Monday, April 20, 2009

Adventures With Old Jeans

I've been saving the kids' old jeans for awhile, waiting to be inspired to make something with them, and the other day I got it in my head that I was going to cut them into strips and knit with the denim. I didn't know what I was going to make just yet, but once I get it in my head that I'm going to do something, I have to follow through with it right then, which is a bit tricky because I have three kids and I take care of my friend's baby. Don't ask me how I find the time, because I will not have an answer for you.

So I immediately drug out the old jeans and started cutting. I cut them into strips about 1/2 - 1/4 inch wide... varying widths because I just wanted to mix things up a bit. I knotted the strips together and ended up leaving the ends hanging out, thinking that this might make the object look kinda shaggy and unique-looking. Here is a pic of the beginnings of what would turn into a bag/purse. It was a bit tough knitting with the denim strips, especially since they had knots throughout them, but it was fun, nonetheless. I did not know what size needles to use, so I started with 11s, which ended up being way to small. Then I started over with 17s, which ended up being too big. So I ended up with 15s, which were perfect! This project was also a little messy. I'm still finding denim lint and strands everywhere.

So all I did was knit a rectangle and stitch up the sides. I stitched the sides with denim, which was a real pain, again because of the knots, but I didn't want to use yarn or thread, just because I wanted it to be completely made of denim.

For the strap, I just braided three strands of denim together and sewed them to the purse, again with denim.

When I finished with the bag, I found that I could do something useful with the pockets of the jeans, and I had heard about people making "pocket purses" with pockets. So my daughter and I started making a purse for her. She braided some strips like I had done for my purse and we are going to sew a flower onto it with embroidery floss.. I just need to find the time to do that, hopefully today and then I'll add the final picture.

I still have lots of denim scraps, which I plan on using to decorate other crafts, such as some felt things I like to make, like drink coozies and coinpurses. If anyone has further ideas on what to do with old jeans, I'd love to hear them! I did find this link awhile back and found it interesting: 13 things you can do with old jeans: I plan on doing some of these projects pronto, but I think I will scavenge some thrift stores for MEN'S jeans instead of kid's jeans :)


  1. That is adorable! What a great idea. It looks great too!

  2. What a cool idea! I think this would be a fun bathmat, too. I'd pull all the knots over to one side and back it so it'd lay flat.

  3. Yes! I was wanting to make a bathmat next! Or a kitchen mat, actually.. my kitchen is yellow, white, and blue.. it would match perfectly

  4. As a dressmaker, I cut up old clothes and either use them for patchwork (making new out of old)or simply salvage as many large areas of fabric as I can, and make baby clothes from them - my grand daughter has pyjamas from 2 old t shirts and dungarees from a naff pair of printed ladies jeans! plus a jacket and dungarees from old sweatshirts. Denim makes great patchwork - i made coats for the whole family in log cabin strips back in the 80s, they lasted for years!

  5. That looks really cool! I have a pair of jeans and some old corduroys laying around (in my size, so lots of fabric =p), and I'm seriously considering making aprons out of the legs. My mother used to love her "booty bag" in the Seventies, apparently, so maybe I'll make her one for Mother's Day...

  6. That is inspired!
    I recently cut up an old tshirt to knit with, have yet to do anything with it, but from jeans, that's just brilliant!