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Picture of Denim Frayed Lap Quilt
With this project, you will get lots of practice learning to sew a straight line; one of the most basic things to learn when using a sewing machine and control of your fabric. You will also get a very unusual and pretty lap quilt in the process. This would be a good grown-up+kid project. The one shown in these instructions uses 36 denim (frayed side) squares and 36 cotton squares (colorful side), making the finished quilt 36"X36". You may want to start with a smaller one. If so, cut and sew 16 denim squares and 16 cotton squares together, which will make the finished quilt 24"X24", which would make a nice sitting place for a small dog or to cover little toes.
 
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Step 1: Supplies:

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Supplies:
*Used denim jeans, skirts, etc. You can probably find some in the back of your closet or at thrift stores. If you make one of these as a gift for someone besides a family member, you might want use new denim fabric, but I just love the idea of recycling. Be sure and save pockets, waistbands, and belt loops for possible future projects.
*100% cotton fabric, either all one color or different colors as I used here. Again, look through your closets for outdated or rarely worn cotton clothes. The important thing is to make sure it will fray. Also, you could use a Christmas print or colors that a boy or girl would like.
*Cardboard for making the pattern/template
*Pencil or pen to mark the size on the cardboard
*Ruler
*Some type of fabric marker to mark fabric-you want to use something that can be washed out such as a chalk pencil or air/water soluble marker.
*Straight pins
*Scissors-one old pair to cut out the cardboard and a good, sharp pair to cut the fabric. Never use fabric scissors to cut paper, cardboard, etc. It will dull them very quickly and ruin them.
*Threaded (white is fine) sewing machine with a size 14 or 16 needle.
*Tape-(optional), to mark the 1/2" line on the sewing machine. This aides when sewing all the 1/2" seams.

Step 2: Instructions:

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Measure, mark and cut the cardboard 6-1/2"X6-1/2". Use this to mark the denim and cotton fabric with the grain. If you look close, you can see the threads in the fabrics running up and down, this is the grain of the fabric. This is the direction you want to cut to make the fabric fray. Cut 36 denim squares and 36 cotton squares. If you want, you can press all the squares before you sew them together but it is not necessary.
To make the first row, lay down a square of denim-wrong side up, a cotton square-right side up, another cotton square-wrong side up and a denim square-right side up. Pin the 4 layers together.

Step 3: Hint:

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One of the biggest mistakes some sewers make at the beginning of sewing something on a machine, is not holding and pulling back with a light tension on the top and bottom (bobbin) thread as they start to sew. This could result in a thread nest that can jam the machine. Also, do not sew over the straight pins as this could cause your needle to break.

Step 4: Starting To Sew:

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If your machine has a stretch stitch (2 stitches forward, 1 stitch back) use that to stitch the quilt together. If not, sew across each square twice. Sew a 1/2" seam on the right. You have just sewn 2 denim squares and 2 colorful cotton squares together.

Step 5: Finish Sewing:

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Sew squares together like this to make 1 row with 6 squares of denim on 1 side and 6 cotton squares on the other. Do the same with each row. Sew row 1 to row 2 and row 2 to row 3 till the quilt is connected. Reduce bulk by laying seam allowances underside and topside rows going in opposite directions. Sew 1/2" around the outer edge of the quilt.

Step 6: Clipping Seams:

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Turn to denim side and with sharp scissors clip all the exposed seams about 1/2" apart being careful not to cut into the sewing thread. This project is pretty forgiving so if you happen to by accident, stitch the area you cut IN a little more than the 1/2". It probably wont show because of the fraying.

Step 7: Finishing:

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Take the finished quilt outside and shake it as much as you can to get loose threads off. Wash and dry the quilt at least 3 times, starting with a clean lint filter on the dryer. Check the dryer lint filter/trap about every 15 minutes as lots of threads will come loose and if it clogs up the lint trap it can cause the dryer to overheat and possibly catch fire. If making this size (or smaller) quilt, I would add a couple of pairs of old jeans to wash and dry it with to give it something to rub up against to loosen threads.

Step 8: The Finished Lap Quilt:

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The finished quilt, each side.

Step 9: My Granddaughter's First Project:

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This was my granddaughters first project I taught her using a sewing machine and she loved it. Her squares were much smaller though. Children should be supervised when using a sewing machine, it is not a toy.

Step 10: Lastly:

Clean and oil the sewing machine. This quilt causes a lot of lint buildup.
flattail made it!3 months ago

We chose to make it a bit larger to sit on for picnics. Our 15 year old plans to take it camping. Thanks for the tutorial!

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amnartist (author)  flattail3 months ago
You're welcome. Yours is gorgeous! And I know how much time and work it took. Great job!
janine66 months ago

Great instructions. I made a queen size quilt for my daughter with a fleece backing. It turned out perfectly. Thanks for the instructions

amnartist (author)  janine66 months ago
Your welcome. Love the idea of fleece backing!
Schmidty162 years ago
this is cool ecept im going to make one for a queen sized bed [and yes im i guy and i like to sew]

i just finished a queen size denim rag quilt and it was one helluva project... it was also my first and, at times, i thought i would never get it done

amnartist (author)  Schmidty162 years ago
I think it's fantastic to come across guys who like to sew! A queen size is quite a project to take on. I know because I'm getting ready to start one that size for a family member who wants one for Christmas. Good luck on yours and post pictures of your finished quilt if you can.
ok
cmontag2 years ago
that is so awesome. thank you for sharing.
amnartist (author)  cmontag2 years ago
Thank you, cmontag.
wahela3 years ago
I make rag quilts for baby blankets. I use flannel, three layers for each square. Usually the inside is more colorful. But for girls I would use brown and pink squares. If you have a Singer sewing machine with different kinds of stitches, you make an X sewing, and using the different stitches, you can make them really cool. then sew them together, use a sharp knife to cut each seam about every half inch around ALL of those seams, then I take it to the laundromat because I am not about to have all those threads plugging my washer. Then dry it. They make beautiful baby blankets. Six across and nine down makes a rag quilt for a baby crib.
amnartist (author)  wahela3 years ago
Thanks for the info wahela. What a great idea about taking them to the laundromat afterwards too!
mzklever3 years ago
I've been looking for instructions on how to make a rag quilt that actually make sense. This seems easy to follow, and I can't wait to start. Thanks for posting!
amnartist (author)  mzklever3 years ago
Thank you! It is messy and takes some time, especially a larger one. But SO worth it, I think. Good luck.
Sassy Cat4 years ago
I made this lap quilt ( a little bigger) and it came out so adorable. Love the Instructable. Thank you for sharing. I am going to make more of them. They are fun, but be prepared for "mess". I had levi threads all over the house, but well worth the cleanup.
amnartist (author)  Sassy Cat4 years ago
Thanks Sassy Cat! I enjoy making these. I've been sewing for over 40 years and just can't throw scraps of fabric away(or old, worn or stained jeans). This is a great way to use them up. But yes, they are messy.
marian19364 years ago
Love your idea, and you presented it very clearly.
IAMSPARTA5 years ago
THIS QUILT WAS AWESOME! I ABSOLUTLY LOVED THE FACT THAT WITH THE DENIM THAT IT'S HEVY ENOUGH NOT TO NEED BATTING! CHEERS TO THIS PROJECT!
amnartist (author)  IAMSPARTA5 years ago
Thank you!
daddycbucks5 years ago
Congratulations! Your quilt deserves to be in the finals. Good luck!!
amnartist (author)  daddycbucks5 years ago
Thank you, thank you!
dougandmare5 years ago
I love the finished product. It's neat to sew both sides of the quilt together like you show here. I never would have know to do that. And, I have small dogs! This will be a winter project for me. Thanks!!
amnartist (author)  dougandmare5 years ago
Thank you! I'm thinking of making one queen bed size...now that would be a winter project! lol
mgranma5 years ago
How clever!
amnartist (author)  mgranma5 years ago
Thank you.
Or you could show a picture that would make a guy not feel threaten in his masculinity by having a quilt that HE could make for himself...just a thought.
amnartist (author)  seancepts2k35 years ago
Very good thought, no reason a guy couldn't do this at all. Thanks!
A kid with no confidence in sewing (I was once that kid), could take this and do a lot with it. Great idea.
amnartist (author)  seancepts2k35 years ago
Thank you! I was lucky, my grandmother taught me to sew when I was young and I'm glad she did. I think the art of sewing is going away.
That is way cute. What a great project for beginning sewers who want to practice. I'll be linking.
amnartist (author)  OnePrettyThing5 years ago
Thank you!
daddycbucks5 years ago
This is nice!!
amnartist (author)  daddycbucks5 years ago
Thank you. I probably should have set a little dog on the quilt to show the size better, but I don't have a dog!