Blue Jean Quilt
A blue jean quilt is a frugal and fun quilting project. It is a great way to recycle old blue jeans. This quilt project is easy to make if you have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills. The quilt is made of squares, the denim from the blue jeans and a contrasting fabric. You will enjoy the simplicity of squares. They are easy to cut out, easy to sew together and make a wonderful old fashioned addition to a home.
An old pair of blue jeans has a lot of life left. They may be thin in some places, but still have wear in others! To make a recycled blue jean quilt begin by saving all of the old blue jeans or denim jumpers that your family no longer wears until you feel like you have enough to make a quilt. If you are in a hurry to make this project then you can start by buying jeans from garage sales and thrift stores. I have seen jeans for as little as 10 to 25 cents a pair at garage sales.
When you have enough jeans collected it is time to choose what size square to make. Usually I will choose one that is anywhere from 3 to 5 inches. Make a template, or pattern, of that size square out of a piece of cardboard making sure to add an extra ľ inch around the sides for seam allowances.
One of the first things to determine is how big you want your quilt and how many squares you need. I usually find a blanket, comforter or quilt that I already own that is about the size I would like to make my quilt and I measure it. If you take that width and divide it by the size of your squares that will tell you how many squares you need (25 inch width divided by a 5 inch square = 5 squares across). Do the same for the length. Multiply the squares across by the squares down and that is the total number of squares to cut out. You will want approximately half the number of squares done in denim and half in a contrasting fabric. I tend to cut out more than I need just to make sure I have extra for any changes I may want to make as I make my quilt.
Next it is time to get the jeans ready. Cut open the legs of the jeans and then lay the material flat on the table and begin cutting out squares using your template. I like a little variety with my squares and so I will cut out squares over pockets, or side seams, or over buttons on jumpers just to add a bit of cuteness. I have one quilt I made for one of my sons and I took an old pair of his baby bib overalls that had a little train embroidered on the bib section and cut a square with the train on it. It also had a neat little side pocket on one of the legs I was able to incorporate into a square. So have a little fun cutting out your denim squares!
The next step is to choose a contrasting fabric. I always think flannel goes great with denim. In my area Wal-Mart seems to consistently sell flannel fabric for $1 a yard. That could be a lot of quilt squares for a couple of dollars! If youíre making a quilt for one of your children you could choose the plaid flannel prints for the boys or calico flannel print for the girls. Flannel is not the only fabric that works well, any cotton will do the job. So your choices for contrasting fabric are varied and many! Cut out all your contrasting squares.
Once all the squares are cut out, it is time to sew; one denim square, one contrasting square and so on. Or you could come up with your own design. Once you start playing around with squares you will be amazed at all the variety!
For batting you can purchase batting from the fabric store or you can use an old blanket. I have done both. The backing fabric can be the contrasting fabric of your squares or a solid color that compliments the quilt. You may have to sew pieces of the backing fabric together if your quilt is on the larger size. I have also used sheets. When I used flannel as the contrasting fabric I used a flat flannel sheet for the backing.
It is now time to assemble the quilt. When your quilt top is done lay it flat on a large surface such as the floor or bed, with the right side facing up. Now take the backing piece of the quilt and place it with the right side of the fabric towards the right side of quilt top (right sides are facing each other). Now lay the batting on the top of this.
Pin the quilt or better yet, sew it by hand with large basting stitches to hold the three layers together firmly. This is important because you donít want the layers to slip around when you sew them together. Now take the quilt to your sewing machine and begin to sew around the edges catching all 3 layers. Stop sewing well before reaching the area you started so you can turn your quilt right side out. Remove pins and basting stitches and turn right side out. You may need to push out the sewn edges and iron them a bit so everything lays flat.
Now iron the raw edges of the open area inward and either by hand or machine, sew the opening closed.
The last step is to tie your quilt. Find a nice yarn that you like and a big needle. To tie your quilt you pick evenly spaced spots on your quilt and sew down through all three layers and back up in close to the same spot. Cut your yarn and tie firmly. I usually tie twice. Now move onto the next spot. On a quilt made with squares this is fairly easy to do as you can put your ties where the corners meet. It is not necessary to do every row of squares, but you want enough places tied that your quilt can be washed and washed without the batting inside shifting around.
Once the tying is done your quilt is finished! What a great feeling to take something that still had life (those old blue jeans) and turn it into a useful and pretty item for your home!!
Here is a picture of one I made a couple of years ago..