Upcycle Jeans to Make a Pretty & Romantic Sunflower Top

May Lina
by May Lina
8 Materials
3 Hours

Today, I am going to upcycle jeans into a top. Our planet doesn’t need more clothes and we don’t need to support fast fashion. Instead, support vintage brands, thrift your pieces, and upcycle old clothing.

If you also want to help the planet and repurpose your clothing, stick around.

Tools and materials:

  • Old jeans 
  • Pins 
  • Sewing machine 
  • Scissors 
  • Yarn
  • Crochet hook - optional
  • Fabric paint
  • Paintbrushes
How to upcycle jeans

1. Cut up your old jeans 

Fold your jeans in half, so the legs are one on top of the other, and cut off the top part of the pants. You should be left with two legs.

Next, place the jeans so that the side seams are in the middle. Cut the legs open by cutting down the sides. 

Upcycle old jeans

2. Sew the denim fabric pieces together

Lay the two denim panels flat, one on top of the other, with the exterior sides facing inwards. Cut the edges to align the lengths.

Use your own measurements or body shape as reference for the next steps. Remember to leave some extra material for hemming.

Pin the sides of the two pieces together to where you want the top to finish, then cut off the bottom. Next, push the fabric together to form diagonal darts at the top to accommodate the curve of the chest area.

Sew together the two panels and the diagonal darts.

Upcycle jeans DIY

3. Hide the raw edges

Check to see how the top goes around your body, leaving some room for the lace that will be at the back. Cut off any excess fabric, fold the edges inwards, and pin. Then, sew all the pinned areas to hem them.

Upcycle jeans into a top

4. Add crochet detail

I crocheted some ruffle pieces myself, but you can also thrift them or repurpose them from old pieces.

Once you have your ruffles, lay your shirt out flat and pin the ruffles across the top and bottom edges. Next, take two more knit ruffles and pin them to the top peaks, so they can serve as straps.

To get the right strap placement, put the shirt on your body, then pin the straps to the inside of the top where they feel most comfortable. 

Upcycle jeans tutorial

Take a piece of yarn, tie knots every inch or so, then pin it to the inside side edge of the top in a looping pattern. This is where the lace-up back will be. Repeat on the other side, then sew everything in place. 

Lace bodice detailing

5. Build the back

Take another piece of yarn and weave it through the loops you just created, so that the back of the top laces like a corset.

Paint on a sunflower design

6. Finish with some color

Finish the top by tracing flowers onto the front and filling them in with fabric paint. This is where you can get creative! I went with yellow and orange sunflowers, but the choice is really up to you.

Add some fun details, let it dry, and enjoy your new upcycled jean top! 

Upcycled denim top with a lace back

This DIY top made from upcycled old jeans is a favorite of mine. I love making use of old pieces and getting a one-of-a-kind outfit along the way.

If you want to stop supporting fast fashion, this tutorial on how to upcycle jeans into a pretty cottagecore-style top is perfect!

How to upcycle jeans to make a cute top

Suggested materials:
  • Old jeans
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • Mary E. Nunez Mary E. Nunez on Mar 14, 2022

    That's a cute top, I have an old pair of Levi's 501 that I cut into shorts and embroidered the sunflowers and sunset. Of that was decades ago. 🤭.. I was a teenager in the 70's and that's what I was wearing. I'm from the desert and that field of flowers was nice and I'm pretty sure the music was calling my name. Thanks for sharing, great job.

  • What a beautiful project. I enjoyed the video it was relaxing. Your handmade crocheted lace was a beautiful touch. You have wonderful talents. Thank you for sharing.