6 Ways to Reuse Old Jeans

We’ve probably all got some in the backs of our closets. Old jeans that we just can’t bear to part with. Maybe they’re out of style or maybe they don’t quite fit anymore. Maybe they’ve just got an unsightly hole or stain. No matter what the problem, we’ve got a project to help you give those old jeans a new life!

1. Make a Denim Rag Rug

Over at Cut Out + Keep, you can learn how to turn an old pair of jeans or two into a circular, braided rag rug.

>>Next: Upcycled green jeans bag

recycled denim bag

2. Upcycled Green Jeans Bag

This is perfect for a pair of flared or wide-leg jeans. Start by cutting off one leg so that it’s the height you want you bag to be plus 1/4″. Now, turn the leg inside-out and sew it closed along the edge where you just cut. Flip it right side out again.

To decide how long you want your straps, try measuring the strap on a bag that sits just right on you. Once you have that sorted, cut 2 strips from the jeans’ other leg that are the length you want plus 1″ and 2″ wide. Use your iron to press the strips in half lengthwise, right side out, so you’re left with two, 1″ wide straps. Pin, and use your sewing machine to zig zag stitch along the unfinished edge.

Now, you’re ready to attach the straps! Pin them in place, then use a “strong box” to make sure they’re very sturdy. To create a strong box, sew yourself a rectangle with an X in the center. You’ll most likely have to double back along one seam to complete the box, and that’s OK. Just sew carefully, and no one will ever know.

Once the bag is all sewn up, you can use fabric paint or scrap fabric (or both!) to embellish it however you like.

>>Next: Turn flared jeans into skinny jeans

skinny jeans

3. Flared Jeans to Skinny Jeans

Maybe you’ve got an old pair of bell bottoms that fit great but aren’t exactly the most stylish anymore. Bizooey over at Craftster shows you how to take in the legs to turn those out-of-date blues into sassy skinny jeans!

I just did this project last week, and it really is simple. My only extra tip would be to make sure you’re using a heavy duty needle to sew through all of that denim, especially the cuffs.

>>Next: Sew a denim quilt

picnic on a denim quilt

4. Sew a Denim Quilt

Got a big stash of denim that needs repurposing? Julie at Crafting a Green World shows you how to turn those old jeans into a sweet denim quilt!

>>Next: Add an applique

patched jeans

5. Applique

A patch or applique is a super simple way to cover holes and stains. You can pull an old patch out of your stash, if you have one, or make your own. Cut shapes out of fabric to create any design you like! Concentric circles make really cool patches, or you can whip up anything else from an owl or flower to something completely random.

If it’s possible to sew on your design, that’s probably the most sturdy way to do it. If not, try using fusible webbing to attach your patch!

>>Next: Make a sexy mini skirt

6. Make a Sexy Mini

The Green Girls show you how to turn a pair of worn out jeans into a sassy mini skirt in this quickie video. If you’re a bit more modest, you could probably make this longer and just sew some left over denim behind the gap in front, since it would be wider.

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Image Credits:
Torn Jeans. Creative Commons photo by hashir
Green Jeans Bag. Creative Commons photo by potteryandeverythingelse
Kids in Skinny Jeans. Creative Commons photo by toothache_photography
Denim Quilt. Creative Commons photo by hickoryhardscrabble
Patched Jeans. Creative Commons photo by cortneyrae

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Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin1 years ago

the quilt idea is interesting

Alicia N.
Alicia N.1 years ago


Borg Drone
Borg Drone1 years ago


Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

I've actually tried my hand at a jean bag---sadly the bottom fell apart. You need a really good sewing machine to stich jean. Thanks

susan k.
susan k.3 years ago

Great ideas thanks .

Pat W.
Pat W.3 years ago

we used to make hand bags out of old jeans

Sheri P.
Sheri Kelly3 years ago

I have made jean skirts from old jeans, denin purses, scarves, shirts, baby jumpers, bags and applied patches on several items. There are so many things to do with old jeans. The levi tags make great accents too! Thanks.

Kitty S.
Kristen Swanson4 years ago


Bernadette P.
Berny p.4 years ago


Bernadette P.
Berny p.4 years ago

These ideas are just great. Thanks Becky.