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creative permie uses for old jeans

 
steward
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It was mentioned over in the mending thread in the sewing forum, that at some point, clothing is done. Permies wear lots of jeans, so there are lots of pictures all over permies of creatively used old jeans fabric.

It was suggested that we have a specific thread to celebrate all the things permies have used jeans for!

Personally, I used them to make covers for my oven mitts. They're lasting *really* well!

I also made a pocket organizer wall hanging for a neighbor who needed a place by the door for her gardening gloves, twine, pruners etc.

So let's all think of cool uses and post pictures and instructions here, or if the info is posted elsewhere on permies, please provide a link to the post. Upcycling is near and dear to me and I can't wait to hear and see all the things people have done with old jeans.
 
pollinator
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When I’m given old, stained, jeans I will cut it up into long 1 inch wide strips. The strips are great for tying veggies to trellises, such as tomatoes. The knot doesn’t slip. In fact, I don’t even tie a real knot, just single throw. The cloth doesn’t cut into the plant stem. And when it’s time to cut down the old plant, I can toss everything into the compost box because the cloth is cotton and biodegradable.  
 
pollinator
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Hey,

at school when we were making silver rings, and necklaces in technical skills, we used denim jeans for polishing the silver.

I have often considered, making chaps to go over pants, in stead of gators and to help travis through blackberries and difficult terrain when the team is not allowed to do any cutting of flora to save on filling out a form, for company, we subcontract from!

regards,
Alex
 
pollinator
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I have cut the legs off and sewn the cut sides together to make long carrying bags for short PVC poles, sticks, long-handled garden tools, etc.

I have cut them into strips and braided them together to make fairly durable tug toys for the dogs.

I cut off the back pockets of one pair and sewed the three straight sides together, added a snap to the pointy side, and have a little pouch to store my gift cards, membership/library cards, people's business cards, and so on.

I designed a wallet that fit exactly what I needed it to, and the inside lining for the bills is from jean fabric for durability. (The outside is a bright cotton print, and the inside pockets for cards are also cotton.)
 
gardener
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I've also cut them in wide strips and sewn them together to make throw rugs. Also thinner strips to make knit and crochet rugs and all I can say is that my hands will never let me do that again-- it's hardcore.
I posted a pic of my machete scabbard in the other thread, but I also repaired my office chair with jeans- it was covered with some pleather business, and after 6+ years the pleather started to come off. I recovered it a few times with cute fabric but it just wasn't strong enough. The chair itself is perfect for my setup and I don't want to buy another one.
So I used the butt of an old pair of my husband's uniform pants (the darker part) for the seat -- he's a mechanic and the butt is usually the last part to go, the front gets destroyed much earlier. The armrests are from another pair of lighter jeans that were also destroyed by the master mechanic. It's been at least a year or two and they're wearing like iron, and no pleather flaky business on my office floor.
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office chair
office chair
 
Juniper Zen
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Got a request to post a picture of the carrying bag for poles and such. Here it is, with some 2 foot PVC poles inside.
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pollinator
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I make multi-layered pants for snowpants substitute.  Look goofy, but work fine.  
Inner layer: "tigher" pair of jeans
Middle layer: upper thighs of a pair of jeans sewed over the knees of the inner pair, but BACKWARDS, as my rear end does not see as much wear.  Stitched to inner layer while I am wearing them, with yarn or whatever i have available.
Outer layer: "larger" pair of jeans.  Sometimes sewn to inner layers, sometimes not.  


 
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I am a zealous upcycler so I am loving hearing new uses for denim/jean material! My friends give me all their "trash" clothes and I recently inherited several pairs of Carhartt pants that had lots of patches and holes and thread bare in places. I realized the heavy material would be great for durable work aprons.Here is most recent, If you cut up the middle of one leg where the knees are usually worn, you get the whole fresh back of the leg as a middle panel.  I also cut off the thick hems at the cuffs of pants as a premade loop to sew onto other things.
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upcycled work apron
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pre made loop
 
Juniper Zen
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Very fashionable, S!
 
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Came across an old post  https://permies.com/t/24218/permaculture-projects/Backyard-Growspace#194386 suggesting that as cotton fabric the jeans would make a good wick material for a wicking bed water control system.  For really tatty material that sounds like a good idea, not sure what came of it though.
 
Nancy Reading
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Sunny Kahlo wrote:I am a zealous upcycler



You are also super organised - I love your spool tidy - Do you fancy making a thread on sharing your workshop secrets?
 
Sunny Kahlo
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Nancy Reading wrote:

Sunny Kahlo wrote:I am a zealous upcycler



You are also super organised - I love your spool tidy - Do you fancy making a thread on sharing your workshop secrets?



Oh I would never think of that but my space is mostly all upcycled too including the work station I built from scrap wood so that's sounds fun! I will get some photos together and make a post soon. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Quilts, rag rugs that are durable for years and years, aprons. Pillows oh, my….. I love old jeans paint spots are a reminder on you picnic quilt of great projects.  Used grandpas striped jeans to add interest to the picnic quilt.
 
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Use an old jean leg with an upcycled nylon strap as a water bottle carrier. The water bottle being a clean 2 liter soda bottle
 
gardener
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I have made two rounds of potholders by just folding over the lower leg of jeans a couple of times and sewing the open end shut. But actually I don't really like them much because of the stiff thick edges, so I won't do exactly that simple method again.
 
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I love old jeans. You can make so many things with them. The funny thing was I saw this post and I have been making jean slipper Christmas presents...

At this point I'm not 100% done. I still have to put the bead work , the wax thread around the bottom and the none slip stuff on the bottom of all of them. But look how fun they came out.. and they are so nice to wear too.. Hope this inspires others.. Have a wonderful day
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pollinator
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Cj, those slippers are great! How did you make them?
 
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Juniper Zen wrote:Got a request to post a picture of the carrying bag for poles and such. Here it is, with some 2 foot PVC poles inside.



Were those poles for electric fence? 'Cause I can see that being a great bag for carrying EF Posts, maybe the bottom might need some reinforcement and of course a sling for over the shoulder.
 
Cj Costa
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I looked online for slipper patterns and made them from that. I made a pair for my mother in law, husband and son.  The jeans I used are a old pair of my husband dad's. He passed away and I though it would be a sweet present in memory of him.

Jane Mulberry wrote:Cj, those slippers are great! How did you make them?

 
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Love this threads. All great ideas.  The slippers though... Such a super idea. What are the outer soles made from? Are they just soft cloth or do they have a more "solid" bottom?
 
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Tattered old jeans cut into strips make great fuel for beekeeping smoker. I have used old jeans to replace the soles in my kids’ hand me down footie pajamas. All was good but the soles. Now they are good for many more years. When I was a groovy teen I made overalls into an overall dress, jeans into middy skirt, and purses out of the top of jeans so that the zipper becomes the opening and outside pockets stay as useful outside pockets. Metal zippers cut out of jeans can be coiled up to make cool jewelry.
 
Cj Costa
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I sewed insoles in between the jean bottom and cotton fabric inside. I will be putting on the non slip pads on the bottom when I'm done.  But they are fine without them. I just worry my mother in law could slip so I'm putting them on.


Vickey McDonald wrote:Love this threads. All great ideas.  The slippers though... Such a super idea. What are the outer soles made from? Are they just soft cloth or do they have a more "solid" bottom?

 
Jane Mulberry
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Cj Costa wrote:I looked online for slipper patterns and made them from that. I made a pair for my mother in law, husband and son.  The jeans I used are a old pair of my husband dad's. He passed away and I though it would be a sweet present in memory of him.



Oh, that's just wonderful, Cj. What a thoughtful gift!
 
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I've made some moccasins out of old jeans/canvas. A great waterproof upcycled sole is to cut the sole out of old car tire inner tubes (you can get old ones for free at tire shops usually). They are much thicker than regular bicycle innertubes. Rubber cement and stich along the edge. My partners pair is going strong after 10 years 😸


You can also mix old tire shavings with rubber cement and paint a sole on in layers. There's an art store in the bay area that sells the rubber  shavings, but you might be able to get them from a tire shop too.

Vickey McDonald wrote:Love this threads. All great ideas.  The slippers though... Such a super idea. What are the outer soles made from? Are they just soft cloth or do they have a more "solid" bottom?

 
Juniper Zen
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Terry Byrne wrote:

Juniper Zen wrote:Got a request to post a picture of the carrying bag for poles and such. Here it is, with some 2 foot PVC poles inside.


Were those poles for electric fence? 'Cause I can see that being a great bag for carrying EF Posts, maybe the bottom might need some reinforcement and of course a sling for over the shoulder.


In this case they were for dog agility training! But could certainly be used for electric fence posts, too. :)

Rachel Royce wrote:When I was a groovy teen I made overalls into an overall dress, jeans into middy skirt, and purses out of the top of jeans so that the zipper becomes the opening and outside pockets stay as useful outside pockets.


Rachel, I think we need some pictures of these projects! ;)
 
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So many great ideas!
I have also done some oven mitts, pot holders etc.
But mostly I use them for bag making. Here are some examples, partly made from kids jeans.

The handbag with the stripes is my favourite which I use daily.

Tasche_aus_jeans.jpg
little girls jeans, top
little girls jeans, top
Emilia_Tasche1.JPG
bag made with cut up jeans
bag made with cut up jeans
Chobe_bag_2.JPG
Chobe bag (there is a pattern for this bag)
Chobe bag (there is a pattern for this bag)
 
pollinator
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My mother in law upholstered the seats of the  airplane my father in law built with old jeans.  
 
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Sunny Kahlo wrote:I am a zealous upcycler ...



Sunny Kahlo, That apron is the bomb! I am too an upcycler with zeal! In fact, my esposa and I are both artists, and when we have stuff that breaks, it becomes an art project.
I collect overalls of all brands (mostly vintage) because they make great everyday outerwear. It's amazing the stuff people toss out. I have a box or three of other people's throw-away denim that I have made cool stuff from.
-Kenn Alan
I Eat My Yard
 
Sunny Kahlo
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Nancy Reading wrote:

Sunny Kahlo wrote:I am a zealous upcycler



You are also super organised - I love your spool tidy - Do you fancy making a thread on sharing your workshop secrets?



I finally got around to making that thread! permies.com/p/1387590
 
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I never seem to have enough pockets. So I cut the pockets and waistband out of worn out jeans and wear them as a tool belt/extra set of pockets.
 
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My mom made a beanbag cover out of jeans. She alternated light and dark panels, and applicated labels and tags that were interesting on a couple panels (and just happened to cover/repair small holes in the process).
 
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I am not a jeans person though that is all dear hubby wears,  When the kids were little I made different items out of jeans.

Seems like I remember making a diaper bag, a purse, and maybe pot holders.

I once went to a charity auction where someone had donated a quilt made out of old jeans which sounds a lot like Aurora's bean bag cover.

This thread has a lot of great ideas.

I found these on Pinterest that I thought might inspire someone:


source


source


source


source


source

 
Anita Martin
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I planned to make an apron for the husband made from various old jeans and wrote him a gift voucher. Then he said he prefers leather. Hmph, I won't sew that.
What I did was a set of oven mitt/pot holder for a friend and  neighbour.
One side is cotton, one side jeans fabric. The quilting is quite wonky but I think they came out cute.
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Ya'all are much too creative for me! So many clever and useful items here.  Love the handbags/purses and the apron...And that couch! Crazy cute!! :)
 
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I enjoyed this post but I realize my sewing machine will not sew that thickness in many of the projects. I have two old Singer machines and a Brother serger.
 
Jay Angler
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Pat Yount wrote:I enjoyed this post but I realize my sewing machine will not sew that thickness in many of the projects. I have two old Singer machines and a Brother serger.

Singers are surprisingly sturdy machines!
I would suggest three things:
1) Get "denim" needles and if you use them a lot, either toss a well used one, or re-sharpen it. Yes, needles get dull!
2) Design your project so that you sew a maximum of 3 layers of material. Even with my modern, supposedly heavy duty machine, if I need to alter Hubby's jean hems, I don't try to use the machine to sew across the seam lines where the fabric can easily end up 4 to 6 layers thick. I might not look quite as professional as industrial sewing, but in many situations, a little judicious hand sewing will make the project functional, useful, and just as nice to look at.
3) If you are hand-sewing multiple layers of denim, get a hand awl. It took me some practice to get it to look semi-neat - it will take a bunch more practice to make it look really neat + use of a stitch marker - but the awl comfortably allows me to sew things that might hurt my machine.
 
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I never have enough pockets when I am harvesting in my garden or out on a forage walk! So I made an apron with EXTRA pockets!! 10 to be exact! Ehehehe!!
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Kenn Alan
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Rebekah Harmon wrote:I never have enough pockets when I am harvesting in my garden or out on a forage walk! So I made an apron with EXTRA pockets!! 10 to be exact! Ehehehe!!



I must make one of these!
 
And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"
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