Friday, November 11, 2011

Its Friday and we have 2 as in 2 Block Guests...1st Marcia...."The Denim Block"

Madame Samm - Thanks for inviting me to join in the fun!
Hello! My name is Marcia from Crafty Sewing and Quilting. I am a free style long arm quilter. I quilt customer's quilts five days a week and mine on the weekends. 
I blog and share about a variety of quilting and sewing topics, free style quilting designs, tutorials, and "up cycling" quilt projects.  I also share ideas to step outside the "block" to create new twists on old patterns, including sewing construction techniques. I enjoy taking photos of quilts and quilting, colors in my world, my family, my dogs, and my container garden.
As a free style quilter, I manually move the long arm quilting machine to create unique quilting designs on each and every quilt.  It is all free hand - no patterns and no computers, thus resulting in special designs on each individual quilt.  
In the sidebar of my blog, I share photos of free style quilting designs to inspire other quilters with hundreds of quilting ideas.  The free style designs make each quilt unique.

One of my most selected quilting designs is the ribbon quilting with a twist. I quilted my "Up Cycled" Denim Quilt using two blue thread colors to create the ribbon quilting with a twist.
Today's block is the Denim Block. It is a free form block. The same sewing construction method is featured in my Texture Block Pattern. I chose a pair of plaid patchwork shorts as my focus fabric for the denim block.

I rotary cut my center blocks from the plaid at an angle.  Thus the centers are much more interesting. I used all reclaimed fabrics for the quilt top.  I chose a variety of denim shirts and denim dresses for the borders and lattice strips. 
Step 1
Cut squares in a variety of sizes from the plaid shorts - 2" to 4 ".
I cut 42 squares.
Cut strips in a variety of sizes -2"wide to 3"wide from light blues and medium blues.

Step 2 
Sew one strip on one side of each block. Press and trim. You may want to starch as you press. I starch as it makes it easier to work with the denim. Denim tends to stretch a little.
Step 3
Sew a second strip on another side of the center square, but not the opposite side. In the photo the top strip is the second strip. Press and trim.
Step 4
Sew a third strip on another side of the center square, but not the opposite side. In the photo the left side of the block is the third strip. Press and trim.  Adding the strips is similar to a log cabin cabin construction, but it wouldn't matter if you mistakenly sewed the third strip to the other side on a few blocks.
Step 5
Sew a fourth strip on last side of the center square. In the photo, I am sewing the fourth strip onto the block. Press and trim.
Step 6 --- Square up and sew more strips
At this point you have 42 blocks that have four borders with one center square.  I group them into piles of similar sizes --- Large, Medium, and Small.
The large should be about 8".  Cut 8" squares from those blocks.  The medium will be between 7" and 7 1/2" .  Cut 7"  squares from those blocks.  The small blocks will need another strip or two, sewed onto them, to make them either 7" or 8" blocks.
On the photo below, the block on the right needed extra strips. The block on the bottom left is a large block (8" square).  The bottom right was a small block and needed another strip on two sides to make it a large block (8" square).  If any of the smaller blocks aren't large enough, sew another strip onto them.  You can sew extra strips to make them into 7" or 8" square blocks.  
Step 7 --- Count your blocks 
I started with 42 center squares.  There will be 6 blocks across by 7 blocks down.  Which means you need to have 3 rows of 7" blocks (total of 21 - 7" blocks) and 3 rows of 8" blocks (total of 21 - 8" blocks).  In order to get the correct numbers for the rows you may need to add strips or cut down an 8" block into a 7" block.

Step 8 --- Lattice strips (darker and dark medium blue fabric - cut 3" wide)
Sew a lattice strip to the top and the left side of every 7" and 8" block.  It will look like an "L" on each block. I chain piece using long strips, as I don't cut my strips to the exact length. They stretch and pull a little. Press, starch, and trim.

Step 9 --- Sew the rows
Do not line them up evenly.  I trim an inch or so off the top of one row to make them uneven that way the seams won't line up.

Step 10 --- Add more lattice and trim the ends
You will need to add a lattice strip to the bottom block on each row. Also add lattice strips to the right side of the last row on the right.  You can put them on each block or just sew strips together in random order and sew it on all in one strip. Trim the top and the bottom of the quilt.

Note about the seam allowances:  a generous 1/4".  Press to one side or open. Whatever will lay best, depending upon the intersections.

Step 11 --- Add Borders
I used more dark strips, but do whatever you think is eye pleasing. I randomly sewed the leftover dark denim strips together and sewed them onto the sides and onto the two ends. On two of the sides I sewed an extra border. Do whatever looks best.

Step 12 --- Quilting and Binding - as desired.
I quilted my quilt with a two color ribbon quilting with whimsical daisy flowers.  I used medium blue and light blue thread to create a shadow effect with the ribbon quilting. I used a washable wool batting to make it a warm and cuddly quilt for this winter. The backing fabric on my quilt is a blue dyed extra wide fabric. I used the same blue dyed fabric for the binding. 

The denim blocks are easy to construct. It really makes it simple to "up cycle" clothes into quilts. 
The denim block is a free form block that could be constructed using new fabrics also.
You could make a wonderful, one of a kind memory quilt using a loved one's clothes.
The possibilities are endless!
I would like to invite you to hop over to my blog and check it out!
Enjoy your day!  

Thanks Samm for inviting me to share the Denim Block for the block party.


  1. We don't see many denim quilts anymore. And we all have used denim to recycle. Thanks for reminding us.

  2. I love your blocks and that ribbon quilting is gorgeous! I have never really liked the meander quilting (gasp) but this has so much more personality and finesse I am going to have to give it a try. Thank you for the great tutorial.

  3. So lovely to see you here Marcia! Just love this quilt and the use of various re-cycled denims and then so softly quilted. Just wonderful. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  4. Sencillamente maravilloso, me gusta mucho, es una forma de recordarnos que todo lo usado se puede reciclar.

  5. I love how this turned out - thanks for sharing

  6. Thanks for sharing this great block! It's pretty cool how you can use parts of clothes into a quilt. Even if it is little bits. :)

    Pinterested this, thanks! :)

  7. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful quilt.

  8. Thank you for sharing this quilt. So easy and yet so beautiful.
    Gun, Sweden

  9. Now this is creative, innovative, saves money, and is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  10. What better pattern could we have,then one that tells us to recycle our denim into such a lovely quilt...thanks so much.

  11. Denim quilts are comfort many of us can identify with. Nice block to copy

  12. This is a beautiful quilt -- I love the endless blues! Great share! :)

  13. Wonderful quilt, Marcia. I like the freedom of putting the pieces together without having to worry about absolute precision. Your amazing quilting work brings out the beauty of every project you quilt. I am so pleased with the work you did for me!

  14. I love your ribbon pretty. I love to reuse clothes in projects. I made a denim quilt (from jeans) years ago but using denim shirts and shorts...great idea.

  15. What a beautiful quilt you've turned out from recycled clothing - I love the quilt and the idea! blessings, marlene

  16. I love this quilt. Blue, speaks comfort!

  17. Thanks for all your great tips today, Marcia! Love your quilting - I am the same kind of quilter as you, and I ♥ my job! I think of it as "doodling" with my longarm machine. Love the ribbon look on the denim. Perfect!

  18. I love your denim quilt and plan to try your ribbon quilting! Your pictures are so inspiring and I enjoyed exploring your blog information! Alma

  19. Love this pattern! I am a longarm quilter, too, and I will be trying out the ribbon! Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. What an interesting and beautiful quilt. I love the madras quilted short fabric in the quilt. Great idea. The quilt looks SO-o-o soft.

  21. Those shorts look better than ever! : ) Thank you for sharing this. I love it!!

  22. Great tutorial! I've made a few denim quilts, but none of them turned at as nice as yours. Thanks for sharing!

  23. What a great tutorial and WOW! Your blog is just FULL of many other great tutorials. I started saving blue jeans last year when I stopped at the Salvation Army for things I'd grab more if they are at a great price that day.

    Thanks much.

  24. What a beautiful quilt this makes!! thanks!

  25. Yay! Marcia, glad to see you here! Since I'm a follower, I had seen some of these pictures before, but some are new to me! Love, love being able to re-purpose things like this!

  26. What a great quilt. Love the idea of recycling denim. Your quilting is fabulous!!

  27. I love the idea of upcycling. The quilt is wonderful - using that patchwork shorts as the focus really pulls the denim together. Of course, your ribbon quilting is 'out of this world'. I am fascinated by all the wonderful free-hand quilting you do on quilts. Wow!

  28. I just love this idea!!! Your denim quilt is beautiful!!!

  29. This Marcia says Great Block to blogger Marcia. I like the way you are compensating for the bulky denim by offsetting seams and sashing.

  30. Great tut. I love that you don't have to constantly measure. I made a quilt with denim years ago-that fabric takes a beating and just keeps on and on. Wish I had used some patterned pieces to give it more interest. Next time!

  31. What a great quilt I need to run out and find some plaid at a thrift store I think I have some denim thanks for the tute

  32. love denim quilts thanks for sharing. Janita

  33. This is a beautiful quilt!! Thanks for sharing .


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