Sunday, May 22, 2016

Denim and Lace Quilted Wallhanging, and the Endless Audition

A denim-and-lace collage is a delightful way to spend time. If you don't have any unwanted jeans, and/or lace scraps, they're all too easy to find at flea markets and thrift shops. Once you acquire a little lace and at least two pairs of jeans (more is better), let the good times roll!

Lay out a piece of  backing fabric, right side down (I used white muslin). Top it with cotton batting. My starting piece here is about 15" square. Arrange jeans strips on top.
Use the back of the denim to create more shades. I recommend against using part of a thick seam, as I did below center (I later regretted it - too thick, too conspicuous).
When everything was pinned down, I quilted a grid with white thread. Stop before each overlap, and if necessary, use a pointy tool (awl, seam ripper, long pin) to guide the leading edge of the next piece under the presser foot. If you don't do this, the foot will get stuck under a piece of denim, and you'll have to jiggle and curse and rip it out, which is extremely annoying. (Alternative: Methodically zig zag over every raw edge before proceeding any further.)

I used tape as my  guide to stitch straight lines from upper left to lower right. The tape also helped the seams slide under the presser foot. I moved the tape for each successive row.

Next, wavy lines from upper right to lower left. 
The back: 
Collect the lace scraps, and fire up the camera. Now comes the time sink. Playing with lace on denim is enthralling. Taking pictures of every option is annoying - I hate to stop for photography. But it's worth it. If you're anything like me, you'll wind up with a zillion possibilties and it will be EXTREMELY difficult to choose (or remember) just one

Digital images give me a good sense of how things actually look, as opposed to how I wish or imagine they look. It's especially helpful to pause the project for a few days before looking at the  photos again. 

What follows is an abbreviated slide show of my many experiments, which range from the horrible to the sublime...

Experiment 1: Vintage crocheted doily square in a square.

Experiment 2: Three lacy pieces.

 Experiment 3: Variegated ribbon yarn, with painted-lace flowers (leftover from a years-ago party.)

 Experiment 4: Intricate vintage sun doily

 Experiment 5: Angled strips

 Experiment 6: Garden with lace and homemade crochet.

 Experiment 7: Overgrown garden (aka "Throw everything at it and see what sticks!")

 Experiment 8: Sideways overgrown garden

 Experiment 9: Sideways overgrown garden with flowers

 Experiment 10: Dug up the dang garden, and went back to the first doily, now on point

Experiment 11: First doily with lone beanstalk.

 Experiment 12: First doily, with colored lace background.

After a digestion period, I looked at my images, and the best choice was obvious. 

Plopped the vintage crocheted doily in the middle, surrounded it with buttons, and tacked four unusual vintage lace pieces in the corners.

Next question: What will I do with it? This would have been a lovely memory piece if I'd used only my own family's jeans and laces. But as it is, they are the jeans and laces of strangers. I think this would make an interesting table mat, pillow, wallhanging, challah cover. Suggestions welcomed! Whatever it becomes, it was a ton of fun, and my many photos of the alternatives may provide fodder for future denim-and-lace projects.


  1. Lots of great ideas in each lace setting.
    I was a bit bothered in some that the denim didn't show, and it would have been just as effective done with cotton.
    Also I felt the white thread in the grid was a bit intrusive - though it suited your final choice really well. Might I suggest that you experiment with invisible thread and an anonymous blue?
    All said, your final version is great, and I really appreciate you showing us the "Getting There" steps. Thank You Helen from Hobart

    1. Helen, thanks for sharing your useful thoughts on this! I'm taking it ino consideration for my next denim piece!

  2. I think you should frame it in a box frame and hang it on the wall! It's very pretty :) Love the simplicity of the grid and the low key colours.

    1. Stephie, that's a great idea! I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Oh yes! That is exactly what i would have chosen. however, at some point I would have said, I have lots of lace and lots of jeans, i can make this KING sized!

  4. I might yet do it on a king size scale!!! Good idea!!!