Sunday, April 1, 2012

Upcycled Jean Rag Quilt

You know you have items like this laying around.  jeans that can't go to Goodwill, to torn up to be fashionable (ie  - they are actually torn in the knee versus randomly on the hip or thigh ).  This gives some good use for those overly worn jeans.

I showed some of the steps in my post about the Jean Quilt Circa 2002 - so I apologize for the repeat.  I thought I should have it all in one place.  For those of you that missed that post this is the history on this quilt:

In 2002, I started creating this quilt without directions just ideas - Internet was around then for all of you 20 year olds but you really didn't hop on it (or at least I didn't) to find crafting ingenious-ness like today.  It was used for maybe "my space" - what is that???  and yahoo-groups.  LOL   So I started off with a bunch of jeans that were worn and didn't fit as well ( I think maybe too much wedding cake and up late at night vanilla shakes with my newlywed husband).  I got fairly far on it.  I attached the squares together and purchased the   flannel but ran out of motivation.

What you need for this project:

  • 7 pairs of wasted adult jeans  cut into squares of 5"x6.5" when cut, leaving an allowance for .5" fringe.  The entire quilt will measure 42"x75" and will contain 140 jean squares.  
  • Embroidery thread and darning needle (if you want to embellish with flowers), the poms were for marking the spots to embroider, hoop
  • 3 yards of soft flannel of your choice
  • Navy blue Thread for the jean side and your of matching thread for when you sew it altogether

This is where I left this project in 2002.  It was sewn together and some manly hunter flannel was its' friend.  Embarrasingly, I have moved these two items from Nebraska to Texas, Texas to Maryland, Maryland to Michigan and then to Colorado.  After it is finished, it will make its way to Florida. This quilt has seen more of the US than my Grandma Sugar.

Tokie assisted with laying it out on the floor.  He was very inquisitive about the whole pom pom thing... and I bet you are wondering what the hell??? right now too!   I decided that I want to embroider flowers randomly on the quilt as well.  So I laid out red pom poms to get a sense of placement.  I wanted to visually see the splash of color.

It is at this point that I will say - I wish I would have planned the quilt 10 years ago to do a titrated color look - how awesome would that be.  I am way too lazy to rip this sucker apart and do that but going from light to dark would have been awesome!  If I did that, we would  have to fast foward to 2022 with me still working on this and I need to bust this quilt out this year!

After I placed the pom-poms, I added a piece of masking tape to mark my squares that deserve further attention.

Because of the mere size, weight of the quilt, I used an embroidery hoop to help keep things nice and tight while I embroidered.

I did not follow  a specific pattern just allowing the thread to do the drawing as my friend, Theresa, showed me over at Truly Tree - literally she showed me in person... how awesome is that!!  Go visit her blog and see the cute things she is making for her "nature" nursery... so cute!

After I chose a different flannel material that was a little more 2012, turquoise, I added a matching floss to each of the flowers.

The fleece I bought was 45" wide.  I cut the fleece into two segments of 45"x40" and sewn together using my serger but using a regular sewing machine would have worked fine.

For a decorative touch and to create 3 seams on the back flannel side, I created two additional seams by folding at 1/4 and 3/4 points and serging.  Now, I have 3 seams on the back.

I squared up the back flannel and jean squared on one corner and started sewing.  NOTE:  You do no want the flannel to measure perfectly against the jean squares prior to sewing.   You should plan to have overhang on two sides.  The jean squares will lengthen or stretch as you attach the flannel and if they measure perfectly prior to sewing, you will end up short.  There is probably some quilter technical term for this.  ;)

Sew the two panels together.  With the ridges facing outward and the "good side" of the flannel facing outward.  There will be unfinished seams on all sides.  When you sew over the thick seam of the jean, fold the seam flat.  It will save you on needles.

After the two sides are sewn together, trim off excess flannel.  At this point I will mention, the scissors I am using are awesome!

Cut along the outside edge, near the seam, 1/4 inch slits.  I also cut the jean seams as well. This will help the fabric fray after washed in an orderly fashion.

Wash and dry the blanket in your washing machine and the material will naturally fray on your own.  You will be so pleased with it that you won't want to give it away.

Upcycling-repurposing is awesome and super green.  That said, if you have larger size jeans that are in decent shape please consider donating them directly to a shelter or non--profit agency that works with men and women that are homeless.  There is such a need for larger sized (size 12+), practical clothing in the shelter environment.  

If you try this, link back and thanks for keeping something out of the landfill and thinking green.

This post is linking up to these parties.


  1. I love this! I have this craft bookmarked to try one day and it's been on my list for years. One day, I'll get to it!

  2. I'm working on my third jean quilt, and don't worry, I just tried laying out my blocks to do the whole ombre thing. It didn't work out so much. Hodge podge and random is best, I think. Nice work!

  3. What a great idea - looks like a lot of work!

  4. Love this! I can't even sew and I've certainly never quilted, but your tutorial actually makes me think I could give it a go. It will probably take me the rest of my life to make it, but I might just start one! LOL Thanks for posting it!

  5. Wow, I feel like I am looking at my own future quilt! I currently have a pile of 7x7 squares, some already embroidered for that random splash, and am going to make a queen sized bedspread to go into my RV (Jezebel). Mine is slightly different in that I am sewing together 2 denim pieces per block. This way the quilt will be heavy and I won't use any batting (that is the idea anyway). Then they will all be sewn together with a floral queen sized sheet as the backing. Glad to see how cute the embroidery looks ;-)

  6. I'm in the process of making a quilt entirely from denim pockets. I use a lot of old jeans to make bags which I sell to raise money for charity - but the pockets are often left over. I like yours - agree that a colour graded one would be great too!

  7. Looks great. Thanks for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.

  8. Seriously, nothing feels better than an old pair of jeans so I can only imagine how great it would be to curl up with this great quilt. Thanks for sharing on this week's BeColorful

  9. Love this, thank you for the tutorial.

  10. I made my first two blue jean quilt in 1972. I used jeans that were my husbands and mine. I would often tell the children the stories behind the jeans that were from the 60s such as how my husband and I met and how we camped across the U.S. It is 2014 and after children, slumber parties, camping trips and grandchildren, sleep overs and so on, the blue jean quilts are in better shape than I am. LOL