Denim is a fantastic fabric
I was rummaging through my closet the other day and I noticed that I had built up a pretty good supply of old denim jeans that I was unlikely to ever wear (or be able to wear.. ) again. Ditto for both my husband and my kids who have now outgrown numerous items made of denim from jeans to jackets. I don't know about you, but I suspect this may be the case with many readers.
I then got to thinking about what a waste it would be to just throw these old garments away. Unfortunately donating isn't an easy option where I live as that would be a good alternative too. So I began to think of ways I could repurpose or recycle all of this wonderful blue, black and white cotton denim.
One of the things denim is known for is that it just lasts and lasts. Such a durable and long-life fabric creates terrific opportunities to reuse, repurpose and recycle after it has been used as a pair of jean or a jacket. You could probably even recycle denim a couple of times before it would wear out.
So I put together this roundup of 101 Creative Ideas to Recycle Denim Jeans. I hope it will give you some inspiration for getting all that lovely denim back to work.
Tips for sewing denim
If you want to learn how to sew denim for both new and recycled denim projects, we've done a whole article on this wonderful fabric and how best to sew with it.
101 Creative Ideas to Recycle Denim Jeans
Hover over the picture to show the title, click to open, or right-click and open in a new tab to keep this page open too. And don’t forget to pin so everyone can enjoy!
I love to upcycle/recycle denim. So many things that I can make from bags, to bedroom shoes (yes, I made my daughters shoes when they were kids), mats for my dog, vests, a Winnie the Pooh diaper bag, the list keeps going…
Hi Mayra! I have a denim backpack that I made 12 years ago, it is on its 4th remake and thus gets smaller each time. I think I will retire it or give it to my great grandson for toys. I am really tired of UNsewing the seams. Ha Ha! I LOVE denim. Thank YOU for these ideas, great article.
Most welcome Maggie.
Great ideas.I really loved this post. Thank you so much you have shared.
Great! I really like the pincushion and the neckless. With all the denim scraps I’ve got to keep I really can make some of those creative ideas.
Some very interesting ideas. I’ve made the wine bottle holder which turned out very good also Cary bags from the body of jeans with lace and bling.
Thank you so much for your great ideas.
You are welcome Janice.
Are these put together in a format that can be saved to a file for future reference?
Hi Dakota, the easiest way would be Pinterest.
So many lovely ideas it is difficult to pick only one! Thank you so much for sharing them.
You are welcome Mila.
Some brilliant ideas here, thank you.
I have one I don’t think I saw on your list, and it’s for those with kids. Use a contrast fabric to lengthen the legs on any trousers (pants), not just jeans, quite often when kids shoot up the waist still fits but the legs are a bit short. The trick is to make them look like turn ups and is really useful to get those precious extra weeks or months wear if cash is short or the clothes are a favourite. Including the contrast fabric in another way on the trousers like covering the waistband or back pocket, perhaps a patch pocket or applicate shapes like flowers for the girls -get the hotfix wand out too for a real designer look with a bit of bling or some extra studs or rivets for a tougher look, it all helps to add to the overall look and an old pair of jeans becomes bespoke- a one off pair of “designer” jeans for the price of a raid on your stash box or a fat quarter or two. Getting them involved by picking the contrast may also get them interested in sewing (always a good thing!) and can also be a way of instilling an appreciation of the cost of things and that throw away isn’t always the way to go. I used to do this sort of thing with very basic sewing skills and often by hand. I’m sure you all have way more skills than I did back then and would know what to do if you wanted to give this a try.
I’m off to see what scraps I’ve got. I quite fancy one of those denim patchwork pouffes and a drawstring bag for my knitting/ crochet WIPs!
Stitchy hugs, T x
Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks for your ideas – would you by any chance be able to post a picture of the trouser ‘turn ups’? My son has these kind of trousers and long legs… 😉
I have used a similar method for the favorite fleece jacket – I added waistband jersey to the cuffs and waist. It did look a bit funny because I didn’t know how to do the opening of where the zipper was (I ended up having a gap of 1.5″), but he loved it. 😉
Fantastic ideas, thanks so much
You are welcome!