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 no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!
Old Jeans That Don’t Fit
Recently, I came home from the department store with a pair of jeans that were 3 sizes too small. I wanted a high-waisted style in dark denim but the store did not have my size. I had a coupon and a gift certificate that I needed to use, so I bought them anyway. These brand new jeans were not returnable and as a result, have been sitting in my closet for far too long.
Although I could simply give them to the thrift store, I was determined to not waste them. After a bit of experimenting, I figured out how to get the perfect fit by sewing an insert down the side of the jeans. The insert is strips of recycled denim that are stitched together in a colorful stripe.
- pair of old jeans that are too small (I feel this would work best with straight leg jeans although you could certainly experiment with skinny jeans.)
- 9-10 strips of either recycled denim or other heavy fabrics, cut 2 1/2″ wide
- sewing machine and thread
- scissors or rotary cutter
- cutting mat and ruler
- measuring tape
1. Measure your waist and record the measurement on a piece of paper. My waist is 42″.
2. Measure the jean waistband circumference. Subtract this number from your waist measurement to get the amount of inches you need to add to the jeans. If you are curvy, you will also need to compare the hip measurements as well. My jeans measured 36″ at the waist. So when I subtract 42-36= 8″. 8″ need to be added to get the jeans to fit. By dividing 8″ in half, there is 4″ to add to each side of the jeans. If you need to add extra room in the hips, simply shape your insert on a curve so that you are adding more to the area where it is needed.
I used recycled denim scraps from our boys old jeans. It’s always best to recycled fabrics that you already own.
Cut the strips 2 1/2″ wide and make them as long as possible.
3. Sew the strips of denim together with 1/4″ seam allowance while matching the left edges and the length of the piece. You can also piece the strips together if they are too short.
4. Cut pieces the width that you need for your insert with a rotary cutter or scissors, mine were 4″. If you need more room in the hip, make your pieces wider in that area. I did not include seam allowance in these calculations for simplicity.
5. Sew the cut pieces together edge to edge in long strips until the piece is long enough to fit down the side of your jeans plus 1″ for hemming. Trim away excess. Hem the top and also the bottom edges of the strip with 1/2″ folded hem.
6. Cut side seam of jeans apart, from the hem through the waistband, removing seam allowance and any rivets that may be in the way of stitching a new seam. Baste pocket to the side of the jeans if necessary.
7. While keeping right sides together, sew the insert to the side of the jeans on the front and back. Repeat on the other leg. Press and enjoy!
These jeans are now super comfortable to wear! The denim insert also has a bit of stretch which creates a great fit. It’s so nice be able to finally wear the new jeans with such a unique design! I am thrilled that this purchase was not a waste of money and I will certainly get lots of wear out of them this fall!
If you love recycled projects, here are a few more you will also enjoy:
DIY Quilted Potholder from Scraps
Men’s Dress Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps
Recycled Jean Denim Vest
Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt
Make an Upcycled Denim Hat from Old Jeans
Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!