Freebox Jeans Quilt Progress

NOTE: All posts on this project are tagged with “Freebox Jeans Quilt.”

Up until now, there were 24 squares worth of material cut, waiting to be pieced. The weather was finally bad enough, and I was finally bored enough to sit down at the sewing machine and put everything together.

Piles of cut fabric
  Piles of cut fabric on my sewing table, ready to go.

Cut pieces
  Cut fabric for one square

Sewn square
  One square sewn together

Squares laid out
  Sewn squares laid out

The squares went together in nothing flat. Piecing them together is the easy part, I guess. It takes a lot longer to cut them out, and I’ve only done about a third of what I need to. And then there’s the actual quilting. Bleh.

Looking at the picture above, I’m amazed at how much it actually resembles my preliminary sketch below.

Roman Stripe


NOTE: All posts on this project are tagged with “Freebox Jeans Quilt.”

8 Responses to Freebox Jeans Quilt Progress

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting! I had the same idea, with the same quilt pattern in mind, but I ended up with so many jeans that it seemed that a quilt would use only very few.

    What I plain to do is a braided rug, using FOUR strips (not three) to create the braid.

    I made a sample, using strips that were about one and three-quarters inches wide strips.

    A braided rug will use up many many many pairs of old jeans — however, there is lots of sewing involved, joined the strips at 90-degrees, then sewing on the diagonal and cutting off the excess fabric.

    I liked the small sample I made using the FOUR-strip braid, it lays flat on the floor; and the braid is wide enough that the rug will grow quickly.

    What are you going to back your denim quilt with? Do you intend to line it with any type of batting?

  2. John Wilmot says:

    Thanks for commenting!.

    The plan for the quilt is for it to more of a coverlet — a light blanket for the summer. Instead of batting, it’ll have an old flanel sheet as the middle layer, which I have done successfully before with other projects.

    I’m only about a third of the way done, but I’ve already used up six pairs of jeans, which means I could easily use 15-20 pairs for the top. I’ve considered a simpler pattern using denim for the back, which would use even more.

    I like the idea of a braided rug. Seems like a very good way to put durable, old fabric to good use, but I was never able to get the hang of it for some reason.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting about the flannel sheet lining, I can see how that would work, but I’m always surprised with how many online instructions for utility-type quilts so often advise using an old blanket. If you have cold winters, an old blanket will never provide warmth for a cover of patchworked cotton and some old polyester cotton sheet for the backing.

    Ever since I saw your quilt, I have been trying, and trying to recall something.

    Finally!! Ta-dahhhh!

    What it is, is this. At your public library, or some used bookstore, look for a copy of a book called, THE PASSING ON OF COMFORT. It’s an interesting account of the discovery of many old World War II era quilts in Holland, which were made here by the Mennonite community.

    On PAGE 93 is a color photograph, entitled, “Nine-Patch.”

    It is a denim quilt —- AND, of all things, it actually is quilted. Yep, they quilted through the blue jean denim material!

    Evidentally, these quilts occasionally go travelling on exhibition, and I would love to see this specific old quilt.

    Also, there are at least a dozen other pictures of other quilts shipped over at the same time, and I guess that some Mennonites have made reproduction quilts of some of them.

    You might be interested in some of these photographs, I was fascinated to see such old blankets in such great condition, it’s nothing like nowadays when everything is so throw-away, fill up another landfill.

    I’m also interested in what you finally do with all the old navy wool blazers, because wool suit jackets of all colors & tweeds are readily accessible at many estate sales, and usually are very very very inexpensive.

    The only thing is, is that I don’t like drycleaning, and I sure would want to tackle washing a large wool quilt or rug in the bathtub — H O R R O R S !!! LOL

  4. John Wilmot says:

    I have to admit that I mainly quilt because I like figuring out the patterns and colors, and I like the feeling of being thrifty and saving something from the garbage. Keeping warm is less of a concern, and I think of the quilts I make as something decorative to put on top of the other things that are actually keeping me warm. I have four blankets on my bed right now, in fact — an electric blanket, an old wool army blanket, a heavy wool Pendleton blanket, and on top of it all the polyester suit quilt, which wouldn’t keep me warm even on a summer night.

    I actually include a middle layer on quilts for stability. They’re something to anchor the top and bottom to that is flat and have straight edges.

    The quilt that inspired the so-called design of my denim quilt is by a Gee’s Bend quilter, and they quite often used old pants, including denim work clothes. And everything they did was fully quilted by hand. The catalog of quilts is here:

    On the subject of tweeds, I have a big bin full of old Harris Tweeds, which are nice to look at, but due to their fuzziness and loose weave, I suspect that they’ll be a mess to quilt with. Also, they’re quite scratchy. On the other hand, navy wool blazers are usually heavy and more dense — not loose or fuzzy at all. I think they’d be a lot easier to work with and probably quite warm with all their weight.

    Also, thanks for the tip on the book. I checked my local library catalog, but sadly they do not have it.

  5. Anita says:

    Hi John,
    You are an inspiration! I bought a couple of Harris Tweed jackets to make a landscape quilt.
    Do you have any blues pr greys in your stash? I will gladly trade for the book “Passing on the comfort”, or maybe I can find Pendelton shirts.
    Just a thought.

  6. Pat Jennings says:

    Stopped by your website today for some more inspiration. I have been making blue jean quilts for a few years now but like to incorporate other fabrics so they aren’t too boring. The last big project I did was sort of a landscape blue jean quilt with an appliqued eagle. Currently, I am working on a seascape fantasy picture with a sleeping sun, and a mermaid. I am having trouble figuring out how to do the cliffs. If you go to my website, click on pics, and then go to the mermaid quilt photo album, you can see a photo of what I am trying to reproduce. Maybe you would have some ideas. I have the background laid out from jean legs and will use dyes to paint on the colors of the background and then applique the sun, mermaid, and rocks. Yes, it will be heavy. The eagle quilt I did for my son is heavy enough to protect him from a nuclear explosion! LOL I don’t care about that. My goal is to use old denim jeans to create landscape type quilts with very little other fabrics incorporated. Anyone have ideas? Thanks,

  7. cindy says:

    love your jean quilt. i just got thru making a jean log cabin quilt..came out just wonderful. have been collecting men’s plaid shirts also. i used a red plaid for the centers of the log cabin blocks. used a lot of jean dresses and skirts also. i am going to back it with some red plaids and jean fabric. also made a pillow cover using the log cabin blocks.
    think i will make your roman strip quilt next..thanks for the great ideas. if you come up with more let me know.

  8. Mel says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I made a quilt like yours, used high loft batting and backed it with a navy sheet. It is used for the park mostly and we LOVE it. It has a great weight to it and I am constantly getting compliments on it, so I thought I would pass those on to you since I used your idea! Again, thank you!

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