Denim is such a ubiquitous material in our life — a true wardrobe staple. It’s straightforward, unfussy and tough, yet its versatility can be under-appreciated. That under-appreciated flexilibity is one reason I love working with it. When I pick out a pair of jeans at Goodwill, they’ve already lived a good life, but they can be stripped down and turned into something completely new. This project allows you to give a couple of favorite pairs a second life.
You Will Need:?
Denim sewing machine needle
Hand sewing needle
2-3 pairs of jeans (approximately)
1 ½ lbs stuffing (approximately), such as Fiberfill
Rotary cutter or fabric scissors
1. Start cutting. To begin, you’ll need to strip out all the seams and pockets so you have 4 large, flat pieces from each pair of jeans. But don’t toss out the seams! You can send them in to Cotton From Blue to Green and they can become insulation in someone’s house.
Cut the denim to pieces of these measurements:
- Eight 5.25 inch squares – light or mixed denim
- Eight 5.25 inch squares – dark denim
- Four 16.75 x 4.5 inch boxing panels
- Two 17 x 4.75 inch bottom panels
- Two 17 x 4.5 inch bottom panel
2. Create the top square. Cut each square in half diagonally, being as precise as possible. Arrange the triangles to create the arrow pattern, matching up a dark triangle with a light triangle to create a square. Make a new contrasting square by lining up two triangles, right sides facing each other. Pin and sew along the diagonal using a ¼ inch seam. Repeat so that you have sixteen contrasting squares. Press the diagonal seam of each square to one side, sew down seam and trim excess fabric.
Begin connecting the squares, creating four horizontal rows of four squares. Be mindful that you are keeping the arrow pattern intact.
Press the seams of the first row to the left, the second to the right, and so on. This will keep you from having to sew through stacked seams when you connect the rows.
To connect the rows, sew slowly at times through the layers of denim. You will now have a completed 17 inch top square. Measure and carefully trim to 17 inches, if necessary.
3. Create the boxing strip. Connect the four boxing panels to make one continuous loop by pinning and sewing at the 4.5 inch sides, right sides facing in. Use a ¼ inch seam. Press the seams to one side and sew down.
4. Create the bottom. Line up the two 17 x 4.75 inch bottom panels on the 17 inch side, pin and sew using a ¼ inch seam. Press seam to one side and sew down. ?Connect the other two panels, one on each side, using a ¼ inch seam. Press the seams to one side and sew down. You will now have your 17 inch bottom square.
5. Put it all together. Match up one of the boxing strip seams to the center top of your top square. With the right sides facing in, line up the raw edges and begin pinning down. When you are ¼ inch from the corner, make a 1 cm snip into the boxing strip. Turn the boxing strip so that the raw edges line up the second side of the top square, and continue pinning. Repeat at the next corner, until the entire boxing strip is pinned down to your top square.? Beginning just below one corner, sew the boxing strip to top square using a ½ inch seam. For one continuous seam, pivot the square at each corner by putting the needle in the down position and turning the square.
Connect the bottom square in the same fashion, but leave a five inch opening to turn the pillow right side out. Snip the corners close to the seam so they will be sharp when you turn it right side out. Turn pillow right side out, push out corners and press seams.
6. Fill it and finish it. Fill pillow with the stuffing, tufting the Fiberfill a bit before stuffing into pillow. Continue stuffing, making sure corners tightly filled. Stuff it a little more than you think you need. You should use about 1 ½ pounds of stuffing. Finish the cushion by slip-stitching the opening closed.
If you make your own denim cushion, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group. What’s your favorite way to reuse denim? Let us know in the comments below!