Picnic Quilt

It's Memorial Day weekend, which means it's picnic time, so I thought I'd show you this picnic quilt I made from old jeans and cords.

I don't normally like sewing with denim, but this quilt was fun! Plus, I didn't buy a single thing, using an old flannel sheet for the batting and some fabric I'd been given years ago for the backing. Woohoo! Using up odds and ends makes me so happy!

This quilt is based on 10" blocks, though a couple of blocks are doubled to be 20" long. Otherwise, the squares are either 10" squares or rectangles sewn to make a 10" block. Here's a pattern which gives more detailed instructions.

Denim is tough stuff, so here are a few tips to minimize frustration. For cutting blocks, use a rotary cutter. Unless you have large pants or a maybe a dress or shirt to work with, usually you can't get 10" from one side of a pair of pants. But that's OK, because as long as the seams are pretty straight, you can include a jean seam in your block. This makes things more interesting, too. I didn't include any pockets, though my daughters do when they make denim quilts.

Because denim frays easily, I used 1/2" seam allowances. Then I pressed the seams open which made for less bulk and eased things up when it came time to machine quilt the whole thing.

Using a fresh denim (or other large) needle will make sewing this heavy fabric easier.

You can see the tan and gray corduroy pieces more easily in this picture.
The white designs on some pieces are from a painted pair of jeans.

Some people forgo the batting layer altogether on picnic quilts. The flannel sheet I used, added to the heft from the denim top and bottom, makes for a really heavy quilt! But it feels pretty comfy, so I guess we can live with the weight.

I used an easy loop-de-loop free motion quilting pattern. I'm still digging this whole FMQ thing! You can see the loopy pattern on the dark denim portion of the back.

Making a denim quilt is not difficult. When jeans become too worn for use, cut off the top portion of the pants, and then cut down along the inside seam. Leave the outer seam intact. Now you should have a nice piece of fabric to work with. Keep saving, and before long, you'll have enough pieces (and variety) to make a quilt!


Kat said…
Some friends of mine have a denim picnic quilt that they're been using HEAVILY for over a decade and it has held up like a champ! Tough stuff indeed. Hope you enjoy your quilt!
Alycia said…
I love quilts like that - Totally usable anywhere - nice job!

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