DIY Denim Quilt

Back when I was learning to quilt, my denim picnic quilt was the first quilt I completed.  The beauty of a denim quilt is that it’s heavy, so if you’re sitting at a late night ball game, you can have something heavy warm blanket on your lap, or around your shoulders.  And, it’s sturdy on the Jeans side, so it can withstand a little bit of a beating…that’s what Jeans do, afterall, right?
Well, my original quilt is thrashed from too many baseball games, and my Husband’s stash of worn-out Jeans was piling up, so I thought I’d make myself a new quilt for picnicing and ball game watching, and I thought I’d give you all a little mini-tut for how I made it along the way.

 First of all, cutting…
Cutting is a huge part of this project because you have to cut each pair of Jeans individually.  First, decide how big you’d like each square to be.  My husband’s a big guy, so, luckily I was able to get a lot of squares for each pair of Jeans without having to piece many of them together.  If you choose to use children’s Jeans (I wouldn’t…waaaay too much work, unless your squares are going to be tiny), you’ll have to piece a bunch of sections together to make your squares.
You will cut 3 sets of squares for each quilt block.  Denim squares for the underside, Batting squares for the middle and cotton fabric squares for the quilt top.
Decide how big you’d like your squares to be.  My squares were 9 inches x 9 inches.  (You can choose any dimensions you want).  Cut your denim squares and cotton squares the same size, and make sure you cut your batting squares an inch shorter on each side.  So, in my case, I had 9 inch Denim squares, 9 inch cotton squares and 8 inch batting squares.
Cutting the jeans can be fun…I love to have big back pockets on some, the zipper section on some, random front pockets, side seams, name-brand tags showing, etc.  Of course, a bunch of just plain-old denim to add quantity is great, but fussy-cutting the fun stuff will make your quilt unique!
When I cut my jeans out, I didn’t know how big my quilt would be, I just knew I wanted as big of a quilt as I could.  So, I cut as many denim squares as I had jeans to cut, and based my quilt size off of that.  After you have all of your squares cut, denim, batting and cotton, you start making sandwiches.
 Layer a square of denim, then batting and then cotton as shown in the pictures above and below.
 Now onto sewing.
Sew with the denim side up, so you can watch out for any sort of hardware you may encounter along the way…Jean seams, zippers, tags and pockets make sewing these quilts an adventure!  Sew with a denim needle, or a really strong one, this project is not for the weak!
 For each ‘sandwich’ sew an ‘X’ from each corner, see below.  (In this quilt, you do your quilting first!)
 Here is my stack of sandwiches all ready to sew together!

I had 64 squares, so I laid out my quilt with 8 squares down, and 8 squares across.  My quilt top fabrics were just scraps from my stash, so I didn’t have an equal number of any.  I had to lay-out my squares in the order I wanted them in.  Then it’s all just business as usual!  Sew each square together, horizontally.  Once each horizontal line is sewn, sew them together vertically, matching up the seams.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side, so you’re basically sewing right along the edge of the batting all around, AND, sew each square Denim-side to Denim-side so that the Jean side of the quilt is nicely finished, while the cotton side of the quilt has the cotton squares bordered by that awesome 80’s denim fringe.
(see below)

 Once completely sewn, you have 2 options for the binding.  I chose to do mine the same way I do all of my quilts…see {here} for my tutorial.  The other option is to just stitch a seam a half inch away from the edge, and allow the whole outside of your quilt to fringe like the rest of the squares.  You’re choice…I like the finished look of binding.
After all of your squares are sewn together, and the binding’s done, there’s some more cuttin’ to do…
You want that awesome 80’s fringe that I was talking about before, with a pair of sharp scissors, snip the edges of each square all the way around.  I cut mine about 1 cm apart-ish. (Just enough so it can really fringe.)  and just like those good ole cut-offs, the more you wash and dry it, the better it’ll look!
 (Clean your lint trap regularly…this project produces a TON of lint)
 (after 1 washing & drying)
 and then enjoy a picnic or a baseball game on your masterpiece!