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Quilting with Blue Jeans

Using Leftover Material

Learn how quilting with blue jeans can be an easy way to recycle for frugal quilting.

Denim quilts are also known as quilting with blue jeans.

This uses similar methods of quilting as any other quilt with just a few tweaks because of the material being used.

Please wash the jeans before you start this project. 

We don’t want extra dye or smells in your finished project. ;)


How heavy is the jean material you are going to be working with?

Is it lighter weight or heavy?

Odds are that we are using higher quality blue jeans which tend to be on the thick heavy side.

It’s harder to work with, but we can do it.

One of the simple ways to make heavy jean material easier to work with is to make the shapes you are working with square, rectangular, and/or triangular.

When it comes to cutting the material there are two ways that you can do it.

1.    Pinking shears

2.    Pinking blade in a rotary cutter

Personally, I like the speed of a rotary cutter.  However, shears are safer if you’ve never used a rotary cutter.

Cut around the seams first. It’s not worth having to seam rip them.

You may want to keep the pockets on the jeans.  They could be a neat addition to your quilt.

Iron the material you have at this point.

Then cut the pieces that you want.  It might be a good idea to add an additional ¼ inch.  This would make your seam allowance a ½ inch. 

We suggest this because some denim has a tendency to unravel more than others.  Use your best judgment. 


It’s best to use thick cotton thread for piecing the denim together.  You usually can find jean thread at your local craft shop.

Hand piecing would be a pain in the… hands.  I don’t recommend it.

Instead use your sewing machine with the proper needle for thick fabric.

Set your stitch to around 10 stitches per inch and test it first.

Ultimately you decide if this is working with your material.

Be sure to use a walking foot to make sure the denim doesn’t move around on you too much.

Sew the pieces for your top together.

The results will look similar to this:

The Back

Once the top is finished it’s time to think of how you want to have the back.

What type of fabric do you want it to be made out of?

It doesn’t need to be denim too.

We recommend something soft, like thick fleece.

If the fleece is thick enough there might not be a need for batting.  Unless you’re in a very cold climate I wouldn’t even want to bother with it.

When you have your top and back ready it will be time to start quilting.

Just as it was with piecing, hand quilting this material is not recommended.  It would be one stitch at a time. That’s hard on the body and too time consuming.

Machine quilting looks nice and professional, plus it’s a heck of a lot faster when working with jeans.

Wrap Up

When binding the edges of this quilt, consider using the method of folding the back over to the front as I discussed in Classic Quilting Methods.

If you are working with fleece as your backing, it will make the edges of your quilt comfortable to be against.

There you have it.  Quilting with blue jeans is a way of recycling fabric and a classic frugal quilting method. 

Be sure to take frequent breaks and have patience.  It will pay off in a beautiful work of functioning art.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

Color Block Quilts

› Quilting with Blue Jeans

› Quilting with Blue Jeans

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