Make a denim quilt the "easy" way
Old denim jeans, sharp scissors (preferably a pair of scissors meant to cut fabric), thread, sewing machine, and non-pilling (or pilling resistant) polyester fleece.
Why I made this:
My husband lost his brother, Cliff, to cancer a few years ago. It was a devastating blow. Months after the funeral, my mom-in-law mentioned that she had a bunch of Cliff's denim jeans and didn't know what to do with them. I offered to take them so that I could make a quilt for my husband - it would be something he could have that used to belong to his brother.
I cut the denim fabric into a bunch 7x7 squares. (It's important to make these pieces a uniform size no matter what dimensions you pick so that everything fits together nicely.) Sew the squares together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides. I made rows of the denim squares and then sewed the rows together. I kept going until the denim was a decent size for my husband.
And then I stopped and put the project away for a loooong time because I didn't want to quilt everything together.
But then I got an idea: I'll talk to my neighbor, who has great ideas (she sews for a living, too). So I asked Stephanie what I should do. "What if you just sew some nice fleece to the back?" she suggested. Brilliant!! No slippery batting to wrestle, no binding, no quilting!!
I trotted to JoAnn Fabrics and bought 3 yards of their non-pilling fleece. I chose plaid because my husband likes plaid, but there were a lot of really good colors and patterns available. The non-pilling (or pilling-resistant) fleece was $14.99 per yard and felt a lot nicer (and thicker) than some of the other fleece options. I got 3 yards because that amount provided an extra foot (or more) of fleece around my denim. When I got home, I washed and dried the fleece (and the denim again) just to make sure nothing would shrink later on when we happened to launder the blanket.
How I put it all together:
First, I placed the fleece (right side down) on a table. Like so...
Then I placed the denim on top (right side up). Like so...
After I made sure that all of the fabric was flat (no bumps or wrinkles), I used a bunch of safety pins to pin the middle part together so that the two layers of fabric wouldn't shift. Like so...
Then I decided how much fleece that I wanted to "edge" the quilt. I decided on "about four inches" and then I trimmed the fleece to remove any extra material. Then I folded the fleece edge over and pinned it to the denim.
In the above picture, you'll see that I pinned the fleece to make the bottom hem and I'm trimming some extra fleece. Again, I used safety pins to hold everything together which was a good choice. This project can be heavy and bulky, so safety pins worked best for me.
Then I sewed the edges. Like so...
The fleece and the denim both have some stretch to them, so you have to kind of squeeze them and pat them and encourage them to follow directions. But I didn't worry if things got a little bunchy because I figured the fleece and the denim would eventually marry well and fit each other. That mindset helped me get things done and the result was a cozy, soft keepsake that didn't take a lot of work to finish.
I didn't stitch together the middle part of the quilt, mostly because I was lazy. I'll let you know if I decide to add more stitching in order to keep the denim and fleece flat, but for now...it looks great!