Note: Here's yet another entry that I originally published on my personal blog. It seems more relevant for this blog, so I'm posting it here as well.
Here are some video clips showing how to make a denim rag quilt:
Go to HGTV's Simply Quilts "video center". Once that's loaded, search (in the video center search box-- not the search box for the whole site) for "denim fray-edged quilt". There are three clips that take you through the whole process of making a denim and cotton (or flannel) rag quilt. It's pretty helpful if you learn best by watching and listening.
If you prefer written instructions, there are quite a few options.
Denim Chenille Quilt, by Catherine Timmons
This site has very detailed, step-by-step instructions for sewing a denim and calico rag quilt. The author even explains how to cut squares from old jeans using shears and a rotary cutter. Her method looks like a good one for getting the maximum number of squares from each pair of jeans (even if you don't have a rotary cutter). When I cut my denim, I took care to preserve the back pockets (to add a decorative touch to projects), but if you aren't worried about that, this is probably the way to go.
Ragged Homespun Quilt, from Jo-Ann Fabrics
Pretty straightforward description of a typical rag quilt. This one suggests homespun, but really, you can use any fabric that frays well.
Denim Rag Quilt, by Helen Cairns
Submit your e-mail and name to get this free pattern for a denim rag quilt using 6 to 8 pairs of old jeans (depending on their size, of course) and about 2 yards of flannel. (This is the pattern I based my first project on. I broke a needle, though, and put it aside before Christmas. More on that below. . .)
Denim Rag Edge with a Twist, by Rachelle Burleson
Denim rag quilt with "peek-a-boo" stars in a contrasting color. (You could change the pattern to have hearts or any other shape you'd like, too.)
Strippy Rag Quilt, by Trish Wilson
Here's a rag quilt with a different look-- scalloped strips instead of rows and columns of squares.
Rag Quilt Pattern, by Janet Wickell
This one alternates four-patch blocks and simple square blocks using five different fabrics. Good if you'd like a more structured look than the typical rag-bag look. (I like both styles, myself.)
Raggedy Quilt, from Crafts of Chaddsford
Yet another set of instructions. . .
No-Sew Calico Quilt, by Kelli Guhde and Cindi Schramer
This is a different type of raggy quilt. You don't even need a sewing machine for this one! Could be a fun project for kids too young to be trusted with a machine-- or for anyone who'd rather do their "sewing" on a comfy sofa.
And there are even more sites out there, but that should be enough to get you started. ;o)
I need to get back to work on my first denim rag quilt. I think I probably should have figured (and cut) for 1/2 inch seam allowances instead of 1/4 inch, based on everything I've been reading, but it's too late to do that now. I suppose I could still sew the squares together with the larger seams, but then the quilt would be quite a bit smaller than I'd figured, and I don't think I have enough matching "backing" fabric to add more squares. Besides, some of my "decorative touches" (pockets, labels, etc.) would be too big for the smaller squares. Well, I'll just carry though with what I originally planned, I guess, and hope that it'll be ok.
I've made one rag quilt-style bag from flannel, since putting away the denim quilt project-- and I'm in the middle of making a denim rag-quilt bag, now. I used scraps left over from the jeans I cut into squares (for the first project) and one of Donald's old button-up cotton shirts. (He still may not believe me ;o), but the poor thing was way past its prime. It had earned the right to go to the rag bag. . . .Why do I suddenly feel like Judy Plum on the prowl for material for her next hooked rug? (g))
I used this pattern, if you're interested. I substituted the denim scraps for the flannel because I wasn't sure how I'd like it and didn't want to waste good fabric on it until I'd practiced a little. I'm still not sure how it'll turn out. Right now it looks pretty pathetic, but I think it'll be better when it's clipped and "ragged".