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Denim Faux Cathedral Window Quilt

This project took way too long to do.  When I first set out to make this quilt using the fabric Northcott had sent me I figured a couple weeks at most.  I already had the four patches pieced, this was the second design, for the fabric.  I had thought I had something new but while putting the quilt together I realized I wasn't the first to do a denim faux cathedral window quilt but I will be the first to be bluntly honest with you on how they go together.

denim faux cathedral window quilt

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There's not really a pattern here.  It's pretty straight forward and it sounds really easy.  Cut or piece squares, cut circles from denim, sew the circles together to make the quilt top, press open seams, put your fabric squares inside, and topstitch.  Easy, peasy right?  There's a reason so many people have called this a one and done project after they finished.  I'm not trying to keep anyone from doing this I just want you prepared.

The piecing was easy.  I love this line of fabric.  Really, ColorWorks from Northcott is one of my favorite lines of fabric.  I thought the denim would really make those funky prints pop.  The denim really does make it pop.  It just wasn't as easy as I had imagined it to be.

That's where things went south, the denim.  I didn't use up-cycled denim.  Years ago there was a Lee jeans manufacturing plant in the area.  A lot of people worked there, my mom included.  The factory sold tailings, pieces too big to toss but too small to use for another garment, and when it closed it sold most of its fabric to the workers.  I bought a huge tub of tailings and yardage of this super heavy denim.  That's what I used.  The denim was very stiff and that made cutting a pain in the butt.

Let's talk cutting for a minute.  I purchased a circle cutter.  It and the denim fought, it works fine cutting my cotton fabric just not the really heavy denim.  That makes sense because I'm not sure you can even purchase denim this heavy anymore.  I had used paper to make templates to figure out what sizes I need to cut.  Paul ended up cutting all of my circles for me from the paper pattern and a 28mm rotary cutter.  He can free hand pretty well with a rotary cutter I can't.  The few I did I traced the circle and cut it out with scissors.

Once you have all those circles cut out you have to trace your square ON EVERY CIRCLE.  They aren't perfect circles so you need not only a line to sew on but you'll use those lines to make sure your circles are aligned.  Take it from me if you attempt to skip this step you'll do a lot of picking out seams and you'll end up tracing squares on all of them anyway.

Sewing the circles together to make rows is easy.  I could have made 1000 rows it was that easy.  It was sewing the rows together that was not so easy.  The first few were a snap.  The more rows you add the heavier it gets.  The heavier it gets the more you have to fight it.  The weight pulls it and the feed dogs just can't overcome the 4000 pounds of denim.

Pressing all of the seams open is easy too.  Adding the squares isn't hard either.  I used a glue stick to hold them in place.  At this point, I was happy I was adding fabric I loved because if it had been the fabric I sorta liked the project would be in the trash.  The ColorWorks fabric made me smile and renewed my want to finish the project.

So I was renewed to finish the project.  I found the perfect variegated thread.  I was ready.  Then I tried to follow those curves.  Oh, my those curves, 4000 pounds of weight, the struggle was real.  I picked out so many stitches.  I finally passed it off to Paul.  He did a great job following the curves but got stuck just a bit when it came closing the outside edges.  The weight of the quilt had pulled the ends apart a bit and that had to be fixed.  In an effort to secure that he went around the outside edges twice and didn't follow the curves.

When it came time to wash I used ColorCatchers to trap the extra dye from the denim.  I didn't want the white fabric to turn blue.  It took 5 of them to catch all the dye.  You'll find a lot of denim strings in your washer.  I did a second rinse so in between rinses I reached in and cleaned out the strings.  When I tossed it in the dryer I cleaned the lint trap a few times too.

IF I was ever to make another one of these I would use recycled denim that was thinner.  I think a lot of our problems were caused by the heavy denim.  The weight of the denim really caused problems pulling even on a sewing machine cabinet.  I'm thrilled with the end results it was just the process of getting there that was a pain.

I just want to thank Northcott fabrics for sending over the fat quarter bundle and letting me play with it.  I love their fabric if I get it from them or if I buy it at my LQS.  I actually love it so much I put it on some shoes.

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colorworks denim faux cathedral window quilt

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Well isn't that creative! Thanks for sharing this on Midweek Makers today!

  2. Wow! I get really frustrated with problem-projects and give in even if I love the fabrics. Great job on finishing! It is lovely!

  3. Wow, Mel, this is a gorgeous labor of ... love? :) The fabric squares really make this quilt. Both you and Paul made this quilt gorgeous. I bet it is heavier than sin!! I can't imagine using batting and backing. lol Your insights are so helpful. What a great backstory also. Thank you!

  4. Oh man I bet that quilt was heavy when quilting! But it turned out lovely! I'm glad you provided your true insights into the process. If I wanted to make a similar quilt, I'd have a good idea of the pluses and minuses. Thanks for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.