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40+ Ideas for What to Make with Old Jeans

Don't throw out your old jeans! Upcycle them into something brand new with these denim refashioning patterns.

By: Kirsten Kwon, Editor, AllFreeSewing.com
Updated October 01, 2018
40 Ideas for What to Make with Old Jeans

Whatever you do, don't throw out your old jeans! They might not fit anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't create something new from them. If you're like me, you've got at least a few pairs that have seen better days.

Now it's time to deconstruct them with these jean refashioning projects. All of these sewing projects are useful and durable, so check out these uses for old jeans and bring your denim back to life.

The great thing about sewing with denim is that anything is possible. You'll find that denim is a great material to work with. You might be tempted to just toss out your jeans once they don't fit—instead, try these old jean craft projects.

If you're wondering what to do with your old jeans, you've found the right collection. Crafting with old jeans is thrifty, too! Simply take some of the scraps from your stash and get creative.

If you're in search of what to make with old jeans, turn to any of these old jean craft projects and you'll be instantly inspired.

Upcycling jeans is easy, but if you've never worked with old jeans before, make sure to check out our helpful article: How to Sew: Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Denim.

 

Denim Sewing Projects Tips

Denim Sewing Projects Tips

Before you start out on your denim upcycling projects, we have a few pro-tips to share with you! To make your sewing denim as easy as possible, read these suggestions that will have you stitching up professional-level pieces in no time.

  1. Because of its strength and durability, polyester is often used for denim sewing projects. This will protect against thread breakage during the sewing process and ensure that your denim pieces stay together no matter the wear you put on them.
  1. Denim seams can get bulky, so make sure you press the fabric with a high-heat, steam iron setting to make sewing surfaces flatter.
  1. Denim may fray after you cut it, so sewing zig-zag stitches, overstitches, and solid hems can keep your denim fabric looking as smooth as possible.
  1. Since denim lies on the heavier side of the fabric spectrum, cutting it can be a little more difficult than cutting through lightweight fabrics. Therefore, you should always use sharp cutting tools to make the process as simple as possible.
  1. Changing your sewing machine's presser foot may keep denim more securely in place during the stitching process. According to Julie Garza in her Craftsy article "Tips and Tricks for Sewing with Denim," a walking foot or a jeans presser foot (which may or may not be available for your brand of sewing machine) will work best for denim.

Making Clothes From Old Jeans

Flirty Denim Skirt

If your favorite pair of jeans is too small, too worn, or just too out of style, then you'll love these easy refashioning projects. Breathe new life into old jeans by creating a new piece of DIY clothing for your wardrobe!

Jeans can be expensive, so you'll love not having to just throw your old pair onto the donation pile. Plus you'll get a "brand new" article of clothing out of it without having to spend even more money!

We're sure you'll enjoy these fabulous ways to upcycle jeans. Embrace your inner fashionista with couture pieces like the Flirty Denim Skirt (shown), and you'll have people stopping you to ask where you got such fabulous outfits.

  • DIY Denim Skirt

    Modest, sleek, and country-chic, this DIY Denim Skirt is just the thing to complete your springtime look. This gorgeous pattern is a maxi skirt length, so you won't have to bare your legs to look fabulous!

  • Old Jeans Free Skirt Pattern

    Just because you're working with old jean material doesn't mean you can't give your outfit a little girlish flounce! With this floral applique striped Old Jeans Free Skirt Pattern, you can look darling in denim all season long!

  • Clean Cut-Off Shorts for Boys

    When the weather heats up and your boy's legs seem to grow inches at a time, there's no reason to whip out your wallet. With this simple denim refashioning project, you won't have to spend a cent on boys' summer clothes.

  • How to Make Slippers From Jeans

    If you're a professional lounger, then you need relaxation gear that can endure all of your unwinding adventures. These denim slippers are equal parts durable and cozy, so you won't have any need for extra spa gear.

  • DIY Cut Off Jean Shorts

    If you love the fit of your jeans but are looking for a summery update on your seasonal wardrobe, then you'll thank goodness for these DIY Cut Off Jean Shorts. Get the perfect shorts length with this simple jeans project.

  • Ladylike Lace Upcycled Jeans

    Distressed, hole-y jeans are all the rage right now, but that doesn't mean you can't add a delicate, feminine touch to them! The lovely floral lace underlay of this pattern will give turn any pair of jeans into a work of art.

  • Ruffly Denim Skirt

    Denim is great for it's versatile, but sometimes plain jeans can get a little...boring. Breathe new life into your denim do with playful, colorful, and ruffly trim! This refashioned denim skirt will draw eyes wherever you go.

  • How to Make a Jean Apron

    When you're creating concoctions in the kitchen, you need to protect your clothes with a fabric that can withstand the mess. This upcycled jean apron will keep your clothes pristine and stay strong no matter how much it needs to be washed!

  • Upcycling Blue Jeans Into a Skirt

    You'll adore the playful pattern cut-out in this jeans refashioning project. Denim skirts are trending right now, and now you can jump on the bandwagon while still keeping your personal fashion pizzazz.

  • Easy Maternity Jeans

    Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean that you have to buy all new clothes! Refashion your jeans so that they fit comfortably over your growing belly while still making you look as chic as can be.

  • How to Make Bell-Bottom Jeans

    Are you obsessed with 1970s boho style? Give any ensemble far-out vibes with these relaxed, colorful, and hip bell-bottom jeans. You'll never have to buy expensive vintage pieces again with this simple tutorial!

  • Stunning DIY Lace Shorts

    Want to make your summer shorts a little fancier? With a stunning lace trim, you can make any pair of jean shorts into a lovely boho piece you can wear out to dinner or to the beach. Get ready for compliments with this chic look.

  • King of the Grill DIY Apron

    When Dad is at the grill, he needs man-sized protection for his clothes. This durable, rugged, and handy DIY apron makes for the perfect Father's Day gift, complete with a cute letter applique that he will love.

Denim Crafts That Recycle Old Jeans

Adjustable Water Bottle Bag

If you've been in the mood to get crafty, then you'll love this assortment of denim craft ideas. From kitchen accessories to organization ideas and more, you just can't go wrong with these denim sewing projects.

You can even make accessories that will help you stay fit and hydrated, like the Adjustable Water Bottle Bag (shown), or accessories that will update any ensemble with floral flair.

You'll never have to resort to throwing away or donating your old pairs of jeans again with this clever upcycling denim list! Expensive fabrics and forced trips to the fabric store will be things of the past once you realize the potential of your old pairs of jeans. Get your money's worth by making one of these denim projects.

Looking for even more craft ideas for old jeans? Check out these 34 recycled crafts with denim over at FaveCrafts.com!

  • Recycled Denim Initial Keychain

    What better way to accessorize than with a cute, personalized, and handmade piece? This Recycled Denim Initial Keychain makes a great gift and will give everything from your keys to your water bottle an adorable touch. 

  • Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial

    If you're on the market for an organizational tool that can withstand years of wear and tear, this Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial is just what you need. Hold anything from makeup brushes to sewing notions with this durable design.

  • Jean Pocket Pot Holder

    Safety in the kitchen is always a must. Protect yourself and your counter surfaces from cooking heat with this Jean Pocket Pot Holder. You'll love the sleek, colorful trim of this pattern and the quirky denim center!

  • Weaved Jean Yarn Coasters

    Your coffee table has never looked so lovely than with these Weaved Jean Yarn Coasters spread out across its surface. The sturdy denim will make sure that your tables are protected from everything from scalding coffee to soda spills.

  • Upcycled Denim Napkins Tutorial

    When you throw a dinner party, why settle for lackluster dining accouterments? Wow your guests with a country-chic table setting, made complete with this Upcycled Denim Napkins Tutorial!

  • Denim Flower Corsage

    Fabric flowers? Sign me up! Never spend money on corsages that wilt in a matter of hours with this free pattern. You'll adore the lovely balance of rugged denim and delicate floral designs in this Denim Flower Corsage.

  • Mini Denim Christmas Treat Stockings

    When you're buying presents for all of your family and friends, there's no need to also spend a fortune on Christmas home decor! Deck the halls on a budget with these super cute Mini Denim Christmas Treat Stockings.

  • James Dean Blue Jean Coffee Cozy

    This James Dean Blue Jean Coffee Cozy is something every environmentally conscious coffee drinker needs in their life. Reusable, washable, and perfectly tailored for your mug, this cozy makes a lovely gift.

  • Denim Organizer

    You've never had an organizational tool as stunning and handy as this Denim Organizer! Hang this adorable piece over a door or a cabinet, and you'll be able to store everything from school supplies to makeup brushes.

  • Denim DIY Tablet Stand

    Everyone watches YouTube videos and Netflix on their tablets, so why not make the experience as comfy as possible? Go hands-free for all of your video-watching escapades with this Denim DIY Tablet Stand.

  • Recycled Denim Oven Mitt

    This Recycled Denim Oven Mitt will keep you safe in the kitchen no matter how many dishes are in the oven! Sleek, durable, simple, and comfy, this cooking accessory will be your new favorite, and it won't cost you a cent to make!

Denim Home Decor Crafts

Denim Placemats

Make some upgrades to your home with these DIY denim projects! These crafts with old jeans will breathe new life into your living room, your bedroom, or even your dining room.

You'll be surprised by some of the projects in this collection—who knew you could make furniture out of your old jeans scraps? You can even dress up your dining room in stunning decor with pieces like the  Denim Placemats (shown).

You're sure to upcycle your way to fresh home decor with these easy sewing projects. Find placemats, wall hangings, and more right here!

  • Denim Christmas Stockings

    Hangable, cozy, and perfect for boys and girls, these Denim Christmas Stockings will make sure your Christmas morning is full of holiday cheer. Santa won't have any trouble filling these hangable stockings with Christmas treats!

  • Denim Decor Wonder

    Want a cozy throw pillow that's equal parts decorative and handy? Look no further than this Denim Decor Wonder! This simple DIY decorative pillow has a pocket to store remotes so that you'll never lose it in the couch cushions again.

  • Blue Jean Dorm Seating

    College is expensive enough without adding the cost of dorm decor. Make a cozy beanbag chair from your old jeans, and you won't have to spend any money on extra dorm seating! DIY furniture has never been so trendy.

  • Upcycled Denim Armrest Bag

    Whether you keep remotes or knitting needles around your living room sofa, this Upcycled Denim Armrest Bag is the perfect organizational tool to keep them in place! Have your favorite relaxation activities at your fingertips with this clever pattern.

  • Denim Rag Quilt Tutorial

    With a lovely array of blues, a uniform texture, and fluffy block perimeters, this Denim Rag Quilt is just what your bed needs! You won't have to worry about matching color palettes with this simple sewing tutorial.

  • Old Jeans Mini Sofa

    Does your daughter love to play house with her dolls? Then she'll adore this Old Jeans Mini Sofa! Put this positively precious piece of bite-sized furniture in your little girl's dollhouse, and she'll spend hours marveling at her new decor.

  • Denim Dots DIY Pillow Cover

    Add a pop of color and some decorative texture to your lackluster throw pillows with this Denim Dots DIY Pillow Cover. This lovely refashioning project is snuggle-friendly and it will give your bedroom a couture update.

  • Over the Rainbow DIY Tapestry

    Your kids will adore the brilliant, colorful, cute, and cozy look of this Over the Rainbow DIY Tapestry. Hang this DIY wall decor from a door or on a wall, and you'll never pay an arm and a leg on bedroom decor again!

  • Large Denim Floor Cushion

    If your living room needs some extra seating, but you don't want to break the bank on a new armchair, then you'll love this Large Denim Floor Cushion! Relaxed, cozy, and boho-chic, this piece will look stellar in any space.

Denim Accessories and More

Upcycled Denim Tote Bag

If you don't want to simply throw away your worn-out pair of jeans, why not make some of these great denim accessories? We are obsessed with the purses, clutches, and gadget accessories in this collection.

Upcycling jeans is the way to go if you want to add to your wardrobe without spending a penny. Scroll through these fabulous upcycling ideas, like the Upcycled Denim Tote Bag (shown), to discover what to sew next with your worn-out jeans.

Speaking of upcycling, there's no reason to limit yourself to denim! Check out our site to discover all the amazing ways you can refashion old clothing into something brand new!

  • Denim Gadget Case

    If you have your whole life on your phone, it makes sense to keep it safe! Keep your phone screen protected from scratches, scuffs, and other marks with this Denim Gadget Case. Sew one for the tech-enthusiast in your life.

  • How to Make Jean Purses

    The best part about making your own purses is that you can give each one a unique touch. Learn how to give your denim accessories neat flair with this tutorial on How to Make Jean Purses, and you'll never buy a purse again.

  • Chic Drawstring Bag Pattern

    If you're throwing a party and want to give out darling treat bags without spending a fortune, then look no further than this Chic Drawstring Bag Pattern! Everyone will fall head-over-heels for this easy-to-close mini-bag pattern.

  • Petite Denim Clutch Tutorial

    Clutches are the perfect accessory for anyone who's going for a night out and doesn't want to lug around a giant tote. Now you can have a designer night-out purse in under an hour with this Petite Denim Clutch Tutorial.

  • Goodbye Jeans, Hello Messenger Bag

    Messenger bags are the perfect size for carrying anything from laptops to schoolbooks, and now you can customize your own! Sew up a Goodbye Jeans, Hello Messenger Bag for back-to-school season, and your kids will thank you!

  • Two Pocket Messenger Bag

    You'll never have to dig around your bag to find your phone with this Two Pocket Messenger Bag! A zipper and two fastening pouches give this upcycling design the perfect level of organization to keep your phone, keys, and pens in place.

  • How to Make a Bag from Jeans

    We guarantee you've never seen a bag like this! Fashionable yet inexpensive, this denim purse is bound to give any ensemble a unique, chic flair. You won't believe how charming this adjustable strap bag is.

  • The Awesome Denim Clutch

    There's no need to agonize over matching shades of blue with The Awesome Denim Clutch! With 15 patches of different blue jean shades, this adorable bag will look stunning when paired with any outfit.

  • Denim Tablet Case Tutorial

    Tablets are expensive, so why not make them life-proof with this Denim Tablet Case Tutorial? The blue jean material will stay strong no matter how many adventures you take it on, whether it's at the bottom of your purse or in a suitcase.

  • Upcycled Denim Tote

    No one can resist the charm of this all-denim upcycled tote! Even its straps are made from old jeans, so you don't have to pay a penny on fabric. Still, you can add a little personal flair with colorful ribbon and patterned accents.

  • Scotty Dog Bag Pattern

    Do you adore dogs? Then this Scotty Dog Bag Pattern is just the accessory for you! Lined with colorful fabric and a terrier applique, this darling denim tote will have people asking where you bought it.

  • Large Upcycled Denim Tote

    If you're a mom on-the-go, a student lugging around tons of books, or a heavy packer, then you need this Large Upcycled Denim Tote! You won't have to leave anything at home with this heavy duty and gorgeous denim design.

How do you recycle your jeans?
Let us know in the comments below!

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I am presently making picnic blankets out of jeans made into squares. i am using a plaid flannel fabric for the backing. I am going to give it to each of my married children for Christmas.

I make blue jean purses and i am saving jeans for a blue jean quilt. Great Ideas #NationalSewingMonth

This Etsy Seller has TONS of scrap jean legs / denim in lots of colors for cheap https//www.etsy.com/shop/RadRehab?ref=hdrshopmenu

Wow! some great ideas on recycling jeans can't wait to try them

Now that I make a comment, it takes me to the right page. Please fix the links. Thanks.

Hello, We apologize if you're finding it difficult to navigate our site. If you're still looking for a particular project please try utilizing the search feature or e-mailing our customer support team (found if you scroll down to "contact us"). We'd be happy to help! Thank you!

What is the deal? Do you get money for more clicks or are the links not working? I keep getting the run-around trying to get to the right page, but keep getting the same pages.

I take old jeans and make crib blankets. Make the blanket size you choose, receiving, crib or even a twin bedspread. Cut 4" squares and serge all edges as it tends to unravel easily. Sew squares together to size you want. You can add batting cotton, poly or even an old shabby blanket that needs a new face. Use an old top sheet for the back. Cut the batting the same size at the top. The bottom sheets always wear out before the top one so you get left with a sheet that doesn't match anything. Cut backing 1 1/2 inch bigger than the top all the way around. Turn edges to backing up over the top to form a border turning 1/2 " under leaving an inch border on the top of the blanket. The are many way to fold corners so pick your own. Sew through the layers all the was around on the inside edge of the 'binding'. Tack all of the corners of the jeans with yarn. many colors to choose from if you crochet. Pull it through all layers tie on the jean side or the other side if you want it to look like 'x' to jean side. You can decorate the jean squares with liquid embroidery or iron on decals. You don't need to do all the squares just create a pattern with the added designs. I chose zoo animals for mine and arranged the in an oval pattern because it was an oblong blanket. I painted them on with fabric paint, let it dry then went over them with liquid embroider pens to add detail.

i am right in the middle of making a jean quilt to much fun and easy

Looking for pattern to make a vest from my deceased husband's jeans. Would appreciate any help. Thanks!!!! reba

Right up my alley! Thanks!

Love the ideas. Been saving jeans now for a while. It helps that I have a daughter, son-in-law, and two teenage grandchildren who live in jeans and wear them out or out grow then quickly. I even have an idea or two that you do not have listed. Now with this list I have even more. Thank you.

Love the ideas but you missed one. the country rug. cut jeans into equal strips braid and sew in the size you need. It's very durable and can be created in a round or oval shape to fit the area you want to cover.

Great Idea!! Several years ago I saw a leather outfit in a catalog, but did not like the pants. A great seamstress friend of mine made a "one of a kind" skirt out of 2 pair of trousers. The bottom had a lacey cutwork pattern with a matching 3/4 length jacket. With the left over material she made a matching Tam. Even something new can be recycled into something unique and high fashion.

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