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Are you wondering what to do with old jeans? Over time your favorite pair can fade or rip. Personally old blue jeans are one of my all-time favorite resources to craft with. They are so versatile, hard wearing and a readily available resource for crafting.  But before we start upcycling let me share a little bit of history about jeans (feel free to scroll down the page to craft ideas if you prefer).


A potted history of jeans

Jeans are a design of trousers generally made from denim or a dungaree cloth. The term “jeans” refers to a style of trouser invented by Jacob Davis in partnership with Levi Strauss in 1873. Originally created for miners and cowboys jeans became popular in the 1950’s amongst teenagers.  Today they are one of the most popular type of trousers in Western culture. The cloth is sturdy, originally designed with a cotton warp and wool weft, although nowadays this tends to be cotton too.  Originally dyed with indigo jeans are now dyed with synthetic dye.




Prolonging the life of your favorite jeans

The first thought re what to do with old jeans is to see if their life as jeans can be extended. With the average blue jeans taking 919 gallons (3479 litres) of water during its life cycle from irrigating the cotton crop to manufacturing the jeans, to washing them as the consumer prolonging the life of your old jeans can only be good for the environment. Wearing a garment for an extra nine months can reduce its environmental impact by 20-30% (source Wrap).

There are many ways you can keep your jeans alive as jeans for a little longer, from a simple redying in your washing machine with a kit such as Dylon to replacing the zip. This is far easier than you anticipate, learn how to replace the zip and keep the original topstitching.

For torn jeans consider repairing with a visible or invisible repair. An invisible repair works well for the inner thigh area, whereas a knee you may wish to patch, personally, I love sashiko inspired repairs to jeans. 

Visible mending, sashiko stitching to repair worn knee on jeans

Alternatively, refashion them into a new garment, here are some quick ideas:-  shorten them to create shorts, restyle to make a jean skirt or alter them to become skinny jeans.

Craft ideas for old jeans

There are so many amazing ideas for crafting with former jeans that I cannot possibly share them all. So let me group ideas for you.

Home Decor 

Curtains, Cushion covers, doormats, reupholstery , wall organizer, pot, quilts, pictures as wall art,  mirror frames

Bags and Purses from denim

camera bag

sashiko bag

tote bag

note book cover

pencil case

Box bag

No sew jeans projects



Feeling inspired with this fabulous collection of creative ideas for jeans? Wondering where to source old jeans?

Are you inspired by this wide range of craft ideas for your blue jeans? Do you need to source further jeans to make your favorite craft idea? I am fortunate and regularly receive donations from work colleagues, school Mums, family members so spread the word you are on the lookout, all donations appreciated! But some projects take more than the odd pair, what then? 

  • A call out to friends and family can be extended if you use social media –  a quick post on Facebook generally results in a few donations.
  • Jumble sales, car boots, yard sales can all be a cheap source of denim
  • Charity shops/Thrift stores –  it is worth asking if they have some jeans they cannot be put out for sale, do they have a rag bin you can rummage through?

Quilting denim is a fun and creative way to repurpose old jeans and create unique and durable quilts. Making your own denim quilt from old denim jeans is very satisfying. Upcycled jeans make a heavy quilt, perfect for the winter months.  This free denim quilt tutorial uses a quilt-as-you-go technique so you don’t need a …

Read More about Make a fun scrap denim quilt, quilting denim as you go

I am super excited to share with you my new quilted tote bag pattern. I love my denim scrap quilted bag, a LOT! Naturally, you can make this modern quilted tote bag in any fabric. The original inspiration for this free quilted tote bag pattern came from @toni26568 on Instagram, do check out her feed …

Read More about Free Modern Quilted Tote Bag Pattern, with zipper closure

Today I am going to how you just how to make bunting from your old jeans, or any scraps of fabric. This DIY is a great upcycling project requiring no sewing. The no sew bunting is perfect for your garden, street party or even as home decor. Personally, I am making my DIY bunting for …

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The Origami bento bag, sometimes called the origami market bag, or a origami tote bag is so quick and easy to make. It’s a slouchy type bag, so it’s soft and drapey without any solid form. The lined bento bag itself is easy to make and quick to sew up. I suggest reading through the …

Read More about Origami Bento Bag Pattern and Tutorial: Quick Tote Bag

Learn how to patch jeans inner thigh by hand, it is super easy to fix your ripped jeans. The inner thigh/crotch area of jeans is subject to wear and tear, over time modern stretch denim can tear or develop holes. It is easy to apply a patch of similarly toned denim to the inside of …

Read More about How to fix ripped jeans inner thigh by hand – super easy

I love making the most of my fabric scraps and old jeans, these sashiko denim Christmas stockings capitalize on these passions. To make your own Christmas stockings find your red fabric scraps, embroidery floss, and unrepairable jeans, then download the free printable stocking pattern – all set?! New Christmas stockings are a great way to …

Read More about How to make a Christmas stocking, free stocking template