans seams. I have completed a series of denim pillows from this same batch of jeans and found the seams problematic. In this project I embraced them.

Now the fun begins as I arrange a variety of things on the runner. Good season for this because we are between flowers in the garden. Daffodils are past and peonies aren't in bloom yet.

I did take a series of photographs as I created this table runner. This isn't a complete, detailed tutorial but I do have a few hints on the process.

How-To Guide for Denim Table Runner:

Collect a variety of old jeans in different colors of denim. Contrast is important. I think I have five or six different colors in mine.

Cut a variety of strips along the legs.  For my runner the center "river" portion is approximated 8" wide and the trim is 2.5".  I started with scraps 9-10" long.

I started just laying them in an arrangement. As I did this I determined I liked the design with dark edges best but I thought the center was a little too plain.

I then added some of the jeans seams to the center and liked it a lot more.

Putting right sides together, I sewed all the pieces in one long piecing. I made it so it would hang over the edge of my table by about 9", long enough to hang but not so long that it puddles in the chair.
You need to be careful to keep the edges straight when piece together on angled lines. The column tends to waiver. I kept lining it up on the floor tiles of the kitchen floor to make sure it was building in a straight column.
Press open all seams. 

I used a piece of purchased denim for the back and sides trim.  It is one long piece 19" wide by about 7' long.

I use the selvage edge of the fabric to help me establish a nice straight edge on the pieced center.
I pinned the front sides of the backing and the center together and stitched down one side.

I then lined up the opposite side of the runner with the opposite side of the backing and pinned and stitched those together as well.

I turned the runner inside out and pressed the side seams.  Because the backing was wider than the front ,it made the two side trims for the runner.

I cut points at both ends and  folded. pressed and stitched the fabric in place to make the end trims.

I have gotten a lot of milage out of the stack of old jeans I collected.
Here are photos of the four different pillow techniques I explored earlier this year, all from the same collection of old jeans.

Many of these ideas were also based on pins in my Pinterest boards. did you try the Pinterest Challenge? If not, visit it to look for new ideas!

Pinterest Challenge at Bower Power is here.

© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Sharing this post at some of these link parties. They are worth checking out for other ideas.


  1. Wonderful work and such a great idea. I like how it looks on your table too.

    1. Thanks Merry, My sewing skills are a little rusty but if I make the placemats also, I'll improve. I am liking the blue against the ash. WE had the table made for us about 30 years ago, and I'd do it differently now. but it does expand to hold 12 which is important!

  2. How cool is that! I’m hosting a new linky party at http://hickorytrailblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/efforts-and-assets-linky-party-1.html

    I would love to have you!

  3. WOW! Love all of your jeans projects. Gorgeous!

  4. I do lots of stuff with recycled denim too. Cut a leg piece the height of a vase and put it over the vase. I also use the belt loops as napkin rings and the pockets as silverware holders. I made tic tac toe boards out of them too. I have 3 boys...we go through jeans. Will be making your very cute table runner soon. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Wonderful ideas. My kids are grown and getting the scrap jeans is more of a challenge now but I am amazed at how soft a fabric they make hen used this way. I look forward to seeing photos of your denim projects.

  5. Gorgeous table runner! I love denim projects!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

    1. So do I! It is a comfort thing to me. First choice in the morning is blue jeans! Makes me feel comfortable and at home.

  6. Gorgeous runner. Great idea and super execution. xo marlis

    1. Thanks. Some blips in the execution but they don't show in the photos :-)

  7. What a neat post! I love all the different projects you can make from old denim ~ awesome!
    I'm visiting you today from House of Hepworths. I co-host a Linky Party Tuesday (open thru Sat). I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog, leave a comment and Link Up, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Join me each Tuesday for Brag About It Link Up Party
    and Friday for Aloha Friday Blog Link Up Party

  8. What a great idea! You did an awesome job and it looks great on your table. Thanks for joining Diann and I at TTF!


  9. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this with our readers at the BRAG ABOUT IT party on Tuesday-Saturday at BeBetsy. Hope to see you again and it is so nice to meet you! Sharon and Denise

  10. Super cute idea!! I just love it!

  11. This is a great way to use old jeans. I share a Pinterest Monday every week. I missed this party though. I'll have to check it out. Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


  12. This is such a great project! I wanted to let you know that VMG206 will be featuring you today on BRAG ABOUT IT! I've also pinned it to my Brag About It board in Pinterest.
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Join me each Tuesday for Brag About It Link Up Party