February 19, 2016

Denim Days - EPP!

Welcome back for week 3 of Denim Days! Every Friday in February I'm sharing ideas for using up the seemingly never-ending supply of old jeans you may have tucked away in a closet, if you're anything like me. The best part about using old jeans for sewing projects? It's like having free fabric!
Click these links to see my posts from week 1 and week 2.

When I was first thinking about doing a series of projects with denim, I wondered if it would be possible to do English Paper Piecing with denim. Would it be too hard to hand stitch through the denim long enough to actually make something? Denim is a lot thicker than quilting cotton, after all.

Turns out, you can do EPP with denim! Not only that, but the thickness of the denim really doesn't affect the effort it takes to stitch. Sometimes, at the corners, it was a little harder to get the needle through, but other than that I didn't find any difference.

The first denim EPP project I made was a ball.
Blocks for scale...this is a nice size ball

Before Christmas I made a pentagon ball following the tutorial by Rob Appell of Man Sewing. To be honest, I really wasn't happy with it. It was sewn on the machine and I didn't think the intersections between the pentagons turned out as neat as they could have. I also found that as I stuffed the ball the fabrics at the opening frayed and that made it hard to stitch the opening closed neatly. So, for my denim version, I used the EPP templates provided by Abby at While She Naps. Because it's EPP, the intersections are so much neater! Plus, the edges of the opening were already basted down, so they didn't fray while I stuffed the ball, and stitching it closed was much easier.

A bunch of kids were playing with the ball last night and one of them was amazed by how soft it was. There's nothing quite like well worn denim, is there?

I couldn't resist make some hexagon flowers out of denim too. The centers are regular quilting cotton.
These are 1" hexagons, which I printed from Incompetech. Their site makes it quick and easy to make templates in any size.

I would recommend printing your templates on cardstock. That's what I did for the pentagon templates, but I forgot for the hexagons and printed them on regular printer paper. While I find regular paper fine for quilting cotton, I found it felt really flimsy with denim and I worried that I'd fold the edges of the paper when I folded the denim over to baste it. The cardstock felt much sturdier and didn't bend at all.

I used matching thread to machine applique the flowers to a white background.
I plan to do Flow Quilting all over the background, but I haven't decided what colour thread to use. I'm considering white (which would blend in completely), cream (which would almost blend in completely, but would be a little easier to see as I stitch), or yellow (which would make the quilting stand out). What do you think? I have special plans for this mini quilt, so stay tuned!

In other news, I'm almost finished the test version of my Just the Basics mystery quilt and I love, love, love it! It's so hard not to share any progress pictures here or on Instagram :)

The quilt-a-long will run for 6 months, from March-August, and new posts will come out on the first Wednesday of each month. That means the first post will be out on March 2! I can't wait to start! If you're interested in quilting along, be sure to follow my blog - the links for Bloglovin, Feedly and to follow by email are all on my sidebar. If you'd like to grab a button for your blog, that's on my sidebar too :)
It's hard to believe there's only one week left in February! I'll be back next Friday with the last Denim Days post.

Linking up with TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Finish it up Friday


  1. Thanks for linking up to TGIFF Leanne. As you can see it worked!. I love that denim ball and I appreciate all the information you gave about making it. I think yellow or cream for the hand quilting...although if it was me I would probably go with white to hide my stitches!

  2. What a cool idea! I have a huge pile of old jeans, just waiting for the right project - I may give this a try! Whoop whoop!!

  3. I don't typically like denim projects, but the denim ball is so cute! I'll have to give that a try! :) Thanks for the links to the patterns.

  4. I love that denim ball. It's such a great idea! I think just about everyone has some old denim laying around!

  5. Your denim ball is amazing! I have a little girl who would love this. I've never done EPP so this looks challenging!

  6. The denim ball is so cute! The fabric has such texture. Your instructions and links are wonderful! The quilt along sounds great!

  7. Love the denim hexies and I look forward to seeing your mystery QAL posts!

  8. Such a good idea for old jeans! I've made aprons out of holey jeans before, but my pile has been getting larger faster than I can use them. I never thought of EPP, thanks for sharing the idea! :)

  9. Great ideas for using denim. Congrats on the quilt along. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  10. I would never have thought that EPP and denim would work but you have definitely convinced me Leanne, your ball is great. I love your hexie flowers too. I vote for the yellow thread too :)

  11. Such a cute ball! I never would have thought to use denim with EPP, I would have assumed that it would be too thick.

  12. That ball is so cool! I'll have to try one myself! :)

  13. I, too, love that denim ball! I definitely need to make one!! Did you glue baste or thread baste? I've been trying to leave a comment from my phone for days, but my phone just does not like to let me submit comments on blogspot from my phone for some reason. I'm finally at a computer! Woooooo. So.... denim ball... I'm totally going to try it! What did you use for stuffing, too? Do you think wool batt would be a bad idea?


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