WIP Wednesday – Back It Up

It’s time to move on to the back of the picnic quilt! I’ve been collecting used jeans for a while to use for the back and I am so glad to be at the point where I’m ready to put them to use!

pile of jeans

pile of jeans

I thought it would be cool to have “before” pictures of the pile of jeans and then, when it’s done, take an “after” photo what they become.

up close jeans

I spent most of yesterday afternoon chopping these up. I debated using scissors vs. my rotary cutter but I found scissors worked better for me. But I did give myself a blister from cutting through the thick parts.

cutting jeans

Now I just need to decide on the layout. I’m debating between strips, giant log cabins, or just kind of improv-ing things together.

I need to make a decision soon because I’m SO ready to get moving on this!


Linking up with Freshly Pieced!

41 thoughts on “WIP Wednesday – Back It Up

  1. How exciting! I’ve thought for years about making a quilt with jeans but have never gotten around to it. I love the idea, though. Jeans remind me of antique Japanese indigo fabrics–they have that beautiful, aged look of old aizome fabrics.

  2. I like your stack of old jeans. I have a collection too, also for a picnic quilt, but I plan on using them on the top, and a laminated fabric on the back – grass here is rarely dry enough to sit on, even in summer. I doubt if mine will be in use this summer though, but you’re much further ahead. Good luck and have many fine picnics.

    1. It only seems like I am further ahead, but this was supposed to be last year’s picnic quilt 🙂 heehee. I love the idea of using jeans and a laminated fabric! We just moved to a dryer climate so I’m lucky to not have to worry about the always damp grass!

  3. Wait, no picture of the front! I want to see!! 🙂 I’m interested to hear about your adventures in backing with denim. It sounds like such a smart idea for a picnic quilt, but I’ve never sewn with denim, so it makes me nervous.

    1. Haha, I felt like I was over-posting about the front 🙂 But I’m going to pretend it was an elaborate plan to build suspense for the big reveal! I’ve never sewn with denim either so I’m for sure going to make some mistakes. Hopefully the awesome/wonky kind of mistakes and not the “I destroyed my quilt” mistakes 🙂

  4. I thought the pile of my husband’s old shirts looked interesting enough to photograph before I took to cutting them up for a quilt. Of course, your photos are far more cool and stylish than mine!

  5. Your photos elevate old jeans to a new level of awesome 🙂 I’m loving this picnic quilt even more now that I know what you’re going to back it with. I have some jeans saved up too, so I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

    1. Oh, thanks Jess! I am trying to commit to using my camera (as opposed to my iphone) for my wip stuff, so I’m really glad to hear you like the photos 🙂 I’m really excited to start piecing the jeans. I love that you have jeans saved up as well! It’s really fun recycling materials!

  6. So very cool. Love that you are repurposing your old jeans. Our grandmother used to make cute tote bags for Kelsey and me using my grandfathers old jeans. They were always our favourite. Can wait to see how this comes together!

  7. I can’t wait to see this done, AND hear about the process! I, too, have been saving jeans for exactly this purpose! A good friend from my younger days had a picnic quilt his mom had made out of old jeans, and I remember it being SUCH a great quilt for laying in the grass–no dew dampness, heavy and snug! I must admit I’m a bit scared of moving forward with mine since sewing with denim feels like it will be the equivalent of knitting with jute: boot camp! Do you use special needles? A special machine? I can’t wait to see more! BTW, gorgeous photos!

    1. It’s great to hear that the old jeans quilt does a great job as a picnic blanket! I was hoping it would be thick enough to stop any dampness. I am a little scared of proceeding with this as well 🙂 I am definitely going to take notes and pass them on in a post. I bought special needles for jeans that I’m going to try. Fingers crossed! 🙂

  8. Cant wait to see the finished project. I too have been collecting jeans, just haven’t decided what to do with them yet.

    1. It seems like a lot of quilting folks are saving up jeans for an unknown project. I think that’s so awesome! I hope you find just the right inspiration for yours!

  9. Such cute pictures of the jeans! And way to go with getting your hand in one of them. I always struggle to “naturally” catch myself in photos, but you achieved it!

    1. Thanks Kelsey! I wish someone had been there to take of picture of what I looked like trying to get my cutting hand in the picture. It was comical 🙂

  10. Also, you should check out the Gee’s Bend quilts. They were improv pieced with old clothes, such as jeans and things, specifically Annie Mae Young’s “Work Clothes” quilt.

    1. Thanks Karen! The blister didn’t get too bad luckily 🙂 Yes, the jeans had all seen much better days unfortunately, all had major holes or stains. Fortunately it was pretty easy to navigate around them and still have nice usable pieces.

    1. Hey Nat! You were totally right, once I had the major pieces cut out, it was pretty clear the direction it was going to take. It’s really the first project I’ve done any improv’ on so it was a fun new challenge!

  11. Hi, I made a jeans quilt a number of years ago but still have a pile of jeans to use for another. When using them pick a pattern where you don’t need to match seams so you don’t have to deal with the bulk of 4 points coming together. I did it in a brick laying pattern with rectangles and it worked like a charm. Improve would work as well
    Have fun. My son claimed it for his summer quilt–his winter quilt is layered with a wool blanket so the denim one was cooler!

    1. Thanks so much for the great tips on working with jeans! I definitely took your advice and avoided matching seams. It is going pretty quickly which is nice!

  12. I’ve just opened your blog up Michelle, and oh, what a delight. I just love your layout and your photos are superb, I wish I had a nice barn door or fence across the road to take some photo’s of my quilts on! I’m hoping to stop by often. Thanks for sharing your quilt stories.

    1. Thanks so much for checking out my blog Jen! I feel very blessed to have such picturesque locations right by my house. Looking forward to looking through your blog as well!

    1. Heehee, I have been pretty bratty the last few weeks with lots of “befores” and very few “afters”. Hopefully the big reveal will make up for it (whenever that finally happens)! 🙂

  13. I just discovered your writing via the barn door quilt you did, amazing quilt and you have amazing photography! Good luck with the jeans.. they seem to be making a comeback, although I hope we don’t do vests with them this time.. wink!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I am a big fan of your work and I was so excited to see your comments. Thanks for your kind words on my barn door quilt. It’s definitely my favorite quilt. And I think denim is best for pants and quilt backs… you won’t see me sporting a denim vest 🙂

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