Recently, there has been a rise in upcycling clothing and other pre-loved fabrics into all kinds of sewing crafts.
One of the more popular projects is quilting, and what type of fabric works surprisingly well for a quilt?
Whether you want to make a memory quilt from your loved one’s old jeans or challenge yourself to use fabric that you have on hand, making a denim quilt can be fun and rewarding.
Today, let’s check out some options for using denim in our next quilting projects.
- How Do You Make a Simple Jean Quilt?
- Here are a few FAQs surrounding jean quilts that you may stumble upon in your quilt-making process.
- 15 Unique Denim Quilt Patterns to Banish the Blues
- 1. Denim Rag Quilt
- 2. HST Denim Quilt
- 3. Denim Strip Quilt
- 4. Denim Triangle Quilt
- 5. Denim Betsy 9 Patch Quilt
- 6. Hand-Quilted Jean Quilt
- 7. Stained Glass Denim Quilt
- 8. Blue Giant Quilt Pattern
- 10. Scrappy Sashing Jean Quilt
- 10. Tiny Scraps Jean Quilt
- 11. I Spy Rag Jean Quilt
- 12. Denim and Flannel Memory Quilt
- 13. Another Memory Quilt
- 14. Sunflowers and Blue Jeans Quilt
- 15. Denim Castle Quilt
How Do You Make a Simple Jean Quilt?
If you want to make a quilt out of old blue jeans, you will need to follow a few simple steps. These steps are applicable no matter what quilt pattern you decide to use.
Step 1: Choose your fabric.
Before you even pick your quilt pattern, you should figure out how much denim fabric you have to work with. Then you can decide if you have enough to do an entire quilt in denim or if you’ll use it as an accent fabric.
If you’re unsure how to use denim, I suggest using it for the background fabric. It will add a fun texture to the entire quilt and be evenly distributed throughout it.
Step 2: Choose the pattern.
When picking the pattern you will use, remember you don’t want to use tiny pieces of denim since the denim can be a little tricky to work with.
Find a pattern that uses 3” pieces or bigger. Simple, beginner-friendly patterns work great with jean material.
Step 3: Create the quilt.
If you use stretch denim, make sure while piecing the blocks that you aren’t stretching the fabric while you sew. Follow the pattern instructions and press the seams.
If you don’t press all your seams, the quilt could have odd bumps where the denim is too thick.
Remember to have fun while you are creating the quilt and enjoy the process.
Here are a few FAQs surrounding jean quilts that you may stumble upon in your quilt-making process.
Does a denim quilt need batting?
Yes, you should still use batting in your quilt unless you use super thick denim for the quilt top and backing.
Then you could do without the batting; however, that will make the quilt quite heavy if you use only denim for the entire quilt.
How many pairs of jeans do I need to make a jean quilt?
This depends heavily on the quilt size you are making, the overall design, and how much of the design you plan to use the jean material for. Use at least 3-4 pairs if you want some wash/color variety.
What kind of thread do you use for a jean quilt?
I suggest using regular quilting cotton thread. You could also use thread meant for denim, but the cotton thread should work just fine.
15 Unique Denim Quilt Patterns to Banish the Blues
Now let’s look at some gorgeous denim quilt ideas I’ve gathered for inspiration. I found a great mix of denim-accent quilts and quilts made entirely of denim to give you an idea of what is possible.
Here is a free tutorial on making a denim rag quilt out of squares cut from jeans. Check out the cute blocks with pockets from the jeans. That’s a great detail that you could add to your quilt too. This type of quilt is fun to make, and the finished product is cozy and warm.
Here is a beautiful example of how you can use denim in a quilt as an accent fabric, along with regular quilting cotton. All the blue triangles are lightweight denim that adds the perfect texture and weight to the quilt top. This quilt is from a simple tutorial from Suzy Quilts, and she shows you how to make these fun blocks.
This is a simple quilt that is made almost entirely of jean material. As you can see in the above picture, the designer added fun strips of quilting cotton to add a little color and design to a basic square patchwork quilt design. The mixture of strip blocks and solid denim blocks gives this quilt a fun woven look.
This beautiful modern quilt is made from several different washes of denim. This was a genius move by the maker to use a wide variety of washes to add depth to a simple block design. This finished quilt measure 53”x77”. It took about 24 pairs of jeans to make this quilt top.
How gorgeous is this quilt? This design shows you don’t need an intricate or complicated layout to make a beautiful, timeless quilt. This quilt’s design is 9-patch blocks made from denim and quilting cotton. The finished quilt measures 72” square.
This cozy quilt was made by Rachel Swartley and featured fabulous hand-quilting over the entire quilt and the quilt binding. The quilt pattern is a simple brick layout which she then quilted with a zigzag pattern. She finished the quilt with a wide binding that she then quilted with three lines of hand stitches.
This unique quilt pattern mimics the look of stained glass. You can achieve this look by adding thin black sashing between the various-sized blocks. The pattern includes two size options and would make a great beginner quilt project.
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The pattern designer who made this quilt pattern wrote it specifically for upcycling jeans. The pattern includes instructions for this 85”x85” quilt and a matching pillow cover. This unique pattern will come together quickly since the blocks are so large. The pattern also includes directions for resizing the printable template pieces for different size quilts.
This jean quilt idea is an excellent option if you have old jeans and a bunch of small fabric scraps you want to use in one project. The maker pieced the scraps into long strips to use as sashing for the jean square blocks.
If you are piecing tiny pieces of scraps like this, you should use a foundation piece of cotton or interfacing to help secure the small pieces together.
Speaking of tiny pieces, check out these blocks pieced together using teeny little squares and rectangles to border simple denim blocks. The maker also used a unique free-motion quilting design to finish the quilt, giving this quilt an artisan design. I love this quilt’s handmade look and feel; you can tell whoever made it loves what they do.
Wow, this quilt is fantastic! Here is a free tutorial on how to make this eye-catching cathedral window quilt from start to finish. The tutorial is exceptionally well-written and includes photos of each step to help you along the way. You can use this tutorial to make any size quilt.
One of the most common reasons why someone wants to use denim in a quilt is for a memory quilt. This is the perfect example of how you can take old jeans and shirts and turn them into a family heirloom. The maker used her grandfather’s clothing to make this sweet memory quilt.
Here is another beautiful memory quilt that features old denim and many different plaid shirts. This is a lovely way to remember a loved one and keep them close for years after they pass. I love how they have the center blocks “on point” and a strong squares border.
If you would rather not have to cut a bunch of smaller pieces, this style of quilt pattern is perfect. You just need to cut strips of denim from old jeans and sew them together to make this beautiful modern quilt. The maker finished this quilt using an adorable sunflower quilting motif.
Okay, how fabulous is this castle quilt? The entire quilt is made using different shades of denim. I couldn’t find the pattern that the maker used to create this quilt, but I had to share it with you to show you what’s possible with some old jeans and a little imagination.
I hope you enjoyed this eclectic assortment of jean quilt patterns and examples. I don’t know about you, but I feel inspired to think outside the box for my next quilting project.
About the author: Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she’s not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.