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upcycle old denim 640

From jackets to jeans, denim is a look that never goes out of style. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your favorite pair of jeans will last forever. Maybe they don’t fit your current style, the size isn’t right anymore, or they’ve simply seen better days. This good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and upcycle your old denim.

#1: Denim Bags

Whether you want to pack a few daily items or need a festival pouch, your old jeans can make for the perfect bag. To start, cut your jeans from the knee down. For most adults, this should measure at about 40 cm.

In addition, you’ll want to measure a leather strap of the same length, another one of 10 cm with a small buckle, and two 3 cm lengths. Now, turn the jeans inside out and position the 10 cm leather strip from the top down the center. Then, close the seam with a zig-zag stitch and make boxed corners. Again in the center, attach the longest strip to the back of the bag and use the smallest strips horizontally to hold the main strap in place. Between the lines

#2: Denim Quilts

upcycle old denim

Anyone who is a fan of quilting can tell you how versatile it is because you can use a variety of fabrics for it. So, why not make your old jeans into a denim quilt? For this project, all you need is to cut patches from your favorite jeans and then sew them together. Levis Straus & Co

#3: Wall Organizers

upcycle old denim

Wall organizers are popular for their space-saving storage. People use them for everything from shoes to make up brushes and other odds and ends. A way to add a personal touch compared to standard plastic organizers is to cut the pockets out from your old jeans and sew them together. Pillar box blue

#4: Denim Flowers

upcycle old denim

Denim flowers are a great decorative touch and easy to make. Cut petal and leaf shapes out of old jeans. Then, fold petals in half and sew them on the fold. The round heart of the flower and leaves should be cut into and frayed. Finally, sew these patterns one on top of the other. Between the lines

#5: Jean Bracelet

upcycle old denim

Denim jewellery is a great way to add a unique touch to your outfit. To make a bracelet, cut the inseam of the jeans out into lengths ½” shorter than the final bracelet size. Put a ribbon clamp on each end of the denim. Finally, use jump rings on one end and an attaching clasp on the other. From here, you can use fabric markers to decorate further. Mich L in LA

#6: Aprons

Gardening, cooking, crafting – this cute apron can be helpful for all of these tasks. Either use or cut jeans into shorts. Cut the front off but leave the waistband to work as a tie and sew an overlap at the inseam to give it a smooth front. For extra pocket space, cut a hole below the waistband and add a cloth layer behind the denim. Betz White

#7: Accessory Hangers

upcycle old denim

You can upcycle both old jeans and shower hooks to create accessory hangers to organize a closet. This is a simple craft that only requires a strap of denim to wrap around the closet rod. At the ends of the denim, punch a hole to slide the shower hook through with the curved end down. The Chic Site

#8: Denim Skirts


With a pair of jeans and a sewing kit, you can create a new denim skirt. Start by mark the length for the finished skirt and add an extra 4 cm. Next, undo the inner seam with a seam ripper up to the zipper. Slip the open jean leg inside the front of the skirt and mark where it goes. Use the extra fabric from earlier to 2 cm outside of the mark – you should have a triangle of fabric to pin in place. Sew this in place then repeat for the back of the skirt. Finally, trim the hem to meet your desired length. Simply Sewing

#9: Denim Wreath

To start your denim wreath cut out 6”x2” strips. Now, all you need it to tie these strips on a wreath frame until it has a full appearance. You can even add extra touches such as flowers and ribbon loops for hanging. You can personalize it or ready it for sale with a custom tag or label. A Fish Who Likes Flowers

#10: Denim Wheel Rug

upcycle old denim

A denim wheel rug can a staple piece, especially if you have several different colored pairs of jeans. This craft will take 7 pairs of denim jeans and you’ll cut 6 with a trapezoid with a 27 ½” length, a 9 ¼” large base, and a 2” small base. It’s easier to make a cardboard stencil to cut around. Sew these together and iron the seams to help the rug lay flat. In the center, use your last pair to make a 1 ½’ circle for the center. Ohoh Deco

#11: Denim Headband

denim accessories

Another way to keep old jeans in your wardrobe is with a denim headband. The size of fabric will vary based on your head but most adults need at least a 20” length and 5” width. Remember, denim may not stretch as well as other fabrics, so be careful measuring the length you need.

To begin, cut to separate the front and back of your denim loop and fold each rectangle in half longways and use a zig-zag stitch to secure it. Now, just place the strips in the shape of the cross and fold them over one another. Gather the ends and sew them together to shape the loop. Kinsu.ca

#12: Create a New Design

decorating denim

Maybe your jeans aren’t too worn out but they just don’t fit your style anymore. So, why not update those jeans rather than giving up on them? The easiest way to do this is to draw on your jeans with bleach. Make sure to put cardboard or aluminium foil between layers to prevent bleeding. Goldfish Kiss

You don’t need to give up on your favorite jeans. With any of these projects, you can give them a second life!

Annabelle Short is a writer and seamstress. She blogs for Wunderlabel: https://wunderlabel.co.uk/blog/

Project credits:

1: Between the lines, 2. Levis Straus & Co, 3: Pillar box blue, 4. Between the lines, 5.Mich L in LA, 6. Betz White, 7. The Chic Site, 8. Simply Sewing, 9. A Fish Who Likes Flowers, 10. Ohoh Deco, 11. Kinsu.ca, 12. Goldfish Kiss

If you have any Denim DIY Projects you’d like to share please drop a message below, we could feature you!

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