How To Make a Denim Quilt

Scissor scutting jeans

Quilting can seem a little threatening to beginners.  Making a denim quilt is a way to start in this traditional craft without intimidation.  Additionally, denim quilts provide a terrific palette for personal expression.

The simplest denim quilt is a plain, tied patchwork design.  Old jeans can be recycled, or squares can be cut from store-bought denim yardage.  Cut pieces into desired size; 4" squares are a good size with which to begin.  For hidden seams, place the right sides of two squares together and machine-stitch them with a ¼" seam allowance.  Continue stitching squares until a strip the desired width of the quilt is completed.  Repeat this step until enough strips are completed to reach the desired length of the quilt.  Place the right sides of two strips together and join them with a ¼" seam allowance, as well; repeat with the remaining strips.

Now, place the denim quilt top face up; cover with quilt batting and backing fabric.  Machine-stitch the four sides of the denim quilt, through all three layers, with a ¼" seam allowance; leave a small opening to turn the quilt inside out.  Blind-stitch the opening closed.

At the corners of each square, bring up a needle threaded with matching or contrasting embroidery floss so that both ends are on top of the denim quilt.  Tie a knot; cut the ends to the same length.

An alternative to this denim quilt design is to match the wrong sides together, so that the seam allowances show on the top of the quilt top.  Follow the same steps to complete the quilt.

Once this technique has been mastered, the denim quilt can be embellished in a variety of ways.  Simplest is to machine-quilt a pattern on each square, through all the layers, rather than tying them at the corners.  Patterns can range from simple lines to complex flower or geometric patterns.

Still another choice is to embroider designs on the denim quilt pieces before joining them to one another.  This is a fun way to create a memory quilt; simply embroider words or pictures of the recipient's life and interests on each square.  Appliqués, buttons, ribbons, and other embellishments can also be added.  Attach patches collected from various locations to celebrate a happy vacation.

Finally, of course, any or all of these techniques can be combined to create a unique denim quilt that may become a family treasure.


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