Skip to Content

Unique Denim Sewing Projects – Fun Ways To Upcycle Your Old Jeans

Inside: Over 40 cool denim sewing projects for repurposing your old jeans and many unique ideas you would never have thought of. Plus, handy denim sewing tips.

Denim is one of those fabrics that gets better with age. As it gets older, it gets softer. And I love how they fade over time.

Unfortunately, my jeans eventually wear out on the inner thighs (I have chunky athletic thighs 😂), but I still hang onto them for upcycling.

The kids’ jeans wear out at the knees, but weirdly, they sometimes buy them like that!

The blog has many no-sew denim projects, but this post focuses on sewing tutorials. The fantabulous creations can be stitched by hand, on a sewing machine or a combination of both.

It doesn’t matter if the jeans are straight leg, boot cut, skinny, high rise, low rise, flared, boyfriend, mom, cropped or stretch; you can sew many incredible things.

trendy denim sewing projects

We’re a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Best Tips For Sewing Denim

I tackle my denim sewing projects with a 55-year-old Bernina sewing machine. It’s a solid beast that has lived on two continents. It’s dealt with all sorts of crafts and DIYs deftly but is particularly good with denim. But no matter what sewing machine you use, these tips will help you.

Because denim is so strong and tough with thick seams, it’s not the most straightforward fabric to sew. Before starting, practice with off-cuts on your machine to get your stitch length and tension right.

  1. Use a fresh heavy-duty needle. For sewing machines, those marked as suitable for denim/jeans. A 90/14 needle for lighter-weight denim and a 100/16 for thick denim. These needles are strong and sharp, and have a reinforced blade to minimize movement and reduce the risk of breaking and skipping stitches. When hand-sewing denim, use a larger size four needle.
  2. Use very sharp tools to cut the denim. A good pair of scissors or sharp blades in your rotary cutter and a sharp seam ripper will make deconstructing your jeans for sewing projects quicker.
  3. Use heavy-duty Jeans thread such as Gutermann.
  4. If your sewing machine has one, use a jeans foot to deal with thick heavy denim.
  5. Denim is a thick fabric and can get bulky around pockets, hems, waistbands and seams. Try to reduce bulk by opening up and flattening seams, mitre any corners, offset seams and using a zigzag or overlock instead of a hem.
  6. Go slowly; hold the fabric firmly but let it freely feed through the machine, don’t force it.
  7. Use the handwheel when trying to sew through seams, hems and waistbands. Some sewing machines won’t be able to deal with thick layers of fabric, so you might have to hand stitch those bits.
  8. Watch out for metal on the jeans, such as rivets, buttons and zips. Sew around them, or they will break your needles.

Unique Denim Sewing Projects

Denim is a hardwearing and freely available fabric versatile and perfect for many diverse sewing projects. Whether you want to repurpose old jeans into bags, rugs, pillows, dog toys, hats, Christmas decorations or plushies, you should find something to inspire you to get the sewing machine out or to thread a needle.

denim sewing project idea pins cutting up jeans.

Don’t forget to check out my comprehensive A to Z guide to denim crafts, where you will find a mixture of sewing and no-sew denim tutorials.

Old jeans aren’t the only clothes to upcycle for the home. Old sweaters and T-shirts are good too. Then, use the leftover fabric scraps for fun projects, including hand-sewn ones.

Check out what else you can do with clothes that are un-donatable.


Saturday 11th of November 2023

You're an imaginative genius, Claire. These are fantastic and the indigo colour reminds me so much of living in Japan... Can't wait to get started! Thanks!

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 12th of November 2023

Aww, thank you that's very kind of you to say so. I just love making things out old jeans. Living in Japan must of been amazing, I visited the country for the first time this year and loved it.


Wednesday 7th of September 2022

There are so many projects here I'd love to try out, but I suspect I will run out of old denim to upcycle soon, so either I need to be selective or visit a few thrift stores. The second option sounds like way more fun.

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 7th of September 2022

Thank you, Michelle. My friends and family know I love to upcycle old denim so pass me on their old jeans. Have yo tried asking around if anyone is getting rid of any?