Turn Old Denim Into Upcycled Jeans!

by Koetiquemade
10 Materials
4 Days

These patchy jeans are not only fun and unique looking but they are also a great Upcycling project. You can use remnant fabrics leftover from past project or jeans you simply can’t bare to part with! Which is precisely what I did. I made these using 3 different denim jeans that truly make these a “Blast From the Past!”

What pattern did you use?

The Palo Jean pattern is from one of my favorite sewing books, Breaking the Pattern by Saara and Laura Huhta, founders of Named patterns. This is a high-waisted, cropped-length jean. They are semi-fitted, and have an interesting cut of the back yoke. I absolutely love the unique front pockets. Those give even more character to this pattern. It’s best to make these a medium-weight non-stretch or slightly stretchy denim, or similar trouser (pants) fabric.

The stretch percentage should not be above 5%.

Where did you get that denim?

My dearly departed mother was one who saved every bit of denim anyone wore in our house in hopes of using to make us all patchwork denim quilts from once loved clothes. She never did so I inherited all the denim to make with it what I choose. There is so much denim in my house right now just waiting to be turned into something amazing. I wish I would have taken pictures of the jeans I used before I started, but I was so excited to finally be making these that I simply forgot. So I will just tell you my favorite parts about the 3 pairs I used.

All the acid washed denim is from my favorite pair of “Sasson” jeans from High School, circa 1995. My curves out grew these pants before my heart was ready to let them go. I never would have imagined that I would get to wear them again in any capacity!

The front pocket and back denim is from some jeans my dad used to wear while ranching. I love that the wrinkles are sunbleached from him sitting on a horse all day gathering cattle on the ranch.

I used some of my moms pants that had a similar fray as my Sasson pants to match the hems. Ahhh, they matched so perfectly!

A few tips before you Start…

I do have to say that this pattern was quite time consuming. There are a lot of steps but these have been haunting me for years so I just had to make them. Here’s 5 tips you should know before you get started:

  1. You must trace all 16, yes 16 pattern pieces from the book so as not to ruin any of the other patterns that come in the book.
  2. Using upcycled denim can be tricky especially if you have favorite parts you want to use. You may have to seam rip a lot so you get the most use out of it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use seams as design features like I did on the back of these jeans (see picture below).
  4. When you can, reuse things like back pockets, waistbands and belt loops. It saves so much time!
  5. Don’t rush. Take your time and enjoy the process. You are literally making wearable art!!

I really hope to see more denim upcycles like this. It’s so satisfying to see once loved denim come to life again in a whole new way!!

Let’s be friends!

Let’s be friends on all the socials! Come follow along on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok so we can chat about all our sewing projects!

Suggested materials:
  • 3 - 4 pairs of old jeans
  • Zipper from old jeans
  • Something to write with
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Want more details about this and other fashion and style ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation