The Pants Project: Beginnings

My brother-in-law, Matthew, was an avid lover, wearer, and apparent collector of vintage plaid pants. These pants were such a staple of his personality that they even merited a mention in his obituary. I think that there were only two occasions when I saw him wearing any pants that weren't part of this collection: his wedding, and mine. Therefore, when I was asked to make a quilt out of part of his pant assemblage for my sister-in-law, it was a weird sort of honor. When we saw her this weekend, she gave me two great garbage bags full of plaid pants (and a couple of shirts) so that I could get started.

A portion of the pants in my posession - I've already cut up a few pairs.

Now, I have never quilted before. I am a novice sew-er, but I'm not planning (and she's not expecting) anything fancy. Probably just squares, possibly rectangles. So, armed with this book, the internet, some quilting tools, and an army of plaid fabric, I hope to make a decent quilt.

Tan terry-cloth shirt on the left, pirate t-shirt on the right. Matt wore both of these often.

Here is what I know: I'm going to use the pirate shirt graphic as the centerpiece. I may use the tan terry-cloth shirt fabric as a border for the centerpiece, and might use squares of it for the corner squares, as well. I am trying to salvage as much fabric as I can, but also the buttons, fasteners, and zippers. I'm collecting one of each type of fastener and maybe a few pockets to make a little book or mini-quilt for my nephew (similar to the ones with velcro, buttons, etc) to practice his motor skills when he's a bit older. I started cutting into the pants yesterday, and for now I'm just cannibalizing the fabric and making it into more-or-less rectangles. Once I got the hang of where the best places to cut and how far to slice and such, it went fairly quickly. Each pair results in a tidy little pile of four pieces of fabric, like this:

...and I'd guess that there's 3/8 to 1/2 yard there total. How big of a quilt this ends up being will depend on how much fabric there is when all the cutting's done, and at that point I'll probably come up with measurements and sketch up what the finished product will look like.

In the meantime, do you have any quilting tips for me?


Becky said...

I'm not much of a quilter (I leave that to my mom), but I do know enough to know that the seam allowances are generally a lot smaller than standard fashion sewing-- 1/4" vs. 5/8". That's the best I can do.

And good luck with your quilt-- it sounds like it's going to be a great tribute.

Candi said...

I've never tried quilting, but yours sure looks like it is going to be awesome! Good luck!

Rose said...

A couple of quilting tips: cut your fabric on grain and measure carefully (a small difference adds up to a lot on a quilt) so be sure you hold that ruler still!; If you don't have a 1/4" foot for your machine, you might consider buying one. The seams have to be precise. It sounds like you have a great start on the design with the pirate head in the center. Oh, does that pie ever look wonderful! I've left you an award on my blog for you to pick up.