It should be time for a Christmas post right now, but it won’t be. I see too many Christmas crafts and how-tos around that I have to add projects in my to-do list everyday. You can live wihtout my Christmas crafts, I’m sure. Not that I have many, with my free time…  I’ll just link you to my last year’s post with recipe and tutorial about these Greek traditional Christmas cookies called “kourambies” . You should give them a try if you want something different on the cookie tray this year, they’re my favorites.

Lately I’ve been organizing recycling projects and improvising stash-busting techniques. My goal is to use  as many of the stash piles I’ve managed to gather so far. And the biggest pile of them all is labeled “old clothes” and needs to be reduced. No more space in the closet, that’s why. So, I’ve got this pile of old jeans. Some of them are partially destroyed or too small. There are pairs from my teenage years, more than ten years old.

Then I had the need to make some kind of throw or quilt to put on top of my sofa, when I’m not at home, so that I won’t have to clean the cat fur each and every day. And so, I decided to combine the two needs and make quilts for my cats from old jeans. Let’s see how:

First decide that you’ll never be able to loose 20 pounds and get inside your skinny teen jeans any more. Then hug your pair of jeans and say bye bye forever. With a Dexter-like move, take your rotary cutter or scissors and cut the legs of the jeans. This leaves you with a hot pair of shorts. Now all you need are rollerblades and legwarmers.  Ok, ok, just kidding…

Then cut each leg lengthwise (one side only).

This  leaves you with two pieces of fabric. Arrange then side by side (again, lengthwise) and sew them together. Any way you want.  I like the fraying jeans look so I just sewed the one on top of the other. With red thread and decorative stitches. But do as you like.

It should look like the above picture. Then turn over and arrange 3-4 t-shirts so that all the jeans surface is covered almost evenly. You may need to rotate the t-shirts to find the right place, but it’s easy. Now, I could have used quilt batting for this, but what good would it make for my recycling project, buying new things and stuff. And what good would it make for the old clothes pile? None. I made two quilts. For the first, I used 4 t-shirts and felt it was a bit heavy and in the second try I used 3. And if you’re worried about this unorthodox way for filling the quilt, I assure it works fine. It’s puffy and the cats like to nap on top of it, plus its heavy enough so that it doesn’t fall out of place. And since I’ve tried it out, it feels pretty warm too. In fact it made me thing about a future project for a quilt with t-shirt batting. Anyway it should look like this:

Pin them into place and sew with the sewing machine so that they are secure in place.

Turn the jeans side over again and trim any excess t-shirt around the quilt.

Now it’s time to have some fun with the quilting. I tried two different methods for each one. First I quilted all layers together, meaning jeans, t-shirts, backing fabric. In the second one I quilted the jeans with the t-shirts and sewed the backing fabric at the end.  If you ask me I liked the second method, but I can’t give you pros and cons. It’s a matter of preference.

If there is a time to go wild, that’t it. Have fun with the decorations. Use different color of threads, try the decorative stitches you wouldn’t normally use in your projects. Jeans are a forgiving fabric and will look good with many colors. That’s why we’re wearing them, right?

I pinned the backing fabric into place and cut 1 inch of excess around the jeans. Then folded it inwards, pinned it and topstitched. I like the potential fray but you can do it your way. Like adding a border or hiding the seams.  This is how it looked from the other side.

I’ve never made a quilt before, and I am still not sure I know how to make one.  There are people that could tell you more about it. I just thought this little cats’ project was a great opportunity to experiment and try out some ideas that I had…

…like finishing with a blanket stitch both my quilts ( I thought they looked empty without a border)

…trying some embroidery on jeans with worsted acrylic yarn…

…doing fun machine stitches

…and experimenting on some reverse applique techniques.

By the way, meet my kitten Dexter, enjoying his Dexter quilt

And here are the two finished quilts, side by side:

Recycle Ranking of the project: 2 blue jeans, 7 t-shirts, lots of stashed fabric and acrylic yarn.

Cat Status: happy.

Sofa Status: free from cat fur!