Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recycle Your Old Jeans to Make a Denim Picnic Blanket

I have a ton of old jeans I have been saving to make a denim quilt. I made one denim and flannel quilt for my daughter years ago using the rag quilt method where you clip all the seams. I decided I never wanted to do that again! The clipping is very tedious and hard on your hands.
denim and flannel rag quilt

So, I came up with the idea to just sew the seam flat instead of clipping it. The seam encases whatever fabric you put on the front of the quilt. I have piles of flannel plaids from old pajama pants and flannel shirts and scraps from other quilts so I decided to use them with my denim to create my picnic quilt.

quilt front-nine patch method
The combination of denim and flannel makes a very sturdy quilt perfect for throwing on the ground for a picnic or fireworks or other outdoor activity and it washes up easily.

I did not add batting but you certainly could. It's a very heavy quilt without batting and for what I intend to use my denim quilts for, I didn't feel I wanted any. The lack of batting means it's a blanket and not a quilt but I still think of it as a quilt!

quilt back-nine patch method

I constructed my quilt in four sections. That way you only have one long seam to sew as opposed to sewing many long rows.

I created two different ways to construct the four sections depending on how large you want your quilt to be- the Four Patch method and the Nine Patch method.

The size of your jeans and the number of pairs you have determines the size of your quilt. The Four Patch uses 64 squares and the Nine Patch quilt uses 144 squares of denim.

quilt front-four patch method

Linda of L&R Designs Quilting made her denim and flannel quilt using the four patch method. Check out her blog post about the quilt here.

quilt back-four patch method

Here is a close-up of the front of the quilt showing the raw edge seams of the denim. The flannel is secure under the edge of the denim.

Any fabric can be used on the front of your quilt. I'm making one with denim on the front also!

I have created a downloadable pattern that can be purchased at Double Nickel Quilts or Craftsy. Since there are so many sizes and styles of jeans, two methods for making this blanket are included in this pattern and two charts to guide you in choosing what size quilt you can make based on what size squares you can cut from your jeans.


  1. I love your quilt! I made a denim quilt years ago and had so much fun. I even added the "bib" part of a pair of overalls, part of the straps and fasteners included. Your denim/flannel quilt is great for a picnic or beach. Too cute!

  2. Very nice! I like the more finished look than the raggy look to the top. And the back- the variety of denim, makes for lots of interest!

  3. I purchased the pattern and found it quite helpful. Here is my question. I am planning to modify this project so as to use navy flannel squares for the backing, in place of the denim, and a variety of flannel squares with batting for the front. Is there any reason why I could not use flat felled seams on the front?

  4. One possible solution to make flat felled seams: Stitch the three layers of squares using 3/4” seams. Trim the top two layers to 3/8”. Leaving the navy layer untrimmed. Tuck it under the two trimmed layers and stitch your flat felled seam. The corners will need some jiggery pokery and without doing a sample of it myself I cannot tell you what this would be. I love your idea and am planning to try the flat felled seam method. Thanks for your idea.

  5. Do you still have this pattern for sale?

  6. Yes, it can be purchased at https://www.etsy.com/listing/204475480/denim-picnic-blanket-downloadable-pdf?ref=shop_home_active_22&crt=1

  7. It as really a great and helpful piece of info.

  8. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us.


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