15 Amazing Ways to Upcycle Jeans

6 Materials
7 Hours

Got a whole bunch of jeans you don’t wear anymore? Get ready to wear them again because I am going to show you fifteen ways to either upcycle or alter your jeans 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 upcycle jeans
Make a jumpsuit

Let’s kick this off with an absolute favorite of mine. Adding jeans to a chambray shirt to create this upcycled jumpsuit. I started by cutting off the waistband of my jeans. 

Jeans upcycling ideas

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

Upcycle old jeans

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.  

Jean alteration
Alter your jeans

This alteration is for all of the girls who never find a pair of jeans that fit properly around the waist. I created two incisions in the inner waistband. 

Pull elastic through

I then used a safety pin to pull the elastic through the incisions. 

Upcycle denim jeans

Once the elastic was through I sewed up my incisions and voilà, no more gap at the back of my jeans. 

Upcycle old jeans
Lengthen the jeans

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

Lengthen jeans

I started by taking the leg pieces of a pair of jeans that I had previously cut to make into shorts and added them to the bottom of my jeans. 

Upcycle skinny 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. I love this look! You would never know this was an upcycled pair of jeans.

Turn the bottom inside out

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

Ways to upcycle jeans

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

Skinny your jeans
Make your jeans skinny

When it comes to making jeans skinnier you could always just turn them inside out and take in the seam, but why not make things a bit more interesting and add some style while you’re at it? I started by removing the back pockets and made an exposed seam right down the back of each leg. 

Finish the look

I finished this look by adding the pockets back on. I threw the jeans in the wash and those awesome frays came naturally. 

Add seams

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

Rip the seams

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

Upcycle jeans

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

Two-toned jeans
Make two-tone jeans

 If you have a couple of pairs of jeans that are just too big on you, you should 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. 

Add two sides 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. 

Easy two-toned jeans

Upcycling jeans

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

Cut the inside of a pair
Make a new pair from two smaller pairs

A great way to upcycle jeans that are too small is to use two small pairs to create a new fabulous one. In this step, I cut the outsides off of one pair of jeans.

Cut the insides

I then took a different pair of jeans and cut the insides, removing the crotch area. 

Pin the jeans

I put the two pairs on inside out and pinned them so that I’d have the perfect fit for sewing. 

Add flair

You can easily make this 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 flair. 

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.

Add track pants' seam
Make your jeans bigger

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

Cut the seam

I cut the seam off one of my favorite pairs of track pants

Sew in the seams

Once I had the seams, I cut the jeans down the side and sewed in the seams from my track pants. This new pair will have some extra room and added comfort!

Retro upcycled jeans

I love this retro upcycle look! 

Keep the logo

If you love mixing your jeans and track pants, then make another pair, and this time keep the pockets and the logo for an added bonus. 

Show the logo

Once I had sewn in the seams and pockets, I created a ripped effect in the jeans to show off the logo of the track pants. 

Iconic 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!

Cut off the sides of a skirt

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

Glam jeans upcycle

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

Make patches
Create patches from scraps

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 jackets to give them an amazing denim finish. 

Upcycle denim

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

Remove flat fell seams
Remove the seams

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

Upcycled denim shirt

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

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

Suggested materials:

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

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Join the conversation

2 of 25 comments
  • Sue Robertson-Gates Sue Robertson-Gates on Mar 10, 2021

    WOW ! You are truly creative ....and have amazing unique fashion sense.

  • Penny Cavve Penny Cavve on Mar 11, 2021

    These styles will never be hanging in Macy's or J C Penney's. You made quite a few cute pairs of jeans, to hang out in and make others envy your creative sewing. Nice ability to use your old jeans, parts are parts!