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I came up with this when my son was about 4 years old and really into tools and working in the shop with his father and grandfather. The tool belts in the toy stores were a joke and never lasted very long. Besides, I didn't want yet another piece of plastic in my house. At the same time, my husband had some old jeans that has seen it's last legs and could not reasonable be sent to Goodwill.

This idea come to me in a flash so I took out my scissors, and sewing machine and started cutting. This is a super easy project that is also fast. Start to finish, it took us 15 minutes including machine set up time and a safety discussion...I like instant gratification.

My son helped with cleaning up and by stepping on the sewing machine pedal (Gently. Mom likes her fingers intact). He was really proud of himself for helping to invent something completely new! He showed off our one of a kind design to anyone and everyone. He wore it for years.

I've recreated the steps here for Instructables. We had a lot of fun doing this again!

Step 1: The First Cut

You can use any size jeans you have; adult or children's. We will size the waist later since I am using a pair of mine for an 8 year old.

Lay out the jeans you are using on a flat surface. Using good strong scissors (one made for fabric if you have them), and start cutting from the fly. Be careful not to cut the metal teeth of the zipper or you'll damage your scissors. Cut as close to the waist band as possible.

I like to keep the little coin pocket that's found on most jeans by the front right pocket. They are a good size for small pencils and other shorter tools. Keep the belt loop that is near this pocket too. It's great for hanging tools from!

Continue to cut until you reach the back of the jeans. Cut around the two back pockets. They will be the two main tool holders.

Step 2: Measure and Cut to Size

Now that your Recycled Denim Tool Belt is cut, you should "fit" it to your child. I eyeballed this because I've been sewing since I was about 8. If you are comfortable enough to eyeball it, great. Otherwise, use a tape measure.

Like my father-in-law says, measure twice, cut once.

Step 3: Trimming to Size

When you are sure of the waist measurement, cut the button hole portion off the end. Be sure to leave at least half an inch from the end of the button hole for seam allowance.

From the same side of the waste band, trim the waist band to the right measurement minus the length of the button hole piece you just trimmed off. Leave a half inch on the end for seam allowance on this side too. You will overlap these two pieces at their seam allowance later when sewing.

Don't cut from the button side of the waist band. If you cut off the button, you'll have to sew it back on.

However, if the jeans are a lot bigger, then you'll have to trim from both sides of the waste band. Simply cut the button hole tab off with a half inch seam allowance so you can sew it back on after re-sizing the that side.

You can see I had to trim it all the way back to the side belt loop.

Step 4: Sewing!

Before we sew, I talked to my son about safety, the same way his father discusses safety with him when they are working in the garage with the other tools.

A standard sewing needle in the machine will be fine on denim, IF YOU GO SLOW. Or you'll risk snapping the needle or worse, have it come flying out at you.

Now, we sew! I had my son help me position this in the sewing machine, THEN I turn the machine on and let him foot the pedal gently. As I said, I like my fingers the way they are.

Please note the overlap of the button hole piece and the seam allowance from the remaining waste band.

We sew in one direction, then turn the piece around and double back. This ensures that your stitching will hold

Step 5: Ta-Da! You're Finished.

Final fitting! Hopefully, you measured correctly. I made my original and this one a bit looser for comfort and to also give my self a little margin for error. They can swing it around and position the pockets wherever it is comfortable for them.

By the way, this is also great if they are working on an art project. They can have their brushes, sidewalk chalk or markers in the pocket holsters.

A quick and useful project that's easy to clean because you just toss them into the wash.

Hope you enjoyed that, we did!
This is brilliant!!! I was out pruning grapes last weekend and vowing that I would get a tool belt asap. Now I don't have to go to the store ...and this is even WASHABLE! THANK YOU!
Wow, my son just acquired a bunch of tools at garage sales he and his father went to this summer. He want to make a tool belt out of some expensive material I have. I am trying to keep it away from him. Now here is an idea I can encourage him to do. Thanks, great idea.
That is COOL! I can't believe I didn't think of that!! I want to make one!!!!
The first one I made, I used my husband jeans and because it was bigger, it was even better. The back pockets landed exactly on his hips - just like holsters. I didn't mention it on my posting, but you can decorate it too. Fabric markers are great and they can personalize it all they want.
Good use of old jeans, simple and "green" -- a thumbs up. :))

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