Use these steps to efficiently deconstruct a pair of jeans into all reusable parts. This process yields minimum scraps and a host of useful materials.
Step 1: Materials
A pair of Jeans
Sturdy Sewing shears
Step 2: Remove Belt Loops
often these loops end up in the scrap pile, but there are uses for them if you get creative. I have sewn beads and feathers onto these and then sewn them to a standard hair clip. You can sew them horizontally on a wall hanging for attaching key rings to, hanging tools from, or there are always creative decorative uses!
Step 3: Waist Band
(to spice up your selection of materials, try throwing old jeans into the wash with a packet of RIT fabric dye, like these pink jeans!)
waist bands make sturdy handles for denim hand bags, and they can be sewn together to create a very sturdy fabric. You can also use them as funky belts, with embellishment of course (the trick is finding one the right size) You can sew a denim apron front to the waist band for a craft apron, or attach a circle skirt for a quick fashion project.
Step 4: Zipper Fly
In the case of this blue pair, the reason they are being recycled is a broken zipper. I remove and collect the zipper heads, they make fun jewelry charms.
Step 5: Front Pockets
You can also remove the decorative fifth pocket, on jeans that have them, but in so doing you sacrifice the larger pocket.
Step 6: Seams
variation: starting at the base of one leg cut along the inseam, throuogh the crotch, and along the second leg. Removing one very long denim cord.
The seams are actually really useful. they can be used as cordage as is, as purse straps. Sewn together side by side they make a very sturdy fabric that is great for making hot pads from. or sew three or four together lengthwise (use a zig zag stitch that alternates from one to the other and a size 16 needle. Most sewing machines will go through four layers of denim, but for eight you will need an industrial machine)
Step 7: Back Pockets
Pockets are very useful. Try sewing several pockets to a wall hanging for a key holder at the front door, or a notion holder at your craft table. Use them to decorate handbags and totes. Sew both pockets from the same pants together and add a zipper or button closure for a coin purse or small satchel, or make a very fun denim quilt!
Step 8: Viola!
There will be a small pile of scraps left, the piece between the yoke and the waist band, and the small scraps around the back pockets can be set aside for patching and repairs. Anything too small for that should be saved in a scrap bin for stuffing. (denim pillows stuffed with scraps are dense and great for sitting on the floor) the only real waste are the rivets, which have little practical use. I still set them aside, because i am obsessed with using all the parts of an item. Maybe I'll use them to make an abstract art-deco collage one day. In the mean time I cut them out and keep them in a peanut jar.