Denim quilt (+how to)

A little while ago I made this quilt out of old jeans. I had a big collection of old jeans because people used to donate them to me for another project I was working on a couple of years ago. Anyway, I had seen a tutorial for making curtains out of jeans. I didn't like them as curtains, but I did like the way the different denims looked all together. I had some wool batting lying around from another old project, so I used that as padding. For the underside I found a huge lovely cotton blanket at Kmart (go cheap Chinese manufacturing!) for $12. Score!

When I did this, I though it was easy to make, but now I've written out all the instructions, it seems kind of involved. There are lots of small tasks that took a while. I guess that's quilting, huh? This was my first quilt, and I didn't look at any quilting books so I suppose its not proper quilting. It took about 30 hours all up, spread over a few days. Most of the time was spent marking and cutting out strips of jeans. If I had a rotary cutter this would have taken much less time.

Time

30 hours

Skills required

Cutting, measuring, sewing straight stitch with a sewing machine, scavenging old jeans and blankets

Equipment

For quilted denim top

  • Old jeans

For middle (warm) padding

  • Wool batting/old blanket (something that is as warm as you would like your blanket to be)

For underside of blanket

  • Cotton blanket/tshirt material (something that you want to feel on your skin - not required if you are fine with wool blanket underside)

For assembly

  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Scissors/rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine (using a denim needle will make it easier to sew the denim - less needle breaking and tension issues)
  • Thread of a colour you like. It will show up on the denim and also on the underside of the blanket, so choose something that matches both

Steps

1. With a ruler and marker, measure out strips of jeans. Since jeans are weird shapes, its not so practical to mark out all strips before you cut, so cut strips of jeans as you go. I used 10cm wide strips, but any size will do. To make life easier later on in the stitching, try to make the sides as even as possible. Mine were a little wonky, and this was a bit of a pain.

2. Cut cotton underside of blanket to 10cm bigger than you want the blanket.

3. Cut padding to the size you want the blanket.

4. Lay the cotton underside of the blanket on the floor, with the padding and the many strips of jeans over the top. Position the strips in the order you'd like them on your quilt. I don't know what this step is properly called, so I'm calling it the Quilt Plan. If the strips aren't long enough to reach the length you want, put more than one strip in a row.

5. Sew together any rows of denim that have more than one strip and lay them back down on the Quilt Plan. Cut the edges of all the rows of denim so they are the size you want the quilt (should be same size as the padding underneath). If you are a sucker for detail (like me), overstitch the seam, so it is super robuts and a bit neater looking.

6. Starting from one end of the quilt, pick up two rows of denim strips, and stitch one of their long edges together (using the sewing machine, unless you have a bajillion hours).

7. Pick up the next row of denim strip, and stitch that to the long edge of the two strips you just sewed together.

8. Repeat step 7 until all the strips are sewed together. Lay the whole sewed denim top layer back down on the middle padding and cotton underside.

9. Time for pins! Fold the cotton underside 5cm in from the edge, around all sides, then fold it in again another 5cm, so that the cotton underside is folded over the edge. Pin the edge in this position all around the blanket.

10. Stitch all layers together all around the edge of the blanket, where you have pinned the folded over top side.

11. Quilt the quilt! I sewed straight lines through the whole quilt near the seams of each strip of jeans.

Voila! A beautiful and (almost) free quilt.