Recycle Denim: Floor mat from Waistbands and inseams

Picture of Recycle Denim: Floor mat from Waistbands and inseams
This comfy floor mat is made from recycled waistbands, hem cuffs, and inseams from old jeans. These are often the wasted scraps left after other projects with recycled denim. To see how to efficiently harvest these materials from a pair old pants see this instructable:

This mat is great to take outside as a sitting mat, as a meditation mat, or (with added carpet tape or rubberized backing) an indoor rug. It is thick and dense, making it comfortable on hard ground, and extra durable.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will Need:

An assortment of waistbands, inseams, and cuffs from old jeans.
For this mat I used eight waistbands, 2 1" wide hem cuffs, and eight inseams.

Leave tags on the waistbands to add an element of design.

Sewing Shears
Sewing Machine with a #16 needle (ofter labeled "leather")
Cotton Thread (use a contrasting color if you like for added aesthetic appeal)
Basic sewing skills

3"x4" patch of cotton muslin
permanent black fabric marker.

Step 2: Arrange Peices

Picture of Arrange Peices
Lay the strips in the arrangement you want them for the mat. Line up the edges.

Pay attention to color, width variation, tag placement, to create a balanced and pleasing mat. Trim all pieces to the same length, I matched the length of the shortest waist band, about 32".

Be sure to trim away the buttons from the waist bands, as they are very uncomfortable to sit or stand on.

Save enough inseam material aside to edge the entire mat. I used both inseams from a pair of pink jeans to do this, for contrast and a splash of color. For a more colorful mat, You can dye your materials with standard fabric dye. I recommend dyeing pants prior to dismantling them. The dyeing process requires washing, which will heavily fray cut denim.

for directions on efficiently dismantling pants, see the instructable link in the intro.
ryray1 year ago
this is really great. thanks for sharing this idea! :-)
ever thought of weaving th' seams only into a mat ?
passionfly (author)  gearhead19515 years ago
I'll bet you could weave the seams, it would be really thick , and you would need to sew or bind the edges somehow. try it out. if it works... make an instructable ;)
If I were weaving, I'd use a heavy cotton warp, widely spaced, and use the strips of denim as the weft. If you didn't finish the raw edges of the denim strips, you'd probably get an interestingly "fuzzy" effect as the weaving aged and the edges unraveled, but with the sewn parts (waistband and inseam stitching) it wouldn't fall apart.
I think it was Pinterest, not here, but someone had a post about making baskets by crocheting or basket-stitching with heavy cotton rug warp around "rope" made of various materials. (Think "coil pot" construction, with the coil held together with the stitching/crocheting instead of the natural sticky-ness of clay.) Strips of inseams/side-seams cut from repurposed jeans would be perfect for this, too. Probably not the waistbands; too wide, and they'd be better for a project like this, where they'd lie flat and show their interesting details... :-)
AmyCat591 year ago
If your sewing machine balks at this, you could sew the strips together by hand with a BIG embroidery needle, using embroidery floss (don't separate the 6-strand floss into smaller thicknesses), or even pearl or crochet cotton. You could get a great "patchwork" effect just using up random left-overs from your floss or crocheting stash. (If you don't embroider or crochet, just ask a friend who does, and you'll probably be gifted with a PILE of pretty string in lengths too short to finish a more formal project!)
Lkymama1 year ago
That is awesome!!!
Keeshakiosk2 years ago
This is a really nice floor mat. You are very talented. Thank you for sharing. I am attempting to make this project.
snigit2 years ago
I have been trying to think of a denim rug idea for my bf...this is PEFECT
This rug is great! You should look into using old yoga mats for the rubber backing...they're so versatile and still useful when no longer viable as a yoga mat.
passionfly (author)  peacerunyoga4 years ago
good idea!
What great ideas, thank you. I've been making jeans bags and using the seams for garden ties, but can't wait to make a mat. My sewing machine was a bit reluctant to sew on very thick denim, but now I just use the walking foot all the time, no matter what Is sew, and it works great.
karen6084 years ago
Very beautiful & resourceful. I might use for a piano bench or foot stool cover. Sitting on the ground isn't for the less than limber, but reusing old jeans that are usually free or very inexpensive, is such a good idea.
I've been saving these pieces for just the right project. Thank you!
mslaynie5 years ago
Wow, this is such a beautiful, thoughtful gift! I am absolutely amazed at how well the different, unrelated pieces come together into one cohesive piece. You've done a fabulous job on this. I second the suggestion to make these (and other items) for sale. Have you considered selling on Etsy or Artfire? I love the idea of taking something that most people could consider trash and turning it into something beautiful that can be loved again! Thanks for the inspiration!
passionfly (author)  mslaynie5 years ago
thanks ms laynie! I haven't sold on etsy, but I own my own clothing shop in bellingham WA where I sell alot of my handmade items. I also am attracted to making the unwanted beautiful again, and have committed to using only recycled mediums. It is challenging but often inspires unusual designs (like this one) I probably wouldn't have thought of if I wasn't constrained slightly by the size and shape of my materials. Happy crafting!
Eek! I just saw this reply.

I totally understand your drive to use recycled media. While sure, it's fun to run out and buy fresh new things to work with, it's also extremely satisfying for me to take something that was destined for the junk heap and turn it into something beautiful, something new, something valuable. It's not just a nod at recycling, it's a repurposing, and it revitalizes not just what I worked on but myself as well.

That's why this totally resonated with me. Of course, I already said that. *laughs* I'm such a goober, forgive me. :D
passionfly (author)  mslaynie5 years ago
there is something primally satisfying about leaving no trace, having no waste. Something I feel like my grandmother tried to teach me, and her mother taught her etc. etc.
That's very true. Almost impossible in this society, which makes it that much better when you find ways to improve what you're doing. :D
R4Man185 years ago
cool idea but if this laura sits on the ground 2 much she is going to ruin her jeans but i guess you will have more materials to work with
passionfly (author)  R4Man185 years ago
clearly you and I have different ideas about sitting on the ground. lol. that's ok she will ruin her pants by riding her bicycle long before sitting on the ground does anything to them! Then I'll have to fix them with some crazy patches.
QueenLucy5 years ago
Super cute! I feel like a dork knowing how many waistbands and inseams I recently threw out because I didn't know what to do with them. Never again! Thank you!
passionfly (author)  QueenLucy5 years ago
you are welcome!
Nicely done :0)
I would personally pay at least 30 bucks for these rugs. How long did it take to make?
passionfly (author)  treesneedtobehugged5 years ago
Not long, about an hour (not counting time spent taking pictures) When I gave it to my friend at her wedding showed, several older women expressed interest in purchasing one. who knows...
You also could get for the rugs manufacturing defects, you could go to thrift stores and see what blue jeans they are throwing out (goodwill has bins of about to be thrown out jeans) and maybe use other materials like polyester, spandex, etc.
Why don't you start a company making these 5 stars and remember to vote for How to Make a Seed Bomb on both the get in the garden contest and pocket sized!
passionfly (author)  treesneedtobehugged5 years ago
Thanks Trees! I'll check out "How to Make a Seed Bomb" I have considered making these for sale. This was an experiment with trying to use odds and ends left over from harvesting jeans for larger pieces of denim.