15 Amazing Ways You Can Easily Alter and Upcycle Jeans

by BlueprintDIY
6 Materials
7 Hours

This tutorial is all about upcycling jeans. Got a whole bunch of jeans you don’t wear anymore? Get ready to wear them again because I am going to show you how to upcycle jeans or alter them so that they go back to being your closet favorites.

There’s really no need to get rid of old denim when you can turn it into something fabulous! Watch the tutorial below to learn how to make your forgotten pair of jeans into one of your most worn pieces.

Tools and Materials:

  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Needle and thread
  • Jeans

How to make a jean jumpsuit

Add jeans to a chambray shirt to create a denim jumpsuit. I started by cutting off the waistband of my jeans. 

Sewing jeans to a chambray shirt

Then, I sewed my jeans onto a chambray shirt, leaving out a shirt flap on the one side in the front. 

How to upcycle jeans into something new

I left one side of the flaps from my shirt out because I love the illusion that this fashion statement outfit is a two-piece.

On the other side, I put in a drawstring, which lets everyone know this is an amazing jumpsuit.  

How to take in jeans at the waist

If your jeans don't fit you around the waist, just add elastic.

How to take in jeans at the waist

First, make two incisions in the inner waistband. 

How to add elastic to the jeans waistband

Then use a safety pin to pull the elastic through the incisions. 

Sewing the elastic into the jeans waistband

Once the elastic is through, sewed up the incisions and voilà, no more gap at the back of the jeans!

How to make jeans longer

If your jeans feel too short, there are a couple of cool ways to make them longer.

How to lengthen jeans

In the first method, take the leg pieces of another pair of jeans and add them to the bottom of your short jeans. 

Making contrasting jeans

A great tip is to cut the jeans and legs at an angle and then sew them together to get a really cool contrast that looks intentional.

Creating a denim-on-denim bottom

Speaking of contrast, why not turn the bottom pieces inside out to create a gorgeous denim on denim look?

Different ways to upcycle jeans

This is now one of my absolute favorite pairs of jeans, and they are so easy to make!

How to make skinny jeans

How to make jeans skinny

To make jeans skinny, you can just turn them inside out and take in the seam, but why not make things a bit more interesting?

Start by removing the back pockets and making an exposed seam right down the back of each leg. 

How to make jeans skinny

Finish the look by sewing the pockets back on.

I threw the jeans in the wash and those awesome frays came naturally. 

How to take in the legs of jeans

Another great way to skinny your jeans is by adding two seams up the front. This method works well with a heavier, vintage denim. 

Ripping the seams to create fray

I used a seam ripper and pulled the strings to create a really deep fray at the front. 

DIY frayed seam jeans

The fray on this pair does take a little extra patience but it’s totally worth it! 

How to measure clothes

Need to measure a top or jeans but not sure how? Check out these Easy Tips on How to Measure Clothes!

How to upcycle jeans that are too big

How to make two-tone jeans

If you have jeans that are too big, take the front of one pair of jeans and the back of another pair and sew them together to create a stunning two-toned pair of jeans. 

Pinning the back and front of two pairs of jeans together

For a different two-toned look, I took one side of a pair of jeans and added them to the other side of a different pair. 

Sewing the legs of two pairs of jeans together

Making DIY two-toned jeans

I love these two-toned jeans! It’s such a clever way to upcycle old pairs of jeans into a glamorous new pair. 

A great way to upcycle jeans that are too small is to use two small pairs to create a new fabulous one.

How to upcycle jeans that are too small

Cut the outsides off one pair of jeans.

Cutting the insides of the jeans

Take a different pair of jeans and cut the insides, removing the crotch area. 

Wearing and pinning the jeans

Put the two pairs on inside out and pin them for the perfect fit for sewing. 

How to make two-toned jeans

You can easily make these into a skinny pair of jeans, but I decided to add some extra triangle pieces from a third pair of jeans to give my new pair a bit more flare!

DIY wide-leg jeans

I am obsessed with these two-toned, wide-leg jeans. There is just so much you can do with extra denim lying around.

How to make jeans bigger

If your jeans are feeling a little too tight, why not add a little something from your favorite pair of track pants? 

Cutting the seam off a pair of track pants

Cut the seam off a pairs of track pants

Sewing the new seams to the jeans

Next, cut the jeans down the side and sew in the seams from the track pants. This new pair will have some extra room and added comfort!

DIY retro upcycled jeans

I love this retro upcycle look! 

Sewing track pants seams and logos to jeans

You could also keep the pockets and the logo for an added bonus. 

DIY jeans upcycle

These classic Adidas stripes made for an iconic upcycle. I love this upcycle because it really gives you the best of both worlds!

Cutting off the sides of a skirt

If you are feeling extra adventurous, try adding the sides of a flowy skirt to an old pair of jeans. 

Adds skirt ruffles to jeans

You’ll be left with all the movement and glam a girl could ever need! 

How to make jeans bigger

Got a pair of jeans that are too tight? Check out this tutorial on How to Make Jeans Waist Bigger: 5 Easy Methods!

Cutting out denim patches

How to add patches to jeans

Once you’re done with these different denim projects, you’ll most definitely have scraps left over.

I love using these scraps to create different patches, which can then be added to clothes to give them an amazing denim finish. 

Adding denim patches to a jean jacket

I love that nothing goes to waste when you’re upcycling jeans. A little denim here and there can always become something awesome. 

Denim scraps from jean upcycles

Use up all your scraps to make something new

This is my ultimate upcycle. I removed the flat fell seams off of twenty pairs of jeans. 

I put them all together to create this amazing denim top!

How to alter and upcycle jeans

I love that there are so many different ways to upcycle old jeans! Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

How to fray jeans

Have a pair of jeans that need a makeover? Check out this post on How to Fray the Bottom of Jeans in 7 Easy Steps!

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 31 comments
  • Vivian Vivian on Feb 19, 2024

    Very clever.

  • Alma Alma on Apr 09, 2024

    Just Adorable! Sooo Creative! I liked both jacket ideas But the finished one is better. I loved the 2-toned jeans. You are quite the seamstress! Yes, very impressive! - Thank you for your videos -