How to Make Blue Jeans Quilts

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To make a blue jean quilt involves cutting up old blue jeans into workable squares, sewing them together using a strong denim needle on a sewing machine and then backing the finished product with a fabric of your choice. This pattern calls for 140 6-inch squares to make a finished twin-size quilt that measures 45-by-70 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • 10 to 15 pairs of old jeans, depending on size
  • Heavy duty scissors 
  • Seam ripper
  • Cutting mat
  • Straight edge
  • Rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Denim needle
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • 2 yards of 50-inch wide batting or filling (optional)
  • 2 yards of 50-inch wide flannel or other material
  • Safety pins
  • Yarn
  • Large craft needle

Step 1: Prepare the Jeans

Lay the jeans out on a large work surface and use a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut up the pant leg on both sides of the outside seam and the inseam. Cut straight up the crotch to the belt line on the back side and cut off the zipper and zipper flap on the front side. Cut off the top part of the jeans below the belt loop and use a seam ripper to take off the back pockets. Set the pockets aside for possible use as embellishment later on. Lastly, get rid of the front pockets by cutting on the bottom side of the seam. Discard all seams and small remnants. Repeat for each pair of jeans.

Step 2: Cut Jeans Into Squares

Place the cutting mat on a hard surface at a height where you can comfortably stand to cut. Set a section at a time of your denim fabric on the mat and use the grid lines to line the denim up. Square the edges by cutting a small section of the right-side edge -- reverse if you are left-handed -- off. Use the grid lines to move your ruler or straight edge 6 inches to your left. Cut and repeat. Turn each piece so that you can cut the opposite side to 6 inches to form 6-inch squares. Continue cutting until you have cut 140 squares.

Tip

  • Verify you have a sharp rotary blade. Buy them in packs, so that you can change blades when you start to have difficulty cutting. You may cut multiple layers at a time, but do not sacrifice accuracy by cutting more than 4 layers of denim, as it's a thick fabric. Do not sit while using a rotary cutter, as it decreases the accuracy of the cut.

Step 3: Sew Squares Together

Insert a denim needle into your sewing machine, as this helps to avoid broken needles. Sew squares together using 1/2 inch seam allowances. Sew 14 squares together to make one row.

Step 4: Sew Rows Together

Pin two rows together and sew them together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Iron the seam before continuing on to add the next row. Repeat for the remaining eight rows.

Step 5: Cut the Backing Material

Place the backing material on the cutting mat, cutting it 2 inches larger than the quilt top on all four sides. Iron the backing to remove all the wrinkles.

Step 6: Add Batting

Add batting, if desired, cut to fit the dimensions of the backing material. Because denim is already such a heavy fabric, the batting layer is an optional step in the denim quilting process. If you decide to fill the quilt, it's best to use a low-loft batting.

Step 7: The Quilt Sandwich

Line up the backing with the batting ensuring that all the edges are even, if you chose to use batting. Center the quilt top evenly on top of the batting and backing. Secure the sandwich together by using safety pins in the body of the quilt. Verify the pin goes through all layers. Start at the center of the quilt and work outward, smoothing the materials flat as you work.

Step 8: Tie the Quilt Together

Thread the large craft needle with a long piece of yarn. Starting from the middle of the quilt and working outward, take long running stitches from square to square down the rows. Make a small stitch in the middle of each square. Once the quilt is covered, cut the middle of each long stitch and make a tight square knot in the middle of each square. Remove the safety pins.

Step 9: Finishing the Edge

Verify the edge of the quilt is even all the way around and trim off any excess batting that may be showing. The backing should extend 1 inch beyond the quilt on all sides. Fold the backing edge in half to meet the edge of the quilt. Do this all the way around the quilt and iron flat. Fold it in half again and pin in place to the quilt top. You can sew this edge with your machine or by hand depending on your personal preference.

Step 10: Folding the Corners

Sew the edge down all the way past the end on both long sides of the quilt and then finish the short sides to create an easy rolled-over corner. A more difficult corner involves folding the corner point in toward the center of the quilt and then folding it in twice like the rest of the edging, creating a pointed corner.

References

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