How to Make a Jean Quilt for Beginners

I don’t know that there’s a tutorial exactly like this one, but this is the method I used to make my jean quilts. If you can sew straight lines on a machine, this is the quilt for you! It takes some time, quite a bit for a big jean quilt, but the result is totally worth it!

Materials Needed

lots of old pairs of jeans, khakis, or other pants

matching (or not) thread

denim needle (highly recommended)

flat sheet to use for the back, one or two sizes up from the blanket size you’re making

Cutting and Designing

1. Cut the jeans/pants into squares. I prefer 7″ X 7″ because they end up about 6″ X 6″, which makes for really easy measuring. Sometimes I use some of the pockets, but they are harder to sew because of the thick seams. I cut squares so a seam falls in the middle because I like how it looks.

You get about 16 squares from an adult’s pair of pants. Since writing this tutorial, I bought a 6.5″ X 6.5″ plastic ruler, rotary cutter, and mat for this step. It’s a lot easier than using scissors as long as the rotary cutter has a fresh blade.

2. Design your quilt.

Make sure you have enough squares for how big it will be.

  • Crib: 8 X 10 squares
  • Twin: 12 X 14-15 squares
  • Queen: 15 X 16-17 squares
  • King: 18 X 16-17 squares
  • Note: I looked up standard blanket sizes and divided by 6 inches to get the number of squares I needed.

Vary the colors of jeans or just keep it random and skip this step altogether. If you have tan and black (or other colors), you can draw out a design on a piece of paper first. Or, use Excel! Here’s an example for a twin quilt:

3. Arrange the squares into rows and tie/rubber band them together. The more complicated your design is, the more important this is.

Sewing it Together

4. Sew rows by holding two squares right sides together. Open up. Repeat until you reach the end of the row. Repeat with all of the rows.

5. Pin one row on top of another, right sides together. Sew, unfold, and repeat until all rows are sewn together.

6. Lay out the quilt and trim around the edges to make an even rectangle. The rows won’t match up perfectly since no squares you cut will be perfect, but that’s okay. Make them even now! (Even with more precise cutting methods, my squares never line up perfectly, but they are better than they used to be.)

7. Lay a sheet or other back right side to the floor/table. Lay the quilt on top. Trim a border, leaving a couple of inches on each side. I leave 4 so I can have the wide border shown here. You need two sheet sizes up to have one big enough, and use a flat sheet, not fitted. (For a twin, use a queen flat sheet, etc.) There will be extra fabric, so save it.

8. Tie the quilt. I do every other square with grosgrain ribbon since it won’t fray.

9. Fold the back of the quilt (sheet) over the front twice, pin, and sew around all edges.

10. Trim off any crazy threads, and you’re done!

The Finished Product

jean quilt

Enjoy your jean quilt almost any time of year! I like that this method makes one that’s not too thick.

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