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Project

Stylish Denim Crafts

Introduction


Inspired by the comfort of denim clothing, you can transform the sturdy fabric in several ways. Read our basic denim how-to tips below. Then try all of our craft ideas on the following pages.

Denim How-Tos

1. Ripping Denim Strips

By tearing denim rather than cutting it, you create a fringe that's wonderful to work with. Use this technique for all the projects shown here. Place denim on a flat surface. Measure to desired width, cut a 1/2-inch slit in the cloth, and rip in one fast motion. Tear jeans vertically to avoid seams.

2. Adorning Pillows

Cut denim to make a 22-by-12-inch knife-edge pillow cover. Using denim (or other fabric, like that cut from a dress shirt), tear five to nine 1 1/4-by-14-inch strips. With tailor's chalk, mark where you want to attach the strips. For a gathered design, as shown, sew down the center of each strip with a denim needle, using an awl to push the fabric toward the machine in pleats. For flat strips, sew two rows of stitches down the sides of each, with a 1/8-inch seam allowance.

3. Fringe Rug

Cut a 30-by-54-inch piece of burlap. Tear about 200 strips from jeans (you'll need about 12 pairs); make each 1 1/4 inches wide and the length of a pant leg. Align first strip 1 inch from burlap's edge; with the zipper foot attachment on a sewing machine and a denim needle, stitch down center. Snip any remainder from the end, and use it to start the next row. Sew strips 1/8 inch apart, until 1 inch of burlap remains. Fold burlap edges under, and hand-stitch.

4. Floral Brooches

Rip a denim strip (1 1/2 inches wide and the length of a pair of jeans). Beginning 1/8 inch from edge, sew two rows of running stitches 1/8 inch apart. Pull on the ends of the threads to gather. (On a sewing machine, use a denim needle and a wide stitch length; tug on the two bobbin threads.) Hand-sew gathered edge in a spiral shape as shown. Attach a safety pin to the back.

Denim Pillows

Cut denim to make a 22-by-12-inch knife-edge pillow cover. Using denim (or other fabric, such as that cut from a dress shirt), tear five to nine 1 1/4-by-14-inch strips. With tailor's chalk, mark where you want to attach the strips. For a gathered design, as shown, sew down the center of each strip with a denim needle, using an awl to push the fabric toward the machine in pleats. For flat strips, sew two rows of stitches down the sides of each, with a 1/8-inch seam allowance.

Fringe Rug

This fluffy rug, so welcoming to bare feet, is made from hundreds of strips of denim. The frayed edges in shades of blue, gray, and white create subtle modulations in color.

Denim Tote with Floral Brooches

There's more than one way to wear a pair of jeans. With a length of denim, the perfect tote bag is a few stitches away.

Choose or cut a piece of denim half the width of the finished bag and 1 inch longer. (The depth of the bag is half the width of the fabric.)

Fold the fabric in half with the right sides together so the selvages meet. Turn the fabric so the selvage edges become the top of the bag. Sew along the right and left sides with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Cut two lengths of denim or other sturdy fabric for the handles; they can be as short or long as you like. Pin the handles in place, then sew them on the inside of the bag. Use thread to match the fabric. Turn the bag right side out. Embellish the tote with easy denim floral brooches.

Floral Brooches

Rip a denim strip (1 1/2 inches wide and the length of a pair of jeans). Beginning 1/8 inch from edge, sew two rows of running stitches 1/8 inch apart. Pull on the ends of the threads to gather. (On a sewing machine, use a denim needle and a wide stitch length; tug on the two bobbin threads.) Hand-sew the gathered edge in a spiral shape as shown. Attach a safety pin to the back.

Denim Seat Cover

To make this stool cover, cut a circle from the inseam of a pair of jeans, then sew on a strip taken from the other leg to create a skirt.

Eye-Catching Quilt

To make the quilt, cut rectangles from gently worn jeans, ticking, and dish towels. After the pieces are sewn together, line the quilt with cotton batting and finish with a flannel backing.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, Volume 143 October 2005