I'm so excited about the great response we had to our denim picnic blanket invitation! And I'm glad I'm not the only one who's been stockpiling old jeans, just waiting for a purpose. I've been researching denim quilt patterns, looking for something easy and inexpensive, since many of you mentioned you were novice or first-time quilters. While at my friend Deborah's house one day, I asked to see her denim quilt and I was shocked at how perfect it was for our project!
In addition to being lightweight (i.e easy to haul to your picnic site), the virtues of this denim blanket are 1. it uses large blocks (= fast and easy!), and 2. it does not have a backing, so you don't have to buy backing fabric or batting (= cheap!). All you'll need in addition to the jeans are gold jean thread, fabric for binding, plus the vinyl tablecloth and snaps. If you got your jeans for free, this is one super-inexpensive picnic blanket! Thanks, Deborah!
If you aren't as excited about this pattern as I am, you can find another quilt pattern, with or without backing, and get working on it on your own. Then hold tight until we get to the snap-on part of the tutorial. Here's another great tutorial for a true denim quilt if you're looking for something different. But for those who are with me, let's get started!
Denim Picnic Blanket Part 1
What you'll need for part 1 (click here for a list of supplies for the entire project):
*Eight to twelve pairs of denim jeans (adult sizes are best, but you can make smaller blocks using children's sizes)
*Rotary cutter and cutting mat
*Long, see-through quilting ruler
*Vinyl tablecloth (for sizing purposes)
1. Grab a pair of jeans and cut the legs off. Cut as close to the crotch as you can without cutting the back pocket.
2. Lay one of your jean legs out on the cutting mat.
Then adjust the leg so that the outside seam is on the very edge as pictured below. This will be a fairly straight seam (as opposed to the inseam which usually curves at the thigh and calf). Use this seam as a guide for the next steps. Smooth out any wrinkles.
3. Fold your leg in half, keeping the outer seam flat. Smooth out wrinkles again. Lay your ruler on top.
Keep vertical side of the ruler parallel to the outer seam. Keep the horizontal lines of the ruler straight on the fold. Cut off the inseam at the narrowest part.
4. Next you're going to "square up" your block. (Note: the picture below demonstrates a smaller block, but this should be done for ALL blocks.) Line up the horizontal line on your ruler with that straight outer seam again. Cut the ends of the block along the vertical side to make it a 90° angle. Repeat on other sides until it is a square (or a nice rectangle) with 90° angles.
5. Open up your leg. This is your finished block.
6. Repeat with other leg and remaining jeans. Lay out your vinyl tablecloth on the floor and cover with blocks, overlapping them 1.5" on each side, until you have enough to cover it sufficiently. I cut large blocks and smaller blocks to make the most of my denim, and to make it fit the tablecloth better. You can cut them any size you want, but be sure all the blocks in a row are approximately the same length. We'll arrange the blocks and cut them to exactly the same length in part 2.
7. If you want, cut off several pockets from the jeans to sew on randomly when we're done.
That's it for part 1. It's a couple hours worth of work, but hopefully you can find time to do it before I post part two next week. Please feel free to leave a comment with questions and I'll answer in the comments for everyone to see. Now get going!
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