Three Ticks For My Denim Quilt

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Tick #1: My first time working with denim on a quilt. Oh, what a Hard Head I have!!

Tick #2: Counts as one of my SS Holiday Table Mats.

Tick #3: I get to cross it off my MAY To Do list.

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Before deciding to use denim as the backing for my picnic blanket/table topper, I did my research. I wanted to see what pros and cons other quilters had to say about sewing with denim. Most information available was about rag quilts. But they did say new quilters might be intimidated, don’t use batting, would be heavy to manage.

Here’s where my Hard Head got even harder and told me I could do this. I had plans for loops, swirls, even stippling.

I practiced beforehand. On paper to get a feel. And on my sewing machine. The practice ones were so-so. (That should have been my clue.)

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Here I am, ready to free motion quilt.

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Well, the experts were right about two things. I should have left out the batting. No doubt quilting would have been easier. No matter what I tried, the loops and swirls bunched up into a bird’s nest in the back. Tried different types of thread. Different tension settings. Nothing worked. I ended up quilting straight lines. And it was HEAVY!! I used a folding chair on both sides of me to hold the weight. But INTIMIDATED!! Nope. I will try anything. Once. 😀

I took my quilt for a drive. Here it is keeping my Jeep warm. 😀

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These shots were taken at my city’s Recreation Park. I saw people sneaking glances at me but they didn’t ask what I was doing. I had planned to tell them I was a newspaper photographer. LOL!!

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It measures 47″ by 51″. Here’s how I made it.

  • 4″ squares
  • Disappearing 9 patch blocks
  • 6″ navy polka dot borders
  • 3 1/2″ red polka dot bias binding

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I really love it.

My next project also uses red, white and blue fabrics. I got all of these on sale at JoAnn’s.

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I signed up for a Patriotic Mug Rug Swap in my quilt group. Mail out date was yesterday. Guess I had better get started. Mine will be a day late. 😀

My charity pillowcase project is still going strong. Batch #4, 12 pillowcases, is finished. I added them to 12 others and mailed off two dozen.

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I am just thrilled to pieces working on these. I get to use up fabrics just sitting. Fabrics I bought when I was first building my stash and still hadn’t decided what to do with. Sort of purging the stacks. Feels good.

I also collected up dental supplies accumulated over the last few years.

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Hubby and I both go to the dentist four times a year and a lot of dental supplies start to collect in those cute Toothy Smiley bags. Only so many toothbrushes and dental floss can a person use. I am donating these to the charity center too. I had intended to donate small tubes of toothpaste from our dentist. Had a boatload of them. Did you know toothpaste has an expiration date? I didn’t. Thank goodness I checked. They had all expired so I trashed them.

Well… got to go. Need to work on my Day Late Patriotic Mug Rug.

What are your plans for the 4th of July?

Linking to…

Recycle #5: “By Sea” Jeans Handbag

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Doesn’t this fabric remind you of the Titanic? As soon as I saw it, I knew I would buy it.

Just finished this jeans handbag today. You are the first to see it. That is, first after hubby. He had to put his stamp of approval on it. After all, these were once HIS  jeans. 😀


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This is my original design. It came out EXACTLY as the picture I was working from in my head.


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I used the following harvested pieces.

  • 1 leg
  • 1 waistband
  • 7 belt loops
  • 2 back pockets
  • 2 back strips (under waistband area)

Here are a few photos I took as I was making it.

I first removed the back pockets. Yep. Completely removed them. Then I lined them with black polka dot fabric and sewed them on the leg section. One on the top and one on the bottom. Then I made my own pockets out of the “By Sea” fabric to go next to the denim ones.

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You can see the pocket lining in this photo. I used the same for the purse lining. Black polka dots.

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The waistband was completely stripped. All the seams, top stitching and belt loops were removed. Then I split the band down the middle. I needed it in two strips to be able to do what I wanted to do.

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There are two pockets on the inside. One smaller made from the lining fabric. And this one I quilted.

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These were used to make the purse handles.

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And there is a FIRST here, too. My first time adding a magnetic clasp to a purse. It was easy to do. I reinforced the area with really thick Pellon.

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I made a belt to go through the belt loops. It is 27″ end to end. A scarf would go great here too, instead of the belt.

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The whole thing measures 20″ height (including handles), 13″ across, 2 3/4″ width. It is a nice sized bag.

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And it can stand up alone.

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Ok, that was fun!! Back to stippling. 😀

This is an original design by This Year’s Dozen.

Please respect Copyright Laws and not copy, post or distribute the instructions without written permission. However, it is ok to make this jeans handbag for personal use. Please link back to this post. Thanks!!

Harvesting A Pair of Jeans

This is all that’s left from one pair of old jeans. Amazing, huh!!

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And here is what I was able to harvest… All of this.

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Backside with Outside Pockets

Front with Inside Pockets

Waistband with Belt Loops

Zipper, Zipper Flap and Metal Button

Waistline Panel (under the waistband)


Outside Label

Inside Tags

Grommets (Hard to remove and clean up)


You need a really sharp pair of scissors for a clean cut. After cutting into the shape you wish, to stabilize the edges and keep from unraveling, do a quick zig zag.

Cut the largest “footprint” you can from each area without drifting into the next area.

Save every sizable piece trimmed off. You can use them as scraps for other projects. Store in a separate baggie to keep from unraveling.

Sew with a heavy duty needle. I am using a Denim Needle.

Use your Walking Foot to sew through the thickness.

Use your Zipper Foot to get close when sewing around the pockets.

Sew with a color thread that is close to your denim fabric but not an exact match. Will be hard to see the thread in case you have to rip it out.

Decide how you will work with or around rips and tears. I think they will give your item character. Consider leaving the hole/rip/tear there. You can cover it with a pocket or patch later if you end up hating it.

For variety, add cotton fabrics or flannel to your denim. Mix up the colors and patterns.

Consider removing the pocket from the backside pieces. To place elsewhere in your project. Or make your own pockets if you want more than the harvested ones.

My plan was to make earrings from the grommets.

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BUT… it is really hard to pull the fabric from them. I am thinking maybe burn (safely, controlled) the fabric. Not sure if fire will damage the metal. We’ll see. I will do it outdoors.

I should be able to make at least four projects from one pair of jeans. You will have to come back to see what all I make.

Updated 6-17-11

Item #1. Finished 6-16-11.

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Used one leg, 2 outside pockets, waistband with loops, back section attached under waistband (not sure what it is called).

Recycle #4: Making Blue Jean Pocket Purses

A few months ago, hubby unloaded his unwanted jeans on me. He cleaned out his closets and the jeans all ended up in my craft room. To tell you the truth, I DID ask for them. And he was thrilled to be rid of them. Some had small tears, rips, worn out knees and seats. In black and brown denim. (No blue. ????) But mostly in good shape. For crafting. To recycle.

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How excited was I to get them?

So excited, they sat in a pile, 12 pairs, for several months. Ideas came. Ideas went. I looked in books and magazines. I searched on-line. Several ideas I liked. But not enough for me to put down whatever I was working on.

Until yesterday.

I stumbled upon this site.

I don’t remember how I ended up there but clicked on one of the links. I watched several instructional videos. 30 minutes later and I had My Next Recycle Project.

First, I sorted through the old jeans. Picking out the best of the bunch. Why is it there is a light spot on the right back pocket of just about all of them!! A worn out spot. Probably hubby’s wallet. Going in and out of it.

Next, I tried to cut with the sturdiest scissors I have.

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Just knew they would work. They are my Go-To-Scissors-When-Nothing-Else-Works. Not!! Tried twice. I was determined those suckers would work. Wouldn’t cut. Had to use my regular sewing scissors.

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I cut the back pockets out of four pairs and got started.

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You won’t believe how fast these work up. The best part? I only watched the videos once. And then went off on my own to make mine and to add my own touches.

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You can’t see the insides too well but there is a small pocket inside both.

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Sewing Day 13: Double Pocket

Tuesday, May 6

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An online friend suggested I might enjoy sewing this little project called Double Pocket. She had made several in various colors and they turned out very pretty. So I decided to try my hand at making one.

It has a pocket in front and back of the buttoned tab.  I had a bit of a problem sewing all the pieces together and getting them all on the right side but eventually I did figure it out. I am going to make a second one just to see where I went wrong. It turned out good. It will do what it is intended to do. And that is to hang from a belt to hold small items such as keys, coins, cell phone, etc when you are out partaking in your favorite form of entertainment or exercise.

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Here is how it looks hanging from the denim tote I made. I used the same denim and printed fabric. You could use fabric leftover from other sewing projects. Would be perfect to use up some of your scraps.

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Supplies used to make Double Pocket:

  • 1/4 yard denim
  • 1/4 yard printed fabric
  • one decorative button
  • 3″ navy satin piping (for button loop)
  • navy thread

Measurements: 7 1/2″ height and 3 1/2″ length

Pattern used: Double Pocket from the book A Pocketful of Whimsy, Wee Patchwork Gifts by Kathleen Rindal Brooks, pages 28-30. Full size pattern pieces are in the book. I scanned the pattern pieces and printed them out onto hardstock paper.

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Sewing Day 11: Dog Day Afternoon

Saturday, May 3

Yep, I have been sewing…still. 😀

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I have actually been working on these purses with doggy fabric for several days. Didn’t want to get too far behind so thought I would post what I am working on.

These just need the strap sewn on the sides. I found this strap when going through my craft supplies. I don’t remember how long I have had it but it works perfectly for these little totes. Adds a hint of a doggy collar or leash.

These totes/purses are quick to make, now that I have made so many of them. If you want to try your hand at it, you just need 1/2 yard of two different fabrics. The doggy fabric I purchased by the yard from JoAnn Fabric and Crafts a couple years ago. (Probably that’s when I purchased the black strap.) The black print fabric was a Fat Quarter 18″ by 22″. Fabric must be a square for both pieces. I used 18″ square.

I also made a larger tote in denim and red fabric with tiny white hearts. I had to buy special denim needles to sew the sides together. Size 16. They work great. No more jamming.

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Haven’t decided how I will finished this one up. Probably a shoulder strap. I have about two yards of denim left. Next time I get my hands on a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s, I will replenish my supply.

One Day of Rest & Back To Sewing

Tuesday, April 29

OK, I feel rested now and ready to go. Back to Sewing!! Cause Macrame Month is around the corner. (As if anyone even remembers or cares what it is, LOL!!)

But today I need to make a visit to the Janome store. I want them to tell me how to sew through stacks of denim. My sewing machine, Janome 10001, doesn’t seem to like heaps of thick fabric. And for the price I paid for it, it should sew through gold!!

I don’t normally pay much attention to needles. Just turn the machine on and go. That is, until I break one. Several days ago, I broke a needle sewing on denim. I switched to a size 16 and that seemed to fix the problem but today it jammed again and would not go through the fabric at all. Oh, what a racket the machine made. I guess it told me, don’t even think about it!! I have no clue what size needle I need so I will let the experts tell me.

So…if you are looking for me, that is where I will be. BBL

Sewing Day 9: The Cafe

Friday, April 25

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Yippee!! I am so happy!! I have the next five hours to do as I please. Hubby is making a run to Indiana in hopes of winning $150 million (yeah, right) or whatever the magic number is currently. I am sure the Lottery registers are spitting out tickets as fast as the clerks can type.

Michigan has a state lottery but it does not participate in the PowerBall game. So to buy a ticket you have to travel to the closest city across state lines. Not only will hubby be making a wish list and checking it twice, as he drives along, he will have his precious Garmin, with its precise directions, to keep him company. It is a neat gadget but I tell you, if I had to spend more than an hour listening to “turn left, turn right, turn here” from Miss Soft Sweetness, that thing would be a heap of metal littering the highway.

Well, anyhoo, back to my happiness… The Cafe.

I belong to one of THE best online groups out there. How do I know this? Because everyone says so. A few of the members have known each other since around 2002 having originally met online at one of eBay’s Discussion Boards. A place for like-minded individuals to seek assistance on their latest hobbies and for the more talented crafters to offer help wherever it was needed. I fell kind of in the middle. Not a complete idiot newbie but not a perfect 10 either on the expert scale.

Then when eBay decided to go in a new direction and created the Groups format, some people from the board started their own group. A place to be yourself and chat about what’s on your mind. A place to share new ideas, ask questions and offer tips. A place to go if you just needed a hug, anytime you needed one. Some of the original members have moved on to other paths in their lives, but new people regularly find The Cafe and join in.

After almost six years, we are still going strong. I think it is because WE LIKE EACH OTHER!! We really like each other!! We are truly interested in what the members are doing. One popular and active thread is “What Is Everyone Working On At The Moment?” It is one of my first stops when visiting The Cafe. We also have group projects where one member will post a project for others to try.

Which brings me to the reason for my post today. I am making “Popcorn’s Project”.

It is a tote bag made by folding material in a specific way and top stitching some seams. Add a carrying handle and you are done.

Where am I? About in the middle of all that folding and stitching. This is what my purse looks like thus far.

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I may just leave it like this. Unfinished and open. Not like I have any money to put in it anyway. Hubby is not back yet with the $150 million!! Wish me luck. Both with finishing this tote AND winning the lottery!!

Sewing Day 3: Take A Bow

Monday, April 14

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All done!!

Square Dancing Purse comes to an end, thank goodness.

Never before have I spent as much time sewing on a patternless simple item. So glad to be finished. I am somewhat happy with the outcome. I think the ruffle could have been a tad bit shorter but it is what it is.  I am not going to make any changes. Janome is off for the day, resting up. In fact, I plan to have a little bonfire party with my “rectangle.” 🙂

Here’s out it turned out.

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Supplies used to make this purse:

  • 1 yard denim
  • 1 yard checkered gingham
  • 1 yard interfacing
  • 1 decorative button
  • red thread
  • navy thread

One good thing from making this purse is that I am bonding with my sewing machine. Learning my way around. Though still having to look up stuff in the Instructor’s Manual. Even simple stuff. BUT the more I sew, the better I get. I just know it.

Next up…. something from a store bought PATTERN!!