Saturday, April 27, 2013

Practical Life... for Mom! [Upcycling Jeans]

What's Green?

It's been quite a while since I've posted anything Green!  Here is an upcycle resource post.  Enjoy!
I cut up a ton of old jeans for youngest dd to make a bunch of jean dog leashes to sell.  Now dd's puppy sports a really cool jean leash!  However, after making the prototype I realized that it just wasn't going to work for the purpose of selling them (too hard for her to sew and not "neat" enough of a finished product).

Okay, plan B.  I had a bunch of jeans already pulled out and piled in the living room - most of them now cut into strips.  Unfortunately, I tossed all but one of the tops of the jeans after cutting off the legs.  I did manage to cut out several pockets before tossing but didn't even think that the zippers and waist bands were salvageable (sigh).  This sent me on a search for all things jeans that I could upcycle.

I thought I would share these ideas with you in case you too have a stash of torn jeans and are wanting to scratch that creative itch that appears now and then.  I have had a blast making a pouch/clutch purse, a lined purse out of the top of the jeans I saved, hot pot holder (quilted square), and a strip jean blanket/quilt (still in progress).  Yes, this most likely is a form of procrastination and escape from life's current stressors.  On the other hand, there is a finished product at the end and a smaller pile of jean scraps.  I am now the "Queen of seam ripping and re-sewing!"

Before I get into the looooong list of jean links let me post a link to a tutorial to make totes out of horse feed bags.  You can use other types of feed bags, but make sure they do not have meat products (so no dog or cat food, for example).  I guess you could but I'm just not sure if you could clean it well enough.  After cutting off the tops and bottoms (and checking for black widows which love to hang out in our garage and have family reunions) I washed and dried 10 bags in my washer/dryer in batches of 3 or 4 at a time.  I made the prototype and middle dd finished her first tote last night.  Very good tutorial:

On to the Jeans Links and Ideas!

E-reader pouch (Kindle/Nook) [I've wanted to make one for a long time and am still looking for more ideas]

kindle keeper:

Dog leash that I mentioned (very sturdy end product):

Organizer (great way to make pouches for 3 part cards):

Easy easy pouch bag:

Pocket hot pot holder:

Easy pocket pouch with snap:

Easy little pocket purse:



Quilted coasters:

Napkins (I may actually be able to do these!):

Drawstring bags:

Water bottle holder (make taller and with elastic to fit snuggly so bottle doesn't fall out):

Use this strategy (quilted squares but without batting - or with?) to make a frayed purse/tote (could use the quilted squares for panels)

Bible/book cover

Book cover:

Oven mitt:

Footwear (house slippers?):

Stadium cushion:


Purse (using denim overall skirt):

Wall organizer:

Patchwork bag (instructions):

Hand sanitizer holder (this idea can be used for any number of items):

Snuggle quilt:

Jean covered notebook:

Nice easy purse (lined):

lined purse from the tops of jeans:


Tote/purse (lined)

Yeacher apron?

Patchwork pillow:

Pocket purse:

**pocket purse/camera/cell phone holder - Shows how to put on a zipper for a coin purse or whatever!

Reversible bag:

Lunch sacks/gift bags (can go page by page or click download this project):

Double-sided picknic blanket:

Cell phone pocket:

Floor mat:

Picture frame (pocket):

Padded notebook carrier:

I have one child (11) who grows 2 inches every time she sleeps!  One idea I saw to make shorts - other than the "give the child a pair of scissors and hope for the best" technique I've been known to use - was to fold up the leg, stitch, and then cut off the extra seam from the inside.  This way you use the old hem for the shorts.  I forgot to save that link but it makes the shorts look finished without just rolling up the hem.

Another idea, for extending shorts for this same child, is to add lace or another fabric along the bottom of the shorts that are getting too short to make them seem longer and cover more.

There are so many other utilitarian ways to upcycle old jeans.  This is just a beginning.  I would love to hear about what this post inspires you to make!

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