Recycle Denim/Jeans into Reusable parts with no waste.

Picture of Recycle Denim/Jeans into Reusable parts with no waste.
Why waste? You can turn your forgotten, out-of-style, or unwearable jeans into a ready to use crafter's dream!

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.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will need:

A pair of Jeans
Sturdy Sewing shears

Step 2: Remove Belt Loops

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Begin by removing the belt loops. pull the loop away from the stitching and work scissors under the belt loop. try to cut away the stitching leaving the waist band and denim intact, but if you make a hole, don't worry about it too much, the pieces are still useful.

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

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Remove the waist band. Cut very close to the seam and be sure to cut above the zipper stop to insure that the zipper remains usable.

(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

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Next cut out the zipper fly, cut close to the seams, but leave the inner and outer flaps intact. You can sew in the zipper as-is to make a coin purse closure etc. or your can seam rip the zipper out completely.

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.
AmberA520 days ago

This is great! I have a whole box of old jeans that I've been wondering what to do with! I love the idea of a denim quilt or furniture cover, definitely gotta keep this in mind!

carolyn.janse3 months ago

luv this my dearest friend and I sew for the salvation army stores reusing jeans and anything else we can rescue we decorate our jeans bags with broken jewellery badges etc

tukas8 months ago

I have done this too! One suggestion if you are planning on using the back pockets, leave a half inch border around the pocket (for a possible seam allowance). :)

Thank you for taking the time to post this. So much quicker than using a seam ripper just to watch pieces fall apart as I'm ripping out seams. These jeans had some wear and tear in them, but they'll make a great log-cabin bookwrap quilt....and if not, I'll find something else to make them into.

rstrawn10 months ago

I like all the suggestions of what to do with the pieces.

kylara702 years ago
Respect on making the MOST out of your jean cast-offs. I went through this last year when making a project and I kept all the pockets because I just COULD NOT bear to throw them away. There is some GOOD inspiration here. Also, denim can be composted so the little scraps can go back to the earth. It takes a while to breakdown but it does eventually. :)
When I was a child growing up in the shadow of the smoky mts in east tn my mother would use every last scrap of clothing that none of us could wear any more to make new clothing (there was 5 of us kids) or other usefull things !

She used blue jean material for quilts because the material gave so many shades of blue , from washed out and nearly white to brand new denim blue
love4pds4 years ago
You can cut the fabric into strips and crochet or braid with them then stitch together in a circle, great for rugs or handbags. My 2 cents,
reginainqc4 years ago
It is possible to put in a new zipper if you have a sewing machine or are willing to sew by hand. On a pair of jeans you are willing to sacrifice cut out all the seams pertaining to the zipper, paying attention to the sequence. Find a new or used zipper and sew everything up in reverse order of taking apart. Work yes,but not necessarily difficult. And you'd get quite some additional wear out of your pants. I have a mountain of old jeans accumulated and will use your suggestion to glue the double stitched seams on a base to make a carpet.
Faynilla5 years ago
 said before already, but i have to add my two cents. this is a great tut because people like me wouldnt have thought of using the seams. my machine prob wouldnt be able to sew it, and i would need to get a zigzag foot to even try but other projects would work. and the mat you made was amazing! i guess i could in a pinch, use some good glue to a sturdy fabric base as a matt with the same concept in mind. maybe i just need a better machine :) have a blog i can check out????
passionfly (author)  Faynilla5 years ago
your idea for gluing is a good one! especially if you use a rubberized backing so that it will stay in place on smooth flooring! No blog to follow but THanks for the compliment!
orksecurity5 years ago
Hm. Seat covers from seat covers. That's an interesting idea, and in fact I do have some chairs which need to be re-upholstered.
lady4feet5 years ago
Thank you for posting this. I never thought to cut the seams off to use as cording.
passionfly (author)  lady4feet5 years ago
:D you should check out the recycled floor mat I made out of seams and waistbands. you can sew a bunch of seams together into a neat durable, flexible material that is textured nicely. There is an instructable for it if you search "recycled denim floor mat".
mslaynie5 years ago
You know, I just did this with a pair of worn out jeans last week. I wish I'd seen this then, I'd have more usable parts! Great suggestions for using all the parts, by the way!
passionfly (author)  mslaynie5 years ago
irrilia5 years ago
Great idea on saving everything, no waste! :)