8 Things to do with Old Jeans …

Somehow, each member of my family is able to destroy a pair of pants in a different way. For instance, my husband wears out one knee before the other, my boys rip the seams at the crotch, and my cuffs become frayed or torn before the rest of my pants show signs of wear. At least we don’t wear out our jeans in the same fashion so that I can use bits and pieces from each one to create something new and/or useful. Here is a list of 8 things to do with old jeans that you might enjoy taking a peek at!

8. Sew a Dress for You or the Dog (or Both!)

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I’ve seen dresses made from a bunch of legs from jeans that have been sewn together and fitted with a pair of spaghetti straps. I have a friend who makes clothing for her small dogs. She’s used the pocket from a pair of her old jeans and attached a piece of stretch knit material to the opposite side of the pocket. She sews it on in a way that creates a tube that slips over her dog. She then affixes a short ruffle to the bottom of the tube with some Velcro. The Velcro makes the ruffle easy to remove if the dog needs to go to the bathroom while wearing her sundress.

7. Make a Drawstring Bag

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I like having a bag in my car at all times. If you don’t want to leave one of your newer totes in the car, then make a small drawstring bag to leave under your seat at all times. Cut the leg off of a pair of jeans and sew one end shut. Fold over an edge of the open end of the bag and create a place to run a long shoestring through. This will be your drawstring. You can embellish the bag any way you wish; rhinestones, patches, a pocket from the same pair of jeans you cut the leg from or anything else you think will make the bag have a bit more character.

6. Create a Casserole Tote

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This tote makes it easier to carry a hot casserole dish and it sure beats trying to wrangle a hot dish with a bath towel wrapped around it. I used bath towels for carrying hot dishes to pot lucks for many years and then I made a tote out of the legs of my husband’s old jeans. There is a 5/8 inch seam around this entire tote, which I’ve included in the measurements. Take one pant leg and cut along one seam. Open the leg material and cut it to measure 35 and 5/8 inches by 10 and a quarter inch. Using another pant leg cut two pieces that each measure 14 and a quarter inch by 9 and one half inches. Sew each one of these pieces to the center on either side of the long leg material you first cut. You should end up with something that resembles a plus sign. Cut a ‘U’ shape in the edges of the small pieces of denim you sewed on last and roll the edge of the material over a dowel stick to make a handle. You can line this tote with another piece of material if you wish. Set the dish in the center of the tote, fold the flaps over the top of the dish, and pull up the sides with the handles on them to carry the dish with ease.

5. Use the Legs for Patches on Other Jeans

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Cutting up jeans to patch other pairs of pants seems to be the most common use of worn out Levis and such. If you are using a sewing machine, just remember that you will be sewing through two layers of denim and will need to have the appropriate needle on your machine. Not all needles can handle the task of punching through two layers of this sturdy fabric. You don’t have to use square pieces of denim for patches either. I’ve cut flower shapes out of old jeans and used embroidery floss to add color to the petals of these flowers, then sewn the patch on my pants. Most of the time it simply looks like I added something fun to my pants, instead of it giving away the fact that I have a hole in my jeans.

4. Make a Purse

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Two pockets can be sewn together for a child’s purse and a fat shoe string or a strip of bright colored material can be used as a shoulder strap. I’ve seen purses at craft shoes that were made from the seat of a pair of old pants, which gives you use of the two back pockets as well. Quite a few patterns exist online and each one is a bit different than the next. I’m sure you can come up with something creative too!

3. Cut Legs into Squares for Hot Pads

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I can cut 3 or 4 squares out of the good leg of a pair of pants. I cut straight across the leg, starting from the bottom and working my way upwards. I then sew both ends shut and make a few zigzags across the denim square so that the material doesn’t move as much. These extra stitches also make it easier to wash the hot pad without it coming out of the washer or dryer all wonky.

2. Make a Holder for Plastic Grocery Bags

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We always have so many plastic grocery bags that it’s hard to keep them all in one place. Using the leg of a pair of jeans enables me to contain these unruly plastic bags. I sew one end almost completely closed and leave the other end open. The bags are placed in the denim sleeve through the open end and pulled out of the nearly closed end when I need one.

1. Sew Them into a New Skirt

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Most of the denim skirts I’ve seen made from pants requires the waist and upper portion of the jeans only. The seam along the crotch is taken out and the flaps of material are layered over one another to form the main part of the skirt. For people who wish to have a skirt that is a bit longer, additional material can be added to the bottom of the original short denim skirt.

I hope this list of 8 things to do with old jeans gives you some new ideas on what to do with the ever-growing stack of worn denim pants you have. What other creations have you made from old jeans?

Top Photo Credit: BrandaceM.

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