The weather has finally warmed up here and it feels like spring. Some days it even feels like summer. We are spending more time outside, so it was a perfect time to finish this t-shirt and jeans picnic blanket.
I actually started this project over a year ago. After my last t-shirt quilt I still had a lot of t-shirts left to upcycle. Mostly ones the kids grew out of, but some of my old ones too. This time, however, I decided to combine them with denim. I didn't have as many jeans to upcycle as I had t-shirts, so I ended up supplementing with some unused denim from my stash and a couple of XL men's jeans from Goodwill.
My construction method was inspired by this quilt in denim and flannel. Each rectangle in the quilt is simply a t-shirt piece on top of a denim piece, wrong sides together. To sew the squares together I put the denim sides of two squares together and sewed through all four pieces. Then on the t-shirt side, I opened up the seam and sewed the denim down.
I began by cutting the shirt fronts into squares and rectangles of whatever size worked best for the particular shirt that I was cutting. I cut denim rectangles to match each t-shirt rectangle. Once I had a lot of rectangles cut, I began to group them by width and sew them into strips 24" long. I had to trim some rectangles down to get the width I needed and had to fill in with rectangles of the specific size needed to fill out a strip. Once I had enough 24" strips I laid them out in three rows and sewed them together.
At this point I realized my blanket wasn't wide enough, but I had run out of t-shirts and motivation, so the project stalled for a while. I finally got back to it just a few weeks ago, adding a 12" wide strip down the right side to make the blanket feel proportional. To finish it off I cut up one leg of a pair of jeans into 1 1/8" wide strips to make binding for the quilt. I simply folded the binding around the edge and sewed it on with a zig zag stitch.
And this is the finished blanket.
I love projects like this that both avoid waste and preserve memories. There are several shirts in here that I made for the kids, so I especially like being able to keep them and continue to get use out of them. In the picture above you can see a piece of the sunglasses tee from this post and the shark tee from this post.
I also love the back of this blanket. The various shades of denim, many of which have variations within the piece due to fading, and the few pops of red are really fun and give the back a lot of character.
The frayed edges of the denim give the blanket a casual feel that is perfect for a blanket that we'll be laying out on the ground. Hopefully this is a blanket we'll get a lot of use out of.