Lying on a rug on the grass, reading a book, watching the butterflies flit around and listening to the bees, is the ideal way to spend a warm afternoon. This picnic rug is made from old jeans. Using faded jeans of different colours and textures, while including the pockets, adds interest to the finished rug.
• 10-12 pairs of old jeans to make a rug measuring 6ft by 6ft (1.8m x 1.8m)
• A recycled double sheet
• All-purpose thread in two colours, one matching the denim and one matching the sheet
• Thread for topstitching (optional)
• Fabric marker
• Sewing machine with denim needle
How to make
Step 1: 144 squares are cut from the jeans, each measuring 6½in (16.5cm) square.
Step 2: The denim squares are sewn together in 12 separate rows of 12 squares, using matching thread with a ¼in (7mm) seam allowance.
Step 3: Once all rows are finished, the seams at the joins are steam pressed open and the squares pressed flat. The rows are now sewn together using a ¼in (7mm) seam, taking care to match the first set of seams ensuring they line up. Once the patchwork is complete, it is pressed.
Step 4: The sheet is ironed and the front of the rug placed right side up, on a large flat surface, The sheet is placed over it, right side down so the two rights sides are together. The sheet will overlap the rug at this point. They are pinned together and the sheet cut down to match.
Step 5: The two pieces are sewn all the way round the edge, ½in (14mm) in, leaving a gap of 30in (75cm) open on one side. The corners are trimmed diagonally. The rug is turned the right way out through the gap. The corners are poked out to give a neat finish, and the rug is pressed again, folding the seam allowance on both the front and back inside at the gap.
Step 6: With the right side facing up, the rug is top stitched all the way round the edge, ¼in (7mm) in. This closes the gap at the same time. Different coloured thread can be used to add detail if desired. Top stitch thread is recommended, as it is thicker and gives a better finish. The bobbin thread should be the same colour as the sheet throughout the finishing stage so it doesn’t show.
Step 7: The next step is to secure the front to the back. The two are pinned together, then stitched ‘in the ditch’ of each seam on each row. Denim coloured thread is used in the sewing machine needle so it doesn’t show. If the rug is too large to fit under the sewing machine at this stage, it can be hand stitched instead.
Step 7: Finally, all loose threads are stitched in and trimmed, and the rug is pressed one last time.
Project: Julie Brown Photography: Richard Faulks