Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reuse, reclaim, recycle: Jeans Therapy

Those of you who have been following us for a while know that we adore quilts made from reclaimed clothing.  Recently we saw an extraordinary wall quilt with denim fringe and a Jeans label. The quilt, called "Jeans Therapy",  won a blue ribbon at the Pacific West Quilt Show.  This beautiful piece was made with a Folded Log Cabin technique.  Have you heard of this method of log cabin construction? We love the dimensional look of the layered 'logs' !

Jeans Therapy, 25.5 x 36", by Sarah Kaufman, author of Folded Log Cabin Quilts (C&T Publishing)

Folded Log Cabin quilting is a unique process of  "log stacking" onto a foundation, resulting in handsome and weighty art pieces. Sarah Kaufman explained her inspiration for the name, Jeans Therapy: "Sometimes I name a quilt first, but usually it comes to me upon completion of a piece. This quilt has a 'blue jeans' feel about it, with the denim fringe. I love words (I am a crossword puzzle addict). I saw a fun twist with the term 'Gene Therapy'........ and VOILA!"

'Jeans Therapy' is actually made from cottons in many blue hues, a shirting chambray, and a few cherished indigos from Japan. The fringe is from a denim dress which Sarah found at a Goodwill thrift store. The primary quilt stitch which she used on the sashing is a utility stitch called Crows Footing, with #8 Perle cotton thread. This design is called “Love Thy Neighbor” in the book Folded Log Cabin Quilts (C&T Publishing). A chapter in the book gives full instructions for this log cabin variation, where each block plays off its ‘neighbor’.

Shirts, by Sarah Kaufman, author of Folded Log Cabin Quilts

With its many narrow rows of shirt stripes, these blocks appear to vibrate with energy.  Sarah Kaufman says:  "'Shirts' was made in 1999, the year my husband and I moved from Washington State to Hawaii. I cut up all of the long sleeve, button-down shirts we no longer needed. The buttons were recycled to the center squares, to aid in ‘quilting the sandwich’. Shirt labels, too, were saved and inserted in the pleats. The backing for this piece was made from pieced sleeve sections. Thread was the only purchase for this quilt!" 

East Meets Western, 28-1/2 x 43", by Sarah Kaufman, author of Folded Log Cabin Quilts

The dazzling “East Meets Western”, made in 2007, features lightweight denim and shirting chambray from reclaimed garments.  With the narrow ¼’’ strips, after folding, a 7’’ quilt block takes approximately 1/3 yard of fabric… a very good reason to incorporate suitable-weight fabrics from recycled clothing: lightweight denim, shirting and other cottons.  Because of the weight of the layers of fabric in the blocks, batting is not needed for these quilts (we like that idea !) 

Folded Log Cabin Quilts, available at
Image credits and links:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Sarah Kaufman of Bend, Oregon - formerly from Shaw Island, Washington and Haleiwa Hawaii.  Sarah is passionate about Folded Log Cabin quilting and has had winning entries in many quilt shows.  Since returning to Oregon in 2005, The Stitchin' Post has been the primary venue for her classes.  You can see more examples of Folded Log Cabin Quilts, and an interview with Sarah Kaufman, at the C&T Publishing blog.


  1. These are just gorgeous quilts, I'd like to see them in real life, they must have so much texture, of course the blue one is my favourite :)

  2. I am having trouble locating the bluejean stocking pattern. I have a house full of teen almost (twenty-teens), and thought if I started now I could make a bunch for next Christmas.

  3. Hi Gloria: The denim stocking pattern was featured in our Free Pattern Day for Denim Quilts: We have sent you an email with the links.

  4. Hi! I'm looking for the rag denim quilt pattern. Is it not available anymore? Thanks, Angie
    If it as available can you email to:


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