Create New Looks From Old Jeans

Create New Looks From Old Jeans


Create new looks from old jeans. There are so many things you can create from old jeans and upcycled denim that I thought I would take some time and show you how to create some really fun and fashionable items from old jeans.  Between me, my husband and my son we have a few pair of old jeans so I set my sights on creating a few different projects with everyone in mind. For this series, all of these projects were made with one pair of women’s size 8 jeans. If you decide to create these projects and need the extra fabric head over to Fabric.com or use this 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon to purchase what you need.   I look forward to other DIY denim projects in the future.  Let me know if you create any of your own.

Upcycling old jeans is a terrific way to reuse and re-purpose something that would be thrown away otherwise.  In this post there are 5 simple ways to upcycle old denim jeans into new looks.  I created a skirt, a matching cross body bag, a coin purse, a baby’s bib and two little storage containers all from one pair of upcycled denim jeans. You can re-purpose your own jeans in no time at all. This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Jeans Skirt: Create New Looks From Old Jeans

The first project in this series of jeans upcycle projects is a denim jeans skirt that I made from the top waist area of the jeans and some coordinating fabric.  I love the western look that this project creates.  This skirt is perfect with a pair of boots and coordinating blouse.

Jeans Skirt, Create New Looks From Old Jeans
Jeans Skirt

What you will need: 

  • 1 pair of old Jeans
  • 1-1 1/2 yd of fabric – I used a polyester knit fabric that is similar to t-shirt fabric but you could use cotton if you like.
  • Standard sewing supplies
  • Embellishments (optional)
What you will need Jeans Skirt, create new looks from old jeans
What you will need Jeans Skirt

Step 1:

Cut the legs off the old Jeans.  You can cut any length you like depending on the look you want.  Just make sure that the crotch is cut off.  I chose to measure 7 1/2″ + 5/8″ seam allowance down from the top of the waistband to my cutting line.  I did this so that I could cut around the pockets in the back.

Front of Cut Off Jeans, Create New Looks for Old Jeans
Front of Cut Off Jeans
Back of Cut Off Jeans, Create New Looks from Old Jeans
Back of Cut Off Jeans

Step 2:

Measure around your hips.  Take that measurement and cute your fabric to a width that equals 1 1/2 times the measurement.  Then create the length that you would like your skirt to be.  Once you have decided on the length.  Add about 5″ to the length to accommodate a 5/8″ seam allowance and the bottom hem.

Step 3:

Once the fabric is cut to your desired dimensions, sew the two long sides together.  Then baste two rows of stitching at the top of the skirt to use for gathering.  Making sure that you keep long thread tails, the first row should be 1/4″ down from the top while the second row should be 1/4″ down from the first row.  Knot the thread tails on the top threads at each end of the fabric.  Pull the bobbin threads to gather at the top of the skirt so that it is the same size as the bottom of your jeans. It is best to alternate pulling the bobbin threads from each side and push the gathers toward the center then make sure that the gathers are even throughout.  Here is a terrific YouTube video that demonstrates the complete process of gathering the waist of a skirt that will work perfectly for this project.


Step 4:

Once you have completed the gathers, sew the jeans to the fabric with right sides together. Now that the skirt is sewn to the jeans simply hem the bottom and complete the skirt.  At this point you can either keep the skirt plain or embellish it any way you choose.  I chose to use two flower shapes that I had on hand to continue the shabby-chic look.

Jeans Skirt with Embellishment, Create New Looks with Old Jeans
Jeans Skirt with Embellishment

Bouncing Baby’s Bib

The next project is this simple baby’s bib.  I used another part of the old jeans to upcycle this little gem.  This bib is reversible as well.  I added a little applique to the front for a cohesive look.

Bouncing Baby Bib, create new looks from old jeans
Bouncing Baby Bib
Reverse of Bouncing Baby Bib, Create New Looks From Old Jeans
Reverse of Bouncing Baby Bib

What you will need:

  • Pattern
  • Jeans
  • Coordinating Fabric
  • Applique
  • Snap
  • Standard Sewing Supplies
What You will Need Bouncing Baby Bib, Creating New Looks fromOld Jeans
What You will Need Bouncing Baby Bib

Step 1:

Print out the pattern, pin it then cut each piece from the Jeans and the coordinating fabric.  Choose the applique you would like to add to the bottom of the bib.  I simply cut out one of the images from the coordinating fabric to use as my applique fabric.  In this case one of the bow ties.  I attached the cut out bow tie to the lower part of the bib using Wonder Under which you can get at any fabric store including my affiliate Joann’s.  Once the applique was firmly attached I sewed it to the lower bib piece using my machine’s blanket stitch.  I have included a YouTube video that details the process.  I hope you find it useful.

Step 2:

Once the applique is complete, attach the bottom part of the bib to the coordinating strip of the fabric. Then attach the top part of the bib to the other side of the coordinating strip.  The front side of the bib is complete.  Prepare the reverse side of the bib in the same way.

Front and Back of Bibs, Create new looks for old Jeans
Front and Back of Bibs

Step 3:

Take both sides of the bib and pin them right sides together. Sew the two pieces together leaving a space at the bottom for turning.  Once the two pieces have been sewn together turn the bib rides sides out and press.  Hand sew the opening closed using blanket or mattress stitch then top stitch around the bib for a nice finished look.  You have now completed an adorable baby’s bib using an old pair of jeans and some scrap fabric.


Blue Jean Buckets

I used the legs of my old jeans to upcycle this jeans project.

Blue Jean Buckets, Create New Looks from old Jeans
Blue Jean Buckets

What you will Need:

  • Bottoms of Jeans legs
  • Coordinating fabrics
  • Medium weight Interfacing like Pellon 808
  • Standard Sewing Supplies
What you will Need Blue Jeans Buckets, Create New Looks for Old Jeans
What you will Need Blue Jeans Buckets

Step 1:

Cut the bottom of your jeans the length you want your bucket to be plus a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Cut a circle from the jeans the size of the hole you just cut plus 1/4″ seam allowance.  Cut coordinating fabric to match the size of your jeans and the circle. Fuse the interfacing to the coordinating lining fabric.

Step 2:

Sew the jeans circle to the jeans hole you just cut with right sides together leaving the hem untouched. Sew the coordinating fabric so that it is the same size as the Jeans tube and attach a fabric circle in the same way leaving a gap in the circle for turning.

Step 3:

Insert the completed jeans bucket with right sides facing out into the coordinating bucket that has the right sides facing in.  Sew all the way around the top edge.  I sewed below the hem of the jeans to avoid the extra bulk. Once the top is completely sewn turn the bucket through the hole you left in the lining fabric.  Hand sew the hole closed and press the lining into the bucket.  Turn the top down to show off the lining and you are finished.  You can make these buckets in all different sizes with any colored lining. They are fun and functional.

Blue Jeans Cross Body Hipster Bag

This next jeans upcycle project is a cross body hipster bag using the extra fabric from the skirt, a little lace and a leather strap as well as another part of the jeans.  This is a very easy bag to make and requires only beginner sewing skills.

What you will Need:

What you will Need Cross Body Hipster, Create New Looks from Old Jeans
What you will Need Cross Body Hipster

Step 1:

Cut the remaining part of the leg at one of the seams.  Then cut two 16″ x 7″ rectangles from the jeans fabric.  Cut two additional rectangles the same size from your lining fabric.  I used the same fabric that I used in my skirt and because it is a stretchy knit I needed to use fusible interfacing.  I fused heavyweight interfacing to my lining fabric.  If you use a strong cotton you will not need to strengthen it.

Step 2:

Cut a 2 pieces of either your lining fabric or the jeans fabric measuring 6 1/2″ x 7″. Sew the two pieces right sides together on one of the 7″ sides.  This piece will act as a pocket on the front of the bag.  Again if you are using a knit fabric like mine make sure you interface both pieces.   Turn the pieces wrong sides together and top stitch 1/4″ from the seam.  This will be the top of your pocket.  Measure down 1″ from the top folded edge in the center and add one side of the magnetic snaps to only the first layer of the pocket.  Pin the pocket to the bottom of one of your denim rectangles.

Pocket and Outer Rectangle, Create New Looks With Old Jeans
Pocket and Outer Rectangle

If you are unsure how to install a magnetic snap take a look at this YouTube video I found.


Step 3:

Next we are going to add a zipper pocket to the other side of our bag.  Take the second denim rectangle and measure down 7″.  Interface a piece of lining fabric and place the top of it at the 7″ mark and pin right sides together. Next, Measure 1 1/2″ down and draw a 5″ x 5/8″ rectangle.  Follow the rest of the steps for inserting a zippered pocket found in my adding a zippered pocket tutorial.  You will have to shorten the zipper unless you have one that fits.  My affiliate Craftsy has a great tutorial on how to shorten a zipper at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/04/how-to-shorten-a-zipper/.

Add the Zipper Pocket to the Other Side, Create New Looks with Old Jeans
Add the Zipper Pocket to the Other Side

Step 4:

Cut two 2″ pieces of the leather strapping or make two 1/2″ strap pieces according to my making straps tutorial.  Center the 1/2″ D-Ring and clip it to the right side of the denim rectangle so that the D-Ring is facing in toward the bag 6″ down from the top.  Place the two denim rectangles right sides together and sew them together leaving the top open.  Clip the corners. Turn the bag right side out.

Add the Leather Tabs, Create New Looks With Old Jeans
Add the Leather Tabs

Step 5:

Measure down 1″ from the top of the denim side with the magnetic snap and add the other side of the magnetic snap in the center making sure the two pieces line up when the top is folded over. Sew the two lining rectangles together leaving an opening at the bottom for turning.  Clip the corners. Place the denim bag right side out into the lining bag which is right side in. Sew around the top pf the bag sewing the lining to the bag.

Add Magnetic Snap, Create new Looks with Old Jeans
Add Magnetic Snap

Step 5:

Turn the bag by pulling the outer bag through the hole you left in the lining bottom.  Close the opening in the lining.  You can do this by hand or by machine.  I prefer to do it by hand to keep the stitches invisible.  You can take a look at the video in my Making Cats and Dogs post if you aren’t certain how to do that.  Top Stitch around the top for a professional finish.  Embellish with some lace.

Step 6:

Make the Strap.  I chose to use 1/2″ leather strapping that I had on hand but you can make yours using the jeans or lining fabric if you like.  I also chose to use D-Rings and swivel clips but you need not do that if you don’t want.  You could just sew the loops into the bag and then put the strap through the loops.  There are many options.  You can also make the strap adjustable.  If you choose to use leather strapping the best way to attach it is by using rivets.  These are easy to use.  Simply open a hole through the two layers of strapping.  I used a leather whole punch but you can use an awl or other sharp tool. Insert the post of the rivet on one side and the cap on the other side.  There are a number of different tools you can use to hold the two pieces together but I have the small plastic Dritz tool that has indents on each side. I sandwich the leather pieces and the rivets between the  tool and hit sharply a few times with a hammer and the rivets are secure and the leather pieces are firmly together.  I found a terrific tutorial at http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/how-attach-metal-rivets-sewing-projects-0 if you want to see some pictures and other tools that will help you to learn to do basic riveting.

Blue Jeans Coin Purse

there is nothing cuter than a little upcycled jeans coin purse with a small applique flower.  This is a super simple beginner project that any novice can make in no time at all.

Jeans Coin Purse, Create New looks from Old Jeans
Jeans Coin Purse
Open Jeans Coin Purse, Create new looks from old jeans
Open Jeans Coin Purse

What you will Need:

Step 1:

Cut two pieces of Jeans fabric and two pieces of lining fabric using the pattern piece.  Sew the jeans fabric together using a 1/4″ seam allowance at the bottom straight edge and the lining fabric in the same way.

Sew the Straight Edge of the Pattern Pieces, Create New Looks From Old Jeans
Sew the Straight Edge of the Pattern Pieces

Step 2:

Sew up the sides of both the Jeans and the lining fabrics.  Then box the bottoms by matching the bottom seams with the side seams again sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Sew up the Sides, Create New Looks with old Jeans
Sew up the Sides
Box the Corners, Create New Looks Using Old Jeans
Box the Corners






Step 3:

Turn the Jeans inside out.  Insert the jeans into the lining which has the right side in.  Sew around the top pf the purse.  After the top of purse is sewn, pull out some of the stitches from the bottom of the lining and pull the jeans part of the purse through the bottom.

Pull the Jeans Through the Hole in the Lining, Create New Looks From Old Jeans
Pull the Jeans Through the Hole in the Lining

Step 4:

Attach the top of the purse to the metal purse frame and sew it through the holes provided.  I used invisible thread but you can use any color you like.  You can also purchase metal purse frames that will glue into place rather than being sewn. You can find many sizes and shapes of coin purse frames at my affiliate, Amazon.com by clicking the link.

 Step 4:

Once you have completed attaching the metal frame you can embellish the purse however you would like.  I added a cute iron on flower applique I had in my stash.

If you would like more jeans upcycling ideas check out my upcycled jeans tote and Country Christmas stocking by clicking on the links.  

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    1. All you need to do to get the metal part of the purse is click the link in the list of items you need to create the purse and it will bring you to the Amazon site where all of the purse frames are listed. Thanks for asking and good luck with this project. it is a fun one.

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