Tuesday Tips / Workshops

Repurpose Old Denim

Denim Upcycling ideas

I don’t know about you, but I always find myself hanging onto all my old denim jeans. Jeans are my comfort blanket, I live in them.

The ones with holes in get stored in my craft room while I find ideas on how to re-purpose the fabric, while the ones that are still in good nick get delivered to the local charity stores.

Every so often I will find myself on Pinterest wondering what I can do with all the left over denim. We have several boards with ideas pinned ready to inspire our creative spark. You can find book cover ideas, up-cycle projects, interesting finds and quick sew projects all here.

Japanese folded patchwork bag

Just recently I revisited one of our early workshops with our Home educators sewing group. It was the Japanese folded patchwork project bag that was created for us by Craftier The Second Time Around. You can find the project printed in our book, Unravel & Unwind, here.

The bag is large enough for an A4 diary or even a laptop. I quite often use mine when I go on a workshop or a meeting as it is just the right size.





denim bag denim bag  denim bag




Above are just a few of the design ideas that the group, aged 8 to 12, came up with for their project bags. I particularly liked seeing them using the embellishment features of their jeans in the final design.

denim jeans
re-purpose old jeans

A few years back I went through the fashion phase of skinny jeans. I easily had a dozen pairs. More recently though I have gone back to straight leg and boot cut jeans because skinny ones were causing me pain and discomfort in the knees. That meant I was left with perfectly good jeans that still fitted around the waist. I didn’t want to just cut them up and use the fabric for something totally different. On this occasion I wanted to still be able to wear my denim. Another route around Pinterest gave me the spark to try something totally out of my comfort zone. I’m a yarn loving crochet addict – but just for one day last summer I became a seamstress extraordinaire!

Well, not quite! But I did manage to convert a pair of skinny jeans into a lovely knee length skirt. It was fairly simple really. You just break the seams of the inside legs, cut off the excess length and do some magic around the wedge seam that sits just below the zip. Okay, that was where I got stuck but I found this great tutorial to follow.

One BIG thing I learned that day, was to never use cheap shoddy machine needles that I picked up in a pound store. They bend, break, blunt and invariably waste several hours trying to fix the machine and repair the fabric. 

denim skirt
denim skirt

denim needle

So what ideas do you have for re-purposing denim? One future project I think I would like to try will involve using the old down cushion pads from my last leather sofa. We reclaimed the cushion backs and the leather. They are lovely and huge and will make great floor cushions.

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