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Have you noticed how many denim jackets there are on social media that have been embellished with quilt blocks on the back.  Everywhere you look, if it’s not a quilt block, it’s some other patchwork addition.  Well, I for one, have watched all the Instagram posts of upcycled jackets, and I wanted to make my own.  But what to do?  I wanted to make something different.  Well, I decided I would quilt a mandala on the back of my jacket.  Something fun that I hadn’t seen before.

Let me show you what I did.  First I grabbed my supplies.  Jacket, tear away stabilizer, spray baste, stencil and chalk.

On the reverse side of my jacket, I measured and cut a piece of stabilizer a few inches larger than the center back panel.

Then I lightly spray basted the stabilizer into place.  Remember to spray on the stabilizer, not the fabric.  This temporary adhesive will keep the stabilizer from shifting around while quilting and add some stability to the stitching.

Next, I transferred my stencil design onto the jacket back with my Miracle Chalk pounce pad.  This chalk sticks to the fabric really well and comes off with an iron.

In some places, the chalk did rub off with handling. I kept an air soluble marker nearby to fill in any lines that disappeared.

Now it’s time to move to the machine.  I’m using my Baby Lock Regent.  This is a sit down long arm machine.

I grabbed a bunch of different color threads.  I was hoping that the colors I chose would show up in all that thick denim.  I started in the center.  The orange thread wasn’t showing up very well, so I had to backtrack over the stitching a few times.

Next, I added in my free motion quilting stitches in each row of the mandala, trying to vary the designs.  I did skip around from working in the center, to working the outside rows.  I thought this would prevent puckering, but really the only place the fabric puckered was in the very center because I stitched over that center orange flower several times.

I learned mid-way through that if I use the neon thread colors, the free motion stitching showed up really good.  I had some Glide neon in orange, green, yellow and pink. I wish I’d had more neon threads, but that was it.  I was able to work with it and finished making my free motion quilting designs in each row.  You can tell in this photo that a few colors didn’t show well – like the turquoise blue and purple.  But I’m fine with that.  I’m still happy with the finished product.

One thing I will change next time is use wash away stabilizer instead of tear away.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  There’s no way I’m going to pick out all this stabilizer.  I started to but that only lasted a few seconds….as you can see here.  lol

I already have an order to do the same mandala on my sister’s denim jacket!  Before I do, I’m buying a lot more neon color threads.  Regular threads just tend to sink into the denim.

So break out those denim jackets and start embellishing them with some fun free motion quilting!




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