There are a lot of advantages to denim. It’s long-lasting, durable, and not to hard to work with when crafting. Plus, you rarely have to go out and buy denim fabric when you want to craft with denim. There are always old jeans lying around somewhere that can be upcycled into a great denim craft. If you don’t have a pair or two in your own house, a friend or family member will certainly have some they would be willing to part with.
So once you have the denim, what kind of crafts should you make? Well, if you enjoy blankets at all, a denim circle quilt is the perfect project for you. In addition to being one of the most durable quilts you’ll ever make, it is easy to craft and can be easily personalized. You’ll use both denim and other types of fabric scraps, so you can include scraps from another special blanket or piece of clothing too worn out to wear or you could be especially clever and use lettered fabric to spell out initials, names, or messages. But even just colorful patterns make beautiful quilts.
Okay, so I have some jeans, but how do I get them into shape to be used for crafting scraps, you ask? When you plan to cut circles out of your fabric, it is important to cut the jeans so you have large pieces of denim rather than bits and pieces of scrap.
That way you can be sure to get the maximum number of circles out of each piece, and you won’t waste your time and materials with pieces you accidentally cut too small. Getting large pieces of denim from jeans is surprisingly easy, however, and only requires about three cuts for each pair of jeans you’ll work with. Check out the video below to see for yourself.
Once you have those nice denim pieces, it’s time to start cutting circles. As you might imagine, making a denim circle quilt means you’ll be cutting a lot of circles. Luckily, there is a tool that can help you not only cut those circles more quickly but cut them more accurately as well. It’s called an Olfa circle cutter. If you aren’t familiar with these little contraptions, the video below will give you the basics of how one works.
Since Ofla cutters work like math compasses, they are simple and easy to use. Plus, they will consistently produce uniform results. Definitely follow the great tip in the video for getting a precise measurement and be careful with the sharp edges when you use this little cutting aid! The blade and pin can be dangerous. The Olfa store sells these for about $30, but you can get them on Amazon for half that. If you’d like to see how to actually cut denim with one, check out the video below.
The downside of denim, of course, is that it is a bit harder to cut than other fabrics, but as the video shows, as long as you are firm and patient, you can still get perfect circles without a lot of trouble. If you don’t want to mess with an Ofla cutter, be sure to trace out your circles on your denim before you started cutting. A plate or a plastic pattern can be used to help you draw the guides for those perfect circles.
Once you have your denim circles cut, it’s time to get to work on your quilt! Check out the video below to see a quick tutorial on how to actually create this type of awesome quilt. There is also an alternative method for getting those denim circles cut easily with an Olfa cutter, but it will require cutting your denim into smaller squares first, so you’ll need to measure your larger sheets and cut them down, which will be some extra work.
If you notice, the woman in this video cut around the circle twice, which may make the cutting easier and require less backing up. Once you get the hang of cutting circles they should be a snap though, and quilts aren’t the only thing you can make with them! You can also create other awesome crafts. Try your hand at denim circle purses, pillows, or placemats. The video below will show you how to make a denim circle placemat. The video uses an awesome contraption called an Accuquilt GO! This handy machine makes the Olfa cutter look as labor intensive as scissors. This tutorial will also give you a better idea of how to use a sewing machine to sew your circles together no matter what you are making. Check it out!
Impressed by that Accuquilt GO!? You can find out more information about the product, as well as tutorials, patterns, and other resources on the Accuquilt website. You can also buy an Accuquilt fabric cutter for yourself on Amazon or the Accuquilt website. As you might imagine, this machine isn’t inexpensive, so you would probably only want to invest in one if you do a lot of quilting.
Finally, if you are interesting in denim crafts, check out Inventive Denim for ideas, tutorials, merchandise, workshops, and blogs all about denim!