How to make a Rag Quilt – DIY Denim Quilt

June 23, 2015

Do you collect old jeans? Do you wonder what to make with them? Then this denim rag quilt is the perfect solution!! Old jeans are a great source of hard wearing versatile fabric. I always have a stash, gratefully receiving any donations!

Do you have a big pile of old jeans? Looking for ideas and tutorials to upcycle them? learn how to make a denim rag quilt with great instructions. #ragquilt

A jean quilt is perfect for anyone wishing to tackle a large denim stash. It is a great project for those considering making a quilt for the first time. You don’t need to be a precise sewer or spends hours cutting out (as you can tell these are the aspects which put me off making a standard quilt!!). Wonky seams add to the casual quality of this denim rag quilt.

 

Blue Denim Rag Quilt instructions

We are fortunate to have a spare bedroom, with none of our family local the room is used by regular visiting parents doting on their grandkids.  The room is rather bland, ready to serve its function. It needs a touch of personality, preferably some upcycling.

I took inspiration from some beautiful denim quilts online. A blue denim rag quilt deals with my bulky old jeans stash, and is relatively quick and easy:) 

When sourcing jeans for your rag quilt ask friends and neighbors. If you need to buy some consider car boot sales, thrift shops or similar and buy the larger size jeans – you get more fabric for your money! Think about the colors and tones of your denim, the more variety the greater the contrast in the finished quilt. Finally consider the stretch of the old jeans, preferably source jeans with little or no stretch, it will make sewing them easier.

Denim Rag Quilt Instructions

RECOMMENDED SUPPLIES:

  • lots of denim jeans
  • lining (I used old pillowcases)
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • denim sewing machine needle

denim materials

Trim your denim, removing all zips, waistbands. Make a decision re pockets, you may like to keep them as a feature or remove them. I removed them for ease of sewing.

You will be making panels of quilted denim, and then sewing the panels together. Decide on the size of your finished denim rag quilt.

Cut denim into rough sizes for your panels. My finished panels measure between 10-17″ and 104″ long. These were trimmed to size once sewn.

Layout your pieces in order to choose which denim you like next to each other. Pile up in the order you would like to sew them in, varying the tones of denim.

Next, think about your lining, you will be adding your lining as you sew. I used different pillowcases, using the width of the pillowcase as my size guide for the width of the panels.

To sew your first two pieces of denim trim your denim to provide a straight line down the grain (this is often easier to see on the back of the fabric).

Lay down the first piece of denim wrong side facing, next lay your lining right side up, then your second piece of lining the wrong side up, and lastly your second piece of denim right side facing you. Stitch a seam 5/8″  wide. If your machine struggles to cope with the layers of denim ensure you are using a denim needle and try a walking foot. Check out my video for how to sew denim.

denim and lining layers

Trim the pillowcase lining to the width of the denim panel.

Lay your next piece of lining and denim on the second side of the denim (as previously) and stitch. Continue until your panel is as long as you require.

Denim Panel

Trim the panel into a long rectangle, I used the edge of the rug for the first side and a large book as a guide for trimming the width of the panel. Pin each seam to stop it coming apart. Stitch along the long sides to hold these seams together, 5/8″ in. Remove pins.

Trim denim panel

Create as many panels as you need.

To make the ragged frayed edges cut into the seam allowance every 5/8″. Be very careful not to cut into the stitched line. If you accidentally do restitch. It is easier to do this now as there is less bulk.

snip into seam allowance

Once you have cut into each seam allowance layout your denim panels and choose the order you like them in.

denim panels

Pin lining sides together then stitch together at 5/8″, so the seam is on the right side of the quilt. Cut into the seam allowance to create fraying.

You are nearly there, sew around the edge of the quilt 5/8″ in, then cut into this seam allowance to create the fraying.

Wash denim rag quilt to fray edges

Lastly, place your quilt in the washing machine and wash, then wash and wash again. Each time you wash the quilt the seams will fray a little more.

Pillowcase lining of denim rag quilt - DIY Denim Rag Quilt, transform your old denim jeans into a beautiful denim quilt. Learn how to make a rag quilt. Making a rag quilt is a great use of jeans.

Hang your denim rag quilt out to dry.

I love the texture of denim. A surprise is the weight of the blue jeans quilt, I love lying under it (the weight is heavier than anticipated).

I totally winged it, as I say, for measurements but I appreciate most people prefer to know the size of the quilt they are going to make!! Below are standard bed sizes, you may wish to add 10″ either side for length.

US Beds:

Twin 36″ by 75″
Double 54″ by 75″
Queen 60″ by 80″
Eastern King 76″ by 80″
California King 72″ by 84″
Dual King 78″ by 80″

And the UK:-
Single: 36″ by 75″
Double 54″ by 75″
King 60″ by 78″
Super King 72″ by 78″
Queen size 90″ by 90″

What is your favorite upcycled denim project? 

If you love working with old jeans sign up to my newsletter for access to my free resource library, which includes PDF patterns for various denim bags.

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If you prefer a slightly more uniform look to your rag quilt then this denim rag quilt tutorial advises how many exact squares of denim you will need for different sizes of quilts, a handy resource. Making a rag quilt has added personality to my spare room.

Since I made the quilt I have made matching denim curtains, recovered a Victorian chair in denim and made blue denim rag cushions. Plus if you are looking for yet further denim inspiration check out all my old jean upcycles.

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29 comments so far.

29 responses to “How to make a Rag Quilt – DIY Denim Quilt”

  1. JessiBerry says:

    I love this! I’ve always wanted to make a denim rag quilt and this is amazing!
    JessiBerry recently posted…The Flying Geese Block: Multiple ways for the same block: A Round Up {quilting}My Profile

  2. Dana says:

    This is awesome Vicky! I have dozens of jeans waiting for a good project….this might just be it.
    Dana recently posted…Eight Reasons to Invest in a PatternMy Profile

  3. This is so cute! I’ve made one before but never with the ragged edges. I will have to try this the next time!
    Vickie @Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden recently posted…My Frugal Ways this Week 7/5/15My Profile

    • Vicky says:

      The ragged edges are a great to way to hide slightly wonky sewing lines – accuracy and quilts are not my forte!!!

  4. A denim rag quilt has been on my To Do list for ages. I have tonnes of jeans hoarded away just waiting. Your quilt looks great, Vicky. Pinning.
    Pam @Threading My Way recently posted…Refashioning ~ Keeping Elements of the OriginalMy Profile

  5. Kitty McDonald says:

    I was looking at you jeans rag quilt. Do you think it would be too heavy if a thin layer
    of polyester quilting material was incorporated into it?

  6. Tamara says:

    Hello Vicky,
    I found your blog through AllFreeSewing.com. Knew I had found a great DIY blog when I saw your large tote bag tutorial (will give it a try!). And loving this denim quilt. Great ideas. Thank you for sharing them!
    All the best from Malawi,
    Tamara

  7. Donna says:

    I had been looking for and wanting to figure out a bedspread that wasn’t one of those poofy kinds and one that I could wash a lot as my dog sleeps on my bed with me. This is it! I haven’t sewn much recently, but used to sew a lot, and I can get old jeans from my granddaughters and fill in with Goodwill purchases. Thanks so much for the idea and for the detailed “howto”. The photo is so beautiful!

  8. Shelly says:

    What a beautiful denim rag quilt! I need to make another one myself, unused jeans seem to be multiplying at my house.

  9. Domenica says:

    What a great idea! A perfect way to put those old jeans to good use!

  10. Nancy says:

    Love how you think and what you create, I am a firm belivier that nothing should be wasted, therefore a pac-rat and have to live to be very old to finish all my projects, denim oven mitts, picnic table cloths, quilts, bags and every idea I come across I try to make it. Keep up the gret work!

  11. Julie says:

    Love this rag quilt. They are so fun to make and turn out beautifully!

  12. Andi Tointon Tointon says:

    Found your denim quilt tutorial and thought it might be ideal to make for my falling apart at the seams 3 seater and 2seater settees. At least if the cats do scratch it, the denim would be fairly tough to withstand alot of that sort of malarky. I have pinned you so I can find you easily. And I do have quite a few pairs that will never fit me again. Great Idea. Thanks for sharing your quilt and the fab headboard.

  13. Aleah says:

    How do you think this would work as drapes? Leave off the liner?

  14. Mikki says:

    I’m working on a reversible jean (squares) throw for my grandson. One side jeans other spiderman character. Do I need a lining?

    • Vicky says:

      I just used the denim and pillowcases as the reverse. If you add something between it will make it warmer but bear in mind the weight, it’s quite heavy without.

  15. Kelly says:

    I love this. I’ve been wanting to make my husband one but with jean pockets. Just not sure how go about doing it.
    Thank for sharing

  16. sharon jackson says:

    Are the lining pieces cut into squares also? or are the pillowcases sewn together, and then sewn on to back of quilt?

    • Vicky says:

      Hi Sharon, I cut the lining into strips the same width as my denim, then sewed in as I went “Lay down the first piece of denim right side to the table, next lay your lining right side up, then your second piece of lining right side towards the table, and lastly your second piece of denim right side facing you. Stitch a seam 1 cm wide.” The lining raw edge becomes part of the frayed seam edge. Hope this makes sense – let me know if not and I can add a video in to demonstrate.

  17. Mjordan says:

    Do you know how much the blanket weighs? I’ve been saving jeans for years and hoping for a blanket that is similar in weight to a weighted blanket but not too heavy.

  18. Vicky says:

    Hi Mjordan, I have just balanced it on my weighing scales – about 3 kilo, I hope this helps, Vicky

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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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