Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reconstruction no.1


Reconstruction no.1 was a true exercise in creativity for me. It's the first time I ever worked with denim, (in a quilt) and I had to exercise a few brain muscles on this one.

First I didn't want there to be a lot of bulky seams, so I kept most of the seams open and raw edged, securing them with zig-zag stitching.


Secondly, I was unprepared for how the twill weave on some of the pieces would prevent me from having an easy time quilting... the more I quilted the more some of these areas stretched and expanded, leaving me with long ridges and channels of excess fabric. Unlike the old quilting adage, "you can quilt it out" meaning the more you quilt the flatter the fabric will become, I found that the more I quilted the worse things got.

I don't know if it is because I am a big fan of "Project Runway" of if it was because I was using old denim pants, but I kept hearing the voice of Tim Gunn in my head, repeating his mantra, "Make it work!"
So I did!...


I cut long slashes where the fabric ran in raised gopher-made-like trails, and inserted red printed japanese fabric strips behind. Then I turned the raw denim edges in and carefully stitched things down.


I added an applique patch in one other problem area, and then scattered a few more all around the quilt to balance things out visually.


And I also added lots of big, red embroidered stitches through out... just for good measure....




and intentionally included certain naturally occurring imperfections found in the recycled denim, as honestly that is what drew me to wanting to work with it in the first place.


And when I was done, I found that the "problems" I had encountered and my solutions to them, ultimately created a quilt that was much more rich and interesting then anything I had originally set out to do. (But as for working with denim again... not so sure about that... we will see!)


Reconstruction no.1 is available for sale in my Etsy shop.

39 comments:

Kristin L said...

It's fantastic! There is such a vibrancy to this that, had you not told the story, I doubt anyone would even consider that you hadn't intended from the start to include the Japanese fabric. Love it.

Carol E. said...

I'm not a big fan of denim in quilts, but I LOVE THIS ONE. You are super creative, even when it happens on the fly.

Alissa said...

Wow. I don't comment often but you are a constant source of inspiration for me! Amazing quilt!!

Cheryl Arkison said...

That is a very cool piece. I can totally see you hearing Tim Gunn in your head! Glad to see you with some creative juices back.

Andi said...

So original.
Beautiful!!

Michelle | Cicada Studio said...

Looks like you've got your groove on again! Nothing like a sink-your-teeth-in challenge to get an Aries back on top. ;P
This is amazing.

Stephanie said...

I'm happy for the grooves because you solved the problem so beautifully. LOVE Tim Gunn...can't wait for the new season. My sewing machine lady told me the reason for the channeling is tension. I can adjust the top or bottom tension on my Janome.

Jackie said...

This is a wonderful piece. Isn't it funny that we take things apart only to put them back together again?

Kate/Massachusetts said...

It's awesome! You did an incredible job! I like how your brain muscles work! :-)

pattynubs said...

The imperfections from the hem remind me of shibori. I think these are the best part! I have some old demin jeans of my son's and I was going to make him quilt out of them. Now since I have seen how carefully you took the jeans apart, I think I will follow that path instead of using just the "good" parts. Thanks for the inspiration!

Evelyn said...

I love it! Thanks for the detailed description of how you made it - I really love to hear about the process.

shellysquilts said...

Victoria, This is freakin AWESOME! You are beyond a double genius! I luv it, luv it, luv it! Isn't it funny how having to solve some innocuous problem can stretch you creatively? You rock my friend!!

Meagan said...

I believe all of my comments to you are along the line of "!!!" such that any praise I bestow becomes trite. So I will not use the words "fabulous," "wonderful," or "I love it!"

It *looks* very organic, even if the creation was labor-intensive. I am drawn to the curves in the fabric, but have not had enough coffee yet this morning to be able to describe why they're pulling me in.

soggybottomflats said...

omg, this is the coolest! You make art look so easy, wish I had your talent. Thank you so much for sharing, Elaine

please sir said...

Looks wonderful and I love the hints of color and pattern!

Hey Harriet said...

Unbelievable to thing this piece of amazing art you've created was made from old jeans! Well done you! This is so very cool! I don't know who Tim Gunn is but I'm glad you listened to him. Make it work? That you most certainly did!!!

I think I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't seen Project Runway...

connie said...

I love this. I have a box of jeans left over from some seat covers I made for outside. I will have to take a photo of what I did. Zig Zag is the answer to assembling though. I did not quilt them. You did a lovely job.

Dena said...

I love your denim quilt. Please don't take this the wrong way... but it reminds me of a road under construction. You start out with something rather ordinary and with a few cuts and turns, a patch here and there, and finally the landscaping you've completely transformed the 'space'. Great job!

GloJoeSews said...

I, too, love the imperfections in the denim. It gives the quilt movement. And the red stitching looks great--good choice. Thanks for sharing your process. I've wanted to try denim out, too, but have been intimidated by it. Good to see/read about how someone worked it with such success!

Amy C said...

totally beautiful, I love those worn in seams the red stitching details and embroidered crosses, you are amazing

KQuiltyBee said...

I love this--just working with the fabric! Inspiring!

ROZ said...

I love it! It's a beautiful quilt. Can't say I would be up to wrestling with the seams that occur when sewing denim, though.

Diva Quilts said...

WOW.

Like someone said above, though I'm a follower, this is the first time I've commented. I LOVE THIS QUILT!!!!!

So. Beautiful.

Thanks for sharing!

Gerry said...

This is really cool. Loved it the moment I saw it.
And, certainly is an inspiration for creating something off the norm. Thanks!

Jackie said...

I am a big fan of denim reconstructed(did you see my bodice?) and this is so lovely with the patterned fabric bits in.

nessadee said...

What a beautiful piece of art!

Allie said...

This is such an amazing piece! I say it all the time - there's no such thing as mistakes, they're design opportunities, and it looks like you made the most of them! I love this.
I do some machine embroidery, and have tried to do it on denim without a lot of success - it's stretchier than you might think. Kudos to you for persevering to make something beautiful!

Curtis Collectables :) said...

That's so cute! I love it.

Fer said...

I just love the way you've tackled this, prepared to adapt and learn from the fabric. As a result you've created a truly unique piece. I really admire your ingenuity.

jacquie said...

this is so interesting and thoughtful...i do have to tell you when i saw it from afar...i imagined an old farmer sitting at the dinner table after a hearty supper. he's undone his belt and his jeans unzipped just a bit to make room after cleaning his plate.

Jill said...

Wow! I love this, Amazing!

Colleen MacDonald said...

It's really so rich and beautiful, Victoria! I especially love the hand stitches, and the curving shape from afar. Great job on this challenge!

blazedanielle said...

I love the red thread! ;) great detail!

Chase said...

Love your quilt! I love the idea of using denim on a quilt!

^___^**

Rita said...

As a result you've created a truly unique piece. I really admire your ingenuity.

RITA

Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

kelly said...

I LOVE this piece, Victoria. The inserted pieces of red are a touch of brilliance. It's all so fantastic.

Thank you so much for sharing.

6p00e553feb2ab8834 said...

This is stunningly gorgeous. I am in love. Do you take layaway? :o)

Found your blog and shop thru Kickcan and Conkers. I've fallen hard and fast...Thank you for all the beautiful inspiration!

Best,
Amy
www.sweetsweetlife.typepad.com

Deirdre said...

I found this image on Quilt Diva's flickr site, and fell in love with the piece, and when I saw "SillyBooDilly" I wasn't surprised! I really, really love it... and you DID make it work. It is a testament to how when things go wrong, it can force a solution that is not only beautiful, but also possibly indicates a whole new direction! Nice work....

Bernapatch said...

C'est magnifique, bravo !