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Blog - quilting

How I Spend (part of) My Summer Vacation

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I few years back, my husband and I built a cowboy deck at the side of the house, complete with a roof so we could stay out of the sun and keep dry for the rare times it rains. I built the table from left over wood and the sofa/bed where I can nap or read on hot days.

For the last few years we had the beige chair cushions and a beige mattress cover. The sofa bed is actually a twin sized mattress which is convenient for fitting sheets .

The problem was that we have one non shedding dog and three very shedding cats, who seemed to think that the bed was made for them and every time I came out to sit on my sofa it was covered in cat hair. Yikes.

So I spent this last winter thinking of how I can make a cover that is easily removed and easy to place that would keep the cats out,

Many ideas came and most were rejected for one reason or another, but finally a roll top cover seemed the best idea.

I needed something to go across that would not bend but thin enough that would roll easily. My oldest son is an electrician and he gave me some conduit that would work just fine.

Next thing was to decide what fabric I could use to cover the sofa/bed with. I thought about outdoor fabric but wanted to stick with the cowboy theme and didn’t like any of the fabric designs. Also I knew that I would need quite a bit of fabric as I thought it would be a good time to recover the chairs too. I am a bit of a recycler so I thought about what I could use that could be recycled and I thought why not denim. I knew the downside of recycled denim would be the small pieces to work with and it would take a while to do the piecing, but why not, I had a large cone of denim thread for top stitching that I figured I would never use up and this would be my chance. Besides denim would be great fabric with my cowboy theme, and because of the roof, I don’t need to worry about it getting wet and having time to dry. Perfect…

Time to go through my stash of denim and see what I had.

I had some denim by the meter and several bags of jeans and pieces that would work, but not enough.

So off to the thrift stores to find some more.

I found one thrift store that sold the damaged jeans for 25 cents each so I filled a n extra large garbage bag and figured I could get more if needed.

At home the first step was to cut the denim into 6” wide strips so I would get 4 strips from each pair of jeans.

I also removed any labels and cut off any good back pockets that I thought I could use for something, not sure at this point what I would use them for but didn’t want to throw them out.

Now I must admit that there is easier fabric to cut out but the price was right, so just keep going.

Once I had quite a few strips cut out, I started joining them together end to end to create what seemed like miles of 6” wide denim.

I pressed the seems to one side and topstitched two rows with my denim thread.

Even though I would not have enough strips yet, I figures out how long the bed cover would need to be and started cutting the strips to this length.

I would lay them out side by side to make sure there was different shades of denim together and started sewing the strips together length wise.

I kept adding more strips to the mix and sewing until not only was there enough for the top but extra for the backs of the chairs.

To complete the top, I used a dark blue sheet that I spray glued to the back with 505. I marked lines to create 7 channels for the conduit and stitched the rows.

I surged around the outside and turned under 1/2” all the way around and top stitched. I needed to cut a slit for the conduit at one end and pushed it in the channels, the 505 is temporary so not a problem.

Once the cover was done I made a bolster for the sofa bed with more strips of denim the same height as the arms of the sofa bed so the top when rolled up would have a place to sit.

Next was the chairs. All six. I decided the backs could be pieced but the bottoms should be solid denim to sit on.

The original backs were tied in place on the back of the chair, but I didn’t want to do that this time, so I have an extra piece with a pocket in the middle (I knew I would find a use for the pockets) and crazy quilt pieced the backs with some of the scraps from ends and 3” strips that I got from some of the jeans that were not 6” wide.

I figure out a way to sew it all together so it would it nicely over the back of the chair. Yeah!!!!

The bottom cushions were easy just square cushions , but I needed long zippers which I did not have, so I used two twelve in zippers in each cushion which were orange green and pink, (I had them in the drawer, why I am not sure) and made sure I did a deep seem on the zippers so the color would not show.

By this time my sewing room is a sea of denim scraps, and quite a mess. I could clean it up or I could keep going. Some of the strips are getting smaller and some narrower, but I had not gone back for more jeans, so I figured I would keep going and use up the all the scraps and then never look at denim again.

With the left over 6” wide scraps I cut them into 8” pieces and made a dog bed. I did not top stitch these blocks, and it went quicker. I found a long body pillow at the thrift store and used its stuffing to stuff the dog bed.

Next was the placemats, I needed 6 so I make 8. You never know when you might need a couple extra. Another good place to use the pockets.

I love to quilt so I tried to quilt them with all kinds of different patterns. I still had a bunch of chambray I still hadn't used so that would make good binding.

Still had scraps left so I make a table runner for the counter near the BBQ. Found a cabinet and a stool at an auction and painted them denim blue for the deck to go with the color theme. More left over denim went into a cover for the stool.

Now the denim is getting low but still needed a table center, so took one last piece of solid denim and added a few blocks and applique horse shoes to make the take center.

Now I just have small scraps left, so make some denim flowers with wire, fusible webbing and floral tape.

The only thing left in my stash was some chambray, and I decide that would make a great quilt for the sofa bed. I had mostly one color and scraps of other shades and at this point I am ready to finish this project, so an easy nine patch quilt will work.

I was thrilled when it was all done and I could clean up all the denim dust from my sewing room and then celebrate with a book on my sofa bed. Lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!