Frayed Denim Quilt





Introduction: Frayed Denim Quilt

I love to make quilts, especially ones that don't require batting, hand sewing and finished edges.

This instructable will show you how to make an easy frayed denim quilt that you can size to fit whatever bed, couch, wall, etc. that you can imagine.  It does take some sewing abilities but can be completed without too much effort and time.

Step 1: Step 1: Materials

Here is a list of all of the materials that you will need.

6 yards denim or scrap blue jeans
6 yards of your choice of fabric for back (I used flannel cut from an old shirt)
Matching thread
Denim needles (also called jean needles)
Sewing machine

Before you get started, make sure that your sewing machine is threaded correctly and that you have tried the thread and stitching on scrap pieces.  Easier to make a mistake on scrap and the fix than to try to fix the pieces that you are actually going to use.

Step 2: Step 2: Cutting Material

This quilt is made from fabric squares that are denim and some other type of fabric, usually flannel (this makes it nice and warm).  Each square is cut to 6 1/2 in.  This leaves 1/2 in seam allowance to make the fray at the end.  You then stitch squares together to make strips and then connect the strips together to get the size that you desire.  The materials listed are for a 12 X 15 square quilt (180 squares total).  You can scale this to fit your desired length and width.

Start by cutting the number of squares that you want for your project.  I measured a Full Size comforter at 78 X 88.  When divided by the completed square size (5 1/2), I would need just over 14 squares and exactly 16 squares.  I like my comforters on the big size so I would probably measure out this quilt as 15 X 17 squares at least if not a little bigger. 

Remember to cut out the same number of denim and fabric squares.

Helpful hints:  When using new flannel (or new anything), safe bet is to prewash so that the material is preshrunk and you get rid of a lot of fuzzies.  Also, if you are using old flannel and denim like I did, iron material flat to press out wrinkles that could hinder in sewing the material, especially flannel because of the stretch.

Step 3: Step 3: Assembling Quilt

To begin assembling the quilt, place 1 denim square on top of 1 fabric square with the wrong sides together.  When you look at it you should be able to see the right side of the fabric from either side.  Place together all of your squares the same way. See the first picture for a visual.

Next take 2 sets of your squares and place the back pieces together so the 4 squares of material look like a sandwich with the two denim pieces on the outside (Picture 2).  Stitch across one end with either a double stitch or a stretch stitch.  Make the seam 1/2 in. from the edge.  Open the fabric so that the seam stands up and both pieces of denim are on top. (Picture 3)      

Step 4: Step 4: Assembling Quilt Cont.

Next take another set of the squares and lay them back to back against the piece you just sewed together.  Stitch here.  Open these up just like before.  Continue to put squares together like this until you reach the desired length for you quilt.  You should now have a length of squares connected like the top strip in the second picture shown below.  Set this length of quilt aside.

Continue to make additional strips the same way.  Make each strip the same number of squares long.  When you have completed the desired number of strips, you will be ready to connect the strips together to complete your quilt. 

Step 5: Step 5: Sewing Strips Together

Lay 2 of the srips from the previous step back to back. When you sew these together you will need to make sure that the seams of the squares are folded in opposite directions.  This is so that your needle does not have to sew through too many pieces of denim and will make trimming later easier.

Make a 1/2 in seam from one edge the entire length of your strip.  Continue to connect each of the remaining srips the same way. After you have connected all the strips to make your project your desired size, place a 1/2 in seam around the entire outer edge.

Step 6: Step 6: Completing Quilt

After connecting each row of strips, your quilt should look like the illustration in the second picture below.  To complete the project, you must clip the raw edges on top to give it the ravelled look.  Notice yow the seam of the top left corner is folded back to the left.  The seam on the square just below is folded to the right.  You did this when you stitched the length of strips together.  There is also a seam line the entire length of each piece.  In the corner of each square, your seams have created a smaller square (notice the first square in Row 1 of the illustration). 
You need to carefully cut each of these little squares out.  Clip on both sides of the seam where the little square is being held down.  This will let the square stand up so you can clip by the center seams.  The boxes in Row 3 of the illustration are what it should look like after being cut out. 

After clipping out ALL of the squares, start clipping all of the exposed seams approximately every 3/8 in to 1/2 in.  No need to measure.  Just approximate where the next cut should be to make the cuts uniform across the length.  The first square in Row 3 of the illustration shows this step. Also clip all of the edges around the outside.

After you've completed this, the next step is to wash your quilt. (I also take the quilt outside and shake to remove any loose threads.)  Washing the quilt will fray the edges.  It will continue to fray in the dryer.  CAUTION:  If you place this quilt in the dryer, you should check and clean out your lint filter every few minutes until quilt is dry.  There will be a large amount of loose threads that will plug the filter if you do not check it.

The point is to fray the quilt.  The more frayed it is, the better it looks.  

Have fun with this project.

Most of the instructions came from a Bonnie B. Buttons pattern #2500.
Bonnie's Country Creations
1466 Alcona Dr.
Burton Mi. 48509

Step 7: Variations

There are all sorts of variations of this quilt.  I think the quilt looks better if you mix light to dark denim.  Also, you can change which piece of fabric is on the top if you would like.  I personally like the looks of the full denim with the bit of color that shows when the seams are frayed.

Go crazy and create your own version. 



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    Thank you for the instructions that I can understand. I have lots of old jeans and have been wanting to make this quilt for years, I just hope my old sewing machine still works. Thank you

    i just made a queen size one of these for my bed. instead of using squares for the backing, I used a solid sheet and tied it at staggered intervals.

    My experience with sewing has been limited to my business making custom covers for anything that needs to be covered. My 10 yr old daughter ask me a few weeks ago to teach her how to sew. Your instructions are very helpful and putting in the quilting lingo was fantastic. We have started a denim pillow and quilt set to go on my couch. I think we both are now hooked on quilting. My daughter ask me if we can make one for her bed when we get done with this.

    Very nice. I use flannel to make rag quilts for a baby blanket. They are very warm. 6 squares across and 9 squares long fits a crib. for a girl I usually use brown and pink, or brown spots and pink stripes, etc. Its a lot easier to make it this size instead of starting on something as big as a regular bed size. I love to do these. Its very calming for me.

    Very nice instructable Qlibrarian! I needed something in denim to be able to throw over a small sofa, but couldn't find anything that I liked. This is perfect and won't cost me anything but time and effort. I'm going through everyone's old jeans now to find enough scrap to make one. Thanks!

    I know this is a bit old but i thought i'd comment anyway! lol. I've been saving old jeans for quite some time to make a frayed quilt like this, I never thought to sew the back with it like that, what a great idea, and would save a bunch of time too. I love the blue and purple! the only worry i've had about making a denim quilt like is i wonder if a large king size would be too large/heavy for a regular top loading washing machine?

    I would like to make a twin and use a flannel twin flat sheet how do i know how many yards or squars to use Help Thank you

    1 reply

    Generally, twin comforters are 68" X 86-92" (depending on length preference). Since each square will be 5 1/2 inches when complete, you would want tyour quilt to be 13 X 16-17 squares (again depending on length preference). This would mean that you would want between 208 and 221 squares of each type of material. Hope that this helps. Also, you might want to use a full flat sheet to make sure that you have enough material with seam allowances.

    What size quilt is this?  I am thinking of making a king sized one, one of these days and wonder how many pairs of jeans I need to collect. LOL

    1 reply

    The quilt in the picture is a queen size.  I was using my husbands jeans for this project and was able to get ten pieces (with extra) out of one pair.  Granted he has long legs so that might not apply to everybody's jeans.  When the sewing is done, each square should be 5 1/2 in. so that should help you measure for a king sized quilt.  I like to go just a little longer on my measurements because I want a very functional quilt that will fit over two people in a bed with cover to spare for both people.  Don't like it when the quilt is just small enough that it doesn't really cover both people.  Hope this information helps.

    Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.  I love this Retro quilt -- very warm and easy to fit to any size need.  Thanks!

    1 reply

    I am so glad that you like it.  It is great and so warm.  I can't wait to finish the one for my son.  Can I ask that you vote for my project so that I can be considered for the judging aspect of this contest?  I would apprciate it.  Thank you!!!