Upcycle Men’s Jeans Into a Stylish Denim Jacket

Jess Dang
by Jess Dang
8 Materials
5 Hours

This tutorial is so exciting because it features a DIY I have wanted to do for ages! I took men’s jeans and completely refashioned them to create a super on-trend denim jacket that has become one of my absolute favorite pieces! Follow a few simple steps and find yourself creating a gorgeous new jacket.

Tools and materials:

  • Men’s jeans x2
  • Pattern paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Easy DIY denim jacket

For this DIY, I would be using two pairs of men’s jeans. I chose to use two different washes. 

Draft a pattern

Draft a pattern

To create the pattern for this jacket, I made sure to cut a piece of pattern paper to size. The width of my paper was ½ my bust size multiplied by 1.5. For me, this came to 62cm ( 24 inches). The length of the paper was the desired length of my jacket. I made this 45cm (18 inches). I then went ahead and marked 18cm (7 inches) inward from each side at the top of the paper, dividing the top into 3 sections. 

Make a DIY denim jacket

I made a marking in the center of the middle section. I then went down 2cm (1 inch) from that marking and made a new marking. I connected the two outer points to this new marking with straight, slanted lines. I then made this into a curved line for the neckline of my new jacket. 

Measure down

At the top of the right side, I marked down 3cm (1.2 inches) and connected this point to the edge of my neckline to create a slightly slanted shoulder. From that point, I measured down 26cm (10 inches) which is the width of the sleeve. 

Connect the points

At the bottom right, I marked 6 cm (2 inches) inward. I used my ruler to connect that point to the point I had made for the sleeve. I moved back to the top right and marked 4cm (1.6 inches) inward. I did the same inside the sleeve area. I then drew a curved line to connect that top point to the sleeve line. I repeated the same on the other side and the back pattern for my jacket was ready. I cut it out using a pair of scissors. 

Draw the front pattern

To create the front pattern pieces, I folded the back pattern in half and traced around it. The pattern needed a few alterations. Firstly, I pulled the shoulder line down by 2cm (0.8 inches). 

Draw a new neckline

I went down 3cm (1.2 inches) from the neckline and drew in a new neckline for the front. 

I extended 7cm (2.8 inches) from the neckline and drew a line down which would be for the buttons of my jacket. 

Cut the front pattern

I then went ahead and cut out the front pattern piece. 

Trace along the curve

I turned the front piece upside down and placed it along the paper. I then folded the back piece in half and placed it below the front piece, connected the shoulder seams. I traced the long curved line of the armholes onto my pattern paper. I drew a vertical line connecting the two ends of the curve and then drew a horizontal line from each end of the curved line.

Mark from the top and bottom

I marked 40cm (15.7 inches) on each horizontal line and then connected those two points together. The 40cm represented the length of my jacket sleeve. On the new, vertical line I had just drawn, I marked 10cm (4 inches) from the top and bottom, leaving me with a wrist width of 30 cm (11.8 inches) for my sleeve. I then connected the 10 cm points to the inner corners of the pattern with a slanted line. 

Mark at the middle

I made a marking at the middle of the 30cm line. I divided the sleeve pattern in half by drawing a line across the middle. I then divided each part of the pattern in half again. 

Cut into three parts

I cut the pattern into three parts according to my markings. Two smaller sections and one bigger piece. I used the small pieces to mark where it would meet the front pattern. 

Draw a horizontal line

I then drew a horizontal line from that marking to divide the front pattern into 2 pieces. I cut across the line once I had drawn it. I repeated the same for the back pattern but I didn’t cut across straight away, I made a marking at 12cm (4.7 inches) on each side of the center on my horizontal line. At the bottom of the pattern, I marked 8 cm (3 inches) on each side of the centerline. 


I connected the markings and started cutting. I would be left with four pieces of the back pattern. I made sure to add 1 cm (0.4 inches) for seam allowance. As I mentioned earlier, I would be using two pairs of men’s jeans for this project, so I marked each pattern piece with a number 1 or 2 so that I would know which pair of jeans to use for which piece of the pattern. 

Basic DIY denim jacket

Cut the denim 

I placed the pattern pieces on the two pairs of jeans and cut out the fabric. I made sure to overlock each piece before I started working on the jacket. 

DIY denim jacket

Sew the back pieces

I laid out my back pieces and pinned and sewed the 3 bottom pieces together. 

Sew the top and bottom

I then connected the bottom part to the top part to finish the back of the jacket. After I had sewed, I added two seams on the outside to give the jacket a nice finish. 

Pin the front pieces

Sew the front 

Next, I pinned together 2 parts of the front pattern and sewed. I repeated this to create the second front piece. 

Sew the shoulder seams

Sew the front and back together 

In the next step, I laid the back and front pieces, right sides together, and sewed the shoulder seams together. 

Pin the sleeve pieces

Attach the sleeves 

I pinned the three sleeve pieces together and decided which one would be at the back of the sleeve. On that piece I marked 10cm (4 inches) from the wrist line. This would be the open part at the back of the wrist. I then sewed leaving the 10 cm I had just marked. 

Pin to the armhole

Then I attached the sleeve to the jacket. I made sure that the open part, near the wrist was at the back of the jacket. I pinned the sleeve to the armhole, matching up the fabrics so that the jacket would have a neat and professional finish. I then sewed on the sleeve. 

Sew a DIY Denim jacket

I pinned and sewed the sleeves closed and also sewed the sides of the jacket. 

Measure the neckline

Add the collar 

Next, I marked on each side of the front where the button area would be. I then measured around the neckline, between the two marks, with my measuring tape. It came to 51cm (20 inches). 

Mark the center

I cut out two rectangle pieces of fabric each 57cm (22.4 inches) long with a width of 12 cm (4.7 inches). I made a marking in the center and then came down by 2 cm (0.8 inches). I drew a curved line from that point to the two top corners. 

Connect to the top edges

I then marked 2 cm (0.8 inches) inward from each bottom corner of the rectangle and connected those points to the top edges. I then went ahead and cut according to my markings. 

Sew the two pieces

I pinned and sewed the two pieces, right sides facing, leaving the straight bottom edge unsewn. 

How to make a DIY denim jacket

I turned the collar right side out and sewed one side of it onto the neckline. I then folded the raw edge of the other side of the collar in slightly, and sewed it onto the jacket to finish off the collar. 

Finish the button placket

Finish the button placket 

Next, I had to work on the button area, I folded the fabric over 4cm (1.6 inches) and sewed it at the top. On the other side, I folded the raw edge in by 1cm (0.4 inches) so that the button area would be 3cm (1.2 inches). 

Add a waistband

Add a waistband 

The jacket was looking incredible! The next step was finishing the bottom of the jacket. I used the waistband from the one pair of jeans and sewed it onto the bottom of the jacket. 

Finish the sleeves

Finish the sleeves 

In the same way, I used the waistband of the other pair to finish off the end of each sleeve. 

Add pockets

Add pockets 

I added pockets from the back of one pair of jeans to the front of the jacket. I measured to make sure they would be symmetrical and then sewed them on. In the end, I decided not to add buttons down the front of the jacket because I loved how it looked without buttons. 

How to sew a DIY denim jacket

This upcycled denim jacket is too cool! I am totally in love with it! Let me know if you have any other men’s jeans upcycle ideas in the comments! 

How to fold a jacket

Do you struggle to store your jackets neatly? Check out this tutorial on How to Easily Fold Different Jacket Types!

Suggested materials:
  • Men's jeans
  • Pattern paper
  • Pencil
See all materials

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