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.
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)!
A FEW TIPS FOR CUTTING OUT YOUR SQUARES.
Denim Patchwork Quilt Materials & Items Needed
- upcycled jeans/corduroy
- scrap paper
- oaktag paper or upcycled cereal box
- sticky notes/scrap paper
- 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!
2- OPEN UP THE PANTS
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.
4- 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).
Double/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.
Lay 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.
MARK THE ROWS WITH A STICKY NOTE PINNED TO THE TOP OF THE ROW.
SEWING the denim patchwork QUILT TOP TOGETHER
- 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.
- 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.
- MARK THE TOP OF THE STRIP WITH THE STICKY LABEL. (ROW 1, ETC.)
- Sew 12 strips.
- 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)
- 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.
- Set that foursome aside and build another foursome in the same manner, until you have 4 sets of 4.
- 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!
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Upcycling Is Hip | 5 Innovative Ways To Recycle Items Around Your House
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Thanks for the video — I have enough jean pieces for a few quilts but have never gotten to them. I think after watching you now is the time for me to get to it. Your video gave lots of tips on the sewing (i.e. seams directions, ironing etc) that I would not have known.