Wednesday, 20 April 2011

New Denim Quilt with Tutorial (sort of)

Here is the third denim quilt I have made.  I looks lovely but was a nightmare to make.  The extra raggyness if it is made by using deeper seams and then cutting them into a fringe before washing it in the machine to rag it up.  A big problem is though that it blocks up the washing machine and I am still having trouble with mine so I will definitely not be making another one the same way unless I can think of a different way of getting it to rag and getting rid of all the excess bits of rubbish from it as it was going everywhere.

Here is a close up of how the fringe looks.

Here is a sort of tutorial of how I made it but once again I must warn you, it might block up your washing machine at the end unless you can think of a better way of doing it.

First I worked out how many squares I would need to make the quilt.  I wanted to make it out of 4 inch squares as the bits of denim I had left over from the other two quilts were quite small. The four inch squares when sewn together would leave a three inch square showing giving me a half inch seam all the way round.  I wanted a big seam so I can get a better fringe on it. I also wanted to do every other square in a patterned cotton so that it gives a chequer board look to it.

I wanted the finished quilt to be about 54 inches by 45 inches which is what the other quilts are so this would mean I would need 18 x 15 but I changed it to 19 x 15 so that I had an odd number of both.

I then worked out that this would mean I would need 143 denim squares and 142 patterned squares.

I cut these out using a rotary cutter and mat to get them all nice and even plus it was much quicker.  I then found some fabric I wanted to use on the back of the quilt and cut some more 4 inch squares out of this enough so I had one for each square altogether.  This means I needed 285 squares out of the backing material.  The first photo shows the piles, I have already started to sew some of the paterned ones.  The orange coloured ones are the backing fabric.  It was a nice cotton sheet.

I got one orange square and one patterned square and placed them wrong sides together and stiched a line diagonally across from one corner to the opposite, then without cutting the thread did the next one and so on making a chain of them as in the next photo.

 When I had finsihed sewing all of the patterned squares to their paired backing fabric I started doing the denim ones the same as in this photo.
 When they were all sewn across I cut the strings attaching them and made two piles, one with the demin and one with the patterned.
Then I got one denim and one patterned and put them together so that the backing fabrics were together with the denim on the top and the patterned on the bottom and matched the direction of the sewn line and then sewed a half inch seam across the edge.  I fed quite a few through one after the other to save time and cotton but didnt do them all as I was having odd numbers of squares in each row so would not need pairs throughout.  This photo shows some of them sewn together with the denim side up.
The next photo shows what it looks like if I flip it over.  The two pieces of backing fabric are sandwiched in between.
I then cut the strings attaching them to each other, opened them out and sewed them into fours.
Then I joined these together and so on until they had enough squares to go across the length of the quilt.  In my case I wanted 19 squares so I had to add one odd one on to the end of each row.  I alternated making one row start and finish with a denim square, then the next row to start and finish with a patterned square.
As you can see, the seams are all on the top, the reverse of the strip looks like this.
Then I sewed the rows together making sure I kept them going in order of one denim at the top and one patterned at the top.  I placed the backing fabric together and sewed along the top side of the quilt.  I hadnt bothered pressing the seams at all so the fabrics were tending to go so that the denim squares were full and the seams were folded over the patterned squares as if I had pressed them this way.  When I sewed I tried to make sure that the squares matched up as I was sewing and also tried to keep the crossways seams flattened as they wanted to lay towards the denim.
It was hard to make the underneath lay flat, I kept having to lift it up each square and make sure it was laying flat but it worked out ok in the end.  I kept sewing adding on row after row until I had finished them all.

Once all the rows were stitched together I just had to put the binding around the edging.  I didn't photo this as got carried away with it all but it was the same way as binding any quilt.

To make the fringe, when the quilt was finished I went round every square and cut a fringe alog the raw edge of each seam.  The bits that were sewn down in the corners I cut using a small craft knife as my scissors did not have a sharp point on but for the rest of the cutting I did it with a normal pair of scissors.  If you fold the quilt so the raw edge is at the front it is easy to cut through the layers as long as your scissors are sharp enough, just make sure you don't cut through the line of stitching.  I cut about every half inch along the line.

After I had finished cutting I took it in the garden and gave it a good shake to try to get rid of some of the bits and then put it in the washing machine and did it on a normal wash cycle.  It came out looking nice although I had to run it through the machine again as the backing fabric was covered in bits like if you leave a tissue in a pocket.  The big problem was that it blocked up my washing machine and although I cleaned out the filter it still sounds a bit cronky so I wouldn't recommend doing it this way but have not thought of a different way to do it instead.


  1. That is lovely!

    As for the "ragging" - take it to the launderette (bit naughty I know) or could you seal it inside a duvet cover or something to stop the fluff going into the machine???

  2. Love the denim quilt :) and your daughter is lucky to have a clever mum :) my daughter has me making a bag for her now lol.
    Sue x