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What's your favorite use for old jeans? — The Grow Network Community
You grow through consistency

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What's your favorite use for old jeans?

Mary Linda Bittle, West Plains, MissouriMary Linda Bittle, West Plains, Missouri Posts: 811 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Hobbies: Indoor & Outdoor

Here in Council, Idaho it's snowing like crazy! Has been all day.

I've been washing and putting away the Thanksgiving decorations, but am not quite ready to get Christmas stuff out. I did replace the wreath on the front door, and placed a few snowmen on the little shelf in the entryway. But I'm not much motivated to do more today.

School is back in session tomorrow, and I want to sit on the couch under a blanket and rest a bit. With a cup of hot cocoa, and a snack. While watching something mindless on TV. (Three weeks until Christmas vacation!)

My little dog - all 9 pounds of him - keeps insisting on going outside, but the 4 or 5 inches of snow convince him to come right back in! No walk on the trail for us today.

I guess winter is truly here to stay now. That's OK. I have things to do inside that I put off while working in the yard and garden.

I've collected a big pile of old jeans that I can no longer patch well enough to wear in public. Thinking about cutting them up to make something. I have a sewing machine and lots of thread.

What would you do with them? Crazy quilt? Christmas gifts? Something for the garden? I'm open to ideas, and thanks!


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,418 ✭✭✭✭

    I have seen the pockets removed, stuffed with plastic cut from empty large liquid containers, and turned into coasters. There has also been denim turned into throw pillows.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle Yes, make a quilt. One so warm that it does the name of 'crazy' justice, You (or whoever else) will be crazy-warm, & love it 🙂

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,438 admin

    My favorite was a large picnic blanket that still had pockets attached. It had the ABCs on the squares. We wore it out it was loved so much!

    We have another double sided one. It is good, but ultra heavy.

  • bejer19bejer19 IllinoisPosts: 59 ✭✭✭

    I've been thinking about trying to do a braided rug with some of my old jeans! I haven't tried yet so I'm not sure how it will work out. But I'll have to report back.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 726 admin

    I'm not super "crafty," so my solution would be to either give them away (if they're in decent enough shape) or cut them up to use for rags when staining furniture. :D I've also heard of people using old jeans as insulation in the walls of new construction, although I've never tried that. And some people will cut off a leg, sew one end, add a hanger, and use it to hold plastic bags.

  • @Merin Porter I've patched them so many times that there's nothing to sew to anymore!

  • I think I will have to start by cutting the good material off and see how big the pieces are. Some of them are nearly worn through in the seat and thigh area. But there's much good fabric left. Once I see what I have to work with, then I can plan better. I think something simple to start.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle I just logged in this morning after some time and your thread for old jeans came up. I’ve been collecting jean material (even some colored denim) for quite a while now. Been hoping to get moved to Maine one of these days, maybe in the spring and my original hope was to make a quilt. Recently I started thinking about making curtains for the Maine house.

    @bejer19 the braided rug is a GREAT idea. I stopped at a garage sale on vacation, met this lovely lady (now a friend) who offers a quilting class in town, paints, and also had some braided pieces in her studio. So...another great idea!

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 254 ✭✭✭

    My daughter once bought a purse made from an old pair of jeans. It was super cute. They cut the legs off, turned inside out, sewed in a pocket while seeing the bottom shut and up the side seams. It was very simple. They added some ribbon through the belt loops and wrote on the outside with material markers. Needless to say, she loved it.

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 712 admin

    This suggestion is more practical than artistic but the denim pockets on the backside are just the right shape and size for using on stock (cattle) etc when they have eye injuries or pinkeye. Just glue 2 sides above the eye and keep the bottom open. Sunlight is the biggest annoyance to stock with this problem and if you use a good strong glue the patch stays on for about a week, just enough time for it to heal. So if you don't have cattle etc you may know someone who does and I'm sure they'd appreciate some extra pirate patches!

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 257 ✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle make clutch purses, denim purses, door draft protection, golf club coats, doll clothes, or a patchwork overalls

  • SheilaSheila Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    Pieced together old jeans make great quilts and wonderful dog beds that are easy to clean. I also have a quilt that is double sided and use it when temps really drop as it is so warm. They make great tote bags as they seem to last forever and they are also much stronger than most of the ones you get from stores and you can make handles that are actually comfortable as well!

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 446 ✭✭✭✭

    I love making skirts out of denim! If the seats and thighs are worn through then just add a fun print and use the waist band and sides and pockets for the outer sides of the skirt.

    I also make water bottle holders out of shorts so it would not be hard to use the pockets of jeans.

    lastly if you don’t want to work too hard with the jeans and would rather be in the garden...I have helped to make a key hole garden bed in which one layer of “compost” was old jeans! We removed the rivets and zippers then added the material to the mix of sticks, vegetable scraps, soil, etc. within 2 years the jeans were completely gone! We took the key hole garden apart to see how well it worked. (Master gardeners be crazy like that😉)

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,438 admin

    I have a basket that needs a new liner this spring. I used carhart canvas from an old coat. It lasted 2-3 years. I liked the natural tone. If I can't find more, I might just have to try denim.

  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 999 admin

    We just insulated our roof with insulation made from old jeans. Not something you can do as a home DIY project, but I thought I would toss that in here. It's good insulation.

  • wbt.affiliateswbt.affiliates Posts: 100 ✭✭✭

    I used several pair of old jeans to make an activity quilt for a grandchild. I cut out the belt loop area and strung a braid of cloth through it. I cut out pockets, front and back and stuffed them with toys. I cut out the snap and zipper part so the baby could zip it up and down. I strung things on a tough cord for another belt loop area. It was a lot of fun to make, and the baby liked it too.

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 726 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft Do you have any photos? I'm trying to picture how this would work. I've definitely heard of using old jeans for insulation, but can't picture how it would be used to insulate a roof.... Thanks! :)

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,438 admin
    edited December 2019

    @Mary Linda Bittle You could make a road kit for grandkids. I made this a few years ago for our kids. It folded up nicely into a little rectangular lunchbox (with a couple matchbox cars) for easy transport. We used yellow fabric paint to paint the yellow lines and zigzagged the edges to prevent extreme fraying. We made lots of different sections for various road situations. Black is the most authentic of course, but kids don't care.

    It has proven very valuable at events where little kids couldn't participate but still needed to be busy.

    It will last well into grandchild years, I'm sure.

  • HeidiHeidi Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    I use ours, and those donated, for quilts, lap robes for the nursing home, coasters, bibs, handbags, and fabric baskets. Would love to try braided rug from the seams at some point. My motto with jeans....reuse, reuse, recycle, upcycle! I will take them from anyone who is ready to toss a pair in the trash.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle I usually use them as work jeans. I have some that I still would like to have some larger holes sewed but for the one or two that are past the point of repairing I am going to cut off at the knees and use for shorts.

  • Chris A.Chris A. Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I collected jeans for years when my kids were young and made each child a quilt with them. When those wore out I made more and even made a log cabin quilt with all the colored ones that I had. It was so heavy that I couldn't lift it when I was done, but my son and his wife loved it. I have also braided jean rugs (braid by four as it ties it together as you go) and they last forever. Great for throw rugs, patio door rugs, ect. Also fun to make a shoe holder and/or baby item holder by using the pockets sewn onto a backing that you can then hang in the bathroom or closet to hold small items and/or shoes.

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 257 ✭✭✭

    Using old denim as patches on other jeans, or as pockets. One could make purses from them with either short or long straps, depending on the users preference. Using scraps of denim to make char cloth so when out and about camping or hiking, use this to start a small fire to either stay warm or to cook your meals. Char cloth is old denim scraps put into an old metal coffee can or other metal can with a lid. Poke a hole in the lid so the smoke can escape. Place the filled can with lid into a fire for twenty minutes. Check the can by opening it. Be careful as the can will be very hot. Open it and depending how charred you want the denim to be, for more crisp, place the container back into the fire for another ten minutes. When done, carefully remove the char denim with a tongs. Allow to cool. Store in a second container, I would use a small metal container. Or use a coffee can.

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    If you're not up to making anything yourself, but hate to send your jeans to the landfill, Lehman's had information on sending your jeans to the Mennonite Central Committee. They make them into rugs. https://www.lehmans.com/product/tough-woven-denim-rug/

    I think the MCC in Ephrata, PA takes denim as well. It needs to be 100% cotton.

  • DebiBDebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    Wow, all of these suggestions make me wish I had an old pair of jeans or 2 to experiment with! One idea I ran across for reusing old jeans is to turn them into a flow through worm bin. I have never tried this but it sounds like a fun experiment. Here’s a link to the blog post I read about it: https://www.redwormcomposting.com/worm-bins/the-creepy-pants-vermicomposter/


  • 7207chablis7207chablis Posts: 46 ✭✭✭

    I never thought about recycling them! I have actually sold them in a second hand website!

  • tla.cls.mttla.cls.mt Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    I have made tote bags & backpacks.

    I also make char cloth from 100% cotton denim, I then use this when starting camp fires.

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