These days we’re all more environmentally aware and most of us make choices as consumers based on the environmental impact our buying habits have. With this awareness, we’re now seeking more ways to avoid waste, by decreasing our dependency on single-use plastic and recycling whenever possible.
Whilst we’ll often give our clothing a new lease of life by selling it on as vintage or donating it to a charity shop, what happens when our favourite jeans get ripped or worn through? Read on for some easy ideas for recycling your old denim jeans.
For most of these ideas we’re not going to lie, you will need to be comfortable with a needle and thread or sewing machine, but during lockdown, many of us started flexing our creative muscles and rates of people actively crafting and making things shot up.
Even if you didn't dust off your old sweing machine and didn't manage to take on any new skills, it's never to late to get creative, especially if it means saving something from landfil and giving it a new lease of life!
Turn your jeans into cut offs
Perhaps the easiest and most obvious way to repurpose your jeans is to turn them into a pair of shorts. Just cut the legs off and hey presto, cute summer shorts!
Repurpose old jeans into a bag
For inspiration, turn to Pinterest where you’ll find heaps of ideas and even free patterns, or get creative and freestyle it! The back pockets on your jeans make the ideal ready-made feature pockets on a bag, whist the seams can be used to create straps, so grab those scissors and get creative!
Make a denim rag rug
Rag rugs are surprisingly easy to make, but they do take a fair bit of fabric. Using recycled fabric makes the most sense and is a practical and pretty way to upcycle your old jeans as well as other things like old t-shirts, bed sheets and so on.
There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that take you through making a rag rug step by step, but the key thing to remember is preparation. You’ll need to spend plenty of time cutting or ripping your fabric into similarly sized ribbon pieces to facilitate the making of a rag rug, and one made from denim will prove extremely hard wearing too!
If you don’t fancy sewing, never fear. You can grab hold of your hot glue gun to make all sorts of things. Head on over to YouTube for inspiration.
Make something cute
From denim coasters to bookmarks and brooches, denim is a great material to work with. Let your creativity run free and experiment with shapes, stiches and adding embellishments from intricate embroidery to felt and beads to give your denim a new lease of life.
Use them as stuffing
If you’re a crafty type, then you can use your old jeans as stuffing for other craft projects. Amigurumi for example is a really popular crochet craft that requires the use of stuffing. Instead of buying stuffing for this and similar projects, you can rip or cut up your old jeans into smaller pieces to be used as stuffing.
Patch your jeans up
Ripped jeans are often worn intentionally, but if that’s not a look you’re into, then a good old fabric patch could come to the rescue. From making a political statement to displaying the most extra of sass, patches come in all different shapes, sizes, colours and patterns and can be a great way to mend a relatively small rip or tear and extend the life of your jeans.
If you’re not one for patches, why not get creative and cover the jeans in patches, making them a real feature and then sell them on an online market place? Choose your patches wisely and the customised jeans are sure to appeal to someone else.
Still looking for ideas? Check out these brilliant denim upcycling suggestions from Scratch and Stitch.
If you’re looking for a solution and want to stop those pesky little holes appearing in your tops, then don’t forget to grab yourself some Original Holé jean button covers.