Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt

(UPDATED 2/23/23)

Have you ever slept under a denim patchwork quilt? There is nothing better! There is just something about the heaviness of the denim and the coziness of a soft flannel fabric that just seems to tuck you in and comfort you. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how easy it is to make a quilt using upcycled denim jeans.

My sister-in-law gave my husband a denim patchwork quilt many years ago and it has been a family favorite. We use it to throw it on the lawn for a picnic, watching fireworks, or just add some warmth to our bed on a cold winter’s night.

denim patchwork quilt

I have been saving jeans for many years with the intention of making each one of my kids an Upcycled Denim Patchwork Quilt. I made my oldest son a denim quilt when he graduated from high school and planned on doing the same for the other two kids.

Last Christmas I made another quilt for my youngest son and now it’s time to make one for my daughter. So I’m cutting out denim squares again.

You can watch PART ONE of a 3 part series below.

QUEEN SIZE QUILT: Cut out 132 squares. 

FULL/PICNIC SIZE:  Cut out 108 squares.

One night my husband, bless his heart, helped me cut. I opened up the jeans and marked them, and he cut. We had quite the process going. (He is a manufacturing engineer)!


Denim Patchwork Quilt Materials & Items Needed

  • upcycled jeans/corduroy
  • scissors
  • scrap paper
  • oaktag paper or upcycled cereal box
  • pen/pencil
  • sticky notes/scrap paper
  • pins
  • sewing machine/serger
  • optional yarn for tying the quilt.

1-  MAKE A TEMPLATE of the size square you want.

I found about the biggest square you can get out of most jeans’ pant legs was a 8 x 8-inch square. You could always make this smaller if you wanted. I like to use oak tag paper. Oak Tag is similar to poster board, except it is thicker and holds up better. You will see it used a lot in the packaging of clothing, and other items. You can also use recycled cereal boxes.

I always save it to use on pattern templates, stencils, and of course VALENTINES!



Here is a video showing how to deconstruct a pair of jeans to make it easier for cutting out these squares.

3-  TRACE AROUND TEMPLATE using a pen.

You can include the seam of the pants in one square if needed. This actually gives a little character anyway. To optimize fabric usage, butt up the edges of the square whenever possible.

Include a few pockets in your quilt, especially if you have a pocket with a good tag. Make sure you have enough fabric around the pocket (3/8 inch) for sewing.

denim patchwork quilt4-  COUNT OUT SQUARES BY TENS and place a scrap piece of paper with the number of squares up to that point written on it, between the layers.

(That way you will not waste time counting over and over again to see how many squares you have).

denim patchwork quiltDouble/queen-size quilt: 132 squares. Make rows of 11 squares x 12 rows.

Full/Picnic-size quilt: 108 squares. Make rows of 9 x 12 rows.

denim quiltLay out the squares in rows on the floor so you can get a visual of what it will look like. Adjust as you want.

Start stacking the rows with the top left square on the top.


SEWING the denim patchwork QUILT TOP TOGETHER

    1. Place two squares  Right Sides Together (RST) and sew a seam using a 3/8 seam allowance. I used my serger which works really well if you have one. No worries if you don’t have a serger.
    2. Open the two squares up and place another square (RST) and sew that seam.  Continue in this manner until you have 11/9  squares sewn together in a long strip.  *Alternate colors and shades of denim to give it some character.denim patchwork quilt
    4. Sew 12 strips. denim patchwork quilt
    5. Now to join the strips:  Place row 1 and row 2  (RST) and sew all the way down one edge of the strip.  (Take time to line up the seams as you go). Flip one row seam allowance up and the other down to interlocking the seams. (I find this is the best way to get the seams lined up)
    6. Open the two strips up and place strip 3 on the two already sewn together.  Sew that strip on.  Now you have three strips sewn together.  Add one more strip making a section of 4 rows of 11/9.denim quilt foursome
    7. Set that foursome aside and build another foursome in the same manner, until you have 4 sets of 4.
    8. Now to join them all together, place two of the foursomes (RST) and sew.  Do that again with the other two foursomes.

This gets a little bulky sewing it all together, just take your time and give yourself some room around your sewing machine.

Denim Patchwork Quilt Back

Instead of buying about 6 yards of fabric and having to piece it together, I have found buying a flannel sheet set is cheaper and you usually get a better quality fabric. Don’t settle for a thin piece of flannel, as you will want it to be durable.


I found this Eddi Bauer queen-size sheet set at Burlington Coat Factory for around $39.00. It came with a flat and fitted sheet and two pillowcases. My son was thrilled to have a new bottom sheet and some matching pillowcases. It was a good thick flannel as well.

To Tie The Denim Patchwork Quilt

Watch this video to see how to tie a quilt using quilting frames and without quilting frames.

Choose a matching color of yarn to tie the quilt with.

Throw it on your quilting frames and tie it away.

I tied this quilt at the corners and one in the center. There is nothing better than an afternoon with a friend, sitting around chatting while you tie a quilt. That is about how long it took the two of us, 2 1/2 hours. It was so enjoyable and relaxing to tie the quilt!

Binding The Quilt

Binding quilts by hand is so enjoyable to me. I am not sure why? There is just something about it. It takes a bit longer, but I think it looks much nicer and is good therapy.

You can use the sewing machine to bind it if you like.

I usually leave about an inch of flannel around the edge. Fold the flannel edge over 1/2 inch and roll again over the denim top about a 1/2 inch and sew in place.

I like to personalize my quilts with some kind of endearing tag.

Want some other upcycled jeans project ideas? Check out this post.

Have fun sewing!





Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY Felt Mums – No Sew Craft Project

There are so many cute flowers you can make from felt and in this DIY tutorial I am going to show you how easy it is to make felt mums. This is a NO SEW craft project and something you can make in no time at all.

There are so many possibilities when working with felt. You can also use FLEECE to make these flowers. Of course, you can use whatever colors you want to make these darling little mums, I LOVE YELLOW!

I am going to show you how to make two varieties of felt mums, a tight short blossom and a spider mum (longer floppy petals).

You can add a stem and leaves to the flowers, or attach a broach pin and apply it your clothing, handbag, hat or even a headband.



1-  Plug in your hot glue gun.

2-  Using a water bottle lid or the circle pattern from PDF, trace around it and cut out one for every flower you are making onto the green felt. I like to use a disappearing ink sewing marker or you can just use a pencil or chalk pen. Cut out circles and set aside.

3-  Cut out leaves out of green felt (optional)

4-  Get the felt you are using for the flower petals and cut a strip of felt 1 x 10 inches.

5-  You are going to be folding this strip in half lengthwise and gluing it together.

Apply a string of glue along the long edge of felt. Fold felt in half with the glue in the middle and edges lined up. Press in place.

Take your scissors and cut little snips 1/8 inches apart. LEAVE ¼ INCH UNCUT along the edge. Do this the whole length of the strip.

6-  Apply a little dab of glue to the uncut edge.

Start rolling the felt strip onto itself, cinnamon roll style. Apply a little dab of glue, then roll, following this process until you’ve rolled the whole strip. (Keep edge even and be careful not to burn yourself with the hot glue).

7-  Now you need to fill the hollow underside of blossom with either a wad of stuffing or I just use little felt scraps from the green felt circles that you just cut.

Apply hot glue to the hollow and stuff the wad of felt into it to fill. (No worries, you will be covering this up with the felt circle).

8-  Take the floral wire and cut it to the desired length.

9-  Using the needle nose pliers, wrap the end of the wire around the tip of the pliers to form a little spiral circle. Bend the circle over to make it flat.

10- Apply a dab of hot glue to the wad of felt on the underside of the blossom. (In the center)

Stick the end of the stem onto the dab of glue and hold until it adheres.

11- Take the green circle you cut out and fold it in half.

Clip a tiny slit into the center. Feed the end of the floral wire into the circle and pull it up the stem halfway.

Apply some hot glue onto the top of the circle and slide it up to the underside of the flower. Center the circle over the wad of felt and secure in place. Add more glue along the edge if needed.

12- If you want to add a leaf or two, cut out the desired leaf style.

(Leaf tutorial will be available soon). If you want the leaf to have more structure and bendable, apply paddle wire or stem wire to the underside of leaf using the hot glue.

13- Decide where you want the leaf to be on the stem. Using the floral wire, start to wrap around the stems of leaf and flower to hold them together. Wrap down a ways and add another leaf if you want, or just wrap floral tape the whole length of stem and rip off when at the end.

Place the flowers in a cute tall skinny jar. I like these recycled olive jars.


1- Cut out a strip of felt 1 ¼ inch x 18 inches. (To make smaller flowers, just roll until you get the blossom the size you want and cut it there)

Instead of folding the strip lengthwise, fold it in half crosswise. Cut little slits leaving ¼ inch UNCUT. Slits can be cut bigger if you want the flower petals to be wider. Cut the whole length of strip.

Unfold, and you should have long petals instead of looped petals.

Roll and glue just as described above, until you’ve rolled the size of blossom you want. Cut if you want it smaller than the whole length.

2-  Apply the stem as described above.


1-  Using the glue gun, simply glue a broach pin to the underside of blossom instead of a stem.

These felt mums make cute additions to any floral arrangements. Look how cute this mum is looks in the wristlet corsage we made for my sons prom date.

You can get the whole FELT FLOWER SET pattern here.


Play Video

Like I said, the possibilities are endless. Have fun using your creative bones to make some felt or fleece flowers.

I would love for you to share what you make. Post your photos on Instagram and tag them #fibersandtwigs

Have fun creating.




DIY Bow Tie | Streamlined Sewing Method

Would you like to make a unique, classy bow tie for your man, or yourself? I have a DIY streamlined sewing method that you’re going to love. It’s a very simple sewing project that even a beginner seamstress can handle.

Why would you want to wear a bow tie?

It used to be that wearing a bow tie was a thing for the science guys and nerds, but not anymore! These days, wearing a bow tie represents pure creativity and a confident willingness to be different. I love that!! To me, it shows someone with a little spunk, style, and a bit of a playful side.


When my boys were in their teens, (now 25 and 30 years old), they started wearing bow ties to church. They were the only boys wearing them, and I loved it. My youngest son actually designed this particular bow tie.

This hand-sketched pattern has been stuck to the bulletin board in my sewing room for about 10 years. I thought it was time to share it and make it accessible for others to use. There are several types of bow ties: pre-tied, clip, and freestyle tie. This particular pattern is for a FREESTYLE tie. Don’t worry, I will include some instructions below.

It really is a simple fun project to make. I am going to show you a non-traditional method of sewing it together that really does make it so much easier.

Here is what you’ll need


Pattern will need to be downloaded, printed, cut out and pieced together. If using the method I’m going to be showing you, cut the dark inner lines on the pattern. (You will be tracing around the edges of the pattern, so get a clean smooth cut)


Cut strips of interfacing 2 ½ wide the length of the fabric, usually 45 inches. (If you don’t have interfacing that long, just cut several strips.

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and with right sides together.

Place the interfacing, bumpy side down onto the fabric. Center the strip down the whole width of the fabric.

Set the iron settings for STEAM, and for whatever type of fabric you are using.

Press the interfacing onto the fabric. Flip over and press again.


Now you are ready to trace the pattern onto the interfacing side of fabric.

There are several different things you can use to trace. I like using a chalk pencil because it doesn’t show through on the other side of fabric. You can also use a water soluble ink pen that is specific for sewing and fabric use. The purple ink (which is what I like to use) will disappear after a short time. The blue ink needs water applied to disappear. Not my favorite.

Leave a little bit of room on the end of the pattern for the seam allowance.

Trace one side of the tie and then flip pattern, line up the center ends and trace the other side.

THIS WILL BE YOUR STITCHING LINE. You will NOT be leaving a seam allowance. You will cut that after you sew!

Mark the NO SEW ZONE.

Pin the two fabric layers together.


Set sewing machine settings to regular straight stitch, about 2 ½ length. Thread machine with corresponding color of thread.

You will be sewing right on the stitching line you just traced.

Starting at the edge of the NO SEW ZONE, backstitch and then sew all the way around.

Take your time sewing around the corners. SEW SLOWLY!

Stop at the other end of NO SEW ZONE and backstitch.

Using the fabric scissors, cut out the tie leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Clip notches on the corners and curve indents, making sure not to cut into the seam! (This will help with bulk and allow the tie to lie nice and flat when pressing).

Using the turning stick, turn the tie inside out. (Watch the video for tip).

Push the corners out and press. (Watch the video for pressing tips).

To close opening you left, simply fold the seam allowance (1/4 inch) under and press.

Take it to the sewing machine and topstitch closed. If you want a more finished look, you can close the opening using a slip stitch.



Now the trick is knowing how to tie the bow tie.

If you are clueless, like I was, here is a great diagram showing the steps. There are also a ton of videos showing you how to do it.

Now you have a one-of-kind, authentic bow tie. These make great FATHER’S DAY GIFTS!

Have fun sewing my friends. Be sure and reach out if you have any questions.

By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19682

Play Video




Yummy Turkey Sausage Recipe – No Preservatives

turkey sausage biscuits

Sausage is a food that can add so much flavor to a meal, however it is usually chuck full of unnecessary ingredients. This is a great turkey sausage alternative for you that taste great is VERY simple to make.

It does include ground turkey, so those of you who don’t eat meat, you could add these spices and herbs to perhaps tofu. I haven’t tried it, but something to consider.

What sausage ingredients do you need to be aware of and avoid?


Manufacturers add nitrates and nitrites to foods such as cured sandwich meats, bacon, salami or sausages to give them color and to prolong their shelf life.

When added to processed foods in this way, both nitrates and nitrites can form nitrosamines in the body, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.


Propyl gallate is used as a preservative in products that contain edible fats, such as sausage and the very popular and loved, pepperoni. In the results of some studies they do not establish a link between propyl gallate and cancer, but they raise important questions about whether this chemical should be considered safe.

If there is any question to the safety of what I put into my body, I am going to try to avoid it. How about you?

I am not a big fan of pork, for several reasons that I won’t go into in this post, and that is another reason I don’t eat store bought sausage.

Let’s get back to the turkey sausage recipe. We have been making this recipe for years and use it for breakfast, chili, as a pizza topping, soups, and best of all lasagna. It can be formed into patties, links, or just used as ground meat chunks. This sausage rocks my lasagna recipe, so yummy!

I cook up 2 lbs. of ground turkey and this usually gives me enough for another meal. Freezing the ground turkey sausage in a zip bag works really well. When I want to add it to a recipe, it’s real convenient to just open and dump into whatever I’m cooking.

turkey sausage patties

If you want to make sausage patties, simply form them into a ball and flatten them out.  Add a little coconut or avocado oil to a frying pan and cook until the juices run clear.

turkey sausage biscuits

These patties make really yummy breakfast sandwiches using fresh homemade biscuits.


  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 3 tsp. Dried Sage crumbled or powdered
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 -1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Maple Syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Ground Fennel or Whole Fennel Seeds


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well with your hands.
  • Heat skillet to medium heat and add a little oil.
  • Form patties, balls or just add unformed and stir.
  • Fry on both sides a few minutes until cooked through.
  • Make a bunch and keep in the fridge for a quick protein snack, or freeze for later use.

These patties freeze really well too. I like to place a couple of patties between a sheet of parchment paper, then fold the paper over the turkey sausage patties and stack a few more. Repeat the process until you have added all the leftover patties.

Place them in a plastic zip bag and freeze. It’s really convenient to pull one at a time out if you want to make a little breakfast sandwich. 

Be sure to label the bag, because if you are like me, you are going to forget what is the bag, and it’s hard to tell what they are.


turkey sausage biscuits

Sausage is a food that can add so much flavor to a meal, however it is usually chuck full of unnecessary ingredients. This is a great turkey sausage alternative for you that taste great is VERY simple to make.

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time5 min
  • Total Time10 min


  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 3 tsp. Dried Sage crumbled or powdered
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Maple Syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp. Ground Fennel or Whole Fennel Seeds



Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well with your hands.


Heat skillet to medium heat and add a little oil.


Form patties, balls or just add unformed and stir.


Fry on both sides a few minutes until cooked through.


Make a bunch and keep in the fridge for a quick protein snack, or freeze for later use.


Make a bunch and keep in the fridge for a quick protein snack, or freeze for later use.

Enjoy and Healthy Eating!




Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

DIY FELT CHERRIES Easy Sewing Tutorial

Summer has arrived and it will soon be cherry season. This DIY felt cherries easy sewing tutorial is a fun little project that you can make in no time at all. There are so many fun ways to use these bright colored red gems. Add a key chain and hang them on your purse or backpack. Glue a magnet on the back and display them on your fridge, or embellish your gift wrapping.

These cherries can be made using, of course, an upcycled red sweater, red fleece, red knit fabric, regular woven fabric, or felt scraps. Felted wool sweater fabric really adds a unique charm to a set of cherries. So get into your upcycled wool sweater stash and see if you can find a piece of red felted wool.



Cut Out

  • 2 cherries from red fabric
  • One dark green rectangle and one leaf from light green felt
  • Cut a strip of cord to 7 inches.

Apply cord to ring, knotting in the center of cord. Set aside.

Single thread the needle and knot the end.

Using a running stitch, sew around the perimeter of cherry piece ¼ from the edge of the fabric with the knot on the inside of the fabric.

End by poking the needle to the outside, and leave it unknotted. Pull the thread to gather fabric and form a cup.

Insert stuffing into the formed cup. It doesn’t take a lot of stuffing.

Continue stitching around and around using the same seam allowance and pulling to cinch. This will eventually stay cinched.

Push the seam allowance into the inside and pull thread tight.

When the gathering stays cinched you can insert the end of one of the stems into to hole.

Push in about a ½. Sew around the stem and then insert the needle into and through the stem to secure it in place. (These may be a little challenging and will take a little force to poke it through).

Take some more stitches around until the stem is secured in place.

To knot, simply take a tiny stitch at the base of the thread leaving a little loop.

Wrap the needle around the loop and pull to form a knot.

Poke the needle back into the cherry and out the bottom. Cut the thread close to the fabric.

Repeat this process with the other cherry.


There are several different ways to finish the leaf. You can just glue the two pieces together with a small leaf centered on top of the bigger leaf, or you can sew them together using a blanket stitch or embroidery the leaf veins using green embroidery floss.

● Center the small leaf on top of the dark green rectangle. Edge the small leaf using a blanket stitch on the sewing machine or sew by hand.
● Embroider the veins (optional).
● Cut out the leaf backing about a ¼ inch from the inner leaf edge.

Leaf Application

Using the hot glue gun, apply a small dab of glue onto the stem knot. Wrap the tip of the leaf around the stem knot and around the key ring. Pinch in place.



Apply a dab of glue onto the back of a small round magnet and stick it to the back of the leaf.

Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple?

Have fun creating and let me know if you have any questions.