3 How To Projects to Upcycle Old Jeans

I had a load of old jeans in my sewing stash, things that I’ve kept for years with the intention of using one day.

The potting shed at Hen’s Tooth has given me just that opportunity.

When I’m making things with fabric, I tend to take the ‘just do it’ approach.

I don’t to work to patterns, mostly because I’ve never learned to sew in that way – it has been trial and error – over the years I’ve got better at cutting and sewing in straight lines. Anything more complicated than that, not so much!

You Will Need

These four projects only involve sewing straight lines and nothing too fancy.

Basic tools for all of these projects:

Old jeans – stained, ripped it doesn’t matter (but you may want to clean them first if they’re a bit stinky!)

A pile of old jeans

Selection of needles – ranging from sewing to darning

Needles with Amazon link

Cotton and embroidery thread

Embroidery thread with Amazon link

Good stout fabric scissors*

*(P.S: NEVER use fabric scissors to cut anything but fabric. Get a pair of fabric scissors and protect them from husbands, children and friends who fancy using them for anything other than fabric! Their long blades make them very tempting for cutting wrapping paper or wallpaper, but RESIST – that will be the death of them)

Fabric scissors with Amazon link

Sewing machine – if you have one. Much easier for some of these projects!

Portable sewing machine with Amazon link

Upcycled Denim Rag Rug

I have a vague memory of my mum making a rag rug, back in the 80s, out of our old baby clothes.

They are very simple, but they take LONG time to make. It’s a nice mindful activity, much like knitting, and perfect when you’re watching TV and need to do something with your hands.

You will need

  • Jeans – cut into lots of little strips
  • Big eyed blunt needle
2 embroidery or darning needles
  • Sack cloth (I used an old log sack)
  • Ribbon or bias binding
A reel of bias binding tape with an Amazon link

I’ve made a rag rug out of little scraps of denim.

To do this I had a sack from a bag of logs, opened the sack up into a flat sheet.

I then took the jeans and cut them into small strips, approximately two centimeters by five centimeters.

A pile of denim steps with a needle

It doesn’t matter if they’re slightly different sizes and shapes it just adds to the character.

I’ve then used a wide-eyed needle and spent several evenings in front of the TV, threading the strips of jeans into the sack.

Count 2 -3 holes along and thread the fabric strip up and under 2 holes. Repeat until you cover the sack.

Close up of a denim rag rug made with old jeans

The rug is now in the shed at Hen’s Tooth and sits under my kitchen area. I have somewhere clean to stand, when I have bare feet, having kicked off my wellies outside to come in and make myself a cup of coffee on my Hobo Stove.

A finished rug made from upcycled jeans

If I made another rug, I would sew a hem of bias binding around the perimeter of the rug first to hold the sack strands together.

Stylish Storage from a Jeans leg

It’s really simple to make little bags out of the legs of jeans. They can be used for storage or gifts. I use them on the shelves in the shed to store tubs of screws and hooks for maintenance and DIY jobs around the plot.

small bags made form old jeans

For this quick craft task all you need is some embroidery thread, a needle, stout scissors and trouser legs.

This is a really simple hand sewing project, you just need some thick embroidery thread and follow this pattern:

Pattern to make a bag with a jeans leg
Credit to DIY Upcycled Denim Storage Basket | Hometalk

Stitch along the bottom. Stitch across the corners. Fold it the right way round and you have a little pouch. These are really useful on the shelf in the shed to pop bits and bobs in, like coffee bags, sachets and tea bags I’ve pilfered from hotels I’ve strayed in and events I’ve attended.

Jeans Pocket Storage Hanger

Jeans pockets are a handy way to store small items. Arrange a few cut-off pockets, stitch them together and attach them to an old coat hanger for a smart wall hanging.

I use this to store my different gardening gloves. There were some thermal gardening gloves left in the shed by the previous tenants, I have some thick and sturdy gloves for more hazardous tasks, like cutting brambles. I picked up some pretty fabric ones on sale in Wilko (RIP Wilko) and a couple of heavy duty woolen gloves for the winter. Always important to have little selection of gloves for different jobs on the allotment, although when it comes to planting, I still prefer to get my fingers straight in the dirt!

Now my glove collection has its own home hanging in the shed.

recycled jeans hanging storage

Jeans Cushion Cover

Because every girl needs a cushion to sit or kneel on.

I used the backs and fronts of jeans, complete with pockets and zips to make a cushion cover. The pockets give me something to pop things in when I’s sat down, like my phone.

Making cushion covers with a sewing machine is really easy.

Start with the cushion pad you want to cover.

Cut two pieces of fabric, big enough to overlap the cushion.

Turn the two pieces of fabric inside out and place on top of each other.

Sew three of the edges together with a sewing machine.

Then turn the pouch the right way around.

Put your cushion pad inside and hand sew the 4th edge to seal it.

Here is a useful blog with more comprehensive instructions: How to Make a Throw Pillow Cover With Recycled Jeans – FeltMagnet

Denim cushion from old jeans

She shed with upcycled denim decor
All 4 makes in one image. I love my little shed!

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