The tightly woven twill weave of the cotton, with its distinctive white and blue warp and weft threads (the warp threads were dyed with an indigo dye, today the dye is synthetic), whereas the weft threads remain plain white) is easy to distinguish from other fabrics. Contemporary retail manufacturers produce denim jeans or denim jackets with a desired faded denim look. The fading is caused by the blue dye of the warp threads washing or bleaching away leaving the white weft threads more visible. Nowadays denim fabric comes in a riot of colors, not just the traditional blues. The durability of denim transcends most other woven cottons and can be found in upholstery, handbags, sneakers, of course clothing and clothing accessories.
Easy to Sew Denim Projects
Denim Rose – Tear, rather than cut, a 2 or 3 inch width of denim fabric about 18 inches long – a denim jeans leg scrap works well. Hand stitch or machine baste a running stitch along one long edge, then pull to gather and the rose will naturally curl in. A few stitches on the back of the rose will secure the shape. Add a jewelry pin back or safety pin to be able to attach the rose pin to a jacket, tote or pillow. Tearing the denim adds a shabby frayed look to the rose for a vintage touch.
Eyeglass Case – Measure and cut the denim fabric about 7 inches by 7 inches (larger if necessary to fit sunglasses for example). If you want the eyeglass case to have a soft lining, cut lining fabric (soft flannel is a great choice) the same. Stitch both right sides together using a narrow seam, leaving a small opening to turn right side out. Press, then fold over lengthwise and top stitch closed along the long edge and one short edge.
Bolster Pillow – One yard of denim fabric, or denim pants leg seams opened and one bolster style pillow form can make the comfortable support bed pillow. Fabric width will be the circumference of the pillow plus seam allowance, the fabric length will be the length of the pillow bolster form plus seam allowance. Cut two circles of fabric to cover each end, plus seam allowance. Fold the fabric lengthwise right sides together and stitch from each end to the center, leaving about 6 inches in the center not sewn to eventually insert the pillow form. Pin fabric circles, one to each end and stitch all around. Turn right sides out, insert pillow form and hand sew opening closed. Add ribbon or lace trim to bolster for decorative embellishment.
Potholders – When making any kind of potholder be sure and use heat resistant cotton (not polyester) batting to insulate the potholder. Cut two 9 inch squares of denim fabric and two 9 inch squares of the heat resistant batting (if batting is thick, one layer will do). Layer the denim right-sides together and the batting on top. Add a folded piece of ribbon or denim fabric piece to form a loop for hanging the potholder and sandwich the loop in the denim layers, loop facing in. Stitch in a 3/8 inch seam all around, leaving an opening to turn. Trim corners, then turn right sides out. Press and hand stitch or machine stitch opening closed. Top stitch around all edges to secure batting to fabric.
Upcycle or recycle denim jeans into a myriad of clever projects: Market totes, lunch bags, eReader and tablet covers, cell phone cases, throw pillows, patchwork quilt projects, weave into throw rugs or baskets, kitchen appliance covers, placemats, soft toys, slippers, craft aprons – the list is essentially endless!
Sew happy, sew inspired.
Easy Denim Tote with Floral Brooches from Martha Stewart