Have you ever purchased a new pair of jeans to find that they are simply too long? This is a common problem and it can make finding a new pair of pants a real challenge. Today I’m sharing my tips on how to easily hem jeans along with …
What do you do with your old jeans that no longer fit? You can easily update them so they fit like new with a few scraps of recycled denim! This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at …
This simple skirt is made completely from scraps of thrifted cotton and an pair of old denim jeans. Here’s how you can save your scraps from the trash bin and create something fun and new to wear!
Hi! I’m Jessica and I blog at Designers Sweet Spot.com. I also stitch up all sorts of fun things on my sewing blog Chambray Blues.com. I am so pleased to share this project with you all! Thanks to Deborah for having me guest post on her amazing blog!
Why Recycle Fabrics?
I used to give away all my clothes that didn’t fit to the thrift store. That is, until I discovered that thrift stores only keep and sell 20% of the donations they receive, the rest are bundled and sold off to foreign countries or disposed of. Isn’t that sad? All that good stuff goes to waste! I now look for ways to reuse every bit of household fabric that I can especially if it is colorful and in good condition. This is especially true for denim items, Every old pair of jeans can find a new life in someway, this type of fabric iss so versatile and wears for such a long time.
There have been dozens of popular recycled jean skirt projects across the web, this one is an easy version and quick to make with a few basic sewing tools. My fabrics came from the thrift store (other than the jeans that I already owned), which is an added bonus. The local thrift store here sells their fabric scraps for $.50 a bundle. You can’t possibly get any cheaper and I often find great quality fabric there that I couldn’t afford to buy new if it was in a fabric store.
Pair this skirt with your favorite t-shirt and sandals for a quick shopping trip, date to the movies or walk on the beach. You can adjust the length by adding or subtracting rows of ruffles, it would also be an adorable maxi skirt with more rows of fabric. This adult (size 20) version falls just above the knee and finishes 23.5″ long. This would also work great for young girls who have out grown their jeans from last year!
Here’s what you will need:
• One pair of old jeans, any size
• 1/2 yards cut of 3 different patterned 45″ wide cotton fabrics (red, yellow, navy)
• Rotary cutter, 6″ wide quilting ruler and cutting mat (or fabric scissors, pencil and a ruler)
• Matching thread
• Sewing machine
•Ruffling Foot attachment (optional)
Fold jeans in half, matching side seams and crotch seams. Pin seams together, folding pockets out of the way so they won’t get cut in the next step.
Measure 10 1/2″ down from top of waistband at side seam. Mark and cut across horizontally to the center front, remove the legs of the jeans and lower part of crotch as in photo. Set aside. Save pant legs for other projects.
Lay cotton fabrics on cutting mat with fold near the zero cutting edge of the cutting mat (closest to you), and selvedges at the top of the mat (away from you). Using the quilting ruler, cut fabric into rows of 6″ wide strips.
Turn cotton fabrics on the mat horizontally and cut again, into 11″ wide pieces. Cut pieces will measure 6″ x 11″. Cut 15 of each of the three printed fabrics for a total of 45 pieces.
Stitch the short side of the cotton pieces together in rows of 15, using a 2.5 mm single needle stitch altering colors/prints at random. There is no need to cut the threads between each row, you can chain stitch them together for faster sewing. Continue as needed until all 15 pieces are stitched together.
Gather top edges of each ruffle 1/2″ from top edge with a ruffling foot or by hand using two rows of 5.0mm basting stitch 1/8″ apart and pulling up the threads to gather. Sew ends of each row together to make three complete circles of ruffles.
Pin one row of patterned ruffle to denim cut offs to check fit. Adjust gathers and stitch in place. You can add or remove sections of ruffle if it is too large or small to fit it to your jean cut offs. (For girls a row of 7 pieces of patterned fabrics may be enough)
Continue with second and third rows of ruffles in similar fashion, checking the length and fit as you stitch each row on.
Hem finished skirt with 1/4″ narrow rolled hem on bottom edge.
Press seams to finish.
If you enjoyed this project try some of these other recycled fabric ideas:
This recycled denim purse is such a fun project using Cricut and a Simplicity pattern! This is a great way to use old denim that needs a new purpose. Enjoy! This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission …
This cute hat uses recycled denim, cut up your old jeans and make them into something fun and new! I have a large pile of old denim jeans for making unique sewing projects. This cute hat is made from a Simplicity pattern for the …
We all have clothes in our closet we no longer wear, here are some tips on restyling and updating a boring denim jacket!
Re-Style Your Boring Denim Jacket
I have had this denim jacket in my closet for a few years. Most of the time, I rarely wear it. The jacket is too short in the sleeves and body for me, and too small around the middle. I bought this denim jacket on a whim when I was at a blog conference and I needed a jacket while sitting in a cool room listening to the conference speakers. If I had thought about it longer, I wouldn’t have bought it in the first place because it didn’t really fit. Sometimes you do funny things when you are cold!
I didn’t want to give the jacket away since it is practically new, and I decided the best thing to do would be to restyle it so it suits me better. I added wide lace to the sleeves and hem to make the jacket longer so it fits me. Then I was able to add 2″ to the center front by removing the old button placket and adding wide pleated trim. The jacket now fits better around the midriff where I need it. It doesn’t button closed, but that’s okay since I never buttoned it up anyway. Here’s how I made all the adjustments.
• 3 yards of 4″ wide lace
• 2 yards rosebud trim (sold in the lace section at the fabric store)
• 1 spool 1/2″ wide edge lace
• 1/2 yard vintage lace for yoke (I used an old skirt)
• the legs from 1 pair old pair of denim jeans, cut into 2 1/2″ strips
• matching thread, scissors, sewing machine
1. Lay your jacket on a table and pin seams together along the front and back yoke, neck and sleeve. Trace the front yoke shape onto a piece of craft paper. Add seam allowance and cut out. Repeat for the back yoke (this should be on the fold)
2. Place the pattern pieces on top of your vintage lace. I used the bottom hem of an old skirt that had a beige lining. Line up the bottom of the yoke of the pattern with the hem of the skirt or other finished edge of lace. Trace around the seams, adding 1/2″ seam allowance for the shoulder seam. Be sure pieces line up from the front to back shoulder. Cut out the front pattern piece. Repeat for the back yoke, using your first pattern piece as a guide to match the neck and seam edges. Cut the pattern out of your vintage lace.
I kept the existing skirt lining intact with my lace since I liked the light color behind the lace. You could also just let the denim show through the lace if you don’t have a lining.
3. Stitch the front and back shoulders of the lace yoke together. Add 1/2″ narrow lace trim to finish armhole edge using a 2.5 zig-zag stitch setting. Fold under lace trim ends and secure.
4. Place the lace yoke on top of the right side of denim yoke. Pin in place. Zig-zag stitch in place with a narrow stitch (2.5) along neck edge, center front, bottom of yoke and armhole. Repeat for back yoke.
Updating the Center Front
1. Cut off front button placket from both sides of the jacket, leaving collar intact. Reserve extra pieces for another project.
2. Make pleated trim for jacket front. Cut off the legs from an old pair of jeans. Cut 6 strips of denim 2 1/2″ wide.
3. Pleat the denim strips by making 1″ folds in the denim with a salad fork as you sew. It’s a bit awkward at first, but you will soon see how easy it is to make even pleats. I love this method and will definitely use it again soon! Don’t worry about the raw edges, the fraying of the denim is part of this vintage charm!
4. Attach the pleated trim down the jacket front from collar to hem with a single needle stitch 3.0 setting. Overlap the pleated trim and center front edge by 1/2″ , pin in place. Top stitch 1″ away from first line of stitching on the right side. Be sure to catch any loose pockets in the seam, my jacket had pockets that were sewn into the original placket and I needed to anchor them in place to keep them from flopping about.
5. Cut a row of lace flowerettes and apply them down the center front on top of the pleated trim. Zig-zag stitch in place. You can use a different lace trim about 1″ wide instead if your lace is an allover pattern and doesn’t have rows.
6. Cut one row of flowers from the flower trim, zig zag stitch on either side of the trim along the center front, on top of the lace and pleats. I preferred my trim slightly off center, covering half of the lace for a unique effect.
Updating the Jacket Cuffs and Hem
1. Gather the 4″ lace 1/2″ from top edge.
2. Fit lace to cuff edge, trim. Pin in place. Sew a zig-zag (3.0) stitch along edge on the wrong side of the cuff.
3. Add a flowered trim to cuff. Cut the floral trim to the same width and length as the cuff. Pin in place on right side of jacket. I cut the trim 1″ short to leave the button and button hole on the sleeve intact so it was still use-able.
4. Zig-zag stitch flower trim in place on top and bottom of cuff.
That’s it! This hack only cost me about $15.00. I already had the jacket and the lace skirt, so it was just a matter of purchasing the trims. We have lots of old jeans around the house and you can’t even tell that the pleated trim on the front of the jacket doesn’t match the rest of the jacket. It’s fun to mix up your old clothes and make them feel new again! Be sure to share pics in the Chambray Blues Sewing Group on Facebook if you remix your old jacket, we would love to see it!