Denim Quilt made from Old Jeans

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansTwo things gave me the final push I needed to finish this denim quilt that has been 10 years in the making: the Refashioner’s Jeanius challenge, and a threat from Mr. Skirt Fixation.
As faithful readers (and good counters) of the Skirt Fixation blog know, I have 4 sons.  Boys wear jeans and wear out jeans often.  Multiply that times 4 boys and you end up with a lot of jeans with holes in the knees.  Which leaves you an item you cannot donate to charity, but which has a lot of good, useable denim left.  Being the thrifty (pack rat?) type, for over 10 years, I’ve been stashing away these old jeans with the intent of using the denim someday.  Well, a few months ago, Mr. Skirt Fixation was digging through the attic and found my tote (okay, fine! TOTES) of old worn out jeans and suggested rather strongly that I use them or get rid of them.  He even offered to do it for me!  So it was time to get busy.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansOver the winter, I cut out hundreds of 7 inch squares from the usable parts remaining of the old jeans.  The next step was to sew a light and a dark square together across the diagonal (from corner to corner) with two seams, each one 1/4 inch from the center line.  Then hours were spend cutting them apart down the original diagonal line.  When I began to lose my steam, Thomas, my 10 year old son, got excited about and involved in the process.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansThe pile grew and grew and grew.  We needed 224 finished half square triangles (HST).  The finished quilt was intended for my oldest son who is (currently at 16) 6’8” so I was aiming for dimensions near king size.  The finished quilt is 76 x 88, so slightly larger than king size, but my tall son is not complaining!

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansThe next step was to trim all the denim squares down to 6”.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansThe trimmings pile was beautiful in it’s own way and grew to be a mountain!

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansWhen we finally had all 224 HST made, we looked up different layouts that used a dark and a light 1/2.  My son loved the look of this one, and so the piecing together began.  As I was piecing this, I realized I would never be able to wrestle a quilt this large through my home sewing machine.  The denim makes the quilt quite heavy, and the sheer size of it would be the end of me and probably my machine too!

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeans When the top was finally pieced, we all stood back and admired it for a while.  It was simply gorgeous! Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansThe next order of business was to choose the quilt backing.  My son decided he wanted a plaid flannel for the backing, and I ordered some flannel buffalo plaid. (affiliate link)

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansI have a special Aunt who has taught my sister and I a lot about quilting, and it just so happens that she has a long arm quilting business.  She is an AMAZING quilter and walking through her house is like walking through a quilt museum!  And here’s an example of how fantastic she is: she offered to make the quilt sandwich for me!  So I got the fabric, the pieced top, and the batting to her.  We looked over quilting designs, discussing how the junctions where the HST came together on the corners were going to be nearly impossible to quilt through.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansWe finally settled on the top design, but later, after careful consideration and planning, with a bunch of her common sense and experience thrown in, she suggested the bottom design.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeans

We all agreed it ended up much better than the original plan, and she was able to easily avoid the thick joints.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansWhen she had finished the quilt and we picked it up, she had another great suggestion.  Folded in half, and lined with flannel, this quilt would make a perfect sleeping bag for my very tall son!  After pondering and pondering on that idea, we decided to keep in open.  He plans to wrap up in it when there’s a situation where he needs a sleeping bag, but he loves it open on his bed too.

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansYou may be wondering about the Refashioners challenge I mentioned at the beginning of this post?  This summer is the 2nd season of The Refashioners, and the theme is Jeanius.  (Last year was Get Shirty, and you can see how we participated here.) Well, how could we not sew along with a sewing contest that was all about refashioning jeans, when all we had to do was finish this quilt in time to enter?  (If you want to check out the absolutely mind boggling things other refashioners did with denim, click here.)  So all that was left for us to do was to bind the quilt.  Binding a quilt this size and weight by hand seemed too daunting of a task for me, so I turned to my expert, in house hand sewist – Allegra, and within about 2 weeks time she had the task completed!

Denim quilt made by Skirt Fixation from old jeansEveryone is delighted with the finished quilt.  Mr. Skirt Fixation is pleased about the amount of denim used up.  My son is delighted with his new quilt that is not only long enough for him, but rugged enough to last a lifetime.  And I’m inspired to make another one.  Or two.  Just don’t tell Mr. Skirt Fixation I have enough denim still stashed away to make several more!

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  1. Amazing!!! What a huge undertaking, but so worth it because look at the results! I too have a large stash of ripped knee jeans that I’d like to make a quilt out of. And I can’t believe your 16 year old son is already 6’8″!

  2. Truly impressed & amazed by your stick-to-it gumption to get ‘er done Audrey! It IS lovely, & such a keep-sake for #1 son. Hmmm, with 4 sons, I can easily see 3 more quilts in the pipeline. 🙂

  3. What an impressive journey from start to finish. Wonderful to see the pictures of your step by step process. What a challenging quilt that must have been to sew together. Thanks for all your kind words. Till the next time, Happy Sewing.

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  8. Hi. I absolutely love this quilt. Did I understand that after you made the half square triangles by machine you joined the half square triangles by hand sewing?
    Thanks

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  11. How many pairs of jeans did you use for this project? And why did you cut the 7″squares down to 6″ squares. Thank you in advance and a very lovely blanket for your son

    • I’m not sure how many pairs we ended up using. I planned the squares to be oversize to start with because I had little helpers and wanted to allow extra room when squaring up.

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  14. Your awesome quilt design inspired me to make one. I have sewn the triangles in rows and now I’m trying to join the rows. Any tips for sewing the rows and matching corners?

    • Oh how fun! Be sure to show us your finished quilt Jane. We found that our denim pieces would stretch a little bit so we seemed to manage the lining up of the corners easily due to using older, well worn denim. Just try to line up each corner as you come to it when you are sewing the rows. Remember to match at the 1/4″ seam allowance, not the edges if the 2 are different. Hope that helps!

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