Homestead DIY — 05 November 2013

Well folks the quilt is finished.  I must say that I am pretty proud of my accomplishment, but it is one of the UGLIEST quilts I have seen in my life.  However, it is also one of the warmest. I’m learning that quilting and sewing takes a bit of artwork and a lot of patience.  Inspired by my Grandma’s stories of making bed sheets from chicken feed sack cloth, my Antireliant project that I chose to work on during the month of October was to successfully pieced together a quilt from old jean pants.


My Quilt Made From Old Pants

I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work.  For years my wife and I have been saving up old pants with the thought that someday we would be able to use the cloth.  I’m glad we saved all that cloth.  I thought the jeans would be really difficult to work with, but they actually weren’t that bad.

Here are the steps that I did to make the quilt:

Step 1 – Cut the jeans into squares

I made a template by cutting a cereal box into a 7-inch square.  I then traced around the cardboard template on the old jeans.  I didn’t worry about the pen showing up on the blanket since the outside edge of the square would be hidden anyways.


Use a template to cut squares

I ended up cutting 100 squares.  Leaving enough room for a 1/2-inch seam around all the edges, that was enough to make a 6-foot by 6-foot quilt.  I wish it could have been a little bit bigger, but I didn’t have any more old jeans!

7-inch denim squares

7-inch denim squares

Step 2 – Sew a chain of squares together

Once all the squares were cut, I sewed 5 squares in a row.  Once 5 rows were completed, I would then sew the rows together.  This created a square that was 5 squares long by 5 squares wide.  Splitting the quilt into 4 segments made it easy to work with. Instead of trying to line up 10 squares, I was only trying to line up 5 at a time.  It was also easier to manage smaller segments at the sewing machine.

Once I had 4 segments of 5 squares x 5 squares, I sewed them together to create the final 10 squares x 10 squares sheet.

2013-11-02_13-58-06_402I used a wide sewing scheme on the sewing machine, which made things go a little slower.  My hope is that the wide seam with never come apart.

Step 3 – Place Batting and Cloth Backing

I went to cloth store to get some cloth for the back sheet and the batting.  This is my second time going to the cloth store and it was a nightmare both times.  Long lines to cut the cloth, long lines to check out, …strange stares from all the women in the store.

I had my daughter helper with me and she was very adamant about choosing a polka dot cloth.  What was I to do?  I came home with a red felt cloth with white polka dots.  I think it looks just fine.

Polka Dot Felt Cloth

Polka Dot Fleece Cloth

Step 4 – Connect The Sheets and Batting

The denim sheet and fleece sheet need to be attached so that the batting doesn’t move around inside the blanket.  There are two ways that I figured I could do this.  I could tie them together with yarn, or I could run it through the sewing machine.

I chose to use the sewing machine to hold it all together.  I don’t recommend doing this.  It was difficult getting the cloth under the sewing machine.  There are a few spots where either the denim or the fleece got bunched up.  My recommend to you is to get a yarn needle and some yarn.  I think it will come out looking better in the end.

Step 5 – Finish the Border

The final step is to finish the border.  Apparently in quilting terms this is called “binding”.  There are quite a few ingenious ways to make professional looking bindings, or edges, around the quilt.  I didn’t have the skill or the patience to try it.  I chose to make a thick seam around the border of the quilt to finish it off.

Thick Sewing Edge Around the Border

Thick Sewing Edge Around the Border

Perhaps with a little more practice and patience my next quilt will come out looking better.  Even though it may not look the best, I’m pretty happy with the results.  Sewing a quilt is one of the most useful and practical Antireliant projects I’ve done.  The entire quilt could be made from scraps of cloth.  With a little bit of work a handful of scraps can be transformed into a useful warm blanket.



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(5) Readers Comments

  1. It looks great! I think that’s a cool project and I’d love to make our own someday. It may not make the most stylish comforter on a bed but I bet as you use it throughout the years your kids will have fond memories of that quilt when they grow up. I know I remember little things like that from my childhood. 🙂 Plus, you’re right, it will keep you all warm!

    • I’m glad we saved those old jeans. I was starting to feel like a pack-rat though.

  2. I saved my jeans years ago and cut the squares and had my sister sew the quilt. It was so heavy I never used it. It was like a trip down memory lane remembering stains on the jeans.

    • I know what you mean Rick. Pulling out some of the old jeans brought back some great memories.

  3. That is completely inspired! Not only have I been wanting a rag edged quilt for ages, but I am loving the whole denim backing!!! I need to bookmark this one! Not sure if I have enough denim might have to take a trip to a thrifty store first!

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