Repurpose round-up: Prolonging the life of your jeans

If we are to improve the sustainability of our wardrobes, one of my key tips is for us to find creative ways to reuse and repurpose our clothing as they wear out of go out of style. The longer we can avoid our clothing ending up in landfill, the greater the sustainability of our closets.

For my first repurpose round up, I have curated a collection of DIY tutorials to assist you to prolong the life of your jeans. Some of these require some basic skills, but many are perfect for the absolute beginner.

essential blue jeans mending method tutorial

1. Mending you jeans

I wish I had found this tutorial for mending your jeans earlier- it would have saved a favourite pair of jeans from being cut up for other projects. I was very sad to lose them, as well-fitting jeans can be hard to find for my body type. This tutorial would have saved them to live a little longer. For this project, you need access to a sewing machine, and if you’ve never used sewing machine, you might like to have someone assist you. But it is very simple, for is well-suited for a beginner. Thanks to adventures in dressmaking for this fantastic tutorial.

2. Making cut-off shorts

Making cut-off shorts from jeans that have worn at the hems or knees is a great way to get some extra mileage out of a well-love pair of jeans. You can try this tutorial for making basic cut-offs in which you only a pair of scissors- no sewing skills necessary! Thanks to Girls Life for this simple tutorial.

If you like a more finished look to your jeans shorts, you can try this easy cuffed cut-off jeans shorts tutorial, another one by adventures in dressmaking. This tutorial requires some basic hand-sewing skills (no sewing machine needed), and it also perfect for a beginner.

3. Repurpose your jeans for other items

A quick search of Pinterest will reveal a great range of suggestions about how to repurpose denim patches for other items. Here are two of my favourites:

Baskets from jeans

If you have children in your life, you might like to try these cute denim baskets made from the legs of old jeans. It is a simple hand sewing project by Swedish blogger Pysslebolaget, which is perfect for a beginner.

Or try these DIY pot holders for a creative way to make good use of the seat of your jeans, where the pockets on your old jeans form an essential part of the pot holder design- very clever!

4. Make denim yarn

You can use your old jeans, or the large scraps left over from other projects to make denim yarn for knitting, crochet or weaving. Denim yarn is very hard wearing, so it is perfect for making baskets and other household items.

For some DIY inspiration, I love this denim basket by Hapsuli

Denim basket by Hapsuli

and also this knitted denim pillow by Forever Love

Knitted denim cushion


To make good use of denim yarn, you will need some knitting or crochet skills. If the projects seem a bit out of your league, try an online class in knitting fundamentals or basic crochet with Craftsy.

If your are new to sewing and making clothes, repurposing your worn clothes are a great starting point- you don’t need to worry that you are wasting expensive fabric so you can have a go without fear of mistakes. I hope some of these projects keep your well worn jeans from landfill.  If anyone has any other suggestions for using their old jeans, I would love to hear them!