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How to Make Denim Quilts

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Introduction to Denim Quilts
Make a Denim Quilt

Denim works nicely for large, simple quilt blocks.

© Janet Wickell

Denim Quilts, Sometimes Called 'Blue Jeans Quilts'

Denim quilts can be sewn from most any pattern, but the fabric's heavier weight means that some projects will be much easier to assemble than others.

Many denim quilts are sewn by recycling denim blue jeans, which are often made from a fairly heavy denim, but denim shirts and other garments are cut and stitched from lighter weight fabrics. The lighter weight your denim, the easier it will be to work with denim patchwork.

When you're working with heavy denim, stick to simple shapes like squares or bricks (rectangles), but don't worry, because those shapes don't have to be boring:

  • Use different colors of denim in the quilt to achieve a dramatic difference from patch to patch.

  • Use plain denim for some patches and alternate those patches with a denim print.

  • Sew with blue denim patches of different shades (or choose patches that have been faded to different levels) to achieve a subtle variation between quilt blocks.

  • Think about the different ways that ceramic tile is applied to floors and choose a similar arrangement for your denim quilt blocks.

  • Make a denim rag quilt, with seam allowances that are exposed and allowed to fray. My easy rag quilt pattern would be perfect sewn in denims (omit the batting layer to reduce weight).

Wash new denim fabric at least twice, more for a softer look and feel, and be sure to press denim before using it in a quilt.

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