Last Updated December 1, 2012Ugly Quilts

First Parish Making Ugly Quilts

The Boston Project is excited to involve volunteers from around New England in making homemade sleeping bags, called "Ugly Quilts," for those homeless. We invite you to join us!

The originator of this project is Flo Wheatley, who stitched together the very first Ugly Quilt in 1985 in rural Pennsylvania. Her ministry, My Brother's Keeper, has helped to spread this compassionate project across the country. Since this humble beginning, volunteers from coast to coast have created and given tens of thousands of Ugly Quilts to men, women, and children who do not have a warm place to call home.

Since 2003, The Boston Project has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to complete several hundred Ugly Quilts. The majority of these are distributed on the streets of Boston through Starlight Ministries. You can imagine how valuable a warm sleeping bag might be on a cold New England night.

How Can You Help?

Make Your Own
For detailed directions on how to make your own homemade sleeping bag, view the Instructions/Plans. Making one outer shell (steps 1-2) normally takes about 30-45 minutes for 1-2 people (basic sewing machine skills needed). Stuffing and sewing a sleeping bag (steps 3-11) takes about 1-2 hours for a team of 6-8 people (no skills needed).

We are not able to accept new donations. Please check with us Spring 2013. Thanks!

We need many different materials to assemble Ugly Quilts. Many of these items are probably sitting in your closets or attic. Donations are accepted throughout the year. All donations can be dropped off at The Boston Project's office at 15 Elmhurst Street in Dorchester. (No pickups at this time.)
Some ugly quilts.
Ugly Quilt Stuffing Materials We need fabric materials 3-foot square or larger to use as quilt stuffing for warmth. All materials should be clean and dry (unremoveable stains and rips are okay!). Fabric should be easy to put a large needle through without difficulty.

Examples of good Ugly Quilt Stuffing:

  • Bedspreads
  • Bed sheets
  • Pillowcases
  • Blankets
  • Mattress pads
  • Quilt batting
  • Airline blankets
  • Felt
  • Leftover sewing fabric (soft, cottons, etc.)

Examples of materials that are NOT usable for Ugly Quilts:

  • Dense fabrics, such as denim, suede, heavy drapes
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Fabric smaller than 3-foot square
  • Dirty, moldy, or unwashed materials
  • Electric blankets

Other Sewing Supplies Needed

  • Neckties
  • Crochet thread, size 3 (all colors)
  • Small sewing scissors
  • Needles - large size (#18) with sharp points and large eyes
  • Needle cushions

Items Needed to Distribute with the Sleeping Bags
Each sleeping bag is given out with goodies that will make a person's day a little bit better, warmer, or just bring a smile to their face. Please give smaller sized items, as people typically have to carry most of their possessions with them. We accept only PERSONAL (HOTEL) SIZE toiletries.

  • Winter hats
  • Winter gloves
  • Winter scarves
  • White tube socks
  • Bars of soap - HOTEL SIZE
  • Shampoo - HOTEL SIZE
  • Lotion - HOTEL SIZE
  • Deodorant - HOTEL SIZE
  • Toothpaste - HOTEL SIZE
  • Toothbrush
  • Pocket-size Bibles
  • Deck of playing cards

Please contact Liz at 617-929-0925 or by using our contact form with any questions.

Contact The Boston Project by phone at 617-929-0925 weekdays between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (Eastern), or by email at .