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Recycled Blue Jeans Quilt

Recycled denim pieced together to make a circle pattern quilt from old jeans

Finding creative things to do with old blue jeans is a bit of a passion of mine. Think about all you’ve been through together, those great-fitting friendly old jeans and you — who can bear to just trash them, when they get beyond wearing?

A recycled-denim quilt is, to my mind, the perfect solution.

Years ago I had a cosy and durable quilt made simply from diamond-shaped pieces of heavy flannel, plaid wool fabric, and recycled denim from old blue jeans. (Kind of like Dorothy Ainsworth’s quilt o’ Levi’s from Backwoods Home, but much smaller.) It went everywhere, and just got softer and more comforting with age… until age eventually caught up with it, and the fabric began to wear thin enough that the batting showed through in places…

Well, yesterday I came across a pattern — a quilt tutorial really, by the multi-talented Doreen Baros — for a Circle Blue Jeans Quilt that looks like a keeper.

The pattern is a little bit Cathedral Windows and a little bit Rob Peter to Pay Paul, and you can really get creative with the choice of lighter-weight fabric to show in the denim “windows” on the quilt.

Finish the edges of the circles with machine zig-zag or satin stitch, handsewn blanket stitch, or a neat-but-fiddley narrow hem, according to your taste and patience; or just sew it down and leave the unfinished denim edges to fray artistically in authentic blue-jeans style, like the sunshine-y summer-of-love-ish Circle Blue Jeans Quilt that Jessica Levitt made a few years back, following Doreen’s instructions.

Working with a material as heavy as denim, I’d definitely skip the batting on this one and also work it in squares of maybe three circles by three, depending on the size of the circles you decide to go with.

Wouldn’t this quilt be an interesting project to make with teeny-tiny miniature circles/squares? I wonder how small you could go and still handle the pieces… Hey, let me know if you decide to take on that challenge!

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3 comments… add one

  • nancy (aka moneycoach) 2011/07/31, 6:15 pm

    That is fabulous! And …. my friend who I stayed with in England is wanting to make a business for herself based on a similar concept – instead of keeping your closets cluttered with clothes you don’t want to part with, she will make them into a quilt. I *love* seeing the Quilt make a comeback.

  • Domestik Goddess 2011/08/25, 6:20 pm

    What a terrific idea, Nancy! A practical keepsake where once there was clutter…

    I had planned to make a quilt out of my niece’s baby clothes – wouldn’t that have been a nice item for her to have when she moves out on her own? – but I didn’t get in fast enough and her Serious Declutterer mother sent them all to the Sally Ann. Oh well, at least someone else got to benefit from those baby clothes!

    And on a related note, a woman I know has a business of making old fur coats into keepsake teddy bears – perfect solution when Granny passes on and you’re left with her ancient muskrat car coat to deal with!

  • Tina 2011/12/19, 9:45 pm

    We used to have a throw pillow made out of old denim. I loved the way it felt. I think a quilt made out of old jeans would not only look great, but feel great too. Might be cool with some old t-shirts thrown in too.

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